When death shadows your path, you only have one viable defense—adrenaline. All the rage, panic, and jealousy coursing through my veins vanished instantly. There was no room for such emotions. There was no choice between fight and flight—I’ve always been a fighter.
The light was blinding, but that was nothing compared to the piercing sound of the train’s whistle that was bellowing through my body. I braced my arms on the dash, knowing there was nowhere to turn, no way to stop.
Out of sheer instinct, Wilder turned the wheel sharply, which rapidly plowed us through the brush that surrounded the frozen lake. The ice carried the wheels of the car so far out onto the lake that turning back was not an option.
Gavin’s truck, which was just behind us, had followed our path onto the ice. The only way to go was straight ahead toward the manor, but that was a foolish mistake.
Seconds later, just before the hood of the car I saw the darkness spider web across the pristine blue of the ice, and the frozen lake opened wide, swallowing us whole.
The shock of the cold water never registered to me as I struggled to undo my seatbelt.
Once I was free, I reached for Wilder, who was already loose. He leaned back in his seat and lunged his long legs at the windshield, trying to give us both a way out, but before he could break the glass Gavin’s truck landed on us with a sickening thud.
The added weight caused us to sink faster than before, and now the icy water was seeping over our necks. Wilder was so cold that he couldn’t think—he couldn’t move. I swam over the seat and angled myself so I could kick out the back window. It took me three tries, but finally I forced it open.
Wilder was gone, completely unconscious. I gripped my arm under his shoulders and pulled him with every ounce of my strength. He was almost too broad to fit through the window. The jagged glass scraped his arm—the pain from the gash shocked him awake. I heard him scream under the water as I thrust him forward then followed, finding air with the next beat of my heart.
After a second of thought, I realized that when I swam by Gavin’s truck it was upside down; I knew they were either hurt or trapped because no one had broken through the surface of the frozen lake. I had to go back. I had to save them.
“Indie, no!” Wilder screamed at me, but I didn’t bother to argue or even hesitate.
I dove into the water, pushing through the blocks of ice. Wilder was behind me, swimming faster than I could.
The dark color of crimson was escaping out through the windows of the overturned truck.
Wilder started to kick out the passenger side window as I swam down to the crevasse where our car met theirs. The back window was buckled. It only took one kick to break my way through.
Wilder had broken through and was pulling Cadence out; she was the one that was bleeding, Gavin was awake and struggling with Wilder to rescue her.
I wrestled with Sophia’s seatbelt; just when I got it loose, the truck began to fall to the side, losing its balance on our car. I pushed Sophie out just before the car tumbled in the water, trapping me and Mason.
The tumble knocked him out cold, but it also crumbled the windshield, giving us a faster escape than I could have hoped for. I took my scarf off and looped it under his arms, then I pulled, kicked and fought my way past the massive blocks of ice, wanting air – wanting survival, wanting death to leave me be tonight.
It was as if the lake were demanding a sacrifice, payment for breaking the peace it had before we lost control and broke through her barriers.
I climbed and climbed, pulling the weight of Mason with me, careful not to let the ice hurt him anymore. It felt like a century later, but I broke the surface and sucked in the freezing night air.