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Disclaimer: I do not own Narnia or any of its characters.


It was the summer right before college. The sun was shining and the sky was clear. The cool air carried mists of water with every gust.

My friends and I were sitting on the warm, rocky ground as we waited for our turn to go through an underground river.

"Why are we on the last trip?" Danica asked, annoyed after finding out the news.

Danica, the youngest of the four of us at the age of sixteen, was fair skinned and had choppy black hair that ended just above her shoulders. She removed a hair-tie from her wrist and gathered as much hair as she could to secure on top of her head.

I stared at her with raised eyebrows, "Maybe because our group was the last to finish lunch?"

Danica and Rowena turned red in the face, both of them knew that it was their fault why we had to wait an hour and a half for the last boat trip.

"Alright, alright, we're sorry. You don't need to rub it in," Rowena apologized.

Rowena was a year older than Danica but was just as tall as her. Ro had a creamy-brown complexion, like coffee with too much milk. Her very curly black hair that hung a few inches past her shoulders had caught tiny droplets of water and was glittering under the sun.

"I just don't understand why the two of you eat so slowly. Aren't you too young to have any difficulties with chewing?" Cassandra teased making only the both of us laugh.

Cassandra was the most responsible member of our group. She had fair skin with long straight hair. Her kindness and patience were like a glue that held us up throughout the years.

The four of us stood and walked closer to the riverbank. We waited as patiently as we could for the boat but it was dreadfully taking long.

"So, you think we will still see each other when we're in college?" I asked as I picked up a smooth flat pebble from the ground.

"Of course we will. We'll see each other every day. You and Danica will go to one university, probably be in the same college department if not the same pre-med course. And Rowena and I will contact you every day." Cassandra comforted.

"Cassandra is absolutely right. Our friendship is too strong to just break that easily," Rowena added, squeezing my hand reassuringly.

"I hope you're right." I whispered under my breath as I threw the pebble in the water, watching it skip on the river's surface.

After a couple more minutes of waiting our boat finally arrived. The four of us climbed in, lugging our bags with us.

"Okay, the four of you are secured. Here, this rope will guide you through the underground river. I can't go with you, miss, since the boat can only carry four passengers at a maximum. The route is fairly straight so you just need to pull along this rope and you'll get through the river in no time." The woman in charge of the underground river instructed as she gently pushed our boat into the river.

The four of us did what we were told and pulled along the rope tightly, not letting it out of our sight. We were inside the underground river, it was dark but the boat was outlined with soft red lights. The cave's walls glistened as the light reflected on it.

"Wow, this is so cool," exclaimed Danica.

"I'm afraid you spoke too soon Dan," I said pointing to the cave's ceiling. Hundreds of bats were hanging upside down; their eyes shining in the light.

At the sight of the bats, Cassandra and Danica made a tiny squeal.

"Don't mind those, guys. They'll go away, hopefully." Rowena wanted to reassure us but the anxiety in her voice betrayed her.

I clasped my hands together to rid of the sick sensation that was building in the pit of my stomach. I closed my eyes and made a quick count up to 10 in my mind. I exhaled and reached out to get a hold of the rope again but to my bewilderment, the rope was gone. My heart sank deeper and my face paled.

"Is anyone holding the rope?" I managed to ask.

Rowena raised the rope she was holding, what was left of it anyway.

"It's been cut." Danica stated, seeing that the rope had been slashed clean.

"But who would cut it?" asked Cassandra.

The three of us had no answer to give to her. The rope was cut clean and from a short distance as well.

"Try pulling on it, Row. Maybe we can come back the way we came in," I suggested, trying to muster a bit of hope.

Rowena pulled on the rope but we didn't move, not an inch. Cassandra, Danica, and I scooted slowly to the side of the boat where Rowena was, careful not to tip the boat over, and helped Rowena tug. The only thing we managed to get after pulling on the rope was its other end. Also, cut clean.

"What are we going to do now?" Cassandra asked in her frantic voice.

We tried our phones, but there was no service. We also tried shouting for help but no one heard us. The only thing we managed to do was disturb a few bats. Panic started to get the better of the four of us. I felt my chest tightening; my breathing instantly became shallow and rapid.

I closed my eyes and held my head with both hands. I tried to clear my mind and my breathing started to stabilize after that. I pinched the bridge of my nose as I ransacked my mind for possible ideas.

"Guys, we have another problem," Danica announced. The three of us carefully paced to her side.

"No." I started to panic all over again.

"I don't know how to swim," Rowena shamefully admitted.

I turned to face my friends, their faces pale with anxiety. "Who else doesn't know how to swim?" another hand shot up; it was Cassandra.

I stared back at the hole; it was getting wider by the minute. The influx of water was also getting stronger.

"What should we do?" Danica tried to compose herself. She knew panicking would lead to nothing.

"We can try to cover the hole with something," suggested Cassandra.

"How about we bail the boat?" Danica stated as she scooped up the amassing water that was almost near our ankles.

"Or we can lose our bags, that way, the load will lighten and maybe the boat can hold us longer." Rowena recommended.

"No, it'll be useless; it'll just delay the sinking. The hole is getting bigger, and we are sinking faster. We have to get away from the boat; swim away from it." I answered.

"Why?" Cassandra and Rowena asked in unison.

"When the boat sinks, it could drag us along with it," said Danica.

"It will be much harder for us to swim away if that happens," I agreed. "We have no choice but to swim away now, before we get sucked in with the boat. It'll be safer." I gave them the rope and told them to hold onto it.

Since Danica and I knew how to swim, we held on the ends of the rope, sandwiching our friends to make sure none of them drowns.

"It's now or never guys." I looked at each worried face. They nodded and at the count of three, the four of us jumped in and quickly swam away from the sinking boat.

The current, all of a sudden, had become stronger and faster; the river was colder and deeper than what I had expected. The darkness in the cave wasn't helping us either.

The current was pulling us down; I couldn't keep my head above water anymore. I took a deep breath, and called on my friends to do the same, before swimming beneath the surface. I hauled on the rope, towing my three best friends, and hoped they had enough air to swim further below.

I kept on swimming until the water became shallow and clear. I found shore and forced myself to keep on dragging my tired body towards the sand, my arms kept pulling on the rope. When I heard my friends cough up the water they accidentally drank, I let my tired body collapse on the sandy shore.

I tried to stand up, but doing so just made me dizzy. So I sat back down on the sand again.

"Is everyone alright?" I called out but I only received two answers.

I turned and faced my friends. To my horror, only Cassandra and Rowena were with me.

"Where is Danica?" I asked almost hysterically.

"There!" Rowena shouted, pointing her trembling wet finger at a figure in the water.

"Help!" I heard Danica shout at the top of her lungs before she was engulfed by the large waves. She tried to swim to shore but she couldn't even keep her head above water.

Without hesitation, I quickly dove back into the water and swam against the strong current. When I finally reached my best friend, I wrapped an arm around her waist and tried to lug her back to shore but we didn't move from our place. I tugged her again but to no avail.

Danica was getting too much water in her lungs now; I had to get her out of the water. "My foot," she gurgled out. At once, I swam deeper and saw that her foot was entangled in long sea grass. I wrapped my hands around the plant and pulled it apart. The edges of the long stringy leaves were sharp like a blade. It cut my palms; the salty water stung.

I swam back to the surface and took a lungful of air. Danica was no longer above water; she was slowly sinking. I dove back again, now more desperate. I swam until I could see the floor, we weren't in the deeper parts, and I was very thankful for that. I saw a bit of silver glinting near the sea grass that anchored my friend. It was a long thin double-edged knife, a dagger. I picked it up and started to work on the unruly weed. The moment the knife got through, I swam up and dragged Danica to where our friends were anxiously waiting.

Rowena and Cassandra helped me lay Danica gently on the sand.

"Danica, breathe," Cassandra said as she pumped Danica's chest with her fists to remove the water from her lungs. She said it again; Rowena looked more worried as the seconds passed by. Finally, Danica coughed up the water and took a lungful of air.

I scooted closer towards them, kneeling, as I cradled my injured hands. Cassandra saw them and tried to take my hands in hers.

"No, it's alright. It's just a minor cut, Cass. You don't need to worry," I said, cradling my hands closer.

I took out my handkerchief from my front pocket, it was drenched with water but I had no other option. I unfolded it, wrung it out and gently wrapped it around the cut on my hand.

We all sat down, tired and groggy. I looked around, squinting from the brightness of the sun, "Where are we?"