If you haven’t read the first part, I would recommend reading this. Otherwise, you might be a bit lost. But without further ado, here is the rest of “Rainhaven.”
Rain slammed against the sidewalks, thudded against the lights. “Rochelle!” Selah shouted. “Rochelle, can you hear me?”
“Rochelle!” came Brad’s baritone. “I’m with your sister! Where are you?”
His voice certainly carried farther than hers did. Maybe it was a good thing she’d recruited him. But still, they had no idea where to look.
Glass shattered behind her. She spun around, holding her umbrella out in front of her as if it were a weapon, leaving her head unprotected. “Who’s there?” she shouted.
Brad had tensed next to her. His umbrella spread over his head, orange like his hair but intermixed with pearly streaks. “You’re getting soaked, Selah.”
“I noticed.” She could barely see through the rain, so she moved the umbrella back to its normal position. A tiny umbrella, like the kind they had in drinks, floated away in the streams moving along the street. Wait. “Viv?”
A girl was moving toward them. She was tall enough to be Viv, and with the way she staggered toward them, she was drunk enough to be Viv too.
“I wanna find her,” probably-Vivienne said.
“Shelley?” Selah said.
The girl moved closer, unfurling her violet-and-crimson umbrella. Definitely Viv. “Yeah.”
Selah stiffened. She’d wanted Viv to come with her, but not like this. Not drunk. Not calloused to Rochelle’s survival. And she’d just told Viv that she didn’t ever want her around Rochelle again. But . . .
“Any idea where she went?” Selah finally asked. If there was any way Vivienne could be proven useful, then maybe it would be worth it. Besides, Vivienne needed to see what her actions had done.
“I think they were talking about––I dunno, a river or somethin’.” Vivienne’s slurring made her speech less than elegant. It almost made Selah feel better about herself. Almost. “Which is dumb since they’re in the rain.”
Wait. River. Rain. Oh my torrents. “They’re kids.” Selah’s pulse sped, and she stared toward the faraway forest through the sheets of rain. “They don’t know that. Shelley probably doesn’t even realize that you can drown.” She gagged on the last word.
Brad took off toward the forest, crossing puddles with his long legs. She rushed after him. Vivienne would just have to keep up.
They had slowed somewhere in the forest due to the vines––long vines, soggy and heavy, obstructing their path. Clambering over and around them without slipping in the mud proved to be more than one could do in the rain. Selah had a muddy backside to prove it.
She peered up at Brad, whose vine-like arms swung at his sides. “You don’t have to be here, you know.”
“Nah.” He shrugged. “This is way more interesting than watching drunk people.”
She punched his shoulder. Her sister’s possible kidnapping or death was not interesting.
“What?” He rubbed his arm, as though it had hurt––and maybe it had. He wasn’t exactly meaty.
“Maybe she’s not here,” Vivienne said.
“What?” Selah’s limbs locked. “But you said––”
“I dunno. I could’ve heard wrong.”
Selah squeezed her umbrella in a death grip. Even if the kids were at the river, who was to say they’d get there in time? They had lost a lot of time arguing.
My fault. Her gut clenched.
“Maybe it’s not the Eilar,” Vivienne continued. “We should just turn around––”
“If you wanna turn around, go ahead.” Selah stepped over a low-hanging vine, then ducked under another. “I’m gonna find my sister whatever it takes.”
The river should be close. Now, the question was, where on the bank would they have gone?
“Look, Selah, it’s not my fault––”
“Yeah, right.” Selah hopped over a particularly fat vine. “You just wanted to be with your boyfriend, so you ditched our kid sister.”
“This is your fault.”
There. The Eilar River gleamed silver, rushing along its course like a fat snake. Rochelle could’ve been swallowed by those icy jaws. Selah stomped through the mud and around any obtrusive vines. Vivienne’s low moan proved that she had stayed. Selah couldn’t decide if that was a good thing or not.
“They’re not here,” Vivienne said.
“Thanks, Captain Obvious.” Selah glanced down the bank, looking for a sign of either children or footprints. “You see anything, Brad?”
“Why are you asking him? I’m her sister––”
“Brad?” Selah interrupted, staring up at her new friend or whatever he was.
He simply loped away, spewing mud, as he was prone to do. Sighing, Selah followed him. Hopefully that meant he’d found something––or someone. Someone alive, preferably.
“Footprints,” he called back through the pounding of the torrent. “The children went this way.”
Selah put the last of her strength into following him. Her lungs burned, and her dripping body ached. She hadn’t had this much exercise in who knew how long. But it was for Rochelle.
“I think I see them!” Brad said.
A group of kids stood along a faraway bank, chattering to themselves. Their umbrellas weren’t up, making it difficult to spot whether Rochelle was in the group. But she had to be. Otherwise––
Then one of the kids stepped in the river––a thin one, too thin to be able to stand her ground. What was she doing in there? The kids were saying something to her.
Wait. Were those braids?
Selah screamed just as the river won, sweeping her sister into its grasp. Her eyes followed the trajectory of her sister’s helpless body beneath the silver waves.
“Selah––” was all Brad had time for. Then Selah flung herself into the river.
Ice engulfed her, seeping straight to her bones. Her limbs locked, but she forced her eyes open. Rochelle was caught in the current a few feet away from her––so close––Selah tried to kick her legs but couldn’t move fast enough. Her lungs begged for air, aching with the pressure. Shelley! She forced her arm forward. If Rochelle would just reach out her own arm, they would touch––
Can’t breathe. Selah forced her way to the surface and gasped, taking in precious oxygen. Cold air blasted her face.
Then she was submerged again. She didn’t know who had spoken. It didn’t seem to matter. There was Rochelle, closer this time. Just a little farther––c’mon, Shelley, open your eyes! Then Selah’s hand touched fabric, and she yanked them both to the surface. Rochelle was limp as a bag of flour and just as heavy, dragging them both beneath the waves again.
So close! Not after all this––
But her limbs were giving up on her, especially with the added weight of Rochelle. At least if she died, she’d die heroically.
Ice numbed her brain.
No. Wake up. Kick. Do something.
But she couldn’t seem to move. Her body strained toward the stones at the bottom of the riverbed.
Something grabbed her––a hand, hard and thin––and then it was dragging her and the important flour sack with it. Brain numb. Can’t think––
She fell onto the grass, almost crushing the flour sack––Rochelle!––in the process. Shelley! Oh my tempests! She tried to wrap her arms around Rochelle but couldn’t seem to move. Oh no. No, no, no––
Brad grabbed Rochelle––kidnapper!––but Selah couldn’t move to stop him. Then he pressed his lips to Rochelle’s and pushed down on her chest repeatedly. Selah’s frost-muddled brain tried to make sense of the event. Hold on. He wasn’t hurting Shelley. He was saving her.
“Torrents, Shelley, please wake up!” Vivienne cried. “I’m sorry. If you can hear me, I’m sorry. Please––just wake up. I need you. We need you.”
Selah was too stunned to move. Well, the icy numbness of her limbs didn’t help. Was Viv actually sorry? Or was it one of her acts?
Brad continued his routine. Selah closed her eyes. Sleep sounded nice. Forever sleep.
“Is she okay?” More voices joined the group––young, like Rochelle.
“She would be okay if you hadn’t dared her to stand in the water,” Brad said.
Then coughing, glorious coughing––water hacking from Rochelle’s lungs. Selah forced her eyes to open just long enough to see Rochelle sitting up, her skin tinted blue. Thank the clouds. Selah leaned back and let herself rest.
“Shelley!” Vivienne screamed.
Selah was too tired to wonder what Viv was screaming about.
“Oh, no you don’t.” Something leaned against her frigid body––something bony and cold but also strangely warm. Brad. What was he––? Wait. Warmth. She pressed closer to him, trying to sap every bit of heat from his body.
“Good, you’re alive.” Brad’s voice really did sound nice, kind of like the deep roar of a downpour. “Body heat is great. I’m pretty cold, too.”
She wouldn’t have guessed. He seemed so warm.
“I would have gotten to you first, but your sister needed reviving.”
Reviving. Yes. “You saved her,” Selah managed to whisper.
“Oh, good, you can talk too.”
And her brain was steadily clearing, enough to realize that she should probably feel awkward about the fact that Brad was laying on top of her. But he was warm, so she didn’t protest.
“You’re not like your sister,” Brad said. “Viv, I mean.”
“Duh.” Selah tried to still her chattering teeth.
“No, listen. I know Viv––kinda. I followed her around for a while, I guess.”
Not a surprise. Guys loved Vivienne’s long, tan legs and flirty smiles. Nice to know she was being hugged by one of her sister’s fanboys.
“But I didn’t really know her until tonight.” Brad paused. “She’s not who I thought she was.”
“You saved Shelley,” she said again. He’d brought her back to life. She wouldn’t forget that, even though her brain had been ice-muddled when it had happened.
“Yeah, yeah. Let me finish.”
Fine. If he didn’t want to be complimented, she wouldn’t compliment him.
“But you barged into a party you weren’t invited to in order to find a sister who didn’t care so that you could rescue Shelley. Then you leaped into a freezing river to save her.”
Well, when he put it that way . . . Her cheeks heated, just like the rest of her body was doing. Mr. Bony apparently had the capacity to heat people up very quickly. “Well, you saved me too.” She didn’t know why it had taken her so long to realize that. Probably because of her recovering brain. Not because she was ungrateful.
Silence flickered between them for a moment. She vaguely wondered if Rochelle was okay. The sobs of relief coming from the direction of her sisters told her yes, and she calmed.
“You’re a pretty cool girl, Selah,” Brad said quietly.
She didn’t know what to do with that. “Hey. You came and rescued some girl’s kid sister. That’s pretty cool too.” And me too. He’d dragged her out of the water. He’d risked death himself.
Maybe it was a good thing she’d gone into that party to find Viv.
“Learn to take a compliment, would ya?”
She was pretty sure he was rolling his eyes. She kind of wanted to see but also didn’t. She didn’t know what she’d find there, but it kind of scared her. Strange how close you felt to someone when they rescued you.
“Well, thanks again,” she said. “You can let go now, you know. I think I’m warm enough.” Although as soon as he let go, she’d probably be freezing again.
She was right. Her body immediately complained and shut down on her. She stared helplessly up at Brad.
He smirked. “Just as I thought.”
“Wait. I want to see Rochelle.”
“Fine.” He lifted her to a sitting position and leaned her against him so that they still traded body heat.
Much better. She stared at her hugging sisters. Vivienne was still crying enough to smear even her waterproof makeup. Rochelle was tucked into Vivienne’s arms, as though she didn’t care that Vivienne had abandoned her.
Selah’s throat tightened. How could Rochelle have forgotten? And why wasn’t she rushing toward Selah? The reminder that she wasn’t the favorite sibling bit even harder. I risked my life for you, and Viv did nothing.
Well . . . Vivienne had come all this way. And she’d warmed Rochelle up from the bitter cold. Maybe that counted for something.
Selah bit her lip. Would Viv be different this time, truly? Or would she be the same old Viv?
Maybe she couldn’t keep Rochelle away from Vivienne. That was Rochelle’s choice. But she’d be there for Rochelle when she was needed.
Brad unfurled his umbrella, shielding them both from the rain––a blessed reprieve. She found herself sagging against him, then jolted upright at the sudden realization. “My umbrella!”
“What about it?” he said.
The river. She’d been holding it when she jumped in. Great. She’d really liked that one.
“Oh,” Brad said.
“Yeah.” She scowled. Hopefully she could find another one that would match her boots; otherwise she’d have to get new boots too.
Then Rochelle detached herself from a pale, crying Vivienne and turned toward Selah. Her face lighting up, she threw herself at Selah. Selah had to lean on Brad just to stay up. “Whoa, Shelley,” she said. “Slow down a bit.”
But holding her sister close––something inside her ached. She’d almost lost Rochelle. She pressed a kiss to her sister’s wet head.
“Viv says you saved me,” Rochelle said.
Selah’s eyebrows shot up, and she glanced toward their middle sister. “She did?”
Rochelle nodded, and then her eyes filled with fresh tears as she buried her face in Selah’s soaked shirt. Selah’s arms tightened around her little sister, and she too let herself cry.
“Love you, Selah,” Rochelle mumbled.
“Love you, Shelley,” she whispered.
Maybe she wasn’t the favorite sister. But, leaning against Brad, with one sister in her arms and the other one possibly repentant, maybe she had found the next best thing.
Siblinghood is strange. Sometimes you like them, and sometimes you hate them, but you always love them. The Wright sisters will continue to disagree, but I hope they always remember their love for each other.
If you want to see a different version of this prompt, check out my friend Laura’s “Waiting for the Rain”!
So, what about you? Can you come up with a story, five sentences or less, based on this prompt? Leave it in the comments!