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Chapter 9

He’s Got Legs


When Cindy hit the cold, October water it immediately sucked the breath out of her and she sank straight to the bottom of the river, swallowing water on the way down.  The impact from the fall and the shock from the cold water left her semi-conscious and completely helpless. Ed and Skylar were in the water making a desperate attempt to locate her, frantically yelling her name as they looked and listened for any sign of where she might be. The cold water, the rapids, the depth, all working against them, especially Ed, in shorts and a t-shirt, who was beginning to flounder as the unsympathetic water overwhelmed him. Skylar was not fairing much better, despite being more properly dressed for the weather, as his water-logged jacket now acted as an anchor, every attempt to move forward a struggle for his failing legs.

Brian hit the water with a hard splash and felt his body, heavy also now from soaking wet clothes, quickly sinking just as Cindy had. He decided to let himself sink until he touched the bottom, then, using every fast twitch muscle fiber in his legs, pushed himself off the bottom, against the current trying to hold him under, and shot upwards. Breaking the surface of the river Brian took a deep, life giving breath, then, wasting no time, pointed himself downstream, and, using the current as a guide, began swimming toward the sound of Ed and Skylar calling Cindy’s name. Brian’s legs responded to his urgent kicks and he quickly caught up to Ed and Skylar who were struggling in the frigid river. They were both shocked to see him swimming so quickly towards them.

“Ferco?” What the…?” started a startled Ed.

Brian stopped swimming and cut him off.

“You guys ok?”

“Yes” Skylar replied, clear panic in his voice. Forget us Ferco go get Cindy…go…go!”

Brian took off with a hard kick of his legs, shooting downstream and, taking a deep breath, kicked hard again and dove under the water. He opened his eyes, but it was pitch black, so he stretched his arms out to feel for Cindy, sweeping them back and forth in the water ahead and beside him. Kicking hard and fast as he swam, he quickly moved from one side of the river to the other, his new legs allowing him to cover yards of water in mere seconds. He surfaced every few seconds to take a breath of air. Adrenaline had kept him warm so far, but he was beginning to feel the effects of the cold on his body and knew Cindy didn’t have much time, he had to find her now. As the cold water chilled his body the reality of where he was chilled his mind. He was searching for a drowning girl in the middle of the night in the freezing cold water of Valley Creek.  For the first time in his life Brian felt real fear and thought this is the way tragedies happen, horseplay first, heart break second. He had lost sight of Ed and Skylar and could no longer hear their splashes, just the occasional, desperate yell of “Cindy” hurled into the night air. As he surfaced yet again for a quick gulp of air, he heard a faint splash and gurgle just ahead of him in the water. One swift kick and he was at the spot of the sound. He took a long breath and dove beneath the surface. With each dive under the unforgiving water Brian’s mind grew more aware of where he was, and his imagination ran wild. Every submerged rock he touched was an underwater monster laying to grab him and drown him. Each slimy branch he brushed against was a river snake looking to wrap around him and pull him to the bottom. Groping, he suddenly felt Cindy’s limp body in the inky water ahead of him. He grabbed her and headed to the surface.

Brian felt like his lungs were going to burst by the time he broke the surface of Valley River.  His legs, however, felt stronger than ever and he began to paddle toward the embankment, pulling Cindy’s water-logged body behind him. As he approached shore, he saw Ed and Skylar standing at the river’s edge. They had gotten out upstream and run along the bank, trying to follow Brian as he searched for Cindy.

“Brian, here we are” he could hear Skylar calling out to him.

Near the bank, the water shallowed out and Brian collapsed to his knees. He was exhausted. Ed and Skylar waded toward him and, grabbing Cindy Sandy, pulled her onto the grass and quickly turned her onto her back.

Brian could see that Ed, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, was shivering uncontrollably.

“Better start CPR” he panted to Skylar, who immediately leaned over and began breathing into Cindy’s mouth. After only a few breaths, she began spurting water, so Skylar switched to compressing her chest.

“Any blankets or anything in your car. We have to get her out of these wet clothes?”

“Yeah” Skylar answered. In my trunk some blankets and some clothes not sure what but they are dry.”

“Ed, go grab whatever is there and wrap a blanket around yourself too.”

Ed took off and Brian yelled after him “and call 911.”

Skylar switched back to breathing into Cindy’s mouth and suddenly she moved her head and spit more water.

“She’s breathing on her own” Brian said pulling Skylar away from her with a heavy sigh of relieve.

“How did you find her Ferco?” Skylar said looking up at him.

Brian wasn’t sure himself, trying to relive the last mad minutes in his mind.

“I just kept diving until I felt her”

“No, I mean how did you get into the water and how did you swim that fast you blew right by us?”

Brian was as surprised as Skylar was. His legs not only allowed him to outjump anyone else in the gym, they could also propel him through the water faster than normal people could swim. And, Brian noticed, even after everything he just went through, and as exhausted as the rest of his body felt, his legs felt strong and fresh despite the workout he had just put them through.

“Where is Ed with those blankets” Skylar searched frantically toward the bridge.

Suddenly Ed appeared with an assorted bundle of clothes. He had slipped a hoodie on but was still visibly shivering.

Skylar grabbed several blankets from Ed and wrapped Cindy in them as best he could.

“Did you call 911?’

“Yes, but not sure they understood where we are. Let’s just put her in the car and go.”

“Right, come on help me pick her up”

“I got you” Brian found himself saying, putting his hands under Cindy’s arms as Skylar grabbed her feet.

“One-two-three lift” Brian counted off as he and Skylar picked Cindy up. She let out a small moan as they did.

“Ed, walk ahead of us and we’ll follow you up to the car”

“Right, come on guys and be careful don’t slip”

Brian shivered from the cold night air and his wet clothes felt like a lead weight on his body and it seemed to take forever to get back to the bridge and the car. Finally, Brian could see the dark outline of the bridge ahead and he felt the ground rising as they neared the bank leading up to the road.

“Ed start the car, put the windows up and crank the heater” Skylar urged. “Brian, help me get her into the back seat, then you jump up front with Ed. I’ll try to get her out of these wet clothes.”

Brian opened the rear door and shoved Cindy onto the back seat as best he could.

“You got her?” he asked Skylar and when Skylar nodded Brian ran around to the other side, opened the door, crawled across the seat, and pulled Cindy in. He jumped out and slammed the door then jumped into the front seat, spinning around to watch Skylar climb in and close the door.

“Go Ed” he urged and as Ed pushed the accelerator down the car tore away from the shoulder of the road.

“She’s really cold but she’s breathing” Skylar said from the back seat, then looked at Brian. “If not for you, she’d be dead.”





Submitted: April 04, 2019

© Copyright 2020 Gary192837465. All rights reserved.


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