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Reading sample english




Dangerous game






It was cold. Bitterly cold. On this day, the grey of the surf was even more intense, even more threatening than usual in winter. Only the inky blue rain clouds above the horizon and the brilliant white tongues of spray stood out clearly. The November wind had picked up and was coming pulsatingly from the west, right in front, straight into their faces.

It was one of those days when other seventeen-year-old girls were holed up in their rooms, doing pinchy braided hairstyles or space buns, humming songs by Ace of Base or Culture Beat, painting tear-stained journals or brushing Clerasil on their pimply foreheads.

The two friends on the dyke had something quite different in mind. Sophie and Greta were watching the surf. They had been there for about twenty minutes. The ice-cold wind was blowing around their wetsuits like the icy breath of a Greenland low. Greta had clamped her surfboard to her chest and was peering uneasily past her ice-encrusted eyelashes at the rough sea. Next to her, Sophie looked like a giant aspen-fringed lighthouse. The slender blonde towered over her red-haired friend by almost a head's length.

"Pat and Patachon!", red Greta used to tease with a wink when they looked at photos together in which Greta looked like Sophie's little glowing sister.

But when it came to the sea, to adventure, to the highest wave, the best line on the crest of the foaming grey, then they were each other's equal, fanatical as it were, hungry for adventure and rebellious, chasing the best worlds almost unstoppably until, shivering and shuddering, they finally emerged from the swell and ran back to the hotel with their red faces splashing and laughing across the lawn and the dyke.

Today the westerly wind was particularly fierce. The underwater current moved relentlessly outwards. Into nothingness. Just a few more oil rigs, dancing like minimalist industrial monuments on the deep grey horizon, then came almost five hundred sea miles of open sea all the way to England.

The North Sea had finally swung up, puffed up like a dragon they were about to ride. And they jumped into the icy water together. Sophie had already reached the third set of waves after barely a minute. From here on, the current became too dangerous. Greta had stayed behind her, dared a short sprint on a puny wave and Sophie laughed at her, took aim herself at a gigantic grey wall that rolled towards her like an ocean giant, it became quiet and Sophie jumped onto the board. She enjoyed the moment, found a good line, and plodded towards the beach. But strangely, the sea beneath her was not just rumbling, a bright whistle had mingled with the murmur. A foreign body. High sweeping notes, a vibrating timbre. Sophie glided smoothly past small ice floes towards the dyke, the red and white lighthouse behind her serving as a marker. The sounds behind her grew brighter, the wave smooth and fast, and Sophie shot ele-gantly through the wave tunnel, on the barrel through the pipeline. So-phie loved the gestures of these foreign terms. Just as she reached the concrete barriers on the beach and she jumped off again in the shallow water, she realised what she had been hearing all along. Those high-pitched sounds were screams. From this extraordinary surf, this epic carpet of metre-high waves, green-grey masses of water, this tingling and icy spectacle, came desperate crystal-clear cries for help.

At first, for a brief moment, she scanned the grassy beach for other surfers or random walkers. But in this freezing cold, no one was voluntarily loitering on the dyke or even in the water. Sophie felt the rising fear. Like a breaking monster wave, a demanding force crashed against her chest and took her breath away.

She stared at the surf, at the carpet of waves. It took a few seconds, then she saw something orange light up, far behind the third row of waves, already almost at the sandbank that separated the coastal area from the open sea underwater. Everyone,

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