The Time Of Our Deaths Chapter 3

The Time Of Our Deaths Chapter 3

A Chapter by Paul D. Aronson

As a group of kids make it to safety, they discover the horrible truth.


Chapter 3

If you have ever had a spell where you can’t catch your breath, whether its asthma or just a panic attack in a stuffy room, you kind of know the feeling I experienced on that bus. Trapped within its confines, trying to catch my breath, it was as if everything was closing in and fading out. Spots were before my eyes and a sleepy darkness was trying to overcome my whole being.

I could see Kate on the other side of the window, her eyes wide in terror. I’m not so sure it was fear towards my situation. No, I think it was towards herself for she was running out of air too. In my haze I saw her body jerk and then she was gone, leaving me and the bus behind, trying to propel herself to the surface.

I gave up and closed my eyes; if death was coming it wouldn’t find me in a panic. I would face it calmly, or at the very least, try to. I was surprised by the peace that was overtaking me.  When an older person dies I believe that in their years they have conditioned themselves to experience this kind of peace. They have prepared themselves. For me, as young as I was, you would think I would face it with horror and fear, having not experienced all the things adults have.

But just as this peace was washing over me the bus shifted. It was rolling over on its side. And by some strange miracle, as it rolled, my shoelace sprang free from the bolt that had captured it. Suddenly I wasn’t content with peace anymore. No, I was going to survive. I swam towards to the rear exit and pulled myself out of the bus. Instinct told me to get to the surface before the bus rolled again.

As I fought my way up through the water, I could see the legs of my fellow classmates above me. I was going to make it. Soon I’d be breathing fresh air again, admiring Angela from a distance, wishing more than anything she would notice me with different adoring eyes.

With this thought in my head I broke the surface, gasping for breath. I could see the other kids swimming madly to shore, just trying to get away from that sunken hell of a school bus. I looked own and tried to see it through the water, to see its final resting place in the river bed. But like a shroud covering a funeral coffin I could barely see it. So instead I looked around to see if I could spy henry. I knew he would need my help swimming to shore.

He never has been a good swimmer. In the summer months, when all of us gathered at the one local swimming pool in town, he always stayed at the shallow end where his feet could touch bottom.

So where was he? I couldn’t see his head bobbing up and down in the river. Had the current swept him under the bridge and downstream? I caught a glimpse of a familiar jacket on the shore just yards in front of me. It was Kate’s. She stood there on the shoreline, coughing water up from her lungs, and laying there on the ground beside her was the prone form of Henry. At this distance I couldn’t tell if he was breathing or not, so I swam like mad for the shore.

I reached the embankment quicker than I thought, and when I hauled myself out of the cold river, Kate jumped.

“Jeez,” she exclaimed. “Scare somebody why don’t you?”

“Sorry,” I replied. “You okay?”

“Yeah, just out of breath.”

“Cool.” I looked own at henry. His eyes were open and his big stomach was heaving up and down. “You okay buddy?”

“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” he sighed breathlessly.

“Yeah me either.”

I looked around us. A little further down the bank, Billy and Angela had hoisted themselves up on a rock and trying to get their second wind. Even looking like a half drowned duck I couldn’t keep my eyes off Angela.

“How come everyone is taking so long to get to shore?” Kate pondered.

I looked out to the river. She was right. The other kids seemed to be moving slower than we had. “Maybe they are treading water, or just don’t know how to swim.”

“I don’t know how to swim,” henry replied. “And I still made it faster than they did.”

“Perhaps they are worse swimmers than you.”

“But that’s everybody.”

He was right. We were the only ones, along with Billy and Angela, to make it to shore. And I had been the last one out. Everyone else should have already beaten me here, but there they were, all of them still floundering in the water.

Billy and Angela came sauntering over towards us. “Anybody seen Angie’s cell?” Billy demanded.

“No,” I said. “Probably lost it on the bus. I lost my shoe down there.”

“I don’t care about a shoe, I want my cell,” she said. Before I could think too badly of her attitude, she added, “Someone needs to call the accident in.”

“I don’t think they see us over here,” henry interrupted.

“Who doesn’t?” I asked.

“The other kids. They are going to shore downstream.”

“They must have drifted more than we did. That would account for us getting to shore first.”

Henry had now stood up and was waving his arms over his head, trying to signal our classmates. “Hey guys, over here! You can come up here!” They seemed not to hear. He turned to me. “Why can’t they hear me?”

“They are probably making too much noise to hear anything,” I replied, noting the rise of their voices as they all tried to fight to shore.

Suddenly there was a sound in the distance. Sirens. I turned to Billy and Angela. “Well, looks like somebody called them.”

We watched as the ambulance pulled up to the bank downstream where the rest of the kids were now climbing out of the water. Paramedics were out of the ambulance and rushing down to them, as another ambulance pulled up to assist. They were followed by the sheriff and a fire truck.

“Well that’s just great,” Angela said. “Help them and leave us up here to walk down to them.”

“We should be thankful we’re okay,” Kate replied.

“Nobody asked you.”

“Hey hey,” I interjected. “We just climbed out of a freezing river. We should all chill out.”

Henry started laughing. “Chill out? That’s funny, Johnny.”

Just then I noticed a paramedic walking upstream towards us. He was looking in the river for survivors. The other s saw him as he came into view.

“Well, it’s about time,” Billy complained. “I could be dying over here. Hey paramedic dude, up here!”

The guy didn’t even pay Billy any mind, which I have to admire him for. He kept searching the water, until finally he turned around to face us. He shook his head and started walking our way.

“Hey we could use some assistance here too,” Angela whined, stepping in front of the guy. She was used to guys stopping when they saw her, but this guy kept coming and walked right through her. She yelped and jumped back.

“What the hell?” Billy exclaimed.

The paramedic was alongside me now and I reached out to grab his arm. “Hey what’s the big deal?” I asked. I realized what it was the moment my hand passed right through his arm. It was as if he weren’t even there. It only took a moment to realize that was wrong. We were the ones that weren’t there.

“I guess we’re not okay after all,” Kate sadly said..


© 2010 Paul D. Aronson

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very good start and it is g rated.. I approve..

Posted 8 Years Ago

There are some capitalization errors, but other than that, this story is perfect! Just what I was wanting to read! If I were an agent (which I'm not, I'm only in middle school), I would ask for the rest of your story on the spot!
Would you mind taking a peek at my story and reviewing?

Posted 10 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on September 18, 2010
Last Updated on September 18, 2010
Tags: teens, coming-of-age, ghosts, supernatural, suspense, mystery


Paul D. Aronson
Paul D. Aronson

Roanoke, VA

Paul's Latest news: Returning to the cafe after a hiatus of sorts. Look for my 2 latest "books' to be featured here in a chapter by chapter format: The YA manga inspired Vampire romance, "Vampire Boy.. more..

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A Chapter by Paul D. Aronson