We sat in that bus for hours. “How will anyone even know we’re in here?” One girl with wild red hair asked. “Believe me, search teams look EVERYWHERE.” Louis replied dryly. None of us knew what to do. I was drained from crying over Ali and I was shaking like a leaf. Louis kept shooting me concerned looks but I just ignored them. A girl I had only known for three weeks was making me shut down.
Ali wasn’t just some girl. My brain said, she meant something to you. I rubbed my temples. That didn’t matter now. I had to pick myself up and keep moving forward. That’s when it hit me, Ali was the only thing I had left to live for. Now I had no one to keep safe or protect, it was just me. Even with a bus full of other kids, I was completely alone.
I perked up when a knocking sound came from the side of the bus. “That would be our rescue team.” Louis said, standing up. We all looked at the broken window above, waiting for a face to appear. I frowned when I saw a small boy’s face appear at the window. “They’re alive!” He shouted down to someone. All we could do was standing there confused until some actual grown-ups came to the window.
“You’re all going to be okay, we’re going to get you out of here.” One guy said slowly. “Oh brother, please don’t tell me you’re the rescue team.” Louis mumbled a little too loudly. The man shot him a look and went back to talking. “You’re going to have to help each other up here.” He explained, and instantly people started arguing about who gets out first.
“Ladies first” The girl with the wild red hair smirked. The guys all groaned but agreed. We helped them up to the hole in the window, one by one. “Now who goes first?” Louis asked. “Lightest to heaviest” I thought out loud. The guys nodded and discussed their weight. Louis was one of the first ones up, and I was the fifth. I squinted in the sunlight as I was pulled through the window.
The mud was flowing like a river all around us, and it was impossible to tell where we were. The bus had only stopped rolling because its tail end was caught on land. I was still confused about these people that were helping us. It was two men a woman, and that little boy. No matter what, I was happy to be out of the bus. I hopped off the bus and down onto the ground, that was still squishy from the effects of the mudslide.
It was harshly cold and I decided it was very early morning. I smiled when the little boy ran over to me and pulled me over to a fire that the others were warming up around. Once everyone was out we all sat around the fire and pressed our rescuers for information. “So, you aren’t actual rescue workers are you?” One girl asked as she inspected her nails. That made me laughs because surely her nails were nothing special after all of that. “No, we aren’t rescue workers.” The woman replied simply.
“So who are you and why were you here?” Trust Louis to ask the important questions. “I’m John, and that’s my brother Matt, my wife Sandra, and my son Carter.” John explained. I should’ve thought they were a family. The little boy had light blonde hair like his Dad.
“To answer your second question, when the mudslide hit we were in a car. We got out in time and climbed a tree.” Matt said, looking over to a large tree a few feet away. “So that used to be…” I trailed off, looking at the rushing river of mud not far from us. “…A road, yes” Sandra nodded. We sat in silence for a moment, considering all of that information.
“At least now we can wait for a rescue team on land, right?” A boy with curly black hair laughed, but no one really had a sense of humor at that point. Everyone was thinking more or less the same thing, if my family wasn’t dead then, they must be now. After a couple of hours the fire burnt out and we started feeling the chill of the day again. I volunteered to go and get more firewood. I thought it was the least I could do, and it would be nice to have a walk alone for a while.
Well that’s what I thought until Louis jolted up and decided to come with me. I moaned inwardly as we strolled through the trees. The woods seemed to get denser and denser as we moved further in. We picked up dead wood and Louis whistled a tune that I couldn’t recognize. I was about to ask what song it was when I spotted something in the distance.
We had stayed quite close to the river of mud so we could follow it back to camp. “What’s that?” I asked Louis, nudging his arm. “Umm, it’s a car?” He said sarcastically. “I mean on top of it, does that look like a person to you?” My heart started to beat louder in my chest. What if it’s Ali? “If that’s a person, he or she isn’t moving so I suggest we stay away.” Louis shrugged, going back to looking for wood.
I couldn’t stop my mind from wondering about Ali. I dropped the wood and ran in the direction of the car. “Sam, stop what- where are you going!?” Louis called after me. I heard him drop his pile of wood too and ran after me. I stopped a few feet away from the car.
There was no denying it. That was Alice Mclean.
But she wasn’t breathing.
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