Part I: The Awakening
Chapter 10: Watery grave
“How come you are so scared? Why do you fear, what do you fear? Maybe death is not so bad, who knows?” A voice was in his head. In that place on that particular moment, Luck had no luck whatsoever. “You should’ve learned to swim, you lazy good-for-nothing!” He wanted to learn to swim, he feared just such a thing, but he had not been able to, no matter how hard he tried. He’d always wanted to be able to swim. And in that very moment, he could not do anything about it. “There are people who learn to swim in moments like this, ’cause they want to live!” the voice yelled, disappointed in Luck’s lack of any signs of struggle to survive. “Damn you, voice, I want to live, you know that, but I can’t seem to be able to do anything about it! I DON’T want to die, damn you!”
He was talking to himself, feeling sorry for his lack of ambition – or power, it was not clear which was it – to learn to swim. But there he stood, drowning, and dreaming of taking swimming lessons in some swimming pool. “Maybe a beautiful creature could’ve managed it,” he though. He was thinking of fantasy creatures, an elvish maid or some fairy of legend, so beautiful that his muscles would have nothing else to do than to listen to her will and thus, swim. Swim towards her. Such a creature, maybe, just maybe, could have taught him what no instructor managed. “But there’s no elfin around, nor will there ever be…so I’m gonna drown, pitifully…” Luck thought.
Just as he said that, in his head, of course, which took him only a couple of seconds, something hit him. It grabbed him. It tried to drag him towards the surface. But it was no easy task. The it was a woman, after all… fair Alice…and she was not all that muscular. But she made it. She struggled. She did not give up. She brought him to the surface. Yay!
All the while, Mark was inside the boat with little James, trying to calm him down while hiding from the rain. He was not able to hear Luck yelling when he went overboard and he did not see anything, so Alice, in a moment’s time, decided to jump. She could not risk losing time by running to Mark. She had spent a lot of time swimming and surfing in sunny California, so she had enough experience. She even saved a man from drowning, in L.A., a couple of years back. She had told that to Luck during a discussion some days back and now…she was saving him. Pretty embarrassing, for him…and pretty awesome, for her, to be able to do that! Now for the second time!
“Oh my God, what the hell happened?” Mark asked Alice, as she saw her getting out of the water with an unconscious Luck, all shivering and agitated. “He fell over,” she replied, not in the mood for giving more explanations. “Call Martha and tell her to bring the car to the pier, asap!”
“Martha, Mark here. There’s been an accident and Luck’s pretty beat up. He does not seem to be in any real danger, Alice’s helping him the best she can, but as far as I can remember, a neighbor and friend of your’s a doctor, right, Mr. Dickinson or something?”
“Oh my, what happened?” Martha asked, clearly not feeling well for hearing such news. Alice told me that Martha’s heart condition was precarious those days and she never took such pieces of news in any other way than very badly. “It don’t matter, just call the doctor! Just do it and come to the pier immediately! Details are not going to change the situation in the least,” Mark said, stressing it on a raging tone, so that she understood not to dwell on it, but do what she was told to, rapidly.
“What’s she said? Mark, drop out of it and tell me!” Alice yelled, looking at Mark being lost in thought for a moment. “She’s coming, both of them are, don’t worry. I’m just nervous, cause it might’ve been little James here and even as it is, the situation’s dire, if something real bad were to befall Luck…” Mark said, nervously. He added: “I don’t know what I’d do if we were to lose James, I just don’t know…” “Stop thinking hypothetically (and badly at it)! I did the best I could, Luck’s gonna be alright, although he was drowning rapidly when I caught him. A couple of more seconds and it would’ve been almost impossible for me to do anything, apart for drowning myself alongside him, that is…” Alice said, keeping her calm better than her husband, but nervous enough as well.
“Oh, honey, we should’ve turned back. This boat’s not meant for such journeys. Stupid weather, changing on us like that! Come here!” Mark said, taking Alice in his arms. And little James as well, scared as he was. “Everything’s gonna be all right, James”, both of his parents said, at the same time.
Meanwhile, Luck was breathing, but apart from that, he did little else. On shore, when Martha saw him, she almost fainted: “Oh my, he’s our guest, he’s your guest, that’s not supposed to happen!”, she said in a faded voice. “I know, aunt Marha, I know that it shouldn’t have happened, but it did, so we must deal with it the best we can!” Alice said, trying to calm down everybody, including her uncle Ben. “She’s a strong woman, I’ll give her that!” said a voice inside Luck’s head. “She is, indeedy…”
After a few minutes, Mr. Dickinson arrived as well and checked up the near-drowned-patient, carefully. He said that there was no need for a hospital, which was over in Kendal anyhow. “If he were to have drowned, no trip to the hospital would’ve helped him any more. It would’ve been too late to reach it,” the doctor said. “Take him home and I’ll instruct you how to best take care of him,” he added, trying to calm down Martha.
All of them drove home and gave their best in order to make Luck return to his senses. They arranged his bed in such a way, that he’d lie on a raised pillow so that he could breathe more easily. They all stood there for some time, at his bedside, but at some point, they left about their business, as Alice asked them to. After a while, Luck woke up, not feeling too worse for wear, actually, but not before having another conversation of sorts in his head, just as he did when he was in the water, with himself or something like that.
“Oh, thank God you’re awake!” Alice said. “I am so sorry, we should’ve been more careful. I’m so sorry!”
“I’m the one who’s sorry, for falling overboard like an idiot and for not knowing how to swim. This is the last thing I’d wish for you or anyone else, for that matter, to have to save me. You did, right, you were the one who jumped in the water to my rescue, it was not my imagination, right?” Luck said, in a low tone, but cheerful enough.
“Yes, I did. Luckily I saw you in time…I might’ve not. Now stay and rest, near-drownings are a nasty business, they’re so proficient at draining all the energy out of you and, well, your air as well. Have a nice rest and think happy thoughts” Alice said, smiling. She gave him a kiss on his forehead and left, feeling relieved that nothing’s happened, nothing really nasty. She shut the door carefully and Luck was left alone. He fell asleep soon, not knowing who was going to watch him sleep during the next couple of hours…