I grit my teeth and steer the damn thing. My chute catches a gust of wind and I rocket toward the island for about a minute. It dies away, but I’m still making good progress.
Eventually, gravity catches up to me and my time runs out.
The killer lands on the white sand beach and is already folding his parachute when I realize I’m not going to make it.
I’m going to land in the water—with a heavy parachute strapped to my back. Why didn’t we grab life preservers before we jumped? Why did I take this stupid job at all?
The killer has his hands on his hips as he watches me desperately trying to make it to the island. I won’t. It looks like I’m going to land about a hundred yards out. That’s a lot of swimming with a huge parachute weighing me down.
You’re going to drown…
The horrifying thought enters my head and my whole body goes cold. I don’t want it to be true, but I know that it is. The last thing I’ll experience before I’m gone forever is the sun getting smaller as the darkness takes over, the crushing weight, the burning in my lungs, the horrible feeling of helplessness as my body screams at me to take a breath.
My eyes fill with water as I start to panic. I’m taking deep desperate breaths, knowing that soon I won’t be able to.
The killer strips down to his underwear as he runs to the shore and dives into the water. He’s swimming front crawl with so much urgency you’d swear a great white shark was chasing him.
Is he coming to… help?
He stops and looks up every few seconds to adjust his trajectory. When he spots me, he continues swimming like Michael Phelps on speed, those big muscular arms cutting through the waves.
Time runs out for poor old Molly Thornton and I land in the cold water with a scream. The parachute falls on top of me and drags me down.
I’m thrashing around, desperately trying to get out from under it when I feel the weight of my dress, the weight of the straps, the weight of my shoes, all trying to kill me by pulling me down to the bottom.
I manage to swim out from under my parachute and kick up to the surface. I take a big glorious gulp of air as the rough waves bob me up and down.
Everything is so heavy. I need to get it off.
I’m trying to swim and unbuckle these tight straps at the same time, but I’m failing at both. My head dips under and I let go in a panic to swim back up.
When my head pops out for the second time, the killer arrives.
“Help me!” I scream. I don’t care if it’s Jeffrey Dahmer in front of me, I’ll take any help I can get.
Those strong hands grab my harness and those skilled fingers get all the buckles undone while I struggle to keep my head above water.
It’s like a tremendous weight is cut away as I slip out of the harness and swim away from the parachute.
“Take your dress off,” he says as he treads water beside me.
That’s what this pervert came out here for?!
“It’s thick nylon. It’s going to drag you down.”
My head dips under and I have no other choice. He sees me struggling and helps me unzip it. I wiggle out as I feel it sink to the bottom.
When I first met this man, I thought about him undressing me, but this was not what I had in mind.
I kick off my shoes as well and then we start swimming.
He’s staying right beside me, making sure I’m okay the entire time. I’m a pretty decent swimmer, but that’s in a pool with a lifeguard when I’m fully rested. After this action-packed adrenaline dump of an afternoon, I’m already wiped. These big waves aren’t helping either. I take a deep breath as I front crawl and get a mouthful of saltwater.
“You’re okay,” he says as I explode into a coughing fit. “You’re doing great, Molly. Just a little bit further.”
I look into his sparkling green eyes and get a little boost of energy.
“I won’t let you drown,” he says in a calm voice as he stays beside me. It almost makes me believe him. “You’re going to survive this.”
Maybe I’ll survive the swim, but what happens after? I’m trapped on a desert island with a mass murderer. What’s going to happen around dinnertime when he gets hungry? Is my freaking severed head going to be on the dinner plate?
I push that out of my mind and focus on taking one stroke at a time. My shoulders are aching. My legs are burning. I’m exhausted and just when I think I can’t go another yard, my toes graze sand.