How To Live Without Dying

Tinsley was always loped in with the popular crowd in one way or another. It was just what her mother wanted. But, Tinsley couldn't stand it.

Ian was an indie skater kid with an undeserved bad reputation.

Sparks fly when they meet, but things quickly turn dangerous.

Sort of happened by chance, and I just kept on with it, but all of the chapter titles are taken from songs by Land of Talk.


12. The Game

"Reese!" called a familiar voice.


I looked down and saw Lucas, the second string running back. He took a swiss army knife and handed to me through the net, then took off running. I opened it, only to find that the blade was broken. I heard him laugh in the distance, then I went to work on trying to climb the netting to the top. It had caught on a branch on it's way up and didn't close all of the way. I managed to grab onto the branch and take my wait off of the net so that I could loosen it.


Eventual, I was able to work my way out of it and climb down the tree to the ground. I took off in the direction Lucas had run, only to be greeted by fireworks being shot at me. I dove toward the nearest shooter and tackled him to the ground.


"Where is she?" I shouted and landed a punch against his nose.


"Who?" the shooter asked. I didn't recognize this one.


"My wife!" I shouted. "Preston took Tinsley!"


"What? No, man, we're just supposed to mess with you," he said. "It's just a joke. A game. He didn't really take a girl."


"You're lying," I said. "I heard her scream."


"Help!" I heard an identical scream to before and turned around to see Lucas holding a tape player.


He was laughing again.


I climbed off of the stranger and launched myself at Lucas, pinning him to a tree.


"Where is Preston?" I asked.


"Help! Help me!" we all heard that scream, loud and clear, coming from the shore. Possibly even  off of the island.


I let him go and took off running for the beach. As I got closer, I heard the whir of a firecracker coming closer to me. I turned around just in time to see the rocket coming for me. I hit me in the shoulder, burning me, and knocked me down against the jagged roots of a dead stump. I pulled myself up and kept going toward the beach. I hit the shore and saw a speedboat on the water, a good distance from me. A distance I could make, though. I got into my little boat and struggled to row towards them. The pain in my shoulder skewed my stroke and the boat curved a bit to the right despite my best efforts. As I got closer, I saw someone being leaned out over the water from the boat. And then, she was dropped. No limbs flailing. Just a still, limp body curling with gravity toward the water.


I jumped out of my boat and swam as fast as I could to reach where she was thrown. I didn't see her, so I dove.


She was five feet from me, just sinking. A trail of bubbles streaming from her nose and mouth. I swam harder and caught her with my arm and struggled against the pain in my shoulder to pull us back up to the surface. The boat began to zoom in circles around us when we came up above water, the wake rocking us. I looked around for my little boat and spotted it as the speedboat slammed into it and broke it in half.


I turned my attention to Tinsley. Her lips were blue, but her eyes opened.


"Oh, thank god," I said breathlessly and kissed her. "I need to to hold your breath. I'm going to take us under and try to swim away from the boat."


She nodded. I held her as close to me as I could.


"On the count of three," I said. "One. Two. Three."


I pulled us back beneath the water and swam as quickly as I could to pull us across the boat's circular path. I barely made it before I had to bring us back up for air. Tinsley gasped for breath when we broke the surface.


"Ready?" I asked and she gave me a worried look. "One. Two. Three."


She took in another breath and we dove again. We did this over and over until we were out of sight of the boat. They had caught on by this time and were looking for us.


"I think they drown!" one of them shouted, followed by a laugh.


I pulled Tinsely toward the nearby dock of a stranger's house. That's when I heard the sirens and I knew things had to be over. Cops rushed out toward the lake from the side of our home. A patrol boat crossed the water towards the speedboat.


"Preston Massey, stop that boat and hold both hands where we can see them," was shouted through a loudspeaker.


I saw police officers with search dogs spread out over the island.


I tried to lift Tinsley up the ladder, but I couldn't do it. I could only hold onto her and hold the ladder to keep us still.


She tried to free her hands from the rope binding them. It had swollen in the water and she couldn't do it.


I heard dogs sniffing and barking nearby.


"Ian Reese!" I heard them shout. "Tinsley Reese!"


"We're here!" I called out to them.


Foot steps rushed over the dock toward us. Hands grabbed us. I groaned in pain as they pulled us up out of the water by my underarms. I saw them cut the ropes off of Tinsley and I saw her hurry to lean over me. I sighed in relief and raised my good hand up to touch the side of her cheek. She leaned into it and kissed my palm.


Paramedics ran toward us now examined my shoulder. Burned flesh. Bruised bone. A bit of bleeding. The bruise was the main source of the pain and weakness, but all they could really do for me was clean it and bandage it. Tinsley was surprisingly okay. She was unconscious when she was dropped in the water, so she didn't suck any water into her lungs. It wasn't until I pulled her to the surface that the sudden burst of noise and air woke her up.


After talking with the police and handing over the dvd to them, we were left to rest at home with a small police security detail stationed outside of the house for the night.


It was then, in the absence of everyone else, that Tinsley crumpled to the ground at me feet and began to sob uncontrollably.


I dropped to the floor beside her and cradled her against my chest. I didn't know what else to do. So I just held her.

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