The rain continued to drown out the sun, and Theia had no idea what time of day it was, but she was sure she wouldn't make it until nightfall. Her limbs grew heavy like an anchor seeking the sandy bottom. She let her eyelids slide closed. She couldn't fall asleep—sleep meant death in the middle of the ocean, but resting her eyes let her imagine someplace else—a place without so much water.
Her head dipped below the surface, and she bolted up at once.
Bad girl, she scolded herself. You want to die like this? You have to stay awake!
She continued her mental pep talk as she straightened her legs and swam a little farther. Her legs worked like scissors, cutting through the thick water, leading her to nowhere, but she had to try to find the shore. She found her rhythm, moving with the flow of the water, moving faster now, imagining the shoreline before her.
Theia kicked harder, her eyes focused on the horizon. She thrust forward, but, as she did, her ankle caught on something—she was stuck. She kicked with her left leg, but a crushing hold, like a fist wrapped around her ankle. Her scream was cut off as her head slipped under. Her body rushed through the water as if being dragged by an invisible tow rope.
Theia twisted, wriggling free from the force, and she frantically paddled her way to the surface. Her leg burned with the sting of salt water—she had been cut. She reached for her leg, trying to see the wound, but she was swiped from the side. She screamed and tucked her legs up to her chest. Her gaze darted to the ring of dark shadows circling beneath her.