CHAPTER THIRTY SIX
Brian heard the splashing as Pete chased after him. He was gasping after only a few seconds. He couldn’t keep it much longer. He would never out swim Pete to the cliffs! He wanted to rest… he wanted Sammy back.
Pete lunged for him and Brian dived down under the surface. It was his only option. He could swim quicker underwater. Maybe he could lose him somehow…
He did not dare look behind him as he swam, he just ordered himself to carry on. then he saw the shadow to his right and Pete was upon him. Bubbles of air were forced through Brian’s lips as Pete’s mammoth arms squeezed the air out of his lungs. Water began to rush into his mouth and Brian felt the awful wave of nausea as the water ran down his throat. He thrashed madly but his attempts became weaker as his body began to run out of oxygen and more water flowed into him. He opened his eyes and saw blood… then he saw the sleek, dark shadow gliding towards them…
He struggled with pure panic and kicked his legs until Pete’s grip loosened upon him. He kicked his attacker away and rushed towards the surface and the refreshing air it would provide for his lungs.
He gasped as he broke the surface, but he could barely stay afloat. The cliffs were closer now, but he would never make it. His body would never take him that far.
Pete emerged from beneath him and pushed him away. Brian gave a half hearted cry as Pete hit his bloody arm. He could feel his body beginning to succumb to the sea. He kept sinking beneath the waves. Pete laughed as his foe spluttered and struggled to stay afloat. He was terrified. he had always feared drowning or suffocation. The thought of running out of oxygen and being powerless to breathe… it gave him an icy feel to his stomach, worse now that his worst fear was becoming horrifying reality. He was going to die and he wasn’t ready.
“I’m going to watch you drown,” Pete hissed.
Brian looked about him fearfully.
‘I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die!’
Sammy stayed close to Nick as he watched Brian fighting for survival. It was becoming more and more difficult for him to see, though. His head hurt and his eyesight was becoming more and more blurry by the minute. He was cold, icy cold. A sickness sat in his stomach as he saw Brian battling with Pete on the waves.
He coughed a few times. His throat hurt. He could feel the coldness inside of him, even with Howie and Nick’s coats wrapped around him. He began to cough even more. He couldn’t stand, his legs felt like water.
Nick caught him as he sunk to the ground. Sammy pressed closer to his warm body and shivered.
“You’ll be okay, Sammy. Help will be here soon,” Nick said.
“Want Daddy,” Sammy murmured. He closed his eyes as the tears started up again. He cuddled Nick close, wishing it were Brian.
Suddenly, a loud whirring noise overhead caught his attention. He looked up to see a red, fuzzy object flying towards them.
“The helicopter’s here,” Howie said. “You’ll be all right now, Sammy.”
“Daddy,” Sammy said. He turned his head to try and look back out to sea.
“He’s still out there, Sammy,” Kevin said. “He’ll be with you soon. You’ll get your daddy back.”
“NO!” Pete shrieked, as he saw the helicopter approaching the cliff.
Brian smiled with relief. Help was coming. Just a few more minutes and he would be safe with Sammy.
“My son!” Pete screamed. “Don’t take him you bastards! He’s my son!” Brian could see him visibly trembling with pure fury. He turned to swim back but he would never make it in time and he knew it.
Pete turned to Brian. His eyes glittered with an evil malevolence. The look alone made Brian go cold. He wasn’t safe yet…
Brian knew what that look meant. He was dead now. He tried to swim away but Pete grabbed his leg and yanked him back.
“You,” he said through gritted teeth. “You bastard! This is your fault! You should have let me kill you quicker and then I could have got my son away from your freaky, fucking friends! I’ll kill you!”
Brian screamed as Pete punched him in the face. He felt the pain rupturing round his jaw. He could not take this, not for much longer. He tried to dive under again but Pete gripped him tighter. Brian looked into his cruel, crazy eyes and realised that Pete had no intentions of letting him escape. He rained another pounding blow upon Brian, this time in the stomach. Brian felt his muscles tighten with the pain.
He looked up and saw the helicopter land upon the cliff top. Sammy was safe and he would be as well, but he had to hang on. He kicked his legs out to try and wriggle free and felt his trainer connect with Pete’s knee. He howled in pain and rage. Brian began to swim away again, his nerves making him unsteady. He kept expecting to be pulled beneath the waves. He knew his blood had already attracted some unwelcome visitors and that the kicking would have made it even worse.
He focused his eyes on the cliff. The helicopter was taking off again. Behind him he heard the roars of Pete as he struggled to catch his victim. Brian felt tears in his eyes. He wanted to go home. He wanted to be home with Sammy. He wanted to see his family and friends again.
The helicopter turned slowly to head out to sea. Brian waved his hand frantically as he ducked beneath the waves again, swallowing salt water in the process. Pete continued to thrash towards him. Brian took a deep breath. He had to keep away from Pete, just for a few minutes longer… he dived back under the water. He found himself face to face with a grey, pointy nosed fish. Two tiny, black eyes and rows of jagged teeth looked back at him.