A thriller about a woman who is re-animated after 50 years in cryonic suspension, she seeks out connections to her past while on the run. Not every second chance is a gift.
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It is 1985. Imagine yourself in an airplane flying over Lake Superior in the middle of winter. There are two hundred other passengers with you enjoying the novelty of a trans-continental flight, in a warm, comfortable interior, protected from the icy snowstorm outside. You look out the window and see tentacles of ice forming around the wing and then smoke sputters from the engine. The plane begins its descent. Passengers are screaming, each one trying to figure a way out, but they are all trapped. You drop your head between your legs as the plane crashes into the frigid lake. You survive the impact, but the cold water embraces you, and icy air fills your lungs and takes your breath away. Your eyelids grow heavy, and everything goes dark.
You wake up fifty years later. It's now 2035, and you haven't aged a day. Your body was cryonically preserved, but it's still within the lifetime of many people that you know. You need answers. How did this happen to me? Why are there thousands of other people just like me? Why does the government not consider me a citizen? And why is this novel called Weeping Water?
All of these questions are answered in my first novel and thriller Weeping Water.
Weeping Water is 100,000 words took me 18 months to write.
View the book trailer here.
I love writing, I really do. I even get excited about re-writes (I'm currently seeking help for that) but after you finish the writing, you need to know if there is an audience for that book. A good part of me would be happy to stick the book in a drawer and start working on the next one, but I have a lot of people close to me who have been very encouraging and insist that I give this a try.
My goal with this campaign on Publishizer is simple; raise enough money to publish my novel and share it with my supporters. Even better would be to get the help of a publisher so that I could get back to writing. I have several great ideas for other thriller novels that I would love to start working on, and with your help I am hoping to do that sooner than later.
Weeping Water is a thriller about a woman searching for connections to her past. The story is filled with suspense, compelling drama, and fast-paced action and perfect for the reader who loves complex stories, fascinating characters, and unexpected plot twists.
For the past several months, I have been laying the groundwork for a marketing campaign that will lead up to the launch of Weeping Water. The key elements of that campaign include:
Website - my website, jtruby.com is now live. This website features information about Weeping Water, about the author, a blog and links to Twitter, Facebook, and Publishizer.
Twitter - Over the past six months I have built a Twitter following of more than 1700 users that consist of avid readers, book clubs, self-published authors and fans of other famous Thriller novelists. Tweets will drive followers to this campaign on Publishizer and to my website. Please follow me on Twitter @jtruby11 and share related tweets with the hashtag #weepingwater.
Facebook - Facebook posts will drive traffic to the Publishizer website and jtruby.com. You can like my author page on Facebook here.
“You can't smoke on airplanes anymore," he said as Annie flicked her lighter near the cigarette hanging from her mouth. The dry tobacco crackled bright orange as she savoured a puff before turning to acknowledge him.
“What?" she asked, squinting through the smoke.
Annie was in a window seat, 29A. The handsome, young stranger was in 29C and grateful for the seat buffer between them.
“You can't smoke on airplanes. It's illegal," he reminded her. He felt awkward speaking like an authority as he wasn't much older and found himself slightly attracted to her. She was untamed, had long black hair with a dyed pink band that ran down the right side. She had an elaborate tattoo of a prickly vine that started at the top of her wrist and ran up her arm and torn blue jeans that let him know she wasn't subject to the rules.
Annie stared back at the man, exhaling the smoke away from him, “Well, no one seems to mind.
“How do you know?" he asked.
“No one has complained."
He was perplexed, “I just did."
“I thought you were just making conversation."
“If I were just making conversation, I would have asked you what you were smoking," he said.
“Winstons. Joe Strummer's brand," she said.
“I don't care what brand it is. Because I wasn't making conversation. I was politely telling you that you can't smoke on the plane."
“What do you smoke?" she asked as she inhaled again.
“What do I smoke?" he asked, “I don't. Never."
“It's unhealthy. For you, me and everyone else on this plane," he stated, careful to temper his tone. He wanted to sound concerned, not preachy.
Annie looked him over. He was young, maybe only two years than her. He wore a beige sports coat and had a maturity and intelligence about him, but his bright blonde hair made him less serious and more approachable. Annie felt compelled to challenge him, “How do you know it's unhealthy?"
“I'm a doctor." he said, anticipating the question.
Annie gave him a skeptical glance, and it cracked his confidence.
“Actually, I'm a med student. I'll graduate soon. But I can technically call myself a doctor, though," He was losing her interest and tried to recover with a joke, “I have a stethoscope to prove it," he said smiling. She didn't laugh.
“My Grandmother died from cancer. You know about cancer?"
“Sure. Of course. I'm sorry to hear that," he said, “What's your name?"
“Nice to meet you," he said. She didn't ask him his name.
“Do a lot of people get that? Cancer?"
“Well, yes, in fact, the leading cause of cancer right now is," he gestured towards her cigarette.
She looked down at the half smoked cigarette in her hand and deliberately let is smoulder, “Do you deal with dying people a lot? My Grandmother had a horrible doctor. He never answered her questions."
The Doctor suddenly felt like he was at the hospital. The discussion went oddly dark and morbid; he tried to change the conversation, “I have dealt with some dying people. But really, the most interesting thing about being a doctor is…"
She interrupted, “How do you tell someone they're going to die? I mean that must be difficult."
He realized that she was still grieving for her Grandmother and that casually trying to change topics wouldn't work.
“It's very difficult to have that conversation. You have to assess their personality first, can they accept the cold hard truth? Or do they need hope even if there is virtually no chance, you tell them something like this is worse that we expected, but there's always reason for hope.
“If you were my doctor, would you give me the bad news straight or feed me the fairytale?" she asked, still holding the cigarette.
“Well, uh, I don't want to role play that type of scenario."
Annie had lost interest in him. She went to take another puff of her cigarette but instead opened the small ashtray in her arm rest. She stuffed the cigarette inside and closed the lid. She looked out the window with her back to him. He had felt the beginning of a connection with her, but now it seemed to have vanished.
Annie hated the cold. Winter was to be dreaded and even at 30,000 feet, whenever there was a break in the clouds all she could see was snow everywhere. It was January; ice covered every square inch of land with an icy blanket. The interior of the 727 was comfortable, and the perpetual roar of the muted jet engine was strangely soothing.
In the same row, but on the other side of the plane, a baby started to cry. It had interrupted her reflective state of mind. She turned and glared at the mother and then let out a sigh loud enough for the Doctor to hear. He took this opportunity to re-kindle the conversation.
“Don't like babies?" he asked, trying to force a conversation.
“Not crying ones."
“You should hear the obstetrics ward at the hospital where I work. There are 16 mothers, each with a crying baby. When they are first born, all they do is cry." He looked for a reaction but didn't get one. “Some of the nurses wear ear plugs." He knew he didn't have the wit of a stand-up comedian, but he kept trying, “Some of the mothers too."
Annie stared back at him expressionless but then cracked a tiny smile. He finally had gotten through. She loosened up a bit. “I'm never having kids."
“I'm not the mother type. A few of my friends have kids - I have no maternal instinct."
The baby starting crying even louder, and several passengers around the mother and child began whispering their complaints to each other.
“The stewardess should tell the mom to quiet that thing." she said.
“It doesn't work like that. You can reason with something that can't talk."
“Well, they should stop in Chicago and let them off. We can't listen to that for five more hours." Annie had a look of bewilderment and was becoming a sour puss.
The flight had been extremely smooth, considering the blustery take-off from New York City. A winter storm stretched from the Northern mid-West to the East coast and had caused many flight delays. Why had her flight not been cancelled? She did not dwell on things that were out of her control. On an aircraft especially, there was absolutely nothing she could do to influence a good or bad landing. There was a certain peace about it, but she liked it that way.
They had been in the air for about an hour, and she was bored and tried to force herself to sleep. She forced her eyelids to close tight and immediately felt sleepy until the loud, shrill beep announced to the passengers that they should put on their seat belts as the overhead compartments rattled from light turbulence.
Annie opened her eyes. The plane was rattling a bit but nothing serious. She ignored the seatbelt sign. She closed her eyes again. She thought about landing in Los Angeles, the sun and seeing her friend Carla. The flight had cost her $139, a lot of money for her. She had borrowed as much as she could from her family, and a little bit from her friends. Annie's circle of friends were artistic misfits and unemployed, big idea people that lacked the drive to finish anything they started who were perpetually income-less. Annie was a college student, at least by definition on her income taxes, but she never went to class. Annie focused all of her time on music; she loved being in a band more than anything. She was a mediocre rhythm guitarist for a less than mediocre band. Her influence was punk, the Sex Pistols specifically and it showed on her rebellious exterior. While she enjoyed punk, as a solo artist she pictured herself to be more like Stevie Nicks, but with a harder, meaner edge. Annie had fooled around with songwriting but didn't have the confidence to share her songs with the band. She hoped that this trip to Los Angeles would give her connections, experience and the confidence.
Carla was Annie's roommate in their first year of college and a Kinesiology student. She was a light-skinned African-American and had starry blue eyes, she had the look of a model but strong facial features that made people take her seriously. She wasn't just another pretty face. Carla's cousin had been a silent partner of the Whisky a Go-Go and had offered a band manager job to her - Carla, who shared a love of music with Annie, dropped out of school immediately. She left her phone number and disappeared. Within months of moving out West, Carla was booking the hottest up and coming bands and had gained a reputation on Sunset Boulevard as having a real ear for talent. Annie couldn't wait to get out visit her friend and learn the business of music. Carla had made a lot of connections and wanted to introduce Annie around.
Annie was almost asleep when she felt a gentle nudge on her shoulder.
“Ma'am," said the flight attendant. Her uniform was bright red and matched the interior of the 727 jet. Annie's eyes widened as she focused on the look of concern in the attendant's eyes. “I need you to put on your seatbelt." Annie glanced at the Doctor. He was looking forward.
The plane had progressed from gentle rocking to turbulent shaking. Annie looked past the Doctor over at the mother clutching her baby. It was screaming even louder now, and the mother was visibly embarrassed. She tried to calm the child with repeated shhhhs as the dirty looks came from all directions. Other passengers were clutching their armrests, anxious from the turbulence.
Annie casually snapped her seat belt, not buying into the urgency. She looked outside past the sprawling ice crystals on the window, below the frosty clouds now she saw patches of water. She tried to figure out which of the Great Lakes they were flying over.
The tension created from the screaming baby, and the turbulence made everyone on edgy and anxious. The plane shook harder and then dropped like a roller coaster as it entered a pocket of low pressure – there were some gasps and low-level screams from the passengers as the airplane levelled out. Annie was now paying attention. Kids began to whimper, and adults began to stow their belongings. The chatter on the plane stopped. Annie wanted the Doctor's attention. He could feel her stare and looked over.
“Ya," Annie said trying to sound unconcerned. Annie looked toward the back of the plane and saw two flight attendants huddled, flipping through a manual. Beside them was a phone and it began flashing. The older of the two picked up the phone and covered her ear to drown out the sound of the shaking aircraft. She slammed down the phone, and the two attendants disappeared as they drew the curtain.
Within seconds, there was a loud ding as the emergency lights lit up. The loudspeaker crackled to life as the captain spoke. “This is Captain Tressler. On behalf of PanAm airlines, I apologize for the bumpy ride. We have hit a rough patch of turbulence. Unfortunately the rough air has also caused some minor mechanical issues with the aircraft. It's nothing to worry about, but to ensure your safety, we have been advised to land in Chicago and allow our mechanics to look at the plane," he said. There was a loud groan from the passengers.
“Of course we want to get you back in the air and to Los Angeles as soon as possible. While this will, unfortunately, cause a delay, your safety is most important to us. In the meantime, please stay seated with your seatbelt on and we'll update you again shortly once we get closer to O'Hare."
Passengers began complaining to each other instantly about missing weddings and business meetings. Passengers swarmed the flight attendants with questions about arrival times and connecting flights. But the attendant's were focused on something more urgent. Many people were reminded to remain seated as the attendants raced to the front of the plane. Annie felt the nose of the plane tip forward and bank to the right as it started its descent into the Chicago area. Annie was excited to get to Los Angeles but wasn't in a rush, she just wanted to land safely.
The baby's screaming muffled as its mother held it closer to her chest. The Doctor was talking with someone across the aisle. Annie's mind drifted back the thought of becoming a professional musician. She would be required to practice a lot more and do some songwriting of her own, but that was exciting to her. She would never be a Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash but felt like she probably had at least a couple of good songs inside her. She just wanted to be proud of something. The fantasy kept being interrupted by the chaotic shaking of the plane. Her heart began to race. She looked to her right, but the windows on the other side of the plane were closed. The plane began to shutter violently. Passengers tightened their seat belts, and the Doctor sat back in his chair. He looked over at Annie with grim concern. The calming sound of the engines now became a higher pitched whine. There was a sputtering sound and then a loud boom. Outside the window, Annie could see the engines had stopped running, and the sound had stopped. The flaps on the wing started to move backwards and then ground to a stop. Ice began to accumulate on the wing, and it shook even harder.
“This is the captain. We have had a loss of engine power," he tried to remain composed. Oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling. “We are close to O'Hare, and we will try to put the aircraft down safely, but I need everyone to prepare for a crash landing."
Annie's instinct was to watch the Doctor. Flight attendants frantically worked through the aisles checking the passenger's seat belts and oxygen masks.
The nose of the plane dipped further down. Annie remained fixated on the wing; it was now completely covered in ice. The sound of the plane rattling was deafening. She couldn't tell if the baby had stopped crying or not. The plane began to shimmy and toss violently in the air. Annie looked at the icy lake below and the coast in the distance and realized their rate of descent wouldn't allow them to reach the shore. She wanted to believe it, but she didn't. Her mind played the odds - better to land on cold land or cold water? There was no longer a satisfactory answer to that question.
“We won't make it," she said to the Doctor.
He looked out Annie's window and then back at her, “We're safest at the back of the plane."
The aircraft made a few false starts as the pilots tried to re-start the engines. The nose of the plane pitched up and down as they attempted to level it out. With each attempt, passengers became more panicked.
Annie had the instinct to put on her winter jacket. The Doctor looked at her oddly and then did the same. The icy water was quickly coming up at them. Within seconds, everyone felt the descent as the plane's altitude dropped.
The Captain's yelled over the loudspeaker., “Prepare for impact. Flight attendants secure yourselves immediately," the flight attendants dropped everything and ran to the back of the plane. “Heads down heads down," they yelled to the passengers as they fastened their seat belts and put their heads between their legs.
Annie pulled her arms into the sleeves of her winter coat and put her head between her legs, quickly glancing at the closest emergency exit. She knew she wouldn't survive the impact, but if she did – she wanted to know where to go.
The Captain shouted inaudibly into the loudspeaker - Annie heard the pilots mumbling swear words. Nothing that made her feel like choosing PanAm airlines next time. The pilots tried one more time to start the engines, and it whined louder as the sound bounced off the water below and back at them - the impact was imminent. The nose tipped up on the plane and everything when dead silent for a fraction of a second. There was a loud crash like they drove into a thundercloud as the plane smacked into the water.
Icy water splashed up against the windows and instantly the temperature dropped inside the cabin. The plane teetered in the water as the momentum rocked it back and forth like a rocking horse. Annie had blacked out.
For several minutes, the plane bobbed up and down in the water. No one moved. The temperature plummeted quickly, and Annie snapped awake with a throbbing headache and bruises all over her face. Whiplash had caused searing pain up her back as she attempted to sit up. The inside of the plane was a wreck. Many of the overhead compartments were left torn from the ceiling; debris scattered everywhere, and almost every other passenger flopped forward like a rag doll. She had survived the impact, but the frigid water and chunks of ice banged around outside her window. The Doctor was gone.
“Are you ok?" he asked. He was standing behind her checking passengers for signs of life. He was bruised all over his neck, and his arm limped at his side, his beige coat was torn and covered with blood.
“I don't know," Annie had looked and felt every part of her body. Everything was intact although her head and back were in agonizing pain as she tried to stand. “Fuck!" Her left leg buckled under the pressure and she fell to her knees. She looked up and saw an elderly man who's body was twisted, his head was facing backwards, his eyes were black. Instantly she felt lucky to be alive.
“If you can, I need you to help me," the Doctor felt for a pulse on two more people - dead. One after another - dead.
Annie stood up and leaning on the chairs moved down the aisles. “Check for a pulse, any sign of life." He said. The lack of noise disturbed her. She noticed that the baby had stopped crying. She wanted to hear crying now. She felt guilty about what she had said during the flight. Only the sound of waves crashing against the hull of the plane was audible.
Annie limped forward a few more rows; she looked at the passengers as she went. For many of them she didn't need to check for a pulse. Their bodies were folded and contorted in such a way that checking wasn't necessary. She reached the front of the plane and pushed the curtain aside. Several of the storage bins had released from the impact and had caused serious blunt trauma to the attendants. They were both dead and in gruesome poses. Annie covered her mouth and started to cry as the surreal catastrophe around her began to sink in. The Doctor had stopped checking the passengers as he attended to the large cut he had across the side of his face. The blood was starting to freeze on his face and causing a searing pain.
“Annie, check if the pilots are ok," he walked to the front and confirmed Annie's fears about the flight attendants. He reached over and picked up the phone that was dangling from the wall. He pressed down the on the receiver - nothing.
“How do I check?"
“Put two fingers under their jaw, if you feel a pulse see if they can move. We won't have much time." He said.
The Doctor had found a few passengers that were semi-conscious. Their quiet and painful moans echoed through the cabin, but no one moved. Annie slowly limped down the aisle to the cockpit. She pulled on the door handle; the cracked hinges gave way, and it fell towards her hitting the ground and splashing some water that had pooled around her feet. She pushed it aside and moved into the cockpit hoping to find someone in a position of authority to tell her what to do. Both pilots were leaning forward and motionless. The pilot on her left was dead. His neck snapped and sat abnormally, at a 90-degree angle on his shoulder. The co-pilot's face was buried in the instrument panel. While she considered what to do next, she noticed a crack in the windshield. The nose of the plane submerged itself in water, and the trickle of water propelled into a spray that washed the blood from the faces of the dead pilots. She raced out of the cockpit, back towards her seat. Along the way she stopped at each aisle quickly assessing injuries like a wartime medic.
As she moved up the left side of the plane, she stopped at the aisle where the mother was clutching her baby. The mother was clearly dead, protecting the baby was her last thought. Annie wanted to unfold the blanket around the child's face, but the thought of the face of a dead baby was unsettling and horrifying. But what if it was still alive? How could it be? She turned her back on it and began to walk away when she heard a quiet painful sound coming from the bundle. She stopped, and the bundle didn't move. Annie felt like she was hearing, imagining it. She stepped back towards the baby and peeled the blanket away from the baby's face. The baby was clearly in pain, but it was still alive. The bright pink skin was a welcome sight.
“Doc!" she yelled, “The baby, the baby is alive!" Even Annie was surprised how happy she was to hear it crying.
He was stunned. He rushed over and peeled open the blanket. “Ok, good." He checked the baby's movement. “No broken neck. You hold her while I finish checking the passengers." Annie took the baby from its mother's arms, took a small stuffed pink lobster that was on the floor.
The plane began to tip forward more as it filled with water making it difficult to walk up the incline to the back of the plane. Water poured out of the cockpit and swallowed the front portion of the plane and its passengers.
Annie and the Doctor quickly went through the rest of the aisles, knowing that they only had a few minutes until the plane would sink. It was now well below freezing inside the plane. Annie was so cold that she considered stealing a coat from one of the dead passengers. She couldn't do it.
The Doctor reached the back door and pulled down the emergency handle. With little effort, the door blew off the hinges as a yellow slide inflated loudly and shot out the side of the plane.
Annie held the baby close by the back door while he finished examining the passengers. The Doctor had found a few alive, but their injuries were extensive, there was nothing he could do to help them. He calmly reassured them but knew the plane would be on its way to the bottom of the lake within minutes. He would stop and whisper to them, but then left them in their seats. Annie would not check any more passengers. Even if they were alive there was nothing she could do, her hands were cold, and she didn't know if she felt a pulse or not. Better not to check anymore she thought - the idea of leaving some behind who was still alive haunted her. It was too horrible to think about.
The water bubbled and filled up the airplane. The Doctor worried that he had forgotten to check some of the passengers. He rushed back to check a few more that were not already under water. The water was filling faster now; he had no choice but to let them go. People, tied to their seat belts went into the water and never came back out. As he rushed to the back of the plane, he heard someone say, “Sir?"
The Doctor shook him by the shoulder, “There was a plane crash" he said.
The passenger looked around; he tried to move, but it was too painful and began screaming.
“Oh my God, it fucking hurts!"
“The plane is sinking, we have to get you out. Can you move?" He pleaded.
The man looked over at his wife; she was unconscious. “Claire? Claire?" The man took his wife's hand. The Doctor looked at him and just shook his head.
“She's still warm. I can feel it."
The Doctor reached over and felt for a pulse. There was one, but it was weak.
“We can't move her, there's not enough time."
“You leave me here."
The water wrapped around his feet and past his ankles. “That's so cold," he cried.
“Let me help." the Doctor pleaded.
“Leave me," the man was devastated as he looked at his wife. “I won't leave her here by herself."
The doctor brushed his shoulder and then moved back to the back of the plane. The man took his wife's hand, started sobbing and gently leaned against her, placing a blanket on her lap and over her shoulders.
The Doctor worked his way to the back of the plane. Annie stood by the door, shivering, snuggling the baby close to her.
“We only have a few more minutes until this goes down – we have to detach this slide or we'll get sucked under by the current."
The Doctor and Annie stood at the door looking out at the icy water and heavy fog – they didn't know what direction they were facing. How would anyone find them? If she fell into the water how long would she have until hypothermia consumed her?
“Three…maybe five minutes tops," he said.
“Hypothermia. You're thinking how long do we have if we fell in the water."
Annie said nothing.
“Not long, " he said. Annie hoped that his bedside manner was better with his patients.
“Life vests," the Doctor reminded her. She reached down to the nearest seats and pulled out two vests. One for her, she tossed the other to him. She helped him put it on as his right arm still hung limply at his side. She searched above the overhead bins for an extra blanket, she didn't find one but found a large wool coat that she used to wrap up the baby.
The water had filled three-quarters of the cabin, and it started to level off, sending freezing water rushing to the back of the plane. The Doctor and Annie looked out the door along the side of the plane as it bobbed up and down. At the entrance to the door were two latches that connected the slide to the plane. The Doctor looked back and saw the old man sobbing as the water crawled up to his neck and then slowly took him under water.
“Jump!" he urged. Annie held the baby tight and jumped onto the raft. The water reached the doctor and knocked him down. A wave of water rushed into the door and covered him from head to toe. “No! Shit." The icy water consumed him and soaked every dry part of his body. His chances of survival dropped the moment he jumped onto the raft.
“Take this!" Annie started to remove the coat wrapped around the baby.
“No. Baby won't last without it."
Annie knew he was right.
Water filled the rest of the plane and started to sink below the water. He pulled a red cord that connected the raft to the plane, it broke free and began to float away from the plane. He was turning blue. His water covered clothes frozen instantly. He tried to tear his shirt off, but he had no dexterity and limited muscle control. He looked at Annie helplessly; there was nothing she could do. She held closely onto the baby, and it started to scream as the cold air seeped into the blanket.
“I don't even know if it's a boy or a girl." she said.
“What c-c-colour is its pyjamas?"
She looked under the blanket. “Y-yellow."
He became less responsive as the heavy snow that fell into the raft caused it to sag. The waves crashed against the raft and splashes of water began to pool at the centre of the raft. Annie began shivering uncontrollably.
“F-f-fuck," was all she could think of to say. She was trying to amuse herself with thoughts of what a great song this could be if she lived, but that hope was fading impossibly fast. There was not anything to write a goodbye note on and even if there were, her hands wouldn't work. In the distance, she could hear the faint sound of helicopters and boats – I hope that's the Coast Guard. How would they find people among the wreckage, presumably a crash like this would leave no survivors? Annie took a deep breath as they both desperately clung to the inflated portions of the raft.
“Are we g-g-g-onna m-m-make it?" Annie asked.
“This is m-more s-s-serious than we ex-p-p-pected. But there's always r-r-reason for hop-p-pe."
Annie finally appreciated his humour, but she couldn't smile. There was no colour left in her face. The doctor was grey. Annie could see emergency vehicles through the blowing snow as they navigated slowly through the wreckage. Their pace was slow, deliberate, like walking through a minefield. Through loudspeakers, Annie could hear the someone calling for survivors and reassuring anyone listening that help was on the way.
“If you can hear my voice, wave your arms if possible, try to get our attention," his tone was clinical. The announcement was a formality, ask three times if someone is alive, if not take a lunch break and stock up on body bags. Annie and the Doctor tried to shout, but no one could hear them, and they couldn't wave their arms.
Annie watched as the patrol boat headed towards her and then veered to the left. It was then that Annie knew the boat wouldn't get to them in time. She looked over at the doctor. “It was nice to m-m-meet you. If-f-f-f we m-m-ake it th-th-th-rough this, I p-p-promise to stop sm-m-oking."
She tried to smile, but the doctor's eyes were closed. “D-d-doc? D-d-oc? They're alm-m-most h-h-ere," she wanted to call his name one more time, but couldn't do it.
He said nothing. He was pale and unresponsive. Annie saw this look in her Grandmother as her life slipped away. The look was unmistakable. It was happening again.
Annie's shivering slowed. Her body couldn't keep up. The sharp, freezing pain began to dissipate, and she suddenly felt warm and comfortable. She could no longer move or feel anything. She wanted desperately to hold onto the baby, but her arms lost control. Every nerve in her body had shut down. The numbness slowly crept up her spine to the base of her neck. Annie became less anxious about the possibility of being rescued. Thoughts rattled inside her head about how to make the end as painless as possible. She felt OK and was grateful that she had already gotten through the worst. Her eyelids became heavy, it occurred to her that the hardest part about dying was over - knowing that it was going to happen. The Doctor was folded over in the boat, his face down in the pool of water in the middle of the raft. With hypothermia invading almost every cell of her body, even blinking became difficult. Her eyes were frozen shut. She felt the baby roll out of her arms onto the raft beside her. The sound of approaching emergency vehicles grew louder as did the calls from the Coast Guard megaphones. Annie had read in a magazine once that hearing was the last of the body's senses to go before death - it looked like they were right. Like water going down the drain, everything accelerated until she couldn't keep track of anything. She could barely put together a thought. This must be the end. Everything vanished except the faintest sound of the baby crying. Where was the light at the end of the tunnel? She could make out a tunnel, but it was dark. She couldn't hear the baby crying anymore.