A Little Adventure
E-mail Author: Stargatesg1971@aol.com
Summary: A fun day out takes a turn for the worst
Category: Action, Adventure, Hurt, Comfort, Angst, Friendship
Disclaimer: MacGyver and its characters belong to Paramount Pictures and all the powers that be, not me. No copyright infringement intended. This story is written for fan entertainment only and no money has exchanged hands. The story is the property of the author and may not be posted anywhere without the authors consent.
Thornton wasn’t looking forward to this little adventure as Mac had called it, at all. The thought of going in a raft was bad enough, but down some rapids too! What had he been thinking when he’d accepted his friends invitation to join him?
“We’re almost there!” announced Mac excitedly.
The older man looked up and saw a sign a few feet away. Potters Rental Shop. ‘Oh joy’ he thought, as he felt the familiar knot in his stomach tighten at the prospect of what was to come.
As Mac pulled his jeep to a stop, he beamed at his friend. “Well here we are; what do you think?” Pete smiled pleasantly at Mac before steeling a look around the surrounding area. It looked pleasant enough. There were trees on either side of them with a well-trodden path on their right, between two large trees that had a wooden frame situated between them. He couldn’t see where the trail went; it was leading into the distance, but assumed that it was where the rafts were kept. “It looks good,” replied Pete trying to hide his obvious discomfort.
“Great!” said Mac as he got out of the vehicle. “I’ll go sign us in, you wait here, ok?”
Pete nodded and watched his friend walk towards the cabin.
Mac could tell his friend was nervous. He had half expected Pete to try and wangle his way out of coming but he hadn’t, which had both pleased, and surprised, Mac.
As MacGyver paid for the rental equipment he told, Joe the resident guide which route he was taking. It was part of the hire agreement that if the person/persons hiring the equipment didn’t take a guide, that (1) they had an experienced rafter (2) they kept to a designated route and (3) arrived back within a certain time frame. That way if they got into trouble, it would be easy to track them. It was a precautionary method, but necessary for the safety of everyone.
Joe smirked as Mac told him they’d be going down Dykes Point. It was such a timid ride for an experienced rafter. “I take it your friend hasn’t run the rapids before?” asked Joe.
“Nope and if I don’t take it slow with him, I doubt he will ever again.” replied Mac as he grabbed the two life jackets off the rack.
“That’s a nice easy course, he should be fine with that one.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought. I notice a few clouds forming out there; are you expecting bad weather?”
“Yeah but not for another 4-6 hours, you’ll be back by then, won’t you?” asked Joe as he leaned forwards to look at the time slots, Mac had entered into the log.
“Oh yeah, we’ll only be out a couple of hours.” Mac told him, as he headed for the door. “See you next time, Joe.”
“You sure will. Have a great ride.”
“Oh we will.” replied Mac as he walked out the door and headed back to his friend.
Pete watched a group of young men emerging from the trees; they were soaked to the skin, but looked like they’d had a great time. Laughter filled the air, and in that moment, the older man felt a little more at ease. Maybe it wasn’t going to be as bad as he thought it was?
Mac opened the drivers’ door of the jeep and flung a life jacket at, Pete. The older man jumped as he felt something hit his back.
“Oh sorry, Pete.” said Mac apologetically.
“Its ok.” replied Pete as he grabbed the jacket and got out of the jeep; ensuring that he pushed the tab down in the door so that when he slammed it shut, he locked it at the same time. He watched his friend lock the drivers’ door, and then with ease, put his jacket on. Pete on the other hand, didn’t find securing the jacket easy at all. He fumbled with the straps for while, and then finally, snapped them into place.
As they walked down the small wooden jetty where the rafts were secured, Pete felt his stomach tighten. He took a couple of deep breaths to try and ease his nerves. It didn’t go unnoticed by his friend.
“Its going to be ok, Pete. It’s just a small rapid. How about we make a deal. If you don’t like it at any point, we’ll turn back, ok? We just have to get back here or end up at Devils Point within 2 hours, so don’t decide you want out when we’re almost at the end or we’ll have no choice but to continue.”
“Devils Point?” queried Pete, horrified by the name.
“Its just the finishing location, Pete. It’s nothing to worry about. It’s where we’ll end up if we do the rapid.”
Mac stepped expertly into the raft, and then turned to his friend. “Remember, Pete, nice and easy.” As the older man stepped into the raft one of the straps on his life jacket clicked open. It startled him and he stepped down heavily with one foot, plunging more weight onto the raft than he first intended. Momentarily the PVC raft sank deep into the water, before rectifying itself and bouncing back up to the surface. Unfortunately, Pete found himself unbalanced, and began flinging his arms around in a blind panic. His second leg wavering dangerously in the air, making it look as if he was about to fall into the water.
Once again the raft became unstable.
“Calm down, Pete!” stated Mac sternly, trying to get control of the situation. “Grab hold of my hand before you tip us both over.”
Pete grabbed hold of Mac’s outstretched hand, and immediately felt safer when his friend gripped hold of him. “Steady, Pete. Now ease down your leg so that you’re standing up, not too fast now, remember what happen last time.” Pete glared at Mac; then slowly pulled his leg down until he stood firmly within the raft.
“There you go, see it wasn’t that bad,” said Mac with a huge grin all over his face. “Sit down so I can sort out those straps for you. They shouldn’t snap open like that.”
The older man nervously lowered himself down, and sat on the thwart. Mac slid across the base of the raft on his knees, and refastened the open strap, then secured the others, ensuring that the jacket was a reasonably tight fit. “That’s it, we’re all set.”
“Great, I can’t wait,” declared Pete.
Mac ignored the sarcasm in his friends’ voice. He was going to make sure his buddy had the ride of his life. He wasn’t going to forget this trip in a hurry.
Mac slid himself back onto his side of the raft, and then pulled the oars off the jetty. He gave one to Pete, and kept one himself. It was going to be pretty tough with only the two of them, usually at least 4 went out at any one time, but Mac had wanted to keep it on a more personal level, and thankfully he’d been allowed to do that. The rental shop could so easily have stopped his plans flat, but because they knew him, and he had the expertise, he’d managed to sweet talk them into it as they were only endeavouring to take on a class I white water river run.
“Ok, Pete. Lets push off.”
Both men dipped their oars into the water, and started paddling.
It wasn’t long before they encountered their first rapid, it was a gentle one, and Mac easily guided the raft through the water. Pete soon began to relax. The tension that had been eminent a few minutes ago was slowly drifting away. The sound of the water lapping against the raft began to mule him into a sense of security.
As Pete relaxed, Mac grew anxious. He’d noticed the clouds were becoming more ferocious looking. They’d grown darker over the last hour, and the wind had increased steadily. Mac hoped that they’d be back before the bad weather hit, he’d never live it down if Pete got wet.
Pete knew he was being lazy. He’d practically sat back and let, Mac do all the work. Each rapid they’d encountered Mac had traversed almost on his own. The older man putting hardly any effort into it, knowing that he was in safe hands. He’d enjoyed watching the water swirling around them, and then crashing against the side of the raft. He’d found it exhilarating.
Pete looked up at his friend expecting to see a huge grin on his face; instead he saw concern etched on his brow. “What’s the matter, Mac?” asked Pete worriedly.
“I don’t like the look of those clouds, and this winds getting stronger. I can feel it pushing us down. It’s getting harder to control the rapids too; they’re growing more intense each time we hit one. It looks like we could be in for some bad weather.”
Pete felt guilty. He hadn’t realised how much extra exertion, Mac had been forced to do, due to his complacent attitude. “I’m sorry, Mac. I’ll try and be more helpful.”
“It’s ok, Pete. Don’t worry about it!”
The weather grew more violent as they descended further down the river.
“Mac maybe we should go back!” yelled Pete as the waves crashed up and over the side of the raft.
“Its too late for that, we’re too far down. Just round that bend is Dykes Point.”
As they rounded the bend in the river, Mac gulped. What should have been a class I river was now looking very much like a class III. As he looked at the raging water ahead of him, he knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
They descended onto the rapids, each man fighting hard against the river. The beginning of Dykes Point dragging them deep into the water, the raft bouncing dangerously in and out of the surf, as they struggled to keep control.
Suddenly they heard a crack of lighting and the clouds that had threatened rain, made good on their promise, as the heavens opened and the rain thrashed down on them like a torrent. There was no escape. The river beneath them became more violent with each passing moment. Each man strained their muscles from the effort required to keep them from smashing onto the boulders in the river. What should have been timid rapids were now swirling out of control, rampant on taking anyone, or anything, in its path with them.
“We need to pull over the next chance we get, head for the enclave down there.” shouted Mac hoping that, Pete could hear him over the savage weather.
Another crack of lightening filled the air, deafening any response that Pete might have made. Moments later, another gush of wind swept past them threatening to capsize the raft, pushing them closer to the boulders they were trying desperately to avoid.
Once more a flash of lightening lighted up the sky. It was getting closer. Mac counted as the clack ended, and then when he heard the next one, cringed inside. He’d only managed to count to 2; the eye of the storm was less than 2 miles away.
Pete struggled against the surf, he’d heard Mac tell him to aim for the enclave and he was trying his best to do just that.
Another crack of lightening exploded above them, there was no more time; they had to get to safety. Mac looked around and saw an overhang of branches not too far away. “Head for the trees on the left, Pete.”
“Are you crazy you can’t go near trees in this weather, lightening always hits trees!”
“Just do it, Pete. It’s that or we try and do this rapid, your choice!”
“Fine. We’ll head for the trees,” replied Pete through gritted teeth.
Mac was right; they had no choice.
Both men paddled furiously, desperate to get to safety. Their bodies screamed out in protest with each movement. The pain pushed to the back of their minds as they edged their way through the surf.
As they neared the overhang a gust of wind caught them by surprise. Pete yelled out as the raft lifted momentarily out of the water. Mac spun his head round to see if his friend was still safely inside the raft. Seeing that he was, he breathed a sigh of relief.
Another crack of lightening lit the sky and they heard the sound of wood splintering. Mac turned back to see a thick, heavy branch crashing into the water in front of them, essentially blocking their path. There was no time to manoeuvre.
The raft hit the branch with full force, throwing both men out of the raft, into the cold depths of the river.
Pete emerged from the water, fighting against the current, and searching frantically with his eyes for his friend. He saw Mac only a few feet away battling against the current. The older man watched horrified as he saw his young friend lose the battle and smash into the overhang, his head bouncing off the branch as it made contact with it, his body disappearing under the surface of the water.
“MAC!!!” screamed Pete.
Thornton swam with all his strength towards the overhang, the torrent of water swirling around him, taunting him; as he neared Mac it pushed him further away, teasing him with his friends life. The branch that had moments ago disabled his buddy, was now his life line as, Mac’s limp body resurfaced, and his clothing caught on the splintered branch. Fear and adrenaline pushed Pete on when he saw his friend laid face down in the water. He had to get to Mac before it was too late, before the river took him. There was no way he was losing his buddy!
Pete struggled relentlessly against the river. Each second was vital, he knew his strength would give way soon; there was only so much a body could take. Finally, after what seemed like hours, Pete managed to grab hold of Mac’s jacket and turn him over so that his submerged face was now facing upwards.
Grabbing a tight hold around Mac with one arm, Pete clung onto the branch. He looked down at his friend, his face was pale, the only hint of color, from the blood gushing out of the wound on his head. Pete had to think quickly, he needed to stop the bleeding and more importantly, he needed to be sure that his friend was still alive. And right now, he wasn’t. Panic began to seep into the older man, but he pushed it aside, there was no time for that.
Thornton looked around and saw some boulders near the overhang. He knew he had to get to them if he was to save his friend; it was his only choice. Struggling against the elements, the older man made his way towards them, using the branch as a piece of rope. As he got closer to the edge, he realised that the only way to reach the rocks was to let him self drop into the water below and swim to them.
Pete hung there for a few seconds undecided, not sure if he had enough strength to pull it off. As he looked down at his friend, he realised; he had to.
Thornton let go of the branch and both men plunged deep into the water. Pete held on to Mac for all his worth, and then with his free hand, swam up to the surface. As he broke through his eyes scanned around him. He was off target, not by much in normal circumstances, but a heck of a lot in the current weather conditions.
The older man pulled against the raging water, slowly edging closer to the rocks with each length. His breathing becoming more ragged with each passing second.
A rush of water surged past him, and he momentarily lost control, slipping further down the river, heading dangerously close to the heart of Dykes Point.
Pete struggled against the current, once more pulling on his fear and determination. He hadn’t felt his friend breathe, not that he’d had much opportunity to, but that thought was in his mind, and that alone gave him strength he never realised he had.
As Pete finally reached the boulders, he dragged himself and Mac up them, away from the raging river below, onto the safety of the grassed area just past them. He quickly removed his life jacket to allow him more freedom of movement.
Mac lay lifeless on the ground.
The older man unclipped the straps on his friends’ jacket, and removed it as quickly as possible. Then bent down over Mac, his face hovering close to his mouth, his hand urgently seeking his friends’ wrist. As Pete fumbled to find a pulse, he prayed silently inside to feel the breath of his friend on his face. He felt nothing. No breath. No pulse. Not wanting to waste another second Pete started CPR, his body shaking with a mixture of fear, adrenaline, and the cold as it crept its way into his body. He breathed life into him, and then with interlocked fingers attempted to resuscitate his heart. He repeated the process a number of times, and between breaths pleaded to his friend. “Come on, Mac. Stay with me!”
After what seemed like a lifetime he felt a pulse, it was slow a first, weak, but steadily it began rising. And then he heard Mac coughing in an effort to remove the water from his lungs. “Mac, I thought I’d lost you,” sobbed Pete with relief.
Mac never heard his friends’ words.
Pete knew the next thing he had to do was stop the bleeding. He ripped at his shirt so he could use a piece of it as a bandage for Mac. On one hand he was thankful that his friend was unconscious, at least the bleeding was slower now, but even saying that, it was running way too freely for Pete’s liking. The older man wrapped his torn shirt into a ball and pushed it down onto the open wound. The once white shirt turned a deep crimson within a short period of time.
As Pete tore at his shirt again, he heard Mac begin to stir. His heart leapt as he heard the soft moans from his friend, but at the same time, he panicked realising how vital it was now to stop the bleeding. Quickly and without warning he pushed down hard on the wound, Mac groaned at the contact.
Mac felt as though he’d been in a fight, every inch of his body hurt. His head felt as though it was going to explode, if only the pressure would stop. He raised his hand towards his head, but someone pushed it back down. Slowly he opened his eyes. He saw Pete smiling down at him. “I think the bleedings stopped now.”
“Oh good coz my head hurts.” replied Mac sleepily.
As Pete secured the makeshift bandage around Mac’s head he tried to conceal his concern from his friend, but Mac saw it. “I look that bad, huh?”
“Let’s just say you’ve looked better,” replied, Pete. Mac smiled weakly at his friend.
Pete knew he had to find them some shelter from the storm, as he looked around he saw a rock face not too far away, one part of it had an enclosure inside it, it looked like a small cave, it was perfect for their needs.
“We need to get out of the storm. There’s a small alcove over there, Mac let’s try and get to it.”
Pete bent down and draped one of Mac’s arms around his shoulder and then attempted to lift him up. Mac tried to help, but he was a like a dead weight pulling against him. “I’m sorry, Pete. Everything’s a little hazy.”
“It’s ok, Mac. Just leave it to me.” Pete told his friend as he struggled to get him to his feet. “Everything’s going to be ok.”
Mac smiled at his friend, and then both men made their way wearily to the enclosure. Once inside the cave, Pete lowered his buddy down, ensuring that he was leant against the wall for support. “Thanks, Pete.”
“Anytime, Mac. Just don’t make a habit of it. I’m not as young as I used to be.”
“I know. The gray hairs give it away,” replied Mac grinning at his friend.
Pete smiled. “I think we’ll be here for a while, the weather doesn’t look like it’s giving up any time soon.”
“What time is it?”
“Its 4pm, why?”
“In another 10 minutes we’ll be overdue. If the guide at Devils Point doesn’t contact Joe within that time, he’ll send out a search and rescue once the storm dies down.”
Mac shifted his position, the movement sent his head into a spin, the ground began rushing up at him, and he felt sick. Trying to steady himself, he clutched at Pete’s arm. “Mac, what’s the matter!?”
“Pete, I feel sick, and I swear my heads gonna drop off any second.”
Thornton put his hand on his friends shoulder, and squeezed it reassuringly. “You’ve probably got a concussion, you took a nasty knock to the head, try not to move about so much.”
“Easier said than done.” grumbled Mac as he once more shifted his body.
“Mac, will you sit still before you do yourself any more damage.”
“I will just as soon as I get this…….” Mac pulled a twig from under his ass, and waved it triumphantly in the air. Pete couldn’t help but laugh at his young friend.
The older man was now beginning to feel tired; the initial rush of adrenaline was gone, leaving him hurt, and cold. His body screamed at him to stop, his mind told him to push on. He knew that, the combination of a head injury, shock, and the possibility of hypothermia could be fatal to his buddy. He had to get Mac warm. The cave was protecting them from the elements, but it was damp and cold inside. He needed to start a fire.
Pete looked around and noticed that some of the walls inside the cave were covered in moss. There were some rocks on the floor too, and a few twigs that had been blown in, some of which were damp, but a few near the back were still dry.
Thornton made sure Mac was propped up securely before he moved to his right, and dragged a large mound of moss off the wall. Mac watched his friend, and smiled at his resourcefulness. “Nice, Pete.”
As the older man made his way back to Mac’s side he collected some rocks scattered haphazardly within the cave, and when he was a short distance away from their resting place, he laid the rocks on the floor so that they formed a circle, and then threw the moss inside it.
“How are you thinking of lighting that, Pete?” asked MacGyver.
“I was thinking cave man style.”
Mac laughed at his friends’ response, the movement once more sending his head into a tailspin. “Don’t make me laugh, Pete.”
“Sorry, Mac.” said Thornton apologetically.
The older man grabbed a couple of twigs off the side and hovered them above the kindling inside the circle, and then he began rubbing them together furiously. Cursing to him self each time a twig snapped and he had to get another one.
Mac watched his friend with a smirk on his face; he’d done the same thing himself on a number of occasions. Although he sometimes found striking two stones together much more effective.
“Ever considered using stones instead of those twigs?”
Pete put his twigs to one side, and grabbed a couple of rocks. He struck them together but got nothing. “Anymore bright ideas?”
“It always works in the movies,” replied Mac feigning a shocked expression.
Pete smiled at his friend, and tried again. Still nothing. Mac looked at him reassuringly. “Just keep trying both methods, one of them will work in the end.”
Joe had contacted Paul at Devils Point hours ago, desperate to know if MacGyver and Pete had arrived. The storm had hit unexpectedly and although he knew Mac was experienced in rafting, he also knew that he’d been taking the white water river run on his own, his friend knew nothing about them, so would have been of little help to him, in those conditions.
Joe wasn’t shocked to learn that they’d not arrived, and now almost 2 hours after their designated time slot, they still hadn’t made an appearance.
The storm had eased off to a point that he felt it was safe to send in a search and rescue. A team of 4 geared themselves up and took to the rapids, Joe taking command. They headed down the same route Mac and Pete had taken.
The rapids were a lot calmer than a few hours ago, but still more savage than on a normal run, the water swirling recklessly over the raft. As they neared the bend for Dykes Point they noticed a raft in the distance smashed up on the rocks. Joe recognised it instantly. All eyes scanned the area looking for bodies. One young guide spotted a life jacket on the grassy verge just past the rocks, so they headed towards it.
As they got closer, Joe realised there was a branch blocking their path, he shouted out to his friends to pull to the right so that they could pass it on the other side. Thankfully he’d seen it in time, judging from the remains of the other raft, and the torn piece of PVC stuck between the branches, he assumed that MacGyver had not had that luxury.
All men pulled at once, steering the raft easily to the right. They glided past the branch with plenty of room to spare, and then eased them selves over the slight rapid that was in front of them. As they came out of it, they aimed the raft to the left, and made their way to land.
Pete heard raised voices and looked towards the river. In the distance he saw a raft make its way past the fallen branch, and then head for shore.
“Mac, they’re here!” Pete told his friend excitedly.
Although, Pete hadn’t expected Mac to answer him, he was still upset when he never. His friend had lost consciousness an hour ago, and as much as he’d tried to keep him awake, he’d failed.
The older man gently leant Mac against the wall, and eased his arm from around his shoulders, so that he could let the rescue team know where they were. As he got up, Mac started to slump forwards, so Pete lowered him to the ground as a precaution. The last thing he wanted was for Mac to be hurt more. Knowing that his friend was safe, Pete made his way down towards the river.
As the rescue crew got closer to the boulders, two of them jumped out of the raft and into the water to help pull it ashore.
Joe noticed a man emerge from the trees and make his way downwards towards the rocks, waving his arms around frantically in the air trying to grab their attention. He didn’t recognise the man, but waved back to him shouting. “We’ll be there now. Is MacGyver with you?”
Joe couldn’t hear the man’s response; he was too far away, he wondered if the guy had even heard him? He was almost certain it was MacGyver’s friend, everyone else had checked in.
“Stay there, we’ll come to you!” shouted Joe. Raising his hand up and pushing it forwards to imply to the stranger that he should stay where he was.
Pete stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the rescue worker put his hand up in the air signalling for him to wait, despite his mind screaming at him to run.
The older man watched the guide grab a bag from the raft, and then start his climb up the rock surface towards him. Two of the others secured the raft, while the third one fiddled with what looked like, a walkie-talkie.
Thornton watched the rescue worker easily traverse the rocky surface and once he was within hearing distance, shouted out to him. “My friend’s hurt, you have to help him.”
Joe noticed the urgency in the strangers voice instantly and tried to reassure him. “It’s ok, buddy. We’ll soon sort him out, where is he?”
“He’s over there in a small cave.” replied Pete as he turned and pointed towards the rock face. “He’s unconscious, please, hurry!”
Once Joe’s feet hit the grassed area, he started to run towards the stranger, shouting out. “Take me to him.” Pete immediately spun on his heel and ran towards the cave. Within a few seconds Joe had caught up to the older man, and they ran side-by-side towards the alcove.
“What happened?” asked Joe as they jogged along.
“Lightening struck some nearby trees, and a branch fell into the river right in front of us. There wasn’t any time to avoid it so the raft smashed into it. We were flung into the water and when we resurfaced, the current took Mac and he hit his head hard in one of the branches. The force of the blow knocked him out,” panted Pete.
“Ouch. Has been unconscious the whole time?”
“No, he woke up for a bit, but not that long. He said he felt sick, and as if his head was going to drop off. I think he might have a concussion.”
“That’s a strong possibility. Was he coherent when he spoke to you, did he know where he was, who he was? Are there any other injuries?”
“He seemed ok, apart from what I told you before. He was shivering a lot, but I put that down to him being cold and wet.”
“Thanks, you’ve been a great help,” said Joe as he drew to a stop next the Mac’s body. He dumped his bag on the ground, and then knelt down next to the young man. As he opened the bag he turned to Thornton. “I don’t even know your name.”
“It’s Pete, Pete Thornton.”
“Well, Pete I could do with you giving me a hand.”
“What do you want me to do?” asked Pete enthusiastically, wanting to help any way he could.
“While I examine, MacGyver I want you to talk to him, reassure him. You’re a familiar voice, and while we might think he can’t hear us, there’s every chance he can. If he regains consciousness I want him to feel safe. He’ll feel safe hearing your voice.”
It wasn’t a complete lie, it could help Mac; but that hadn’t been his reasons for asking. Joe had seen the urgency in Pete’s eyes; his obvious need for comfort, and Joe had offered him some, in the form of being there for his friend. It was obvious that there was a strong bond between these two men. Mac had been knocked unconscious and this man had battled against all odds to save him, even at the possible risk of his own life. Their friendship, in his eyes, was one to be admired.
“MacGyver, can you hear me?” asked Joe as he felt Mac’s brow.
There was no reaction from the young man.
Joe continued on with his examination.
He took his pulse, it was a little slower than what was normal, but it was steady. The makeshift bandage provided by Pete had served its purpose; and would continue to do so until they got Mac to the nearby medical center. Joe had gently eased some of the bandage away and inspected the gash on Mac’s forehead; he’d surmised that it would need sutures and felt that replacing the temporary bandage at this stage could be a mistake, the removal of it, could reopen the wound. That was something they didn’t need to contend with at the moment.
Pete watched the guide examine his friend, his mind finally allowing him to relax knowing that a medic was at hand.
Joe run his hands; up and down Mac’s body checking for any broken bones. Thankfully he didn’t find any, but he did notice a lump on the back of Mac’s head, along with another deep gash on his right leg. When Joe had told, Pete about the additional injuries, the older man had looked horrified and ashamed.
As Joe finished his examination he looked up at Pete and smiled. “Well I think he’ll live. It’s not as bad as I first thought. How about you, Pete, do you have any injuries?”
“No, I’m fine. Just a few aching muscles that’s all.”
“That’s not surprising considering what you’ve been through. I still want you checked out once we get the two of you to the medical center.” replied Joe as he reached inside his bag and pulled out a hand radio. Clicking it on he spoke into it. “Max, I want you to radio ahead and tell them we’re bringing in an injured male in his mid thirties. He’s unconscious and lost a lot of blood. There doesn’t appear to be any broken bones or internal injuries, but he does have a fairly severe head wound. His BP is low too. He’s going to need immediate medical attention. You got that? Over.”
“Yeah I got that. Darren just radioed in to say he’s about 12 miles away so he should be here in a few minutes. Over.”
“Great! Bring the stretcher up and ready MacGyver for the journey. Over.”
“We’ll be right up. Over and out.”
Joe clicked off the radio and turned to Thornton. “It’s almost over. The medical center is about 10 miles away and, Darren knows all the short cuts. You’ll be there in no time.”
“Thanks.” said Pete grateful for the kindness the man had shown him and his friend.
As Mac began to regain consciousness he shifted his weight, big mistake, his head screamed out in protest. Instinctively he clutched his head to try and ease the pain, but instead of easing it, it intensified because he caught the wound on his forehead. The young man let out a deep groan that attracted the attention of his friend.
“Mac, are you ok?” asked Pete worriedly.
Mac didn’t answer. Instead he scrunched his eyes shut tight, and took a couple of deep breaths as he waited for the pain and nausea to subside. Once it had, he slowly opened his eyes.
“Hi, Pete.” said Mac, weakly.
“How are you feeling?” asked the older man once more. Hoping his friend would answer him this time.
“Would you like a drink?”
“No, thanks, but I’ll have some ice,” the young man told his friend.
Pete immediately grabbed the small plastic container of ice off the bedside cabinet and helped his friend take some.
The older man smiled at his buddy, then turned to put the container back on top of the cabinet. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed Mac sink back into the pillows and close his eyes. His heart went out to his friend. He looked so fragile. “Want me to leave you alone for a while so you can get some rest?” asked Pete.
Mac slowly opened his eyes and looked at his friend. “No. How long was I out?”
“You’ve been drifting in and out of consciousness for the last 36 hours.”
“Wow, must have been some party!” joked MacGyver.
The smile left Mac’s lips as he saw his friends pained expression. “What happened out there, Pete? I mean, how did I get out of the water? One minute I was rushing towards that branch, and then the next thing I know, I’m lying down on the ground with you looking over me. How did I get there?”
“I got you out.”
Mac smiled at his friend. “I kinda figured that part out. I was hoping you’d tell me what happened.”
Thornton settled himself back into the chair, and then gave his friend a brief outline of what had happened. “When I resurfaced I saw you trying to swim towards me. Unfortunately, the current gained control and I watched you slam against the fallen branch; and then sink down into the water. I thought I was going to lose you, Mac.” Pete stopped momentarily as the memory came rushing back into his mind. He took a deep breath to compose himself, and then continued on. “I swam towards you but the river kept forcing me back, the closer I got to you, the further away it pushed me.” Once more, Pete stopped momentarily when the reality of how close he’d come to losing his friend hit him. Shaking the memory from his mind, he continued. “Luckily when you emerged from the water your clothes got caught up in the fallen branch, and after a few attempts of trying to reach you, I finally managed to grab hold of your jacket and pull you towards me. Once I got a good hold on you, I made my way to the rocks.”
As Mac sat listening to his friend, he visualised the scene in his mind. He remembered the savage weather, the feeling of the water beneath him dragging him down, and knew instantly how hard it must have been for his friend. He tried to think of the right words to convey his thanks, to show his appreciation to his buddy, but found his mind drawing a blank. Thanks somehow didn’t seem enough, it was too small a word to express how he truly felt, but it was all that he could think of. “Thanks, Pete. You saved my life.”
The older man smiled at his friend. “As I said the other day, anytime! Just don’t make a habit of it.”
Mac chuckled to himself as he recalled the words spoken by Pete previously. “I know; you’re getting too old for this kind of thing.”
Pete grinned at his friend. “You got that right.”
“I guess we won’t forget that trip in a hurry eh, Pete.”
“I know I won’t. And you know what else?” Pete asked his friend.
“The next time you ask me to go on a little adventure, I’m going to say NO, and stay at home.”
“Aw, Pete. Tell me its not so.” whined Mac.
“Oh its definitely sooo!” replied Pete, his eyes widening on the last word as if to emphasise it to his friend.
“Oh man! And I had this great trip lined up for………….”
“Don’t even go there, Mac.” said Pete, stopping his friend short of finishing his sentence. “I’m not interested.”
“But, Pete, you’d love it!”
“No, not interested.” said Pete as he put his fingers in his ears. “Lalalalalalalala.”
Mac grinned at his friend and mouthed. “Not yet you’re not, but you will be.”