Consciousness slipped in and out as my mind slowly came back to me. Before I could even open my eyes, my legs stirred, remembering the feeling of falling, but not landing. They weren’t broken, but my skin burned on my left calf telling me that something was wrong. I slowly opened my eyes, peaking into the sun.
Where was I? The ground around me was rocky, piled up on the ground like a fresh landslide from above. My body lay awkwardly on top of the boulders, with only a few small rocks scattered over my bare legs. The source of the burning was a large scrape on the outside of my calf. It was red and blood dripped down into my sock. It would heal, but I would have to keep it clean until I could get back to my car.
Pulling myself to a sitting position, I was able to get a better picture of what had happened. Above me, the rock that Chris and I had been standing on was gone. It now lay in pieces underneath me, a shattered mess of what it used to be. The river was close by, still bubbling, moving quickly down stream unaware that anything had happened. The sun was still high overhead, it was maybe two or three in the afternoon. I had lost a few hours, but there was still enough time to hike out before dark. It would be slow going with my leg being injured, but I could do it.
“Chris…” I called out wondering what had happened to the wayward young man. He didn’t answer. How could he have just left me here? Unless… My heart was pounding as I searched around the rubble frantically for any sign that he had fallen over the ledge along side of me. A few feet away I found him, his body limp, blood dripping from a gash in the side of his head, matting the hair to his skull. “Chris.”
My fingers were shaking as I searched for a pulse on the young man’s neck. His body was cold, but I couldn’t give up hope that he was still alive. He had to be alive. Patiently and quietly my fingers pressed against flesh, searching for the thumping of a heart beat. I nearly yelled with joy when I found it. Chris was alive.
There were a few rocks that had landed on his legs. I lifted them off him as best as I could, but with my hands shacking and the size of the rocks, it was hard to move them without causing more injuries, even to my own leg. Good thing Chris was unconscious or he would be cussing me out right now.
Slowly, I lifted Chris from his shoulders, trying to be careful with his neck, and dragged him from the rock pile. He came to rest in the shade of a large oak tree near the river where he would be shaded from the harsh sun.
What was I supposed to do now? I wasn’t sure of the severity of Chris’s wound, but I knew that he needed a hospital. He could die out here and there would be nothing I could do. My mind screamed as plopped myself down under the tree next to Chris. Tears formed in my eyes, threatening to stream down my face. This was the second time in my life I sat next to someone and was forced to watch them die. First with Jarod, now with this stranger and it was all my fault. I feared the release I was looking for on this dammed trail was never going to be found.
Sydney seems to be in a lot of trouble. Will she snap out of her self loathing and figure out a way to save Chris, or will she watch him die the same way she watched her brother die? Find out in the next installment of The Midnight Trail.