CHAPTER THIRTY FOUR
Nick was almost having a panic attack.
“We’ve gotta get them outta there now!” he said to Kevin.
“They’ll be okay on the rocks! Brian’ll have to swim right out to get round to the path! That’d be worse!” Kevin replied.
“Nick, are you definitely sure about this place?” Howie asked, urgently.
“Of course I am! I went out in a boat here once! Believe me, I know this place!” Nick said.
“Brian!” AJ called down to their friend stranded on the rocks.
“Don’t tell him!” Kevin said. “Do you want him and Sammy to panic?”
“I’m not going to tell them!” AJ said. He turned back to stare down at Brian. “Stay on the rocks until help comes, okay? Don’t move!”
“Okay!” Brian’s weak voice called back.
“He doesn’t sound good,” Howie said.
“You don’t say?” Nick snapped. “Could it be that he just fell off of the edge of a cliff and almost drowned?”
“Nick, chill! They’re gonna be all right!” AJ said. “If they stay on the rocks, they’ll be fine!”
Nick nodded glumly. He looked back down. Even from this height, it was obvious Brian was not well. He was not moving as he lie on the rocks.
Suddenly, a black and white police car drew up. A blond headed man jumped out and ran over to them angrily.
“What are you guys doing here?” he snapped. Then he noticed the broken fence and squashed bushes. “What the hell happened?”
“They went over. Pete just drove straight over the edge of the cliff!” AJ said.
Harsen’s face went pale. He peered over the edge and breathed a sigh of relief.. “That’s Sammy and Brian?”
“Yep. The water is real deep there,” Nick said.
“Any sign of Pete?”
“No, it looks as if he didn’t survive,” Kevin replied.
Harsen looked down at Brian and Sammy again. “They okay?”
“I think so but Brian doesn’t sound too well,” Kevin said in concern. “We called the emergency services and they’re sending a helicopter to rescue them.”
Harsen nodded. “Good.”
“Guys!” The call came from below. They all rushed to look down at Brian’s upturned, pale face.
“What?” Nick asked, anxiously looking about the water.
“I’m gonna swim round to the path! Sammy’s not well! I wanna get him outta the water!”
“Don’t!” Nick yelled. “Stay there!”
“I can’t! The waves are almost knocking him off! I’ve got to get to the path!”
“Help will be here soon!” Nick said desperately.
“We can’t wait that long!”
Nick watched in horror as a huge wave washed over the rock. They could barly cling on.
AJ swore. “They’re gonna have to move. They can’t stay there.”
“Brian, listen!” Kevin shouted. “Stay near the cliffs! Don’t go to far out!”
“Okay!” Brian called.
“Will they be okay if they stay near the cliffs?” Howie asked.
“I think so,” Nick replied. “I hope so.”
Harsen was confused. “What’s the problem?”
Brian held onto the rock grimly as a wave splashed over them, almost wrenching his bleeding fingers from the rock. Sammy spluttered as he swallowed more water. He did not want to swim to the path, his muscles ached so much, but he had no choice. If they stayed then the waves would eventually force them off of the rocks and smash them into the cliffs.
He took a few more deep breaths to give oxygen to his exhausted muscles. He prayed he could make it.
“Sammy, come on,” he said gently. “We’re going to get out of here.”
Sammy murmured something unintelligible. He was tired and frightened. Brian couldn’t ask him to stay here. It would be as good as murdering him.
He helped the shivering boy onto his back and made sure he was holding onto to Brian’s shoulders tightly.
“It’s not far,” Brian whispered, as he started to swim.
He felt his muscles scream in agony. This was going to be worse than he had thought. All over his body he felt the stinging of his cuts. His body was resisting the work it had to do. Brian focused on the path and forced himself to keep going.
“Not far, not far,” he told himself.
The salt water swirled around him as Brian swam, but it felt as if the water was much thicker. It was so hard to push and keep going. On top of his fatigue, he could feel his whole body shaking with the cold. The sea was freezing and sent icy shivers up and down his spine. In his ear he could hear the chattering of Sammy’s teeth.
He swam further out and away from the cliffs, where the waves were gentler. His sore arms and legs began to move slower. He couldn’t keep going… it was too much for him…
“Look,” Sammy said, pointing with his finger.
Brian looked up and saw his friends and cousin waiting for him. The path was in clear view now, but Brian could see that it didn’t go all the way down to the bottom. It was not even a real path, just an area where there was enough rocks for a person to climb down. Kevin was waiting closest to the water.
Brian smiled as he saw his journey and ordeal ending. When he got there, he would be safe and then he could go home. He ordered his limbs to keep moving. He began to swim faster. Nearly there, nearly there…
“Brian!” Kevin called.
Brian gasped as he reached his destination. Kevin was perched on a small ledge above the water. He was right, it wasn’t a path but there ware enough handholds for a person to climb down. The ledge was only big enough for one person, though.
The waves were not as fierce here and Brian swam until he was directly under Kevin’s ledge. It was too far up, though. He could pass Sammy up but he would never be able to get up onto the ledge himself.
“Brian. Pass Sammy up to me and then can you climb up?” Kevin asked
Brian stared up at his cousin. It was only a short distance but he would never climb up.
“It’s only a few steps you’ll have to do,” Kevin assured him, seeing his exhausted face. “Then I can pull you up.”
Only a few steps… but those few steps were miles to Brian’s exhausted and battered body.
“O – okay,” he said, leaning on a small pinnacle of rock.
He pulled Sammy off of his back and held him in his arms for a second. “Sammy, you reach up and let Kevin grab you, okay?”
“’kay,” Sammy said, wearily.
Brian gripped Sammy around the waist and gritted his teeth. He wasn’t heavy but Brian would need all of his strength to lift him far enough for Kevin to take him. Kevin leaned down and stretched his arms out, ready to take him.
Carefully, Brian stepped up onto a clump of rocks and stood up. He held Sammy out to his waiting cousin. Sammy’s hand stretched out, ready to be saved. Brian felt Kevin’s arms pluck Sammy from him. He looked up to his cousin holding Sammy close. He gasped. It was okay now. Sammy was safe.
His legs suddenly went weak beneath him. He couldn’t stand any more… He slipped from the rock and back into the gurgling sea which rushed madly to greet him. He grabbed the rock just before he went under and breathed deeply, his eyes closed. He felt dizzy. He could barely breathe. He just wanted to fall asleep.
“Daddy!” He heard Sammy call, but Brian did not have the energy to move.
“Brian!” Kevin yelled, concern evident in his voice. “Brian, don’t you dare pass out!”
Brian heard the words and nodded his head. He had to stay awake. If he didn’t he would die.
“Daddy! Daddy!” There were sobs in Sammy’s voice.
He looked up and saw Kevin climbing back up with Sammy. When he reached the top, he passed him to Howie. Then he began to clamber down again.
“Brian! You’re going to have to climb up a little way! I can’t reach you from where you are!”
Brian didn’t move. He couldn’t.
“Brian, please! It’s not far and then I can pull you up!”
Brian continued to grip his rock. Just a little way… but it was so far…
“Sammy’s crying for you! He needs you! He needs his daddy!”
Brian looked up at Kevin. He had tears in his eyes. “Come on, Brian! Don’t give up now!”
Brian slid from his rock and back into the cruel water. Shivering and gasping he swam the tiny few strokes to the cliff. He felt it’s rough surface with his hands. Somehow he was going to have to climb it. He looked up at Kevin. Such a little way…
He reached up and grabbed a piece of rock jutting out, wincing as it grazed his bloody hand. Then he felt his legs being pulled from beneath him. He cried out as he plunged back into the merciless water.