1. One


   The forest was silent and still, the hush almost expectant. Like the place was waiting for something to happen.

   Calum shivered as he stood there in the crisp morning air. He zipped up his hooded sweatshirt, then pressed on through the sprawling spruces and towering pines. Their cold Christmas smell filled his head as they stood untouched by fall's orange fingers. The trees scratched at him as he left the trail and pushed through deeper into the forest.

   Moments later, Cal stopped again. It was crazy, but he couldn't help feeling like there was something in the forest, lurking out of view. Watching him. He looked all around. Everything remained still. The silence began to creep Cal out so he crashed on noisily, just so there was something to hear. What a lame idea, he thought as he struggled through a tangle of vines into the clearing. Been watching too many late night movies. But he looked again for any trace of movement, just in case.

   'What're you complaining for?' Cal asked himself, crossly. 'You wanted some space to yourself, remember?'

   Snatches of conversations came back to him as he walked on.

   His mom, pleading 'Cal, you can go camping with your friends next year. Just one more family vacation, Ok?'

   His dad, scowling. 'One last family vacation. That was the deal, remember? You know this means a lot to your mom.'

   His older sister Mali. 'You never want to hang out with me these days, Cal. You're just no fun anymore.'

   His mate Michael, shaking his head in sympathy. 'So your parents really are making you go on vacation with them? You sure flunked out there, man.'

   Finally, himself. This morning. Stomping out of the family's holiday cabin in the hills. Slamming the door behind him. 'Seven days stuck here is going to drive me crazy!'

   Cal felt a twinge of guilt. He knew his mom would be upset again. He knew his dad would be calming her down right now, telling her it was ok. He'd be spouting usual garbage about Cal being at a 'difficult age'. That one really got to Cal. What was 'difficult' was having no time and space to himself! Hell, at sixteen he should have a little independence!

   Right now, his friends would be camping out, having a real vacation. Cal was missing out on that for a week of being an obedient son.

  A twig cracked underfoot. Cal's heart thudded. He looked quickly around, half expecting the sound to have brought something out of hiding.

   But nothing moved.

   The sun began to emerge from behind the clouds overhead. Cal felt its warm touch on his skin. Pushing away his thoughts, he pressed on along a winding path. Somewhere ahead of him a welcome noise whispered into the silence: the rushing and gurgling of fast running water.

   'You'll love the river,' his father had promised him on the long drive. 'I used to make a camp there, when I was a kid. It's some sight.'

   Mom had just yawned. 'Sure I will, Dad. A river. Awesome.'

   Now, as Cal followed the sound, it grew louder. Finally it led him into a leafy glade, drenched with sunshine. A sloping shelf of mud led down to the riverbank. White light sparkled in the clear waters speeding past. Cal smiled. 'Ok, Dad,' he said. 'So maybe you were right.'

   It was a pretty awesome sight. The chill had gone from the air, and the walk had left Cal hot and sweaty. The water looked to good to resist.

   'But you can't go swimming in there,' his dad had continued. 'The current's too strong. Drags you down into the rapids. You'd never escape,' he'd warned.

   Cal hesitated, listening to the roar of the water. Now the river had dared break the silence in the forest, he felt more confident. He wouldn't swim. But he could try a little wading. It wouldn't be so bad in the shallows. Then he'd go back to the cabin and tell Dad about how the old river had worked its magic, just as it had on him. Dad would be pleased and Mom would forget all about the arguing.

   He kicked off his Nikes, stripped off and scrambled down the bank. Maybe he'd bring Mali to the river later.

   The water was dark up close. Cal drew a sharp breath, then, keen to get the shock of the cold over with, he splashed quickly into the river.

   When he was up to his middles he crouched down, as the water closed over his shoulders. He grinned and shivered. Then he shut his eyes, held his nose, and sank his head beneath the shimmering surface.

   It was a shame Mali wasn't here, Cal thought. He felt a bit of guilt. Mali was right: Cal hadn't much time for her lately. He and Mali had always played this game whenever they went to the swimming pool. Sinking in the water like stones. Enjoying the weird way sound filtered through water. Feeling the pressure in their heads. Seeing how long they could hold their breath.

   Suddenly, Cal heard something. First he thought it was just the pressure of his lungs wanting air; the dizzying rush of blood thundering in his body.

   Cal burst up choking from the surface of the river. He wiped his dark hair back from his eyes, blinking rapidly as he tried to get his vision. Losing his balance, Cal groped blindly for the riverbank. tumbling forward through the water.

   Something was wrong,the river was getting deeper, not shallower. At last, his eyes had cleared. He was looking into the centre of the river. He twisted his body around to face the bank,still trying to re-gain his balance and control

   Big mistake.

   Cal stared around wildly for some kind of escape route. There was none. Cal Panicked, he tried to focus, clear his rush of thoughts, but the water was up to his chin now.

   Cal fell backwards as the riverbed gave way beneath him. He launched himself into an awkward backstroke, splashing his feet up and shouting.

   Cal froze mid-stroke as he felt the current round his arms and legs, dragging him away.

   'The current's too strong,' Dad had told him. 'You would never escape.'

   Cal cursed. Bracing himself as he launched into a powerful crawl, aiming for the far side of the bank. His arms wind milled until they cramped, but Cal found the bank was getting further away, not nearer. He was being tugged down river.

   'Drags you down into the rapids.'

   Cal's head dipped underwater as the river picked up speed. Frantically, he kicked his legs, trying to keep afloat, but it was impossible to keep upright now. Tree branches dangled temptingly overhead. He bobbed up with arms outstretched, desperately grabbing for one. They grazed his fingers, but slipped from his grip. The sky spun crazily above him as the water whirled and foamed, dragging him under again and again. Each time Cal's head reached above water he gulped for air.

   Then all the breath was slammed from his body as the current swept him into a massive rock. Chocking on water, Cal realised the rapids were just getting started. He tumbled past one more huge rock. He reached for It clumsily, but was going too quickly now to hold on. He was still reaching out for the boulder when he smashed his head against another. The world turned red as blood washed into his eyes. The current was dizzying, he was like a rag doll helpless in the grip of a whirlpool. Head pounding, too weak to resist any longer, Cal felt himself going down for what he was sure would be the last time ...


~Author Note~

Hey Dudes and Dudettes

This is my first fanfic, I cant think of a title so I've just named it Calum for the time being.

I hope you like it <3

Love Beth:-) x

Ps. OMG THE SKH VIDEO IS AMAZING X_X JUST WHEN I THOUGHT THEY COULDNT GET MORE ATTRACTIVE...BOOM. Lots of love to the guys though, You can tell they had fun making the video and I am beyond proud of what they have accomplished. A big thank you to them for everything. I Love you <3 x Stay Happy


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