Jake let the rain slide down his face as the paramedic stood in front of him. “Nah, man you don’t understand. He looks like just me.”
“I am sorry son, but he fell”, the Paramedic answered.
“You got the wrong man, man. My bro is an expert climber. He’s a search and rescue just like me. So stop the bullshit and let me see him.” The water continued to fall down from the sky at a fast rate. The lights from the cars reflected off the back, glistened pavement as the big, green conifers swayed in the background. The paramedic stared at the young climber with weary eyes. His face was pale from the rain and his wrinkled face looked tired. His chapped lips did not tremble, but his eyes looked like they lost its luster. He stared at the young man in front of him, but his eyes did not focus.
“Don’t fuck with me!” Jake shoved the paramedic. “Where’s my fucking brother!?”The paramedic stood there as the Jake shoved him repeatedly. He tried to tell the boy that is brother fell, but it was far from the truth. “Where the fuck is he you fucking prick! He was just right there. He had the girl…”
Men rushed in grabbing Jake as he started yelling and shouting. The red and blue lights flickered around like a lighthouse, occasionally hitting the faces of the men and woman trying to figure out what exactly happened. They came to help the people that they already knew they could not, but they knew they had to help the ones still standing. The paramedic looked down as two police officers escorted him to a young woman in a stretcher. Men, woman, and children that were running around looked like bees repairing a damaged hive. Chaos had swarmed everywhere, but no one wanted to admit it. Five men dead and those were the facts.
A helicopter hovered over the field beside the emergency vehicles. Four men and a woman jumped out of it all with their mountain climbing gear on. No one uttered a word as they moved in unison towards the vehicles carrying a body bag. A young woman was escorted by the police as the guided her away from the mess. Two hours ago, 911 dispatch units received a call for help when 4 men died on a mountain. A woman was stuck on its cliff and the climbers were sent to rescue her. A textbook scenario unfortunately turned south. One rescue climber died in saving the young woman’s life.
Jake fell to his knees as one of the police officers standing next to him tried to grab him from falling onto the wet underbrush. The five climbers who were escorting the body bag broke unison to comfort the poor boy. The young woman looked over through the blackened rain as she saw the men and woman responsible for her live all stop to see the young man cope with the death of his brother.
Her dirty blonde hair stuck to her face from the grime and sweat that kept her alive waiting to be rescued. But if she knew the outcome and the aftermath, she would have cut the rope sooner…to have her life taken with another saved. But she did not know what the mountain was capable of. If indeed it was the mountain or the equipment….or even the person responsible, there were still five casualties and the ones left behind indeed wondering why a man sacrificed himself so another could live? Was the fall line in-tact? Was there a belay indeed in position or was the rope not adequate for two people? Could she have shed a couple pounds? Should another rescuer had come in and saved her? But she did not know. Nor did anyone else know. The young man’s eyes told it all. No one could ever know if there was an alternative to save two people. The five died because they had no fall line in place, but one died with one in-tact. But she saw his anguish…his hate. Hate for her…no, hate for the mountain and himself was very much alive.
She wished there was something she could do, but she felt lost. The man’s eyes stung hers as tears feel down her checks. Was there anyway she could help this man? She did not know but she knew it would be a long time before she could shake those eyes from her head. The same eyes the man who saved her life looked at her with. The same, but different. One in anguish, the other in comfort.
The ambulance pulled away from the chaotic scene. She knew it would be a long time before she could climb again. But she knew she would eventually come back to it. She had to. Not for herself, but the young man who lost his brother. To tell him what the other said to her.