by Helen Dring
Irma counts to ten before she feels the rough of Mansky's hand against her neck.
"Three minutes," he whispers, sour breath warm at her ear.
She plunges into the cold, eyes shut. The water flattens against her face, firm like clear cold plastic, like the doors she pressed her face to in her mother's house.
Each second rings in her ears, blood pumping. She counts. One, two, a bubble of a breath. Three, four, bubble.
This is meant to drown people. She remembers Mansky's harsh voice: Survive and you can be one of us.
She breathes, counts, thinks of Mansky.
Author bio: Helen Dring teaches and writes in Liverpool, UK. She likes real (scary) fairy tales and children's ghost stories. Find her on Twitter @dringhelen and at www.helendring.co.uk
Three is part of 101 Fiction issue 12.