I'm not sure how long we held onto that telephone pole. It didn't seem much use letting go just to be pulled back into the rough current. After what I can only guess was a few hours, the rain died down and I glanced around properly for the first time. It was as if I was all alone. Everything and everyone else was buried under a blanket of water.
The pole started to shake and I turned around, thinking it was going to fall down. But it was just the girl. I forgot she was even there. We hadn't talked at all. I threw a concerned look at her. She had pitch black hair and blue eyes. Even with me staring at her, she didn't look up. The look on her face made me think she was in severe pain.
"Are you okay?" I asked. Her head snapped up and she glared at me. I realized that was a really dumb question to ask. Obviously she wasn't okay. I wasn't even okay. "I'm bleeding." She said quietly. I was surprised she talked to me. She hoisted herself up so that she was standing on one of the metal strips. I couldn't help but gasp at the red patch on her stomach. "How did that happen?" I asked as she lowered herself back into the water.
When she didn't answer I decided to ask a different question. "You're not from here are you?" She shook her head. "I'm just visiting. I'm from Dublin." I smiled, "I've always wanted to go to Ireland." She smiled back and for a moment I forgot where we were. "My name's Sam." I said finally. "I'm Alice, but you can call me Ali if you want." Ali replied.
"My Dad was taking me here for a stress-free holiday after he divorced my Mum and got custody of me." Ali started saying, and I realized she was about to answer my previous question. "We were driving along a sand road, and when it started pouring the taxi got stuck. The water started pouring in and suddenly the power seemed to go off and the taxi driver couldn't unlock the doors. My Dad grabbed a suitcase and threw it through the window, shattering the glass. He climbed through it and pulled me out after him, but I got caught on the glass." Ali took a deep breath.
I was shocked. I had so many questions to ask her, but I decided that now wasn't the greatest time. It was obvious that just telling me that story was tough enough. "I think the water is going down." She said suddenly. I looked down and saw that it had gone down a few inches.
It took about four more hours for the water to go down. Well, after that long it had gone down far enough that Alice and I could climb down the metal pegs and into the calm water. It was flowing slowly and was still up to just past our shoulders. "We have to find some shelter." I said as I helped her into the water. Ali looked confused. "You didn't think I was going to leave you behind?" I said, and I meant it.
What would be the point of going separate ways? Besides, I couldn't bear the thought of being alone. We walked slowly through the grimy waters. I went first, being careful not to step on anything sharp or bump into anything. Alice was close behind me and walked in the exact places a stepped. "I hope you don't step on any dead bodies." Ali said quietly.
Now, at first I was startled by that comment. But it turned out that Alice was a huge pessimist. If something went right, she would have something bad to say. And if something went wrong, well let's just say, don't count on any encouragement.
I shook it off instantly, not letting that thought stop me. After another few hours I could feel my eyelids sagging. The sky was turning orange, and I wondered how long I had been awake for. Was it days? Alice slipped her hand into mine. It was more for support than anything. She looked as if she was going to pass out at any second. I knew that we had to find a place to sleep soon, but it seemed like we were in the most deserted part of the valley!
My eyes widened as I saw something in the distance. If I squinted I could see that it was some sort of bar or restaurant. I pointed it out to Ali and she livened up instantly. We waded towards it as fast as we could. As we approached it, I saw it was a restaurant. It had wooden walls, and was thin with two storeys. It didn't look in great shape, but I was happy just to touch some dry ground.
The first floor was still flooded, but it only reached out waists. Only the first two steps were covered by the murky water. "Hello?" I called out and it echoed through the walls. There was no answer. I went up the first steps and pulled Alice up after me. The wooden stairs creaked loudly as we made our way up. Just before we reached the top, a woman appeared in the doorway.
"What do you want?" She demanded. "We need a place to stay." I said. "You can't stay here; we don't have enough food for anymore." The woman was short and round and she had a frown permanently on her mouth. "Okay, well can we at least come up so I can patch my friend up?" I asked turning to my side and showing Ali, whose shirt was officially redder than green. The woman looked Ali up and down, sighed, and said, "Come in then."
Alice and I looked around the upstairs of the restaurant curiously. The tables and chairs were pushed to one side of the room, and there were six other people in total there. One looked like he was the chef, and the rest looked like waitresses, except the woman that let us in. I think she was the manager.
They all nodded at us as we cautiously walked in. "The bathroom is over there." The woman said. "Do you have any spare cloths?" I asked. One of the waitresses handed me a cloth from behind her. "Thank you." I lead Ali into the bathroom and shut the door.
"Okay, lift your top up." I said as I ran the cloths under some cold water. "Pardon me?!" Alice said angrily. At that moment I realized what I had just said. "Well, I meant that, that isn't what I meant…" I stuttered. Alice snorted and started laughing. "That wasn't funny." I said, relieved. She obediently lifted up her shirt enough so that I could see her wound. I wanted to walk away, or maybe puke, but I didn't.
I told her to turn around and I started to wrap the cloth around her tightly. Thank goodness for emergency training class. I thought. No one ever took that class seriously, but I'm glad I actually listened. Ali cried out in pain. "Does it have to be so tight?" She asked through gritted teeth. "Sorry, it has to be." I replied as I knotted the ends together.
"I'm done." I said. Alice turned around, and actually passed out. Luckily I caught her before she hit the ground. I pulled her out of the bathroom. The woman sighed again as I struggled to pull Ali into the main room. "Peter, help him." She said. Peter stood up and picked up Alice. He carried her over to where everyone was sitting, and placed her down. The woman took a pillow cushion and placed it under Alice's head.
"You can stay here tonight." She said, and motioned for me to sit in their circle. She gave me some French bread and a glass of water. I was tired too, but I gladly ate and drank first. Peter prompted me to tell them how we got there, and I did.
"You're a good kid, Sam. Not many people would have done that." One of the waitresses said. That confused me. I couldn't think of a person that would leave her behind. I thought about what would happen if I had left Ali behind. I could never have lived with the guilt of knowing I could have saved someone but chose not to, I decided.
I don't believe that waitress. I lay down that night and thought of every person I knew. Every one of them would have helped Alice. Then I had to stop because thinking about my family and friends just made me think about all the people that could either be dead or alive. Or maybe they were horribly injured. Or they could even be in my situation, wondering around, thinking they were all alone.