Thursday, July 30, 2015

#FreeDailyReadingFix - Wild Child 1, Part 12

Chapter 1.17
When they were about five minutes away from the marina, Briana looked over at Kyle and spoke for the first time since they had left the hospital.
“I don’t think I can swim.”
He had hoped that she would have perked up a little when they got closer to the lake, like she had the day before, but she looked worse than ever.
“You don’t have to swim,” Kyle said.  “I brought my dad’s scuba gear.  I’m going to take you down to the cave myself.”
She looked skeptical, and Kyle knew why.  His father only had enough gear for one diver.
“We can share the air tank,” Kyle said.  At that moment, he noticed a pair of headlights in his rearview mirror.  He slowed down a little bit.  Whoever it was slowed down, too, leaving a gap of maybe ten car lengths between them.
“Uh-oh,” Kyle said.
“What’s wrong?” Briana asked.
“I think somebody’s following us.”
They were approaching the road that led to the marina, which was on the right. Kyle turned on his left-hand turn signal and pulled into the left lane.  He watched the other car through the rearview mirror.  Its turn signal didn’t come on, but Kyle saw it slowly move into the left lane behind him.
He immediately flipped his turn signal lever over to the right and pulled over into the right-hand lane.
At first, the car continued on into the left-hand lane, but slowly edged its way back to the right.
Kyle slammed his fist against the steering wheel.  In an instant, everything became clear to him.  He knew it had all been too easy.  He reddened with humiliation, feeling exactly like the naive college boy that Brawn and Brains saw him as.  All that cloak-and-dagger crap with the nun’s habit was a complete waste of time.  He should have known that they would have had a backup plan, just in case he hadn’t shown them the real location of the spring.  They had just been patiently watching and waiting for him to lead them to it.
“What are we going to do?” Briana said, as Kyle pulled up to the stop sign.  The car slowly pulled up behind him.  Kyle could barely make out the silhouette of two men’s heads through the rearview mirror.
“I don’t know,” he muttered.  He couldn’t tell what kind of car it was, but it looked big.  He was sure it could outrun his jeep.
He looked down at the shift lever that put the jeep into four-wheel drive, then looked over at Briana.  “Maybe you better sit down on the floor.”
She seemed to understand what he planned to do.  She slid down onto the floor in front of her seat and rolled into a ball.
He turned right and headed towards the marina, watching the headlights in his mirror.  The car stuck close to them now, as if the occupants knew he was about to try to lose them.  When he came to the road that led down to the boat ramp, instead of turning, he continued to go straight ahead, toward a fenced-in area where large sailboats and trailers were kept.  He followed the road around a curve until the gate came into view.  It was closed, as he knew it would be.  There was a small rock wall on both sides of the road that led to the gate.  Short enough for the jeep to jump over, but too tall for a regular automobile.  At least, Kyle hoped so.
“Hold on,” he told Briana, dropping the shift-lever into four-wheel drive.
Kyle stomped on the accelerator and they zoomed directly toward the gate.  He glanced in the rearview mirror—the car behind them had closed gap even more.  It now trailed only ten or twenty feet behind.
At the last possible moment, Kyle jerked the wheel to the left.  The jeep swerved and lurched over the rock wall, bouncing and bucking violently.  Briana let out a muffled shriek.  He could hear tires screeching behind him.  Through the mirror, he glimpsed the pursuing car as it lurched over the wall, or attempted to.  The front end made it, but the rest of the vehicle was too low-slung to pass over it.  Sparks flew from under its belly as it slid along the wall, like a derailed train.  Two seconds later, it slammed into the chain link fence and came to an abrupt stop.
The jeep careened up the grass-covered hill for a few seconds before Kyle got it under control.  Briana was still screaming—he knew all the bouncing and vibration must have been excruciatingly painful for her, but there was nothing else he could do.  When he reached the corner of the fenced-in area, he turned right and began to slowly pick his way through the thick woods towards the water. 

Chapter 1.18
It was a good fifteen minutes before Kyle finally found that they had reached an impasse.  A huge fallen maple tree blocked their path.  The top of it went all the way down to the water, and the other end was rooted in a gully so deep that Kyle was afraid he might cause the jeep to overturn if he tried to go around it.  But he had driven at least a mile from the marina, maybe farther, following the curve of the lake around to a point within swimming distance of the cave.
He turned off the lights.  Briana let out a long groan.  She was still curled up in a ball in front of the passenger seat.
“Are you all right?” Kyle said, helping her up.
“I’m okay,” she said weakly.  She leaned back against the head-rest and gazed out through the woods at the water.  The moon was out, about half-full.  In the dim light, her face looked as white as porcelain.
“I’ll get the scuba gear,” Kyle said, but she took hold of his arm before he could get out.
“Kyle,” she said, “I can’t make it.  I really can’t.”
“You’ll make it, Brie.  You have to think positively.”
“But I’m bleeding so bad.”  He looked down at her nun’s habit.  Even in the moonlight, he could see that it was soaked with blood.  “Pretty soon my stomach’s going to open up again and—”
“I brought some more bandages,” Kyle said, as he reached into the back seat and pulled out a paper bag.  He got out of the jeep and went around to her side and opened the door.  He ripped open one of the boxes of elastic gauze, and before she could protest, pulled up the bottom of her nun’s habit and started wrapping the bandage tightly around her thigh, not bothering to remove the blood-soaked bandage that was already there.  When he finished, he gently pulled the bloody black garment over her head and tossed it into the bushes, leaving her only in her hospital gown.  The thin, light blue material was blood-drenched from the waist down.
“Let’s do your stomach now,” Kyle said, helping her lean forward.  He tore open another box of gauze, reached under her gown, and wrapped the bandage around and around her midsection.  He ripped open two more boxes of bandages and repeated the process.  “That ought to do,” he said, when he finished.  He glanced down at his blood-soaked hands and arms—they looked like he had just delivered a baby. 
He went around to the back of the jeep and started loading himself down with the scuba equipment—a tank, regulator, mask, fins, a weight belt, and an underwater light.  Just as he set the light on the ground, he heard the tell-tale chop-chop-chop sound of a helicopter somewhere in the distance.
He stepped around to the front of the jeep and scanned the horizon in all directions, but couldn’t see much through all the treetops.  The sound got louder and louder.  Suddenly, a searchlight beam shot down out of the sky off to the left.  The chopper was hovering just above the shoreline, perhaps a half-mile away.
Briana looked over at him, her face pale and frightened.
“Sit tight,” Kyle said.  “I’ll be back in a minute.”  He gathered up the scuba gear and toted it down to the water, keeping an eye on the helicopter.  The chopper was steadily moving towards them, running its searchlight back and forth along the rocky shoreline.  At the opposite end of the lake, perhaps three miles away, he saw a faint cluster of lights and what he thought to be another helicopter.  It was in the same spot where he had told Brawn and Brains the cave was located, at least two miles from the true location.
Kyle hid the gear under some bushes and went back to the jeep.  He had brought a cooler from home, and he unloaded it and set it on the ground.  Inside was a bag of ice and eight sterile baby bottles he had bought when he had gotten the bandages.
Kyle began dumping the ice into the cooler and packed the bottles in it.
“You think it will work?” Briana said, understanding what he was planning.

“It has to work,” Kyle said, glancing through the woods at the helicopter.  It was no more than 200 yards away.  He wasn’t worried about their spotting the jeep—the trees were so thick he was sure it was completely hidden—but they would be completely exposed out on the shore.  He trotted down to the water this time, dropped the cooler in the bushes, and ran back to get Briana.

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