Mark of the Shadow Part 9: Trouble on the Great Lake
Miss the beginning? Start with part 1.
It was a bit scary, but I knew Rolphs plan wouldn’t fail. All I had to do was stay on the boat and Rolph would breath through me. I don’t know how it worked any more than I did the iron horse but I’d learned to stop questioning these things.
I watched Rolph dive down into the lake’s depths I was reminded that he was doing this all for me. Whatever Rolph’s purpose for being here was, saving me certainly wasn’t it, but here we were just the same.
Me n’ Carlson looked at each other from opposite sides of the boat. I could tell we were both afraid to talk. He pulled out a piece a parchment and started sketching something. He’d look up occasionally from his paper at the lake, or me. I just thought about breathing, which you never thought would be hard till it’s all you can think about.
Still I don’t consider it a good thing that it took a gunshot to get me to realize my surroundings. Carlson pushed me down hard onto the boats rough hull, and we lay there silently, his eyes directly across from mine.
There was an answering shot. Then a few more, than one hit the boat. Wood splintered and a gut retching sound erupted from Carlson. I could hear yelling from the shoreline, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I could make out the screams though. Carlson gripped me as water began to overtake us.
“I ain’t gona make it,” he said to me.
I shook my head, “Course you are. Just got to plug that hole.” I lifted my head to look at the leak. My heart sank. It wasn’t no leak, a good foot around of the boats deck had been destroyed. We were sinking fast.
“Carlson you gota get up, we can’t stay on the boat.”
“My leg, I don’t think I can move it.”
I didn’t want to look. “Look we have to get out of here!” I felt, more than heard a gunshot sing past us. I threw the two oars out onto the lake wishing against odds that they would float. I began to roll Carlson off the boat real slow. He was just too heavy for me, and he was screamin bloody murder the whole time. I put my shoulder under him and gave a mighty push. He rolled off with a heavy splash.
Dang. He was sinking. Where was the fight in him?
I jumped off towards the paddles, the cold water enveloped me. I grabbed onto the paddles, just as the icy cold water began to stiffen my joints. My lungs felt compressed, and breathing was getting harder. Using the paddles to keep myself afloat I kicked my way over to Carlson, and placed one of the paddles under his arms.
That got his attention. He grabbed onto the paddles, and lifted himself up.
“Come on, we have to swim away,” I said kicking away from the sounds of killing.
“What about Rolph,” Carlson said his voice raspy.
“He’ll find a way. He has too.”
The going was slow. Carlson couldn’t use one of his legs, which made it awkward to swim, and it was so cold our muscles refused to push us any faster than a snail. It was a constant struggle, with the cold water, the colder wind, and the oars which seemed to disintegrate as we went. Our journey led us to a muddy shore. We clambered out; it must have now been close to nighttime, for the sun was on its way out. We were freezing, and we didn’t know what to do. Rolph was gone. The only one of us who knew how to survive out here, Rolph, the one who would know what to do was gone. We didn’t have any supplies, and we couldn’t move. We were too cold besides I don’t think Carlson could have moved with that leg of his anyhow. Carslon’s leg didn’t seem to be healing, and the scar on my face was burning once again. Of course it decided to pain me now.
We slept, or at least Carlson did in the mud. I mostly lay there thinking over the past few days of my life. Could war really be the cause of all this? Could we be the result of so much wrong doing?
I suppose I must have slept for I woke up, but I didn’t feel rested. I felt just the opposite. I was still cold and wet, I was some how more tired, and I still didn’t know where we were. Carslon was still out. His leg was bloody, and caked with mud. Surprisingly enough I wasn’t hungry. Count your blessings I suppose.
The air smelled strange and a low fog hung over the ground. I had to get up. Course I felt like an old woman, but I had to do something. I had to get us out of this. The only sound I heard was the chirping a few birds back and forth.
I made my way out of the mud into the high grass that met the shore. I walked a bit further and found a tree that I could climb. Atop the highest branch I could get to I saw two mountains facing each other in one direction, the city in the other, the lake, and finally more mountains in the distance. I couldn’t see much of the lake, or its surrounding shores due to the fog. Well this was disappointing. I started to head down, but then I saw a group of people traveling, a few on horseback the rest walking along in the direction of the twin mountains. They were traveling slowly, so I figured I could catch up with them if I ran. Not that I wanted to, but this was my best shot at help.
I jumped off the tree and started runnin after them. I hoped Carlson would be ok untill I got back.