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Regionals Part 3
When I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was a very familiar pair of brown irises.
“Kelsey,” Torrie said with a sigh of relief. I sifted through my foggy memory and remembered Scott, nearly drowning, and passing out.
“How’s Scott?” I asked, my voice croaking, sounding pitiful instead of urgent.
“He’s alright. He just needed someone to beat the water out of him. He’s resting,” she said, acting nonchalant but she shook her head before she looked back at me. “Do not ever scare me like that again, do you understand?”
I smiled. “No problem, trust me.” I felt content, if not extremely cold. But something was nagging at the back of my mind. Something important.
“Megan!” I gasped. How could I have forgotten? She’d been coughing, which meant she was breathing. She had to be fine I reassured myself. But Torrie’s face fell.
“She’s…okay. Tyler saved her really. We were all getting you and Scott out of the water, getting Scott breathing, when Tyler just jumped back in. He came back with her in his arms and I thought, I thought for just a second…But Tyler got her breathing again. She’s sleeping,” Torrie said glancing behind her. Sleeping and resting, I thought dubiously. Scott and Megan were unconscious for sure, I thought again but I understood Torrie’s reluctance to say not only that but also dead. They were scary words and no one wanted to think of any of it.
“I want to see her,” I said, a little scared. At first it looked like Torrie was going to say no but then she helped me lift my torso to look in Megan’s direction. When I saw her I gasped again. Holding her hand with one of his and gently stroking her head with the other was Tyler. Her forehead had a huge cut running across her hairline, her leg stuck out at a horrifyingly odd angle, and her chest rose and fell in odd, short gasps, not deep and slow, like she was asleep.
“Do you know what happened to her?” I asked, knowing that this was not normal, even for something like this. Nobody else’s leg was broken, no one else was practically bleeding out.
“Only Megan knows. But her leg’s broken along with her ribs,” Torrie said, her voice just as tortured as my thoughts. “If only Mr. Cain were here or the staff or someone! They’d know what to do.”
“Where are they?” I asked, instantly afraid.
“It’s alright; they just swam to the other side. If you came out the front door, it was closer. Everyone’s cell phones are waterlogged but people from the bridge yelled down a while ago to say they were calling the police. In the mean time, we’re all just trying to keep from panicking,” Torrie explained, her voice breaking at the end.
I sat up all the way by myself. I felt a bit sloshy and definitely freezing but I was alive. I relished in that miracle for a while as I surveyed everyone else. I was scanning in a general circle but the same thing kept berating my eyes: my best friends, sopping and frozen, consoling each other and trying not to be frightened, just like Torrie said. I thanked my lucky stars that no one else looked like Megan, broken and gasping.
I finally found Scott after a while and instantly felt terrible. A few more feet, I kept telling myself. If I’d dragged us a few more feet, he wouldn’t be that astonishing shade of pale and he would be conscious right now. I leaned my head on Torrie’s shoulder and she rested her head on mine. We sat like that in silence, both asking ourselves what in the world we’d done to deserve this.
Right around when it was getting dark is when we first saw the helicopter start to descend over us. We cleared a huge spot, everyone scuttling to the side. Before it even landed, a man jumped off of a hanging ladder and started shouting at us over the noise of the chopper.
“Are you all okay?” He shouted, squinting at us through the debris the helicopter was kicking up. I immediately shook my head.
“Megan!” I shouted pointing behind me to where she was. The man didn’t ask questions, just ran in the direction of my finger. A second later, under the direction of the medic, Natalie ran up to the helicopter and shouted something to the other people in the helicopter. Then more men came out but with a stretcher. As they rushed past us, I hugged Torrie to keep myself calm. She was fine, she was fine, she was fine. A few minutes later the helicopter took off and a stream of ambulances hazardously made their way down the steep rocky path took its place.
A young man jumped out of the first ambulance and delivered the most beautiful line I’ve ever heard: “C’mon, we’re gonna get you all home.” More medics hopped out of the other ambulances with fluffy blue things. As they got closer, I realized they were blankets and almost cried with joy. My hands had gone numb an hour ago and my clothes had frozen to my skin. They handed them out to all us as they ushered us into the ambulances. We made the short trip to the hospital and the medics took care of us further there. Our original savior helped Torrie and I get to the shower room where he advised us to start the water out on cool and raise it slowly until we felt warm again. He left some fresh clothes from the donations boxes that were supposed to go to Goodwill. “You guys need them more than they do,” he said with a friendly wink as he turned to let us shower in privacy. The longer I showered, the sleepier I felt. When Torrie and I were finally satisfied, we dried off with fresh towels left for us and slipped into the “new” clothes. We got out into the lobby, sunk into two chairs, and fell asleep almost instantly.
“Miss?” a young woman was saying as I opened my eyes.
“Mm?” I replied blearily trying to clear my head.
She smiled before she said, “We just need to run a few tests to make sure you don’t have any serious injuries.” I followed her to a small room without seeing anything except Torrie behind me, still asleep. “She’ll be tested in just a moment,” the woman said, noticing where I had been staring. She checked my reflexes and ears in silence but when she got to my eyes she started talking.
“Did you hit your head?” she asked, looking suspicious.
“Yeah, the suction smacked me into the bus,” I answered, still drowsy.
“Your pupils are dilated. Follow me and I’ll just test you for a concussion real quick.” I followed her, let her poke and prod me and waited for her to decide on my condition without much interest. I wouldn’t be surprised if I did have a concussion, my brain was so fuzzy.
When the woman came back it was with a smile on her face. “Nope, no concussion. You don’t appear to have inhaled much water either so you’re free to go to the hotel with your band director.” Director? Hotel?
“Is Mr. Cain okay then? How are we getting there?” I asked, finally able to shake off my blurriness.
“The whole staff is fine and you’re all going to the hotel by bus as soon as we’re done checking all of you. There aren’t many left, you can wait in the lobby with the rest of the band.” She gave an encouraging smile and I walked down the hallway, relieved when I saw my second family waiting for me.
Cries of “Kelsey!” greeted me and I was hugging and crying with everyone else immediately. Marissa, Kaitlyn, Andy, Kristy, all friends I hadn’t been sure I would see again. Which reminded me.
“Do we know anything about Scott?” I asked.
“He’s going to be fine, they just had to pump some water out of his lungs,” Kailyn replied immediately with a relieved smile.
“What about Megan?” I asked. And like twitch, they all glanced behind them at Erin, Megan’s best friend, before Torrie, who’d finished testing before me, answered.
“No word yet,” she said solemnly. Everyone sort of dispersed after that and I made my way towards Erin. I wanted to say that Megan would be fine, that there was nothing to worry about but I knew I couldn’t. So instead I just sat down and wrapped my arm around her while her tears fell on my shoulder.
TO BE CONTINUED