Sunday, 24 July 2011

It All Started With A Stumble #8

We swam to the left of the spit of rock, trying to move silently through the chilly water. At first we would take deep breaths and glide underneath the surface of the lake, in hopes of not attracting to much attention from watching eyes. However the temperature of the water made this tricky and we eventually gave it up. 
We had swam nearly eight hundred meters, making for the area where the valleys encircling cliff came to meet the water and run around the lakes shore. As we reached the rock wall we became aware just how high the cliff was. We had no hope of climbing all the way up it. However, not twelve feet up the side of the cliff, there appeared to be a little shelved recess set back into the rock. Further more, it seemed that the only way to reach this recess would be by climbing up from the water, providing some safety. 
"We need to get out of this water and rest. I think that shelf is about the safest place we are gonna find around here."
"As long as the raptors can't get us, I don't mind a bit of climbing." With that Rose swam over to the wall and started pulling herself up the rocks.
It was difficult going, the rocks were wet and covered with a slimy yellow, green moss that broke away from the wall when you thought you had a hold. Above me I saw Rose go over the lip of the recess and then reach down to me. I took her hand and she helped me the last of the way. 
We both collapsed on to our backs and lay there for the longest time not making a sound. The rock was delightfully warm from the midday sun and helped to dry us out in little time at all. Eventually Rose rolled over on to her stomach and peered off to the left, her gaze running back along the cliff towards the valley. 
"They're still there." She said softly. 
I crawled over and lay next to her and followed her line of sight. Sure enough the five remaining raptors were all standing at the point where the shore met the cliff, jumping up and down excitedly. 
"Matt, do you think they will leave? Lose interest?"
"I wouldn't count on it. They seem pretty determined." I didn't think it was worth mentioning that I thought they may very well know how to swim.
"Well, what do we do?"
I reached into my back pocket, happy to still find my compass there, I took it out and we studied the needle. The little metal hand pointed with surety out over the water.
"What? Are we going to have to walk around the lake?"
"Mmm maybe." I was not so sure about that, "I think we should sleep on it."
"I'm getting pretty thirsty." Rose said.
"You what? Thirsty? We were almost drowned an hour ago, you can't be serious. Why didn't you drink on the swim over here."
"Get the hell out Matt! I had a few other things on my mind. Dinosaur slaying maybe all fun and games for you buddy but I am most likely going to be in therapy for the rest of my days. If we ever get out of here that is."
"You're right, I'm sorry. Well I will just climb down and..."
"I don't think that's going to be such a good idea." Rose was looking back along the line of the cliff where the raptors were slowly wading out into the water. 
"Balls! I thought so." I said.
"You thought what?"
"I thought they might be able to do that."
"What? swim? Jesus."
"Yeah, well I doubt very much they will be able to climb up here from the water. So maybe if I am quick I can go down..."
"The hell you will, that's a retarded idea." I had to agree, I was not the best climber.
"Well you're not going down there either so don't even let that enter your head love." Rose smiled at me when I said this and I was not so sure why back then. 
"Okay I have an idea. Take off your belt." She just stared at me and raised an eyebrow.
"I still think this is only classed as our first date buddy."
"Look, maybe later," I smiled, "But for now would you just give me your belt?"
"Maybe later? You're lucky you killed a dinosaur for me Matty boy." She said half under her breath as she removed her belt.
"Oh and your shoe laces." I added as I removed my laces and belt.
Once I had them all in front of me I began to tie them all together. The resulting length still was not long enough to reach the surface of the water. So I tore one of the sleeves off of my long sleeved t-shirt and began to tear it into ribbons. After I had knotted these on to our make shift rope its length made it to the water with a foot to spare.
"This is great and very clever but we don't have a bucket." Rose said.
"I know how this will sound but... can you take off your shirt?"
"You are kidding right?"
"look, trust me would ya? You don't want to drink out of mine do you? The thing is soaked in blood" I had checked and the bleeding had stopped once we were out of the water but the t-shirt was still covered in the stuff. I hadn't looked at the cuts yet however.
"You're smooth Matt."
"Hardly. Are you thirsty or not?"
"Fine." With that Rose pulled off her t-shirt and handed it to me.
"Mind on the task?" She said and i realised I was staring, hey I was fifteen.
"Ah yeah, sorry."
I took the t-shirt, bunched it up and then tied it to the end of the rope. The Raptors were now half way from the shore to our shelf, still plenty of time. I lowered the shirt down and let it sit on top of the water. Slowly it sunk beneath the surface and I felt the weight increase slightly on the line. After a few moments I quickly pulled the shirt back up.
"Head back." I said and Rose tilted her head back.
Taking the shirt I wrung it out over Rose's mouth and she managed to get a decent drink.
"Not bad Matty." She said smiling. 
We repeated the process a few more times and we both eventually drank our fill, the water tasting ever so slightly like Rose's perfume. 
Afterwards we lay her shirt out on the rocks so that it could dry before the sun went down. A cool breeze had started blowing in from across the lake and we retreated to the corner of our shelter. We put our backs against the, still warm, shelf wall and I pulled Rose close. He bare skin feeling much to cold. 
As the sun finally set the sky turned a brilliant orange, some where across the water a pillar of smoke was rising into the twilight sky, smog black against the many shades of orange. 
"Look!" Rose whispered pointing into the fading light.
Above us, gliding on the last warm air currents of the day, where three pterosaurs. Each with huge wingspans. They circled nearby a few times then settled on to the cliffs some where over our heads.
"I don't think they will bother us tonight." I tried to reassure Rose. 
But she wasn't listening, just staring fixedly out at the water. The last rays of sun had hit the water making it look like one big orange sheet of reflective tinfoil, dazzlingly bright. Except in one spot about two hundred meters out from the cliff.
Here there seemed to be a hole in the surface of the lake around which the water swirled down like water running out of a plug hole. I pulled out the compass again. The needle pointed directly at the strange anomaly. Just as I had thought, it didn't look like we were going to need to walk around the lake after all.
Bellow our ledge, our old friends had arrived. We could hear the raptors splashing and chirping at the base of the cliff as the last light faded.

To be continued...

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