Chapter 12 – With the Help of an Angel

Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Gabe took off like a shot with me running behind. I had thrown the doll back at Bruce and he caught it giving me a funny look. Gabe kept his nose to the ground, stopping every now and then to look around.

We raced by my house, and ran down the street for two blocks, until we came to a place that the kids called the “Morrison” house.  I always passed it on the way to the school but never gave it a second thought.  It had been vacant since we moved here. The “For Sale,” sign was still pounded into the ground in front of it.

Gabe began jumping up on me and whining and I knew Nancy was close by. The police had checked here but they hadn’t found anything.  The house was old and needed lots of repairs.  A big porch went all the way around the building. Two huge windows with peeling paint stood on each side of a cracked and broken door.  The grass in the front yard was as tall as the overgrown weeds in the back.  I thought maybe I might find her hiding in there, but Gabe was over by the porch.

It was boarded up underneath, all the way around, so I didn’t see how she could have gotten in.  Besides she would have answered when someone called.

Gabe went over to one side and started digging.  Dirt, rocks, and weeds flew through the air. When Bruce came up behind me I jumped.

“Is she here do you think?” asked Bruce.

“Ya I think she is. Help me find a hole or a loose board or something.”

I patted Gabe on the head and pointed for him to move out of the way.  We found a board that was still nailed to the outside of the deck but could be moved back and forth.  We couldn’t possibly fit through, but a five-year-old could.

“Nancy are you there?”

“Gabe is she here?”

I asked him not caring if Bruce heard me.  He got all exited and started digging again.  Bruce saw dirt flying mysteriously through the air and looked at me in amazement, but didn’t say anything.

I dug in the same spot with my bare hands, and Bruce joined in.  Our fingers were cracked and bleeding when we stopped. The hole was big enough for my small frame to fit inside so I began to wiggle my body in as far as it could go.

Underneath the rotting porch was a large metal container buried deep in the ground.  It was old cistern used to catch rain a long time ago when the house was first built. I prayed that it wasn’t full of water, because this is where she had to be.

“Nancy!” I shouted as loud as I could.   I waited and then I heard a little whimper.

It was all I needed. I carefully squeezed myself back through the boards. When I told Bruce I had found her, his eyes filled up again and a few tears leaked out.

I patted him on the back and told him to stay put while I went for help.  He didn’t say anything. He nodded and wiped his dirty hands across his face leaving brown streaks of dirt.  I motioned to Gabe to stay with Bruce.

I ran as fast as I could, faster than at any soccer game, and faster than when I had tried to beat Bruce.  The first vehicle I came across was a cruising police car and when I saw it, I jumped up and down, waving my arms. As I told my story in between deep breaths, they radioed Bruce’s uncle.

The car beat me back to the house and when I arrived I could hear the scrunching and squeaking of the old boards as they pulled them off one by one.  The opening they created was still too small for an adult to fit through, and even Bruce was too husky to fit, so I volunteered.

Bruce hugged me and said, “Go to it buddy.”

They tied a thick yellow rope around my waist, handed me a flashlight and lowered me down slowly.  I shone the flashlight down into the narrow opening and saw Nancy squatting in six inches of water. I shouted back that I could see her.

It was cold and smelled of rust and mold. My knees scraped the metal sides and tears escaped down my cheeks. All I could see was the top of her head.  I called down to her several times but she wouldn’t look up.

After a few more bumps back and forth my feet hit the water and I sank in past my ankles.  A shiver ran through me and I felt like I had to pee.

She was all cut up from the fall. Her wet hair was wrapped around her cheeks and she was squatting down holding onto her right ankle. Her body was trembling and I could hear her teeth rattling.

“It’s okay Nancy, we’re going to get you out. All you have to do is hold onto me.”

But she wouldn’t move.  She stayed hunched over hugging her knees.

“Nancy, it’s me, Trevor, you know Bruce’s friend.  I’m here to help you.  Your Mom and Dad are up there waiting for you.”

I didn’t know what else to say. I reached over and touched her shoulder, then I squatted down and whispered, “let’s go home Nancy.”

She turned around and fell into my arms and hugged me with what little strength she had left.  Slowly I stood up bringing her with me.  The air was thick and damp and smelled like sour milk. My stomach shuddered as I held the flashlight between my teeth and tied the rope around my waist and then hers. The sides of the well seemed to be closing in around us.

“Okay, I got her!” I yelled as I wrapped my arms around her middle.

Slowly we began to leave the ground, swaying back and forth. Her knees bumped against the side of the walls and she cried out. Her sobs got louder and her body started to shake.

I knew we didn’t have much time before she lost it.  Or before I lost it too.  The rope squeezed us tightly together and it pinched my skin.  I wanted to yell hurry, but I was scared that if I spoke, I would start screaming.

Three quarters of the way to the top I could see some light and I could feel some cool fresh air from above. I patted her back and told her we were almost there, when we felt a sudden jolt downward. My head hit the wall and I dropped the flashlight. It shone back at us through the slimy water, with one white eye.

When I looked down at the yellow rope around us, I saw that my knot was slipping.  A few more twists and it would be completely undone.

I yelled and started to claw at the walls.  My nails broke and my fingertips screamed out in pain. If we fell back down from this height we would surely break some bones.  My feet began to move, trying to jog us upward.  I could hear muffled, excited voices but I couldn’t make out what any one was saying.

Nancy was crying loudly, and calling out for her Mom.   Again I prayed.      “Please God, help us out of this mess.”  My head seemed as though it was floating on my shoulders and I closed my eyes. Reaching down I held onto what remained of the knot.

And then we were out.  People were cheering, and clapping. Someone undid the rope and we were free. Someone else was hugging me and crying.  When I looked up I buried my face in my sister’s familiar brown curls.

“Well done Trevor” Mom said proudly.

“Doggy, doggy” said Tara as I picked her up and kissed her on the cheek.

“Yes Tara, that is a goggy,” I said, and she smiled at me as if to say “finally someone notices him too.”

When I put her down, Bruce’s Mom was standing beside me.  “Next!” she said and gave me a big bear hug with Nancy still snuggled tightly into her arms. “Thanks Trevor.  I don’t know how you did it but you’re an angel.”I looked over at Gabe and winked, and he seemed to wink back. “Let’s go home,” I said.

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