Friday, July 31, 2015

#FreeDailyReadingFix - Wild Child 1, Part 13

Kyle slipped his hands underneath Briana’s bandaged torso and legs and picked her up.  She put her arms around his neck, and he wove his way through the woods as fast as he could without dropping her.  She felt like she weighed no more than 80 pounds.
He was aware of her looking up at him, her face plaster-white in the moonlight.
“Kyle?” she whispered, as he slowed down to step over a log.
“What?” he said.
“I’m sorry I said you were a major snooze.”
“It’s all right,” Kyle said.
“If I don’t make it, I want you to know that I—“
“Shhh,” he said.  “Don’t talk like that.  You’re going to make it.  Just hang in there.”
When they reached the water, he set her down gently on a rock.  The helicopter was now only about 50 yards away, rounding the point where Briana had entered the water the day before, where the fisherman had been.
Kyle stripped to his underwear and threw his clothes into the bushes, then started putting on the scuba equipment.  After he strapped on the tank, the fins, and the mask, he reached behind his head and opened the tank’s air valve.  He held out the hose to Briana.  “You remember how to be breathing partners?”
“I remember,” she said softly.
He stuck the hose into his mouth and took a few breaths to make sure it was working.
She laughed, surprising him.
“What’s the matter?” he said.
“You look like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.”
Kyle smiled, not because he thought it was funny, but because he hadn’t heard her laugh all day.
 Kyle glanced over at the cooler.  He had planned to take it down with them, but now that he had put on all the scuba gear, it didn’t seem feasible.  He would have to come back by himself and get it while Briana was in the cave, nursing her wounds. 
Kyle hid the cooler behind some bushes.  He glanced up at the helicopter—it was still getting closer.  Hopefully, they wouldn’t spot the jeep while he was gone.
He handed Briana the underwater flashlight.  “Can you hold this while we go down?”
She nodded.  He picked her up in his arms again and carried her into the water.  Now, he really did feel like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, slipping and sliding on the rocks with his fins, descending into the murkiness, carrying a bleeding, blonde maiden in his arms.
When the water was up to Kyle’s waist, the helicopter’s searchlight swept dangerously close to them.  He could even feel wind from the chopper’s rotor as it sent ripples across the surface of the water.  “Hold your breath,” he said, as he leaned forward.  They both slipped into the chilly water.  He immediately pulled her down to the bottom.  A few seconds later, the searchlight beam whisked across the water above them, creating a blinding white flash.  He only hoped the water was too cloudy to see through.
He started swimming along the muddy lake bottom, pulling her with him.  He kept one hand around her waist and followed the downward slope out into the middle of the lake, handing the air regulator to her and taking it back every thirty seconds or so.  As they went deeper, the water felt ice cold.
After a couple of minutes, he was astonished to find that Briana had started swimming herself.  Within a minute or two, she was pulling him along.  She slowed down a little bit, handed him the regulator, and after he put it into his mouth, she surged ahead again, picking up even more speed.
The green water’s got hold of her, he thought.
He stopped kicking, realizing that now it was only slowing them down.  She drove them both forward faster and faster, the water pulling hard on the oxygen tank, the weight belt, and his fins.  He had trouble relaxing, afraid that she would bump into something in the dark, but he knew she was tuned into some kind of internal homing signal that would lead to her sacred spring.
He closed his eyes and finally felt himself relax, letting her pull him deeper and deeper into the blackness, picking up more and more speed, the water roaring past his ears...
In that moment, he completely trusted her, and he felt a strange sense of inner peace.
They soon began to slow down.  He sensed that they were approaching the opening of the cave.  Not a second later, he felt the tentacle-like thing brush against his legs, as he had the first time.
Briana turned on the flashlight.  The opening of the cave was no more than a jagged, two-foot wide hole in the rocks.  He glanced below and let out a small underwater shriek.  There was a huge catfish lying just underneath the opening.  It was fat as a hog, its mouth open, its lips pulsating slowly, revealing a few teeth that looked like miniature elephant tusks.  Kyle’s skin crawled as he realized that he had brushed his leg against one of its thick, spindly whiskers, which were splayed out a couple of feet on either side of its head.
Briana nudged him and motioned for him to swim through the opening.  He didn’t move, wondering if there were more catfish—or worse—on the other side.  She seemed to understand his fear and handed him the flashlight, then swam through the opening herself.  She looked like an injured mermaid in her bloody hospital gown, swimming gracefully through the water, her bandages leaking blood that left swirling, smoke-like trails.
She extended her hand through the opening to help him.  Just before he started to join her, the flashlight beam shined on something that scared him even more than the catfish.  A boulder was poised precariously above and to the left of the opening, one edge propped up on another large, triangular-shaped rock.  The boulder looked like it weighed a couple of tons.  If it slipped, it would completely block their exit.
Kyle heard the sounds of Briana yelling at him underwater.  Before he could protest, she grabbed his wrist, her grip now strong, and literally dragged him through the opening.  He reached for the air regulator, but she yanked him upwards before he could get a hold of it.  They quickly accelerated again.  Fighting the pull of the water, Kyle finally managed to get the regulator in his mouth.  A moment later, they broke through to the surface at the same spot they had the first time, in the big room full of stalactites.
Briana let out a gleeful shriek and helped Kyle climb out of the water.  He took off all the scuba gear and laid it down on the rocks, catching his breath.  She led him away from the water, up the flat boulder, towards the green light.  They soon weaved their way through the gigantic plants and over to the shimmering pool of green water.
Briana threw herself into it, thrashing around, rolling over and over, drinking greedily.  “Thank you, God!” she yelled, her voice echoing crisply off the cave walls.
Kyle just watched her for a while.  She waded out into the water until it was up to her neck, then discarded the hospital gown.  It floated on the surface for a few seconds, then disappeared into the greenness.  She began to carefully unravel her bandages, moaning softly.  But it was a moan of pleasure, not of pain.
She became so engrossed in what she was doing that she seemed to forget Kyle was there.
“Well,” he said, “I better go back and get the cooler.”
She turned his way, then cupped a handful of the green water and held it out to him.  “Are you sure you don’t want to...”
“No,” Kyle said, but with regret.
Briana looked disappointed and let the glowing liquid run out of her hand and back into the pool.
“I’ll be back soon, okay?” Kyle said.

Briana looked at Kyle as if she didn’t want him to leave, but then said, “Okay.”

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