Tag Archives: rescue

Roll of the Dice, Part IV

Continued from Part III.

From the moment of arriving in the town, Stan’s memory was a blur of movement and panic and shouting and chaos. François had got the attention of a medic, who helped Stan finally collapse on a stretcher and be covered with warm blankets until he could be triaged. From this horizontal vantage point he watched as his new friend run through the crowds of injured skiers and rescue teams. There seemed to be a lot of wounded, and it was difficult for François to get attention – he seemed to be gesturing and shouting and pleading for help, competing against the cries of the wounded and the disorganisation and the general feeling of doom.

Though finally warm and wrapped up tightly, Stan felt a cold hand grasp at his heart. He thought of Matilda, the woman he had never met, brought alive solely through François’s description. Was she still out there somewhere? Still alive? Perhaps trapped and hoping, as Stan had himself hoped some hours ago, for a human sound, or the sight of movement not far away. Was it Stan’s fault that she was still out there? It was hard to say, and not a question he wanted to face. He faded from consciousness with a weight upon his shoulders.

It would be many years before Stan saw François again. Stan received a card at the hospital, and then they exchanged letters, detailing subsequent events but never quite touching upon the circumstances of their meeting. Matilda was never found. For Stan, a return to the city was a return to normal life, but a fresh perspective brought him renewed vigour and purpose.

Five years later, he met François in a quiet restaurant one Sunday. He saw a man but a mere shell of his former self. A man caught in the past, a man shredded by the loss of his love. As Stan stared into the eyes of the man to whom he owed his life, he realised that a further rescue was in order.

They returned, together, to the mountain where they met. They searched, and found nothing, and searched some more. When every inch of ground had been gazed upon, François fell upon the snow and sobbed. Stan, at his side, let the sorrow take its course. At last it was over. François stood, weakly, and Stan helped him back to town.

They had paid their respects, and now could go forth stronger than before.

The End


Roll of the Dice, Part II

Continued from Part I.

“What do you mean?” asked Stan. “You were out here looking for her?”

His companion nodded. “She was out skiing when the avalanche started. I haven’t seen her since this morning.”

Stan found himself lost for words. They continued on, rescued leaning heavily on rescuer. They stumbled and shuffled, metre by painful metre, inching through the snow towards town.

“My name is François,” said the man finally. “I am sorry for hesitating.”

“I don’t understand,” said Stan.

“When you shouted, I heard the first time, and I realised I had to make a terrible choice.”

Stan brought their advance to a halt, bringing his weight off François’s shoulder and leaning against a nearby tree.

“So you realised I wasn’t your girlfriend,” said Stan, “and if you came to my aid then you would not be able to search further.”

François nodded.

“Thank you for deciding to help me,” said Stan. “If you left me here I would probably not make it.”

“Quite,” said François. “It’s getting dark and you would freeze as the temperature drops. I couldn’t leave you, I realised that. But now I may never see Matilda again.”

Stan pushed himself upright and took François’s shoulder once more. “Let’s get to the town,” he said. “As quickly as we can. Let’s find people to help look.”

They continued to trudge, but now faster. Stan plunged every foot into the snow with a purpose he had not felt for many years. He felt as if he had been given a second chance, and he feared the price was more than he wanted paid.

To be continued…

Protégé, Part II

Continued from Part I.

“Out of my way, drunk!” an angry passer-by pushed Paul against the wall of the nearest building. He was grateful for the support. He took a deep breath and another step. Carla must be here soon.

A man in a bright red coat jumped into his path.

“Good afternoon, sir, can I interest you in saving some animals today?”

You have got to be kidding, Paul thought. He waved his hand apologetically.

“Alright, well have a good weekend sir.”

A taxi driver stood on his brakes and leant angrily on his horn as Paul stumbled across a side road entrance without looking. Paul was too far gone to summon adrenaline in response. He walked on.

Finally his feet failed him and he collapsed against a wall, sinking down and hitting his head against the paving stone. The rain began to drip off his collar onto his neck, and run up into his ears and nose.

A black car screeched to a halt right beside him. Carla exploded from the back door with a syringe between her teeth. She reached him, ripped open his shirt and stabbed the needle into his side. He could only screw up his eyes and grit his teeth in response to the pain.

Carla grabbed Paul under each arm and dragged him backwards across the wet paving stones to where the car sat. She dragged him awkwardly over the back seat, the belt clips stabbing into his back. Then she reached over and pulled the back door closed.

“Drive!” she shouted at Eric, so loud that he jumped in his seat. “Hospital, now!”

The End

Controller (Part III)

Continued from Part II.

“Jack! Help us!”

The steps down to the platform plunged into a torrential stream of water, sparkling sickly colours under the emergency lights. The water poured from a large crack in the tunnel wall at the far end. It churned and tossed and swept debris down the train tracks, disappearing into the dark behind the stairs where Jack perched.

He peered into the gloom. The Controller was in the water, head just above the raging stream, one bloodied hand at a metal post jutting upward, caught in the fixing that once held a display screen. The Controller’s other arm held up the head of young boy, who flailed his arms furiously against the water.

“His legs are gone!” yelled the Controller. “Ready… catch!” He let go of the boy, who was swept towards the stairs. Jack leapt forward and caught the boy before he went past and dragged him out of the water. “Go! Run!” The ceiling cracked and fell into the water. The Controller disappeared from view.

Jack grabbed the boy and carried him upwards. Up and up and up until the sunlight and the open air hit his cheeks, and they both collapsed into a crowd of paramedics and police. Jack looked back over his shoulder. Then he watched a man, in bloodied shirt and tie and dripping wet, hobble out from the darkness and limp towards him.

“And that,” laughed the Controller, lying down on his back on the pavement, breathing heavily, “is why I’m the boss!”