If Your Life Depended on It
The PlanI would follow my footprints all the way up the path that the boulders took him down, and from there we could find our path! I was starting to get excited, then I stopped dead in my tracks. Mason can’t walk, he’s too weak, I reminded myself, and there was no way I would leave him here undefended. I would just have to carry him somehow. I resumed my pacing, this time thinking of a way that I could carry him without too much strain on my body. I couldn’t think of anything besides the piggy-back, if he could manage that. When he was on my back, I would then tie a rope around him and I to help him stay on my back. I just hoped that wouldn’t be uncomfortable for him.
Mason made a long, low groan as he opened his eyes. I quickly knelt down beside him, checking to see if he was fully alert. He smiled at me, and it was the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. It was the smile that signified how strong he really was, and that he would do anything to protect me. I smiled back, and my heart filled with happiness. I laid down next to him, never breaking away from his gaze, and I gently put my arms around him. We scooted closer to the fire for warmth, never letting go of each other, and he just kept smiling. I was exhausted, but I hated to miss one moment of his happy face.
“Kylie, it’s ok. Go to sleep.” he whispered. I nodded and slowly let my eyes shut, the image of him playing like a movie over and over in my mind, and slowly I fell asleep.
I dreamt I was running. I was out in a field, with grass as tall as my knees. Mason was running beside me, no more bruises, no more pain. We were holding hands, something we had done a million times before. But something was different this time. There was a light in the distance, almost like the headlights of a car. It flashed before my eyes, and then I woke up.
“Kylie! Mason!” I heard a voice calling. This voice was familiar, but I couldn’t put a finger on it. The voice kept calling, then I recognized it. The voice was my mom.
“Mom?” I mumbled. I felt half asleep still, not sure that I had really heard the voice. Suddenly I could see light in the distance, followed by crunching leaves and sticks.
“Kylie! Mason!” the voice called again. Now I was sure it wasn’t a dream.
“Mom!” I screamed, “Mom help!”
“Kylie! I’m coming, baby, I’m coming!” she promised. I shook Mason awake and gently pulled him into a sitting position. I couldn’t believe it. My mom had come for me!
“Kylie!” my mother called again, this time much closer.
“Mom! Down here!” I cried. I desperately wanted her to find us, so I kept calling to her. Finally I saw her emerge from the trees at the top of the hill.
“Kylie!” she cried, “Kylie, honey, I have the ranger with me. We are going to get you and Mason to safety, ok?”
“Ok, but hurry mom! I think he may have some bleeding in his brain!” I called up to her. I sat there as patiently as I could while her and the park ranger rushed down the hill, followed by a forest patrol Jeep. My mother ran to me when she reached the bottom of the hill, throwing her arms around both Mason and I. I could feel her tears soaking into my shirt, but I didn’t care. My mom had come for me.
The ranger and the driver of the car pulled out a stretcher and wheeled it over to Mason. I nervously watched as they lifted Mason from my arms and onto the stretcher. They strapped him down and put a neck brace on him. He looked around in terror, searching for my face. My mother helped me to my feet and together we walked back to the Jeep, one of my hands in Mason’s and one in my mom’s.
On the way back they let me sit next to Mason so I could comfort him. The ranger drilled me with questions about how we got on the trail, what happened to Mason, why we didn’t have cell phones, and why we didn’t come find help. I answered each question without taking my eyes off of Mason. I relaxed a little, knowing that Mason was going to get the help he needed. All he did was smile up at me, and that was enough to keep me sane. My mother took care of answering the more personal questions for me, since I obviously was too wrapped up in Mason. The ranger advised us to take a nap since we had a long ride ahead of us. I looked at Mason, and he nodded in agreement. I took hold of Mason’s hand, then I rested my head on my mother’s shoulder and fell into the calmest sleep I had had in days.