It pulls her into the water. Her last breath is going out and her mind flashes back to the first time in the water. The first time she saw it. No one believed her of course but now here she was losing sight of the sun as it pulled her deeper and deeper into the quarry it's home and her grave. Then...
Black. Everything was black and she accepted death.
But death did not come. Even when she finally released her breath. As her eyes adjusted she found herself at the bottom of the quarry but she was breathing and a light seemed to be shining from a nearby cave. The light called to her and drew her towards it.
She could swim faster than she could ever before it was if she was a fish. When she arrived at the light she saw that there was another person but they were struggling for breath in a pocket of air. She swam faster towards them. Upon arriving at the air pocket she tried to calm the person down and she saw a small girl who was panicking. She screamed in fright at her appearance from the blackness but seemed immensely relieved there was another person there.
Her voice was calm and smooth, "Are you ok?"
The girl simply nodded her head.
"How long can you hold your breath?" still very calm.
"Not long," replied the girl.
Her breath was becoming short and she realized that she could not breath out of water now. So she dove under the water for a much needed breath and tried not to cry. She would never see her family again. Popping back up she said, "I can't breathe out of water and you can't breathe in water so we are going to have to work together, ok?"
The girl nodded and under the water she dove again. Coming back up she said, "I'm going to ask you a few questions and you can answer me once I'm back under the water but make it short so you have enough air, ok?" Another nod. "One," she said, "how did you get down here and how long have you been down here?"
Back down she went and she heard his small voice slightly disoriented but still pretty clear, "Our car went over the edge of the cliff. I got stuck and something pushed me to the air pocket. Parents drowned. And 37 minutes I have a watch so that is the exact time." Something pushed her. The girl looked around and she saw the eyes of the creature.
She asked the child for her flashlight and with some hesitation she gave it to her and she went to search the water for the thing that had saved the child and changed her. Then she saw it unlike anything she ever saw but its face showed compassion and sorrow.
"Can you help me save her?" she asked.
The creature's voice was deep and soothing, " I do not know how to save the air being that is why I found you. Your heart was pure and kind but you also believed there was something bigger in the world than yourself."
The girl was shocked when it spoke but also shocked when it revealed that it chose her, "I know how to save her but I don't know how to provide her air. If there was something big enough that we could capture air in to put over her head than we could get her to the surface."
Like the girl, he was shocked at her intellect but more so in the fact that she had no doubts in trusting him so to collect himself it swam away to find the old oil drum that was dropped into the quarry years ago. Returning with it and asking, "Will this do?"
The girl nodded and helped it bring the oil drum to the surface to fill with air once they did it was harder to pull it down but together they got it to the little girl.
"Ok, little one I know that it doesn't smell very good but I want you to swim inside the oil drum. I'm going to put the lid on then and bring you to the surface." She dove down to take a quick breath before continuing. "Then I'll open it back up and you can come out and climb on top of it. I'll push you most of the way to shore but you'll have to do the rest, ok?"
"Ok." the response was weak but sure.
Bringing the oil drum closer the child swam into it with strong kicks. As the girl put the lid on she heard the child whimper slightly. She began to hum to try and calm the small girl's nerves before a hand went over her mouth, the creature whispering in her ear, "You can't hum or sing. It has deadly consequences." She nodded and the hand was removed.
They began to push the oil drum out of the cavern as fast as they could. The girl had only a minute of air at most even though she was small. Once out of the cave they only needed to slow the drum's accent so it would not fly from the water. As soon as they reached the surface he dived back into the water not being human in appearance might scare someone visiting the quarry as well as the little girl.
So she pulled the lid of the oil drum off alone and helped the child climb on top. "Listen I want you to ask for James and Samantha Hull. They are my parents. Tell them I sent you to them," she went under for a breath. "My name is Ember and tell them that I found a way to be free and I will not be returning. I can not for I am part of the water now and I can't leave."
"I'll make sure to tell them, but I will keep our secret and only say you pulled me from the water. My name is Tristana"
Once the oil drum was 100 yards from shore Ember left Tristana to get to shore and returned to the deep dark pit that was now her home.
“Why did you just not do the girl what you did to me?” She asked him.
"I do not know how to care for any child. So how could I care for an air child," It looked like there was more he wanted to say but was afraid to."
"And," Ember pressed. "And she deserves a choice to live outside of this quarry," he said, hoping not to upset her. He did not want her to think that she too did not have that right for she did.
"Long ago I chose this quarry as my home and you did not think that I would mind living in it." He looked ashamed for assuming such a big thing in her life. "Don't feel like you did something wrong I don't mind it here." His eyes brightened slightly.
"Well we deserve proper introductions so my name is... Laguna and you are?" Ember asked the boy.
"Ren," he said. "At least that's what the fish call me. Didn't you tell the air girl your name was Ember?"
"That is the name that was given to me at birth but as the name suggests it is in reference to fire and I am one with the water."
"I had a name too before the change. Before the curse."
Author Notes: I hope you liked the story. If you could give feedback that would be great. I don't usually share my stories.