23 July, 2015

23 July 2015

Einar reluctantly came out of the water some ten minutes later at Liz's rather persistent urging, stiff with cold and a shade of mottled purple which seemed frighteningly close to being incompatible with life, but cleansed, somehow, refreshed, ready to continue.  Liz, concerned about his ability to warm himself effectively, wished he was willing to stop and spend a few minutes beside a fire before going on, but Roger and Bud agreed with his assertion that they had already spent far too much time beside the roar of the waterfall, deafened to the potential approach of both aircraft and hikers.

Liz getting into her dry clothes, Einar crouched with his back to the rocks just outside the area of fine misty spray from the waterfall and studied a map, identifying, after some consideration, the spot where they stood.  This took some real doing, hard as he was trembling as his body began to warm in the sunlight, some real concentration, but the focus was a good thing, kept his mind from drifting too much.

Had there remained any danger of Einar drifting off into hypothermic oblivion while staring at the map, this was soon remedied by little Will, who remained out of sorts from Susan's refusal to allow him free access to the waterfall, and took out his frustration by toddling over and stomping all over the map with his little moccasins.  This resulted in swift but gentle correction from his father, who took the time, once he had the little one's attention, to seat him on his knee and explain in broken sentences all about the utility of maps and why one must never cause them damage.

Will listened in wide‐eyed silence before at last trotting off to harass the raven, who had remained well clear of the waterfall's mist and now at atop Roger's backpack, doing his best to free a locking carabiner to which he had taken a fancy.  the raven, lacking fingers, could not manage to free the device despite his best efforts, but it did not take little Will long, grabbing, prodding and experimenting, to puzzle out the mechanism and invent a way, bracing the back of the carabiner against the side of the pack to compensate for his tiny hands, to get it open.   Susan watched silently, shaking her head.  That boy was going to be trouble.

Finished after a time with his studying and not yet ready to attempt getting into the warm clothes with which Liz was rather insistently pressing him—would have simply got tangled up in the things had he tried, just yet—Einar motioned to Bud and Roger, who joined him in front of the map.

"Time for you folks to...head down pretty soon here.  Was looking at the map, and  if you see this deep draw heading down from the area of the falls..." braced forearm against shinbone  in an attempt to steady his hand so he could point with some accuracy, "well, looks like a good way out.  Lots of rock, not leave much sign if you're careful."

"Yeah, Asmundson, looks pretty good except that our stuff is all back in the canyon below your camp."

"Go back for it."

"Now?"

"Later. "

"Roger's got to be back on the job a week from yesterday, haven't you, Rog?"

"Yeah, I've got a gig down in Flagstaff starting next week.  Can't be late for that one.  Got all my stuff with me, though, aside from the tent.  Can come back for that another time.  It does seem a good idea to head out a different way than we came in, just to be sure."

"Flying right through from Clear Springs to Flagstaff, aren't you," Bud asked somewhat rhetorically.
"Yep, that's the plan.  Left the plane at Clear Springs because it's a bigger airport and I didn't want to attract any suspicion by flying into Culver like I've done a couple times before."

"And on your way to Flagstaff...well, your path takes you real near my old place, don't it?"

"That's a fact."

"And you got room in that little green‐and‐white of yours for a couple passengers, haven't you?  Two full‐sized and one‐pint sized?"

"Affirmative.  Though my official flight plan would in no way reflect that little detour, should I take it."

Fixing his gaze on Einar, Bud waited for an answer.  The fugitive said nothing, crouched silently over the map, eyes cloudy and body attempting with decreasing success to tremble itself warm from the chill of the water.  He was wearing out.  Liz could see it.  She moved closer, put a hand on his arm and spoke quietly.

"Maybe it's time."

A slow smile, a shake of his head, subtle, almost lost amidst the shivering.

Some hope, Liz thought, simply in his lack of vehemence.  Perhaps this time, something having shifted ever so slightly in his way of looking at things, she might find a way in, and she hurried to press the point.

"It would take us far from the last places they were searching, really let us start all over, fresh.  I think it may be time."

More silence; she could see him hesitating, wavering, uncharacteristically indecisive.  Tried to catch his eye, but he wouldn't look at her.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous23 July, 2015

    Hey... You spend as much time in the Out Back as needed!!!!

    I am 30+ days Post Surgery, and back in my sling, I reached like my body USED to be able to, and Thunder & Lightning spoke to my shoulder, Minimum pain killers put me to sleep. Good I heal in my sleep!!!!

    Great to see a Post, when it is in your time frame!

    philip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Philip, hope your shoulder is continuing to heal well.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the new chapter.

    ReplyDelete