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The frigid waters of the lake snapped Bianca awake. Through the windshield, she saw water lapping at overwhelmed and submerged wipers. Her disorientation created a few moments of confusion trying to understand her surroundings.
Where did my bed go? she thought.
Her two-year-old's sobs pierced the grayness behind her. Through blurred vision she could tell the water level was rising inside the car, and quickly reached back to unbuckle the frantic child. Repeating the soothing, aimless words that she didn't believe herself seemed to calm the little girl down. With shaking fingers, she popped open the glove compartment to grab her emergency breakout knife, only to find the glove compartment entirely empty: no knife, no registration, no anything at all.
"Mama, look!" cried the girl pointing forward. "Look!"
Bianca turned to see the bottom of the lake through the windshield, a mangled mess of timber and rocks below them. And a figure. A white, lifeless figure.
Cold water brought focus, clarity. Then her car lurched, a grinding sound told her it was coming unstuck from whatever held it in place. Clarity turned quickly to fear, then panic.
Have to get out of the car...have to get out of the car...how...maybe the stainless coffee mug is heavy enough. Frantically she pounded at the window.
As the water rushed in, so did the memories of the past hour. Her husband, the man who she'd buried last week, had appeared in her rear view mirror. Then there was blinding pain. She felt her head and the blood made her realize it hadn't been a dream. He had tried to kill her. The water was chest high. Maybe he had succeeded.
Over the din of sloshing water and her child's sobs, she heard what sounded like the roar of a helicopter overhead. Something clanged against the roof of the car. Bianca, still struggling against her seat belt, used the mug to pound an SOS against the door frame. The roar of the helicopter grew louder, its spotlight shifting across the water's surface as it hovered in position. Through the cracked windshield she could see a door open on the side of the aircraft. Coughing from water that she sucked into her nose, Bianca continued to pound.
Realizing the futility of her pounding to create a noise anyone could hear over the cacophony of the helicopter, water, wind, and even the still-playing rock music in her car, Bianca turned for help to the only place she had left: the author.
"Please," she said, "Can't you turn this scene into one of those things where it was all a dream and I'm really safe back home on my spaceship flying to the new colony planet?"