Hailey huffed, blowing a stray hair from her face. This is certainly an interesting predicament. Her feet were asleep. Her back was sore. It was kind of uncomfortable. But it wasn’t like she could switch positions or anything.
Of all the things that could have happened, a DRAINPIPE was the more likely event, I’m sure…
Yes, a drainpipe. Hailey was stuck in a drainpipe.
Oh, wait, you have no idea what happened, did you? Well, let’s fix that real quick and take a moment to rewind…
Back at school, Hailey was surrounded by questions, sympathy, welcomes, and people people people. By the time the day was almost over, though, the crowd had worn away and she was finally able to be by herself. Jason wasn’t at school, for whatever reason, but she was anxious to see him again.
Around time for gym though, some friends of Jaime’s had found their way to Hailey and started asking questions on Jaime’s condition. Unable to give them a lot of good news, Hailey asked the gym coach guy if she could sit this one out since this was only her first day back at school. He said that would be fine, but she would have to participate tomorrow.
Instead of staying on the sides, though, and since it was just such a beautiful day, Hailey found herself moving closer and closer to the door. And when coach was looking the other way, Hailey slipped out unnoticed.
Hailey had never skipped a class on purpose before, so at first she felt guilty, but then she had other things to focus on besides guilt.
As she walked down a familiar path, she started seriously questioning God.
So, what if God was real? If He was real, couldn’t He have kept Jaime from getting cancer? Couldn’t He have miraculously healed her by now? I know her parents and all her Adventist friends have been praying and stuff. Surely He must hear them. Doesn’t He? Maybe He doesn’t. He doesn’t seem to hear when I talk to Him. But then again, maybe He doesn’t love me as much as her. But Jaime said He loved everyone…
OK, OK, so now what if God WASN’T real? Well, then I guess everything evolved billions of years ago for starters. But to be honest, even I find that kind of unlikely. I mean, I can’t really imagine my grandpa being related to that gorilla at the zoo.
And that would also mean that whenever Jaime talks about God and gets excited about His love and His soon coming-to-Earth extravaganza, she’s getting happy over nothing. And if Jaime stopped talking about God-related topics, she would almost stop talking altogether. And stop being so happy, too. In fact, now that I think of it, it seems she’s always happy because of something that has to do with God or Jesus. So if God wasn’t real, Jaime would hardly EVER be happy. And that would be terrible!
By now Hailey was in a medium sized group of trees behind the school. It was a little ways from the building, and she wasn’t exactly what you would call an athletic person, if you’re catching my drift. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a convenient rock, and promptly sat on it for a little rest.
Then she noticed that the rock had a little plastic cover, and that the rock had a big hole. The cover was also not completely covering the big hole, so when Hailey leaned against it she fell through. Luckily, her back and legs helped her to wedge and not fall all the way down.
And that’s when she realized it was a drainpipe.
Not a rock.
That’s also where we left off.
How long am I going to stay here? Will I have to wait until school gets out? That’s not too long away, I guess. But what if I have to wait even longer? What if it’s a week before someone finds me? I’ll have starved to death by then. You can’t live a week without food. Or water. Am I really going to die in a drainpipe?
And to be quite honest, Hailey started to be a bit scared that she indeed would end up in that scenario as the hours, or so it seemed, ticked by without any sign of rescue.
She was close to tears by now. Oh, God, if you’re there at all, even a little bit, get me out! Somehow! Please? Pretty please? With a cherry on top? Or maybe you don’t like cherries…But you made cherries of course you do! Whatever. Help me!
And as fate would have it, she heard footsteps nearby.
“Help! Who’s there? Help me! I fell in the drainpipe!”
And you wouldn’t believe the look on Audrey’s face as she saw Hailey wedged in the drainpipe.
“What happened? Where were you? Oh, never mind. Let me get you out…Here…”
“Wait, Audrey, you’re…Woah!” And Audrey fell into the drainpipe on top of Hailey, who fortunately stayed wedged in the plastic tube.
“What’s going on?” Erica, a girl who had been to their lunch table a couple of times, popped her head into view. Hailey sighed and said a weak,”Help…?” Audrey looked up at Erica with a pathetic, sheepish expression.
Erica laughed, then crouched and bent down, but then lost her balance and fell over. But this time she caught onto the other side of the pipe with her hands.
“C’mon Erica, get me out!” Audrey half yelled, half laughed.
“But what about me?” Hailey protested.
“Guys, I can’t move.” Erica wiggled a foot but almost fell in. “If I try to push myself up, I’ll – Ah!” And Erica fell on top of Audrey.
“What in the world?” Suddenly Natalie, Rian’s girlfriend, was in the picture. “Never mind, I don’t want to know.” She started to reach down so she could pull a giggling Erica out of the drainpipe.
“Wait, Natalie, you can’t put you’re foot there, you’re gonna-“
“Eeek!” But luckily, Natalie landed like Erica, with her feet on one side of the pipe’s edge and her hands on the other. And this time she didn’t try to get up.
“Help!” Audrey was laughing so hard she could barely say it.
Hailey had tears of laughter running down her cheeks. “We’re dying over here!”
“Quite literally, I might add.” Erica giggled.
“Well, some quicker than others.” Natalie muttered. You could tell her arms and legs were getting tired.
“Hey,” Hailey struggled to keep from laughing even more. “Why don’t you call Rian? I’m sure he’ll be able to get us out…WITHOUT falling in.”
Natalie’s eyes darted to her pocket. “Well, that’s a good idea, but I need both of my hands to keep from adding more people on top of poor you!”
“What do you mean, ‘poor you’?” Erica protested. “What about poor me?”
“And poor me!” Audrey tried scratching her nose, but because Erica was on top of her her arm couldn’t reach it. “Aaaah! I’m gonna die of nose itch!”
“Calm down,” Hailey reached up and patted Audrey’s head. “Erica, maybe you can call Rian. I’ll give you his number.”
“OK,” Erica reached in her pocket. Then she frantically reached in the other. Finally hanging her head in defeat and huffing in disgust, she moaned, “I think my phone fell down the drainpipe.”
“Here…I have mine.” Audrey pulled out her phone. Hailey recited the number, and soon Rian arrived and pulled out all four victims. Then he secured the plastic top so no one else had another episode.
“Other than ‘thanks for saving our lives,’ I’m not really sure what to say!” Erica was doubled over from laughter. They all were holding their sides, taking deep breaths as to try and calm down.
Rian scratched his bewildered head. “How did all of you get in that predicament in the first place…?”
Hailey put an arm around his shoulder as they started walking back towards the school. “Well, it all started at gym class…”
Later that day, Hailey was getting ready for the boat ride at the lake. After trying on several swimsuits, she finally settled for a red one-piece with white polkadots and a black bow in the back. She made her brown hair into a long braid down her back, slipped on a flowy, short, white skirt and her yellow flip flops, then grabbed a towel before joining Rian in the car.
“Wait, Rian, the lake is that way…” Hailey pointed the opposite direction they were headed.
“I know, but Jake is this way. And so is Jake’s boat.” Rian turned on the radio.
“Oh.” Hailey leaned back and took a sip from her water bottle. Realizing she hadn’t texted Jaime in a while, she pulled out her phone and wrote a long message about the drainpipe episode. Smiling, she sent it then stuffed it back in her purse. Then she started listening to the radio. She had never heard a song like this.
(with your parent’s permission, go to YouTube right now and look up ‘My Lighthouse’ by Rend Collective. don’t worry…it’s a christian song lol. if you’re not allowed that’s ok too cause I’ll post a few lyrics.)
In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won’t walk out
You’re great love will lead me through
“What radio station is this?” Hailey asked. She checked her phone. No reply from Jaime. Yet.
“It’s J103. Natalie listens to it sometimes.” Rian turned up the volume a bit. “You gotta admit, it’s pretty catchy.” Hailey shrugged and nodded her head to the music.
In the silence You won’t let go
In the questions Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea
Hailey bit her lip. Those words seemed to speak directly to her.
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore
Safe to shore
Hailey looked at her lap. God, are You trying to tell me something?
I won’t fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I’ll rise and sing
My God’s love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea
Fire before us You’re the brightest
You will lead us through the storms
Hailey shook her head and shut off the radio as they pulled in to Jake’s house. She got out of the car and grabbed her towel and purse before climbing into Jake’s truck, already hooked up to the boat. Whatever You’re telling me, I don’t think I believe it.
The ride to the lake was uneventful. Hailey sat in the back seat while Rian and Jake joked, laughed, and talked. And the boat ride was fun. It helped Hailey to get her mind off of Jaime for a while. It was great to just enjoy herself again. The boat bounced on the wakes, water spraying every which way. Evidentally a lot of kids from Rian’s college were at the lake, so when they met somebody they had a race, whether it be another boat or someone on jet skis, and they would take off, nearly throwing Hailey out of the boat completely.
After a while of riding, Jake suddenly stopped the boat. “What’s wrong?” Hailey asked.
“I’m not sure.” Jake checked a few things and tapped a couple of buttons. The boat didn’t move.
Rian had that look on his face that meant mischief. “Maybe we’ll have to swim to shore to get help.”
Hailey rolled her eyes. “You’re too obvious, Rian. I doubt there’s anything wrong with the boat, and if you-” Rian scooped her up, fireman style, and before Hailey even had time to scream he threw her in the water. She came up, gasping. “I was right!”
Jake was clapping in time with his laughter. “Right about what?”
“There isn’t anything wrong with the boat…” Hailey paused a minute to swim to the boat and grab onto the sides. “There’s something wrong with your brains.”
“Ha ha, yeah right.” Rian reached down to help her up. Hailey grabbed onto his wrists and kicked, pulling him in the water, clothes and all. He came up, coughing. His black curls were soaked and his green eyes flashed. “You are evil! That wasn’t even fair!”
“Look out below!” Jake did a canonball into the water, and the splashing fest began until, thoroughly soaked and starving, they decided it was time to head home and stopped by Panera on their way. Even though she took forever to decide, Hailey always ordered the same thing – fontina grilled cheese with an apple, and broccoli cheddar soup. With a cup of mango sweet tea, of course. Pure comfort food.
As they sat down at a booth, Jake suddenly decided he wanted a cookie and headed to the bakery counter. Hailey shook her head and took a gulp of the soup. “Mmm. It just tastes so beautiful.” Rian laughed and took a bite of his turkey something. Soft, yet high pitched, laughing made Hailey turn her head and see something that almost made her spit out her soup.
No. It couldn’t be… Could it?
Jason and some other girl… It looked like… Erica?! Jason was playing with her hair, Erica barely containing her laughter. Jason looked like he was enjoying himself. A lot. And… What was that? A kiss?! That was too much. Hailey stood up and grabbed her apple, and with careful aim, hit Jason square on the nose. She then picked up her sandwich and marched out of the restaurant, leaving behind a confused and sore Jason. Rian followed her, turkey something in hand (and mouth). Jake had come back from the bakery just in time and saw exactly what had happened.
“Oh, wow, Hailey, that was amazing. You are too awesome. That was absolutely perfect!”
Hailey had half a mind to slap his face. She pointed a shaky finger. “I have half a mind to slap your face!” And promptly got in the truck, slamming the door behind her. She gave her grilled cheese the death glare, suddenly not hungry at all. She felt like throwing that at Jason, too. And Erica… What was she even doing with Jason in the first place? Hailey didn’t bother with her inhaler when her chest tightened – something about it felt good. She ignored Jake’s jokes and compliments and Rian’s sympathy and promises for frozen yogurt. She didn’t want food. She didn’t need anymore food. Maybe Jason dumped me because I’m fat. She glanced at her hips. Erica was known for having a slim figure, along with board straight bleach blonde hair. Hailey handed her sandwich to Jake, who took it and devoured it without question. He had left his sandwich at the restaurant. Hailey started recieving hundreds of texts from both Erica and Jason, and at first decided to ignore them but then was too curious. She opened Erica’s texts first. She sighed. Evidently Erica had no idea Jason was dating anyone else and she was terribly sorry. Hailey didn’t reply. She took a look at Jason’s texts next.
A bunch of ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘It wasn’t what it looked like’ flooded her inbox. She typed a hurried, “You take me on dates, say you enjoy being with me, act like you love me, and let me believe you actually care about me. Then I see you with another girl, looking as if you’ve dated for years, and I knew nothing about it, and you expect me to believe you still want me? I don’t think we were ever together by the looks of it, but if we were, we’re through.” She punched the send button. After blocking Jason’s number, she growled and threw her phone. It bounced off the truck’s window and hit Jake in the head.
“Ow! First an apple, and now a phone? What’s up with you and throwing things lately?” Jake exaggerated rubbing where the phone had hit before handing it back to her. Hailey snatched it back, irritated at…at…well, everything.
“Jake, watch out!” Hailey’s voice was about 50 octaves above normal. A little brown and white cat was in the middle of the road.
“Sorry, kitty!” Jake pressed the brake and yanked the wheel to the right.
“What are you doing?!” Rian lunged for the wheel and was able to steer them away from a telephone pole they were headed towards, as well as miss the cat. The brakes squealed and the truck jerked to a stop.
After a long pause, Jake ran his fingers through his somewhat frazzled hair. “I gotta say, we were pretty lucky. It could have been a lot worse.” He rubbed his neck. “I don’t know about you, but I think I need to just sit here a second and collect myself before we continue home.” Hailey nodded and unbuckled her tightened seat belt, then took a couple of breaths from her inhaler. They were off the main road anyway. Rian opened the door and got out, then sat on the truck floor in front of Hailey.
“Well, that was…exciting.” Rian laughed.
Suddenly, extremely loud music blocked out any other sound they might have previously been hearing. Rian’s head turned toward the road. “Oh, no…”
“What? What ‘oh, no’?”
Screams from passersby and squealing car tires flooded Hailey’s ears as the red convertible sped towards the green truck.
“Oh, God, if You are really there, please help…!”
The two cars made contact, and Hailey let out a blood curdling scream as the sound of crunching metal and shattering glass met her ears, and the feeling of glass shards pierced her arms and face. That was followed by a jerk to the left as the car flipped over.
Hailey felt herself being thrown from the truck. Her vision went dark before she saw the truck burst in flames.
WOW! That was a LONG chapter, but I made you wait a long time for it, so I suppose we’re even now, aren’t we?
You hate me now! I just know it!
I like being evil….hehehe.
Being evil is part of being an author.
I’m in a bit of a hurry so I can’t make this author’s note very long, but I just want to say thank you so much! Every single one of the ‘Are You There?’ chapters has been a reader’s favorite!
I LOVE YOU!
There’s not much more to say.
I really do love you.
Really, I’m being serious now. Thanks.
And for all who read my comment on my last chapter and prayed for me, thank you. The situation has turned out really well. I mean, it’s still needing prayers, but has gotten a lot better. Can I ask you to keep praying? Thank you.
Now read, comment, pray, AND SUFFER AS YOU WAIT FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER.