Chapter 7: Beneath the Surface ---Chaerin--Time seemed to slow as the front end of the car dipped exposing

the view below them, the frozen river rushed up to meet them. Chaerin closed her eyes tightly and braced herself for impact. The car smashed through the thick layer of ice and stuck half submerged in the frozen river, the girls inside were unconscious. Chaerin was the first to stir; her nose was bleeding again, her head ached and she could feel a knot forming but she pushed those thoughts to the back of her mind. In the driver's seat was Dara, she was unconscious pinned back against her seat by an airbag. Chaerin struggled against to push her own airbag aside she managed to grab her purse from which she procured a pocketknife. A gift from her father for her fourteenth birthday 'just in case' he had said; she hadn't known what he meant then and she doubted he had planned for something like this, but either way she was glad she had it. She swiftly stabbed at the bags tearing them open as they deflated she felt as though all the air had left her as well because now she had an unobscured view of the deep shadowed waters that lay beneath her separated only by a shattered windshield, water trickled through the cracks ominously. Her throat tightened and her whole body was paralyzed with fear but she was unable to look away from the darkness below, she felt as though if she moved it would swallow her up. ---Himchan--"Dammit all." Himchan sped down the road in the silver Volvo he had just boosted. He hadn't stole a car in long time and he was pretty rusty, it had taken nearly five minutes for him to hot wire the vehicle. He could almost hear his friend’s low rasping laugh as he struggled just like when he first taught Himchan how to steal one. He shook his head of those thoughts he couldn't think about that now, he had more important things to worry about like why the love of his life accused him of murdering his best friend. He turned driving down the street he last saw them travel until he hit the intersection, but he had no way of knowing which way the went left was the bridge but right was the way home where Dara had said she was heading. As he was turning right he heard shouting and spotted a kid running down the road trying to flag him down. He pulled the car up beside the boy and rolled down the window to get a better look at him, the boy’s face was flushed as he struggled to catch his breath while shouting incoherently at him. "Hey! Slow down and I can’t understand you." He stopped and steadied himself before continuing.

"A car crashed -- ran into the river -- two people inside, girls I think -- friends called an ambulance but the ice doesn’t look like it'll hold long enough for-- " "Get in kid!" Himchan flung the door open and the boy clambered in, he floored it down the road until the kid told him to stop. A part of him had hoped that by some mischance it was someone else who had run off the bridge it would be easier to do the smart thing and wait for help like these kids were doing, but he wasn't a kid and the people he cared about were in danger. There was only one option. He hurried past the kids and stepped onto the ice to his relief it was thick and sturdy enough to run across, right now since he was on the surface it was a good thing, but being beneath it would mean certain death. He slowed when he neared the back end of the car that protruded from the river the back tires rested on the edge of the hole that had been punched into the ice. He wiped the foggy glass and peered in through the window tapping on it lightly he saw movement. ---Chaerin--The light patter against the window nearly made Chaerin jump out of her skin but she was finally able to tear her eyes away from the sight below her. Looking up she saw Himchan staring down at her with a half-smile a wave of relief crashed over her; blinking back tears she saw he was gesturing to open the trunk. Hastily she pulled the keys from the ignition and fumbled with it in her trembling hands before finding the right button; with the resounding click she released a heavy sigh of relief. "Is Dara alright?" She wasn't looking at him but she could hear the anxiety in his voice. "Yeah, I think so. She's unconscious though." She looked over at her friend who hung oddly from the seat held in place by her belt. "Can you move?" Chaerin took a moment to evaluate herself; aside from the bump on her head and bloody nose which had stopped she didn't have any serious injuries. She was stiff and sore but she could move. "Yeah. I can move." "Okay, I want you to climb up here to me then I'll climb down--" "No! Dara goes first!" Chaerin insisted craning her neck to look at him. "I don't want to put too much weight on the car it might sink or break the ice." "I don't care. She is unconscious if anything happens I can get myself out, she can't." She looked at him intently and he knew she wasn't backing down, he nodded.

Himchan started into the car but as he stepped down onto the back seats the car leaned up straight floated in the water the windshield creaked menacingly a stream of water gushed from the glass. They were all still and she had a horrible sinking feeling which she realized was not just a feeling they were actually beginning to sink Chaerin fought back the urge to scream she dug her nails into the upholstery up to the first knuckle. "Chaerin I need you to stay calm I am coming down. We have to hurry." His tone was urgent but she responded with grunt to let him know she'd heard. Swiftly he moved past the third and second rows of seats and crouched down on the back of the seats that held the two of them. He was able to free Dara from and lifted her easily into his arms and began climbing up, Chaerin followed suite and followed below after them. Himchan made it out and disappeared above with Dara, Chaerin hand reached the last row of seats when she heard it. Loud as a gunshot the windshield cracked the roar of water filled her ears and the car jerked violently knocking her backwards. She tried to grip that seats above to climb out only to grab a handful of plastic and fabric. 'The dresses.' The gowns came down on top of her, blinding her. Freezing water rose rapidly around her, she flung the dresses off of her staggering to her feet. "Chaerin!!!" She looked up, "Himchan!!!" He shouted something she didn't hear as the glass beneath her feet gave way sucking her out into the river the last thing she saw was Himchan's horrified face as she was plunged into the icy waters. ---Himchan--"CHAERIN!!!!!NO!!! NO!!! NO!!!" Two men grabbed him and he watched helplessly, as the car was swallowed up by the icy waters, falling to his knees. When he emerged from the car with Dara paramedics had just made their way across the ice and took his fiancé to safety. They were safe he had thought, it was over. He was wrong. 'Help was here.' He had told her. Hot tears flowed down his cheeks as he stared spot where she disappeared. "You can't go in there that water is below freezing and too dark to see you won't be able to find your way back out."

When he stopped struggling the paramedics released their hold on him. As he sat staring the image of his friend swam before his eyes the night Young Guk laid bleeding, he had watched his brother die unable to do anything. And now here he was once again, yet another friend was about to die right in front of him but this time he wasn't helpless. This time there was still a chance he could save her. He knew it was a slim chance but he knew if he didn't he would never forgive himself. He jumped to his feet knocking down the paramedic that blocked his path quickly he snatched up the rope and a flashlight they had brought for the rescue and turned sharply back around towards the hole mowing down everyone in his way. He could hear them all screaming at him but he ignored it, never stopping until he reached the chasm and dived in. The water was freezing but he ignored that as well, with the flashlight in his mouth he tied the rope around his waist as he swam deeper. He had been an avid swimmer in high school and worked as a lifeguard during the summer every bit what he learned was being put into action today. He realized as he got older that all the stupid things his dad forced him to do weren't as stupid as he had originally thought because had it not been for the excessive lessons there was no way he could have handled the depth he was at now. Moving the flashlight he scanned the area and spotted the car, but she wasn't there so he swam on steadily moving upwards. He knew if she wasn't with the car she either swam off or was floating elsewhere either way she was going to be higher than the riverbed. His whole body stung from cold but he kept on he was surprised they hadn't begun pulling the rope on the other end they were probably hopeful he would find her and they would have a rescue instead of having to rake the riverbed in the spring to find her corpse. Himchan tried to push the thoughts out of his head trying not to imagine Chaerin's body blue and swollen and rotting. The flashlight slipped from his hand and he dove after it he fumbled but got a hold of it but a glimmer caught his eye from above. He swam upwards using the light to scan in front of him and he saw it, the glimmer of gold. Chaerin. She was floating lifelessly when he reached her, her eyes were open staring blankly. He gasped and latched on to her tugging on the rope for a moment nothing happened; dread filling him as he wondered if they even had hold of the other end but a sharp tug eased the anxiety slightly. They were pulling fast and he kicked with all his strength to propel them faster. 'It might not be too late. There is still a chance. Chaerin, please stay with me.' ---Chaerin---

The warmth against her face roused her and her eyes flitted open the sunlight was blinding so she shielded her face with one hand. She peered through her fingers at the sky above it was clear and blue; the sun shone brightly she could feel the warmth on her skin. 'It's warm…but that's not right.' Realization brought the memories rushing back; memories of snow and icy roads, shattered glass and frigid waters. "Where am I….?" She sat upright to inspect her surroundings it looked so different she almost didn't recognize it. She was laying on the riverbank the grass was lush and green, the river flowed smoothly glimmering in the sunlight. Marching up the bank she made her way to the road climbing over the guardrail which was completely intact she looked over at the dense forest saw no sign of the kids they had nearly run down. It didn't make any sense to her this was one of the most trafficked areas in town outside of winter time but there was no sign of anyone or anything. There were no birds chirping or squirrels and rabbits running about, no cars or people; it was unbearably quiet the only audible noise coming from the river behind her. Walking down the vacant road towards the bridge panic bubbled inside her. She broke into a run screaming calling out to Dara, to Himchan, to anyone. She stopped. Leaning casually against the bridge railing was a young man he wore a gray tank top splashed with crimson beneath a black leather jacket, silver dog tags hung from his neck and a shock of red hair stuck out from his head in all directions. To anyone else he would have been intimidating maybe even frightening but she was not anyone, she knew this man she saw him every night in her dreams. "Yong Guk…?" She breathed so softly she didn't think he would hear but he turned to her with a smile that was brighter to her than any star. "Hey CL-roo, it's been awhile."

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