The Frozen River is the thirty-sixth chapter of The Gift of a Best Friend. It was first published on January 13, 2017.
I hate winter. It’s so cold that it’s too cold to really do anything.
My grandparents do have two pools: one outside and one inside, so we can pretty much swim any time of the year. And the best part about the inside pool is that it’s heated. And we can also go ice skating inside their house too. I think Annabeth likes that more than roller blading. It is easier to turn and to do tricks that way.
But it’s still too cold and I get cold very easily. Grandma too. But I do like snow, even though it’s cold.
Annabeth and I were playing in it. It was the first big snowfall of the season. It snowed about six inches or half a foot.
Annabeth, Toothless, Fiskerton, and I were having a snowball fight. Toothless couldn’t really make or hold a snowball, but he managed by using his tail to knock snow at us. Fiskerton made big snowballs, which Annabeth and I didn’t like. We chased each other and threw snowballs all around the park. Then we ran toward the river.
I stopped when I noticed it. “It’s frozen.”
“Of course it is, Jasmine,” Annabeth said. “It snowed.”
“I know that. I just wonder if we can skate on it.”
I wouldn’t, Fiskerton argued, grabbing my arm.
“It’s ok, Fiskerton. I just want to try it.”
He let go of me and crossed his own arms.
You are so your father’s daughter.
“And you know it.”
I walked down toward the river. When I got to the bank, I slowly put one foot on it and slipped out onto it.
“Jasmine!” Annabeth and Toothless called.
The ice held my weight.
“I’m ok,” I said.
I stood back up on it and slowly moved across.
When I got to the other side, I turned around.
“Come on!” I called. “It’s safe to cross.”
“I don’t think it is, Jasmine,” Annabeth called back.
“Yes, it is. I made it across. You can too. Come on.”
“I don’t want to.”
“No. I’m staying here.”
There was no way that I was going to let that happen.
I grabbed a pile of snow from my side, mashed it together in my hands, went halfway across the river, stopped in the middle of it, and threw my snowball at Annabeth. It hit her in the shoulder.
“If you want to get me for that, come after me,” I told her.
“Or I can just throw my own snowball at you,” she replied.
Oops. I didn’t think that through.
She grabbed some snow. Fiskerton helped. I quickly went back to the other side of the river, but it was too late. They threw their snowballs at me and knocked me into the snow.
I quickly stood up, grabbed some snow, and went back across the river. Halfway across, I threw my snowballs, but, of course, they missed. But Annabeth and Fiskerton didn’t. Toothless wouldn’t do anything to me. I’m the only one he won’t purposefully hurt.
Annabeth and Fiskerton threw their snowballs at me, each one hitting me, and I fell onto the ice.
It broke all of a sudden, and I fell into the freezing cold water.
I stood frozen on the bank of the river.
We were just throwing snowballs at each other, and then Jasmine suddenly fell into the river. It didn’t look safe to me, but she wouldn’t listen. Zak’s parents, my adopted grandparents, told me how reckless he use to be when he was our age. Jasmine was too. She really is his daughter, and look at what happened. They also told me about one time with Zak involving snow. I didn’t think that it was as bad as this situation, but they are Saturdays. Certain situations for them are almost as bad as it is for demigods.
Anyway, I know that Jasmine needed my help.
Fiskerton was going too crazy and freaking out to be at all helpful. Toothless was a little too because I know how much he loves Jasmine, but he was more in control. We had trained him for situations like this at camp. Now it’s time to see if all that training was worth it.
“Toothless,” I said. “We have to save her.”
He nodded in agreement.
I climbed onto his back and he took flight. I directed him the way that the water was flowing. We eventually spotted Jasmine through the ice—thank the gods she was wearing bright colored clothing—but she was moving fast. I had a plan, and I hoped it worked.
I had Toothless fly quickly downriver past Jasmine, then stopped.
“Melt the ice away,” I said.
He did what I said and blasted the frozen river below us with his fireball. The ice was gone and there was only water.
I saw Jasmine coming. I lowered myself down to Toothless’s legs. He held onto my foot and lowered me down a little more until I could touch the water. When Jasmine came close, I grabbed onto her jacket. I tried to pull her up, but the current was moving fast, pulling her along. Toothless was only holding me by my boot now. But my foot slipped out of it and I fell in.
I almost let go of Jasmine. The water was freezing. I knew it would be considering that it was winter, but still. I came up at the top and broke the surface of the water, managing to grab onto the edge of the ice that hadn’t broken apart. Yet.
I was still holding Jasmine. I pulled her closer to me and wrapped my arm around her. She looked to be conscious, but she didn’t look good. Her eyes were open, but they didn’t appear to be blinking at all.
We continued to flow down the river, but I managed to grab hold of the ice in front of us. I held onto it and Jasmine as tightly as I could, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to for long.
“Toothless,” I called.
He was flying above us and trying to decide how he could save us without getting pulled in himself.
“Signal our family for help.”
He nodded, then he lifted his head up to the sky and blasted his fire quickly into it, shooting one after another as a sign of an emergency.
It felt like forever. My whole body was frozen and I could barely feel any part of it because of how cold it was. I was surprised that I was still holding onto that edge of ice and Jasmine too.
I saw our parents and Luke and Emily coming down toward the river and toward us. Fiskerton was with them, so I guess he was useful enough to get help.
“Jasmine! Annabeth!” Luke called.
Mom and Emily flew toward us while the others waited on the bank of the river.
They grabbed me, then Jasmine. They put me on Toothless’s back, and Mom carried Jasmine to the bank toward everyone else. There she handed her to Dad and landed next to him.
“I think she’s in shock,” Mom said.
“We need to get them some place warm,” Dad said.
Everyone nodded in agreement.
They hurried home.
They took us to our grandparent's house, and once we got there they put us into new, dry clothes, took us into the living room and Toothless started a fire in the fireplace. Grandma got us blankets and they wrapped us tightly in them. Luke held me and Jasmine in his lap next to the fire.
My whole body still felt numb, but I was starting to feel it again. The warmth of the fire and of Luke helped.
Johnathan walked over to us and put his hand on Jasmine. “Jasmine’s cold.”
“Of course she is,” Mom said. “She just took a swim in the river.”
“No,” Mom and Dad both said.
Grandma looked at Jasmine.
Her eyes were still wide open, and I don’t think that they’ve blinked once since she fell in the river.
“Is she dead?” I asked.
“She can’t be,” Luke insisted.”
“I don’t know,” Grandma said. “Annabeth, can you try to hear her heart for me?”
I leaned my head down on Jasmine’s chest and listened carefully. I heard what sounded like a drum and automatically knew that it was her heart.
“It’s beating,” I said.
“Ok,” Grandma said. “Then she probably is just in shock.”
“How long will she be in shock?” Luke asked.
“I don’t know. It could be for a while longer. But how did she fall into the river?”
I told them all what happened.
“I bet she’ll never do that again,” Grandpa said.
“If she ever could if she doesn’t have frostbite,” Dad said.
“I don’t think she will,” Grandma said. “She wasn’t in the water long enough to have frostbite, though she probably feels like she was.”
I looked at Jasmine. She was practically staring at me. It hurt to see her that way. I wonder if she would look like that forever.
Then I saw her blink.
“Ow,” she said, rubbing her eyes with her hand.
Yeah, she hadn’t blinked since she fell into the water and her eyes got dry.
Our parents came near her. Toothless did too and licked her face.
“Jasmine, are you alright?” Mom asked.
She nodded. “Thanks to Annabeth.” She looked at me. “You saved me again.”
I remembered that day four years ago on my birthday. I moved my hand under my shirt and felt the vertical scar on the right side my stomach that I accidentally gave to myself with the blade of a hammer.
I think about that day every year since then on my birthday. Jasmine does too. It marked the first day we became best friends, a day we would never forget.
I smiled. “You’re my best friend and my sister.”
I gave her a hug. “Don’t ever do that again.”
She didn’t answer, which was a little odd.
“You said Annabeth saved you again,” Luke noticed. “What was the last thing she saved you from?”
Our family also seemed confused by that comment.
Jasmine and I made eye-contact. Her eyes were wide again, realizing her mistake. She nuzzled more into Luke’s chest, but I knew that it was actually her shaking her head.
Time for me to come up with a lie.
“From when monsters attacked her,” I said. “Sometimes they got too close to her and I hit them away before they could hurt her.”
I guess it wasn’t a total lie, but it wasn’t the whole truth either.
Luke nodded, though he didn’t seem convinced, but he didn’t question us.
We continued sitting on Luke’s lap by the fire. Jasmine leaned her head against his chest and stared at the fire.
She was never the same again after that.
Aww. I really liked this chapter. Did you?
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