Monday, March 28, 2011

Emperor Dad (Part 8 of 47)

© 2003 by Henry Melton

Practice was over.  James was ready to go home.
I’m sure I saw the cheerleaders rehearsing in the gym.
There’d been a few snide comments from some of the younger football players.  The cheerleaders had to practice indoors.  “So sweet they’d melt in the rain.”
The seniors on the team made it clear that real football players never gripe about the weather, nor about practice on Thanksgiving week.   With the standings so tight among the teams in their district, every first down counted towards the Regionals, if it came down to a tie.
He didn’t know where Suzie was, and he didn’t care.  Extra hours in the weight room helped keep his mind off of her, too.  Suzie was avoiding him, but just being in the same class with her notched up his tension level.  Taking out his frustration on the weight bench seemed to help.
He spun his wheels a little on the way out of the parking lot.
Sam sure seemed cheerful today.  He frowned.  She was just using me to get him jealous, I’d bet.  She went with him, and his fancy red car.
Probably under the bridge with him right now.
He approached the spot.  In spite of the rain, it looked like tire prints headed down the side track.  He felt a flush of anger.
Not thinking, he turned off the asphalt, and bounced around the bend.
Suddenly, there was a huge splash, and he slammed forward hitting his head on the steering wheel.  The shadows had hidden the floodwaters, well over the roadway, just a trap for the unwary.
Water began spilling into the cab.  The currents tugged at the vehicle.  James didn’t move.
Bob watched the tracer dot approach the map image of the bridge and then slow. 
Oh no.  He is going to do it again.
This time, he did nothing.  He couldn’t do anything.  He had told the boy everything he wanted to tell him.  If he’s going to get in trouble with that girl, he’ll do so, no matter what I try.
Being a parent was the hardest thing in the world.  Especially at those times when you had to step back, close your eyes, and pray that your kid did the right thing.
He looked at the dot again, and frowned.  The pickup was moving again, but it wasn’t on the road, it was following the river.
The sound of the storm raging around him, and the furious downpour broke into his awareness.
He snapped into action.  Like before, he moved the sphere.  But this time, the lightning flash illuminated James alone in the cab, his eyes closed and water rising all around.  The pickup was in the river.  It was floating, cab end up.  James was unconscious.
Willis whimpered, as blood splattered on the wooden floor.
No choice!
He opened the sphere wide, and as water poured in, he reached into the sphere, grabbed James by the arm, and yanked him through.
Fast.  Don’t give him time to bleed to death.
He pulled hard, and the boy slumped lifeless to the floor.   There was a huge spark as the water splashed all over the floor and shorted out the electricity.  Everything went dark.
Bob kept the phone to the 911 operator open, giving her updates on his boy, and his progress on the road.
James looked very pale. But he was still breathing.
He was several miles towards the hospital when he saw the blinking lights ahead of him in the rain, he pounded the horn and flashed his lights.  The ambulance turned around and followed him off onto the shoulder.
EMS technicians elbowed him aside, as they climbed in to work on James.
Bob fed the details, keeping out of their way.  He didn’t think James had inhaled any water, he had been knocked unconscious, but the cab had still been floating when he had hauled his boy out.
No, he didn’t know how he had lost so much blood.  Perhaps the scalp wound? 
He hated to lie, especially now.  Soon they were racing towards the hospital emergency room.
Bob could do nothing but pray.  He prayed hard.

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