CHAPTER THIRTY THREE
“Oh god!” Nick screamed. “Oh god! Where did the van go?!”
“Did they go over? I didn’t see!” AJ said.
“Where else do you think they went?” Nick snapped, tears streaming down his face.
Kevin slammed the brakes on and they all piled out of the truck. Feeling numb inside, Nick dashed to the edge and peered over, dreading that he would see an angry red fireball on the rocks below. There was nothing, though, only the sea. The van had gone straight under. Nick thanked whoever had made them crash into a deep part of the sea.
“I’m calling an ambulance!” Howie said with a sob.
“Brian!” Nick screamed, praying that his friend would emerge from the frothy sea. “Brian! Sammy!”
Nick looked about wildly. He had been to this place before.
“This way!” he said firmly, moving off along the cliff.
“Where we going?” AJ whispered.
“There’s a way down, further along!”
“How do you know?”
“I came here to go - ” He froze. “Oh god,” he whispered. “We’ve gotta get them outta the water!”
The coldness hit him more than anything. The pain was bad but the icy needles prickling all over his body made him want to scream… but he couldn’t. When he opened his mouth, it filled with the burning taste of salt water. He felt sick. He couldn’t breathe. He opened his eyes, but everything was blurry. There was an agonising stinging all over him. His face felt like it had been ripped to shreds.
He reached out his arms to escape from the hell which he was trapped in. He had to get out. He struggled in the strange substance around him and instinct told him to kick upwards. He did so and felt himself rushing upwards. There was a light above him so he headed for that. He could feel a salty water being forced down his throat. He opened his mouth and more of the vile water gushed inside of him. He tried to scream but his mouth kept filling up. He couldn’t breathe… He thrashed to the surface desperately.
Choking and spluttering, Brian emerged into the daylight and took thankful breaths of fresh air to relieve his bursting lungs. He coughed some more and gasped to try and clear the burning water from his body. He shivered and looked around to see blood around him. His hands were covered in jagged rips which the salt water assaulted mercilessly. His jersey was soaked with the redness.
He remembered now… The crash…The way he had been flung forward so hard he had felt himself falling through the shards of glass as he dropped through the windscreen and into the waiting sea below. But where was… ?
Brian looked about, anxiously. He couldn’t see Sammy anywhere or the van. Had he left the little child down there to drown. He gave a slight whimper and felt the tears in his eyes. He had to find him. He had to find him!
He took a deep breath and then dived back under into the murky depths of the sea. He kept his eyes open and ignored the pain it caused his eyes. He swam until he glimpsed the great hulk of the van smashed upon the rocks. Desperately, he swam to it and looked through the shattered windows, wincing as a shard of glass ripped into his arm. Sammy wasn’t there. He prayed that he had not been crushed upon the rocks beneath the van.
His lungs were bursting and his cuts seared with pain, but he didn’t care. The physical pain was nothing to what he would feel if he did not find his little baby.
He swam around the van but still could see nothing. his body was screaming for oxygen and Brian began to kick towards the surface again. Then he saw it. A flicker of blond beneath him. He swam back down to the rocks and scooped the unconscious boy into his arms before kicking upwards as fast as he could.
Once again, he spluttered into the sweetness of the air, but the joy he felt at being able to breath again was snatched away by Sammy’s pale face.
“Sammy? Sammy!” he screamed, ignoring the soreness of his throat. “Sammy, wake up! please wake up!” He stroked the blond hair gently, tears fell from his distressed eyes.
He began to swim back towards the cliff face. Then he stopped as more tears leaked from his eyes and obscured his vision. “Sammy, please!” he begged. He shook him. “Sammy!” He felt a sob escape from him.
Sammy suddenly twitched slightly and then began to cough, violently. He struggled in Brian’s arms and moaned.
Another sob escaped Brian, but this time it was a sob of relief. “Good boy,” he whispered. “Good boy. It’s okay, I’ve got you.”
Sammy spluttered and coughed some more salt water up. “D – daddy?” he asked, weakly.
“I’m here, I’ve got you,” Brian said, kissing him on the head. His heart soured with relief at the sound of his little voice.
Sammy moaned and opened his eyes. He coughed again and hugged Brian close.
He stared about for some sort of land but the closest thing he could see was a group of rocks near the cliff. He shuddered at the thought that they could have hit them instead of the water.
“Sammy, hold on to me, okay? I’m going to swim to those rocks so you can sit down,” Brian said.
Sammy nodded and wrapped his arms around Brian’s shoulders. Brian checked he was holding on tightly and then swam the short distance to the pointy rocks. His muscles felt heavy and weak when he finally reached them. He carefully placed Sammy down onto the biggest, flattest rock he could find. He rested his head on the side of it. He didn’t have the energy to climb onto it himself.
“You bleeding again,” Sammy whispered, touching Brian’s cheek.
“I’ll live,” Brian whispered, trying not to show his pain. He placed his hand on his own face and felt several cuts on his cheek and forehead. They only seemed small and Brian knew he had been lucky.
“Brian! Brian! Are you okay? Is Sammy with you?”
“Look!” Sammy said, excitedly. He pointed upwards.
Brian followed his gaze and saw the other four Backstreet Boys staring down at him from atop the cliff. It wasn’t actually that high. Any bigger and they would certainly have been killed by the crash.
“Brian!” It sounded like Kevin’s voice.
“Yeah, we’re all right!” Brian yelled back to them.
“Help is on the way!” Howie called back. “So are the police!”
Brian didn’t yell anything back. His throat hurt too much.
“Nick says there’s a path leading up further to your right! Can you get there?” Kevin yelled.
Brian looked up. he could see the great waves crashing against the cliffs. They couldn’t go too close or they’d be crushed against the walls. Looking to the right, he could see where the cliff began to get lower, but it was so far away… he didn’t know if he could swim that far with Sammy… he was so tired…
“Too far!” Brian called.
“You need to get out of the water!” Nick yelled.
Brian looked about him nervously. He had caught the fear and panic in Nick’s voice. Could they see something he couldn’t? There was nothing nearby though, at least nothing he could see…