Twister's eyes squinted open, bright sunlight filled them. He couldn't make out the figures that surrounded him. He saw a wave of purple in front of his face before his eyes closed and he was brought back under the water, toppling around while the waves forcibly spun him in summer-salts. His eyes opened again, he saw the sky and the shadows of the bodies coming closer. They were saying something, but they weren't making sense. They weren't using real words, just speaking noise through his muffled ears. With his eyes shut, he returned under the sea. He couldn't escape. Every time he tried to come up, another wave knocked him back under. He felt something strange. There was something pressing against his mouth, then chest, then mouth. Suddenly, he wasn't under the water anymore, he was on the beach, kissing the girl of his dreams who also happened to be one of his best friends. No, he thought, not back under the water, his mind quickly switched back to desperately seeking oxygen as the salt water seemed to fill his lungs. He reached out, but no one was around to see him. He was alone as the undertow turned him again, having more control of him than he had of himself. Something heavy was banging on his chest, almost like a knock of someone trying to get in to help him. His eyes popped open and he started coughing up salt water. The figures from before were still slightly fuzzy, but very distinctly his three best friends. Otto was pale and looked scared. Sam was trying to steady his breathing, although he looked to Twister as though he was about to faint. Reggie was closest to him, she was shaking and a tear was falling down her cheek (at least he thought it was a tear. He had never seen Reggie cry before, so it might very well just have been salt water.)
She was smile at him repeating, "You're alright," while her smile seemed to get less steady and another tear left her eye.
"Don't cry," was all he said, lifting a weak arm up to Reggie, pressing his thumb to her cheek and wiping away a tear. He wanted to comfort her, but he was very unsure of what was going on. Everything looked hazy and there were a few black dots floating around the air. Why was everyone so upset? And why did his head feel like it had been pounded in with a sledge hammer? He heard some sort of a high-pitched alarm and turned his head. He saw red lights on a white van and people stepping out of it and coming towards him. An ambulance. That's what that must be.
One of the people was a dark-haired man who shined a light into his eyes, then asked, "What is your name?"
"Twister Rodriguez," he replied, wondering why this man wanted to know his name. Oh, he thought, this is one of the tests they do on people. Oh man, I'm awful at tests. I hope I do okay. Everyone's watching. "Oh wait," Twister said remembering that wasn't his real name. "Maurice Rodriguez." Great, now I got the first question wrong.
"What day is it?" the man asked.
"Uh, Tuesday?" Twister replied, slightly unsure of his answer. He was always getting days mixed up in the summer. As far as he was concerned, when there were no tests or quizzes to worry about, every day is just another day of surfing, skating, and having fun with his friends.
"How old are you?" Twister was a little annoyed the EMS guy didn't give him an answer on whether or not he was correct about the day.
"Seventeen," he was sure on that one. It had only been a few weeks ago that they celebrated his birthday.
"What year is it?" he asked.
"Two-thousand and..." something. Something. Why couldn't he remember the rest. "Four?" he said guessing, very uncertain about his answer.
"It is 2007. Do you remember what happened?"
"I was in the water. We were surfing and the wave-" he thought through the scene in his mind. He was following Otto and they were going through a barrel wave. The wave had started to close and he was trying to get out before it closed on top of him. Suddenly, his mind flashed to the scene where he was helplessly turning around under the waves with no escape from the water. He tried to make his mind stop remembering. He didn't want to think about it. "The wave crashed on me. That's all I remember," he said abruptly.
"We think he hit his head on his board when he went under," Sam informed the man.
More questions from the EMS guy. More explanations from the gang. Everyone seemed to be frantically talking all at once. Twister's head hurt and he didn't want to listen. He tuned them out, but was brought back when heard shouting from a distance and saw Raymundo and Tito running towards him.
"What happened? Is he okay?" Raymundo asked in a panicked voice.
"He has a mild head injury, looks like a concussion" replied the EMS guy. "We're going to take him in and run some tests."
Great, thought Twister, more tests. The EMS guys had put him inside the ambulance before he could fully register what was going on.
"Head injuries can be pretty serious, can't they?" Reggie asked as they watched the ambulance drive away.
"He's gonna be alright, right Dad?" Otto asked, his voice shaking a little.
Raymundo pulled her close, "Twister's going to be okay. Don't you worry. These guys know what they're doing." Reggie was unconvinced as she could clearly hear the worry in her father's voice as he spoke.
Inside the ambulance, Twister was getting annoyed with the EMS guys. The one kept asking him dumb questions and he really didn't want to be stuck in there with him. He wished they had let the guys ride with him. He was tired and he just wanted to rest, but the men sitting with him wouldn't allow it. He looked over and saw Tito. What was Tito doing there? How long had Tito been there?
He must have noticed Twister staring at him because he looked up and said, "Hang in there little cuz, you gonna be alright."