Amy decided that she had been out here long enough. Time to move into land again and take her chances. She flipped back over on her back and started to slowly kick her feet. This propelled her thru the water at a nice easy pace which gave her plenty of time to think of what to do next. She believed that morning couldn’t be too far off and at that time she could start heading back to shore. She also knew that she needed to do that soon, she had been really lucky so far, in that the blood from her injuries had not attracted any of the creatures that usually fed in these waters. She felt that as long as she kept her movements smooth and unhurried that they would not think she was an injured fish and come after her. She was a little nervous about that, but there was nothing else that she could do at this point, so she just went with the flow.
As she drifted along she tried really hard to feel the direction of the tide, that would be the only way that she could determine where the shore was in the dark. This wasn’t working out so good, and she thought it was because she had been in the water too long. She wasn’t sure WHY that should matter, but it’s where her thoughts led her, so she went there.
Amy was having a hard time putting all the things that had happened to her into any kind of perspective. She was intuitive enough to know that the trauma had caused her to lock a portion of herself away in order to survive, but she didn’t know what she should be feeling or doing or anything. Nothing in her young life had prepared her even a little bit for this kind of horror. She had grown up in a neighborhood where everyone knew everyone else and nothing bad had ever happened to her. At least not that she could remember. There were the usual childhood type injuries, falling out of trees, skinned knees and bike accidents, but nothing of any significance in her whole entire life. She was ill equipped to handle a situation like this. She felt sure that her escape had been purely luck and not some innate knowledge that this wild ploy would actually succeed. She knew that things like this happened to other people but had never given it much thought. Nothing like that could ever happen to HER. But it had, and here she was just floating along again, letting the current carry here. “Oh no!” she thought “my mind is wandering, I NEED to focus!” She forced herself to think about what was happening right now and not go haring off in some wild direction to keep her from acknowledging her danger. She really was losing it…there was nothing else that could be happening here. She just could not seem to keep focused and didn’t know what to do. She was starting to feel that she had not really done herself any favors by fighting for her life. If she had stayed, those men would have ended up killing her, but it most likely wouldn’t have taken much longer for that to happen. This way she was either going to go crazy or drown or be attacked by a shark or….
“NO!!” she thought. “That is the way to think if you WANT to die! Now STOP that right now!” She figured out that if she had to work to stay afloat she would have a better chance of being able to keep her mind on her problem, so she flipped over onto her stomach and made herself do a slow crawl. After a few minutes she thought that she could feel some pull towards her left, so she gradually turned in that direction and continued to swim, slowly to be sure, she was very tired, but surely. She WAS going to survive, no matter what. And after she was safe again she would find a way to make sure this didn’t happen to any other woman, she promised herself this, she would find a way. But for now, she swam.
Meanwhile, the four young people that was walking for help were still walking. They had picked up the pace again, after the car had passed, they had a greater sense of urgency now, thinking that the men might be going after the others and they were the only hope for any of their friends. It seemed like an eternity before they saw a light, but finally they did. Far down the road was a light, they couldn’t tell if it was a house, a store or a phone booth, but they knew it wasn’t a car!! They started running just as fast as they could to get to the help they knew they would find there. It didn’t take long before they were all out of breath, but they tried to keep running. Nope, they ended up having to stop for a minute, panting and leaning over, they resented their inability to move faster, people were counting on them!!! It was up to them to get the help their friends needed and they were pooping out. It wasn’t right. But it didn’t take them long and they were running again.
Bret had worn himself out. What with the attack and Amy missing and waiting in the dark and not being able to find the keys and feeling so helpless that he could just scream, he was totally exhausted. He didn’t know what to do next. Sitting here crying sure wasn’t the way that he had always imaged he would behave if he were ever in a bad situation. He would be the hero! He was big and strong and young and smart. No one could get one over on him. He would protect the women and children and chase the bad guys right on outta town. THAT was the Bret he had always seen in his mind when he looked. And that was not the Bret he was seeing in reality right now. How could this be happening to him? He knew that it was Amy they needed to worry about right now, but he could only feel the inadequacy, the sense of failure and the complete helplessness, and that made him even more ashamed.
Fred suddenly stood up. He cocked his head to the side and listened.