Chapter 23 Down the Drain

“Ohh!” Corky tried to pull back as Kimmy pushed her head down toward the steaming tub.

But Kimmy was too powerful.

The steaming water seemed to rise up to meet Corky.

I’m going to drown, she thought.

I’m going to die now.

She closed her eyes as her face met the water.

So hot. So burning hot.

She held her breath. Twisted her body. Tried to force her head up.

Kimmy pushed with inhuman strength.

Deeper. Corky felt the water fill her ears. Rise up over her hair.

I’m drowning now.

I’m dead.

Pictures whirred wildly through her mind. Faces. All of her friends. People she didn’t recognize.

Her chest ached.

I can’t hold my breath much longer. My lungs are going to explode.

More pictures raced through her mind. A jumble of faces. She saw her family. She saw Sean. Sad-faced Sean.

Now he won’t get to sign my cast, she thought.

He’ll wake up, and I’ll be dead.

Dead, dead, dead.

And Sean will be alone.

No! A voice screamed in her head.

No—I can’t let this happen! I can’t let the evil win again!

As her fear turned to anger and her anger flamed to desperate rage, Corky reared up against the powerful force with all her strength—and swung the heavy cast.

“Oh!” Kimmy groaned as the elbow of the cast clubbed the back of her head.

Momentarily stunned, her fiery eyes faded to black. She stumbled forward.

And as she stumbled, Corky stood up, water pouring off her head. She grabbed Kimmy’s wildly flying black hair with her left hand, jerked the head downward with all her might—and pushed Kimmy’s face into the steaming hot water.

Corky turned and, still grasping Kimmy’s hair with her good hand, leaned the cast on Kimmy’s head. And pushed.

Down. Down.

Kimmy’s head was entirely submerged.

She struggled to get up. Her arms flailed frantically. She kicked with her legs. She strained to raise her head.

Her chest heaving, the pain shooting through her body, Corky leaned all of her weight against Kimmy’s head, pushing, pushing it down, bearing down with the heavy cast.

Kimmy thrashed and fought.

She pushed up with inhuman strength, pushed up, up, strained against Corky’s cast, struggling to remove her head from the water.

“Drown! Drown!” Corky said without even realizing it. “Drown! Drown!”

And then Kimmy’s mouth opened wide.

A raging wind poured from her mouth.

Into the water.

A wind so hot, so fierce, the water instantly began to boil and bubble.

And still Corky pressed down. Battling the force, she pushed Kimmy’s head back down, submerging it so the raging wind made boiling tidal waves roll across the tub.

The tiny room filled with steam. Thick, white clouds of it rose up from the tub, scalding hot. Corky began to choke on it.

I can’t see, she realized. It’s thicker than any fog.

She couldn’t see her own arm. Couldn’t see the cast. Could no longer see the head she was holding under the water.

The white steam grew even thicker.

Corky blindly choked, gasping for air.

And hung on.

Hung on to the struggling head as the wind raged and the bathwater tossed and churned. Hung on blindly.

I’m suffocating, she thought. I can’t breathe. I’m drowning in a cloud. Drowning in a thick, scalding cloud.

Suffocating … like Bobbi.

But she held on. And pushed. Pushed with her remaining strength, pushed in spite of her pain, pressed the head under the rolling hot water.

The steam cleared. Corky could see again.

Under the water Kimmy uttered a loud groan.

A disgusting green liquid poured from her mouth. The stench of it rose up from the tossing water.

Corky gagged, struggled to hold her breath, trying not to breathe.

The thick green liquid oozed out of Kimmy’s mouth. Took shape. Formed a long snakelike figure.

Longer, longer.

It coiled around the bottom of the tub. More. More rolled out of Kimmy’s open mouth.

“Drown! Drown! Drown! Please—drown!” Corky screamed.

Leaning on Kimmy’s head with the cast, she reached down and pulled open the drain.

She heard a gurgling sound.

And stared in disbelief as the foul-smelling, green liquid snake was sucked down the drain.