It seemed like an eternity before I surfaced again, thrown by one large wave onto the jagged rocks of the shoreline. Jagged rocks that were actually a welcomed suffering, for that meant I was no longer in the water. I hadn’t thought I would ever embrace these rocks and this kind of dull pain before, but I was sure these rocks were kinder to my flesh than any of the creatures that swam in this cove.
With waves still crashing all around me, I half-crawled, half-walked towards shore. As far as I could tell in this darkness, the shore was away from the waves. When I felt sand against my palms, I almost fell forward with relief. I knew I was cut up and bruised very badly, but I was also so cold that I couldn’t feel most of the cuts and bruises. The last thought I had before I lost consciousness was of that child and my friend’s necklace covered in blood.
I woke to bright light and a pain which I have never before experienced. It was morning and my nerve endings were very much awake now. I wanted to scream out in agony, but I couldn’t muster a sound. I merely sat up and grimaced with the suffering I was in.
I wasn’t sure quite what to do and as weak as I felt, I knew I wasn’t about to climb out of this hole. I could hear birds nearby and I looked around. I saw several bodies along the shoreline in various states of destruction, with many birds picking away at the flesh.
I saw an outfit that I recognized and though I did not have the strength, I jumped to my feet and ran to my friend’s corpse. I got all the birds away from his body and fell to my knees at his side. I was certain this was him and that he was very very dead.
I hung my head and started to cry and soon, to wail loudly, screaming at the sky above me and shaking the body of my friend in desperation.
When my tears no longer could run, and my lungs would no longer allow me to cry out, I collapsed. I’m not sure how long I was unconscious this time.
A hand on my shoulder brought me back to a wakened state. I grabbed the hand as I opened my eyes and was probably just as shocked as the fireman who’s hand I had grabbed. I slipped back into an unconscious state as he yelled for assistance.
The next time I awoke, I was in an ambulance with three people looking down at me. I was pretty sure that I was actually still unconscious, because there at my feet was the girl from the night before. Still covered in blood and with hair in her face, she held out her hand and dangled my friend’s necklace out to me. I sat up very suddenly and realized I was in a hospital bed with no one around me. It was night and it was quiet. I lie back down and tried to feel safe and warm, but I just kept thinking of the night before and the pain and the cold and the blood and my now-dead friend. I don’t think that I really ever did go back to sleep, but I did slip in and out of consciousness several times.