Chapter 3

Written by: Gina Cole



“Stroke!  I need you now!” shouts Bruce. 

I watch with terror as we enter the channel leading into the rapids and I pull as hard as I can.  The raft speeds forward and wraps against the upstream face of a rock on river right.

“Hold on and get down!” screams Bruce.  We all hunker down but the raft is wrapped fast against the rock by the force of the water. 

“Over right!” yells Bruce as the raft starts to flip.  It curls up out of the water in a slow motion wave.

Then everything speeds up.

I feel my feet leaving the soft rubber foot cups and I’m falling. Artie’s hand clutches at mine. I grab at it but my fingers slip through.  He grabs at me again and this time my grip closes over his arm and I pull him in. He screams as we fall into the rapid. Our bodies bang against each other as the current hits us.  The thundering waves over ride all other sounds. As the shock of icy water engulfs me I lose my grip on Artie.  The water tumbles me about. I try to kick myself out of the current.  A sharp stick gouges my skin.  Through the raging water I hear shouting, thin echoes. The violent current grabs me again and I am on the rush downstream.  Artie’s head pops up in the roiling water in front of me and then he disappears under a rock, out of sight.

I gulp air as another wave tumbles over me and I am sucked under the rock.  I am caught on something. I try to break free.  It holds me under.  The cold water surges past my face pulling at me, tugging at my skin. 

Through the torrent I see Bruce standing with the other guides above me on the rock.  Bruce reaches down. I feel a tug on the shoulder strap of my life jacket.  He tries to pull me clear.  My body jerks. My lungs are bursting, my ears are ringing.  The shoulder strap rips off.  Bruce sways and nearly loses his balance. He regains it and reaches for me again. I’m trapped.

Some birthday this is.  A scene from my 3rd birthday floats in front of me like an apparition.  I eat too much cake and throw up on the floor. A perfect blue cone of regurgitated sponge cake lies on the floor beneath my high chair.  The kids circle around me laughing. Then I see myself in the fire.  The flames, the orange flames sear the skin on my face.  I can smell my hair burning.  I’m stuck.  I can’t escape the pain.  Artie! Help me! 

I feel a huge pressure on my back, striking me, pushing me free.  I am sluicing through the gap under the rock and I pop out the other side.  Everything goes black.

Gina Cole (NZ)


Your timing is perfect. The scene setting behind us, we were ready for the action to start. The short sentences quicken our pulse and build the thrill and danger of the raft's passage. The foreshadow of a birthday and the revelation of a fiery accident really sets the mind of the reader asking - what is that all about? Placing that paragraph just before the end shows a lot of thought went into this chapter. I do hope you are going to be a regular contributor.
Oh, the places you can go! Gina, brilliant job. Great action, intriguing flashbacks. Nice set ups for everyone to follow. And just where did she end up? Things just opened wide and the possibilities are endless.
I agree the timing is perfect and now they have fallen out of the raft... What next? I can hardly wait to find out. I was confused by the " grip closed over his arm and I pulled him in." I first thought she pulled him into the raft not into the water. When I got that it was the water, it made sense. A great third chapter.
this lets the story move on in another direction for the next writer to apply themselves to.  A river trip like this has lots of drama and it is showing through.