by Mama Dee
Disclaimer: Love 'em and leave 'em 'cause they don't belong to me. That honour belongs to the WB.
Summary: The kids take off for Mexico to continue their adventure.
Category: After Hours
Authors Note: This is the final installment of the trilogy.......please see Fantasies (part 1) and Realities ( part 2). I had to move the geological location of some sites for literary purposes.
|They arrived in Palenque around noon and were quickly taken to the mud slide. They stood in shock at what lay before their eyes. It was truly a disaster of magnanimous proportions and they couldn't bear to think what their kids were going through.......that's if they were still alive. They set to work immediately, joining the chain gang that carried up piece after piece of rubble from the muddy slope.
Ahmok had told them that their was a possibility that the kids had fallen into an old cave. There were plenty of them buried along the bottom of the ridge.
Jim felt the need to find an alternate line of offense and he asked Ahmok to lead him down the slope so they could see what was on the posterior side of the avalanche. They circled the large mound of earth that lay hulked at the bottom, looking for some evidence of a weakness in the pile. They scanned the surface carefully for any cracks or fissures indicating a possible mode of entry.
Jim's face crumpled as he saw the vastness of their task. He grimaced and his lip quivered as he looked into the weary eyes of Ahmok.
"M....my boy's buried under all of this," his voice quavered, as his eyes misted up. "We've just got to find a way in there," he whispered hoarsely.
Amhok placed his hand on Jim's shoulder. "We will find them," he said with determination. He didn't finish his last thought.........but will they still be alive?
The cave was deathly silent.
They scrambled over the drying earth, as they continued their search. Ahmok called excitedly to Jim.
"Come here, quick," he shouted.
Jim ran over to where he stood, pointing at a hairline crack in the surface. They started digging with their hands, very carefully, so as not to cause any further damage below, in case they had indeed fallen into an old cave. As they dug deeper, the ground held.
"Ahmok, get some more people down here with shovels!" Jim demanded.
Ahmok returned in a short time with a dozen volunteers bearing picks and shovels, accompanied by Philip and Brody who brought their own tools. Amhok had brought shovels for him and Jim, too. They started digging quickly but carefully. The expelled earth started forming a large pile as they dove further into the hardening mound. After about six feet, they poked a hole through the final layer of earth.
Jim told them to stop for a minute as he lay down and reached for the hole as someone held his feet. He carefully picked away at the crust and was satisfied that they could dig a larger entrance. When they had increased the size of the hole to five feet, Jim was lowered down by a rope held onto securely by the group of men.
He continued his descent until his feet finally touched bottom. He turned on his flashlight and made his way along the rough passage, gagging at the staleness of the air. It was barely breathable, but the opening above was starting to provide some necessary oxygen to the stillness. He groped his way across the uneven floor and nearly tripped over a body that lay sprawled at his feet.
He shone his light down and ran it over the prone figure. He had found Michael. He lay on his stomach, his fingers frozen into a clawed position. Jim bent down and quickly located his neck to check his pulse. It was very weak but he was alive. He scrambled back to the opening and called for the paramedics to lower a stretcher down. They followed with it and before long, they had Michael securely strapped to the board and were raising him to another pair of medics waiting above.
More stretchers were lowered in anticipation of finding more victims. They continued along the murky tunnel until they came to the area where thre rest of the kids lay comatose. They had passed out from their injuries and the lack of oxygen, but after a quick check, they were relieved to find them all alive. Jim stood over the deathly form of his son, weeping openly at his condition. He was alive now, but would he make it.
Within half an hour, all eight kids were lying out in the open, the craved oxygen already bringing a little colour to their pallid complexions. A cheer came up from above as Jim, Philip and Brody looked up into the ecstatic faces of all those who had worked so hard to free their children. They waved to the people, smiling their thanks.
The trail was too rough and muddy for an ambulance to traverse, so they were transported back to the quad by ATV's, where two hospital helicopters waited to transport them to the facilities at Merida. As Jim, Philip and Brody stood anxiously awaiting their turn to board the choppers, Ahmok, Pakal and Balam stood by, grinning widely and laughing with joy as they shook their hands. The men in turn thanked them profusely for all they had done for the kids.
They wished them luck and asked to be called as soon as they had news. They made their promises and soon were being lifted into the air, on their way to a proper medical facility to heal their injured brood.
Kyle was the most critically injured. He required emergency surgery to repair his damaged ribs and lung and to fix his injured ankle.. He lay in ICU, still unconscious and heavily medicated. Jim sat by his side, refusing to leave him even for a moment. He was still very pale and required an oxygen mask to assist his breathing.
Alex also required extensive surgey to repair his broken collar bone and injured leg. His injuries, although serious, were not life threatening. He remained isolated as a precaution after surgery.
Tess needed some surgical procedures performed on her leg, which had suffered a fracture. Her arm had been stitched and so had the gash in her forehead. She, too was sequestered to the ICU ward, resting from the sedation they had administered.
Finally, Liz lay in a room by herself, as she too rested from the surgery on her knee. She had torn the ligaments in it when she fell. The underside of her legs were badly bruised from the tree trunk and she required traction to alleviate the pressure on them. She was heavily sedated to relieve her extreme pain.
Max and Michael shared a room. Of the two, Michael was in much better shape. His more severe cuts were bandaged but he was one of the luckier ones. Max had his hand and foot placed in casts and although in pain, he was conscious and alert. His thoughts were focused on Liz and he was desperate to see her. He was so relieved that they had all survived their ordeal, though. He had given up all hope of their being rescued.
Isabel and Maria also shared a room. They, too, wore bandages for their more severe wounds but like Michael, they had escaped the more serious injuries of their friends. Isabel was very worried about Alex, but her Dad had reassured her that he was resting more comfortably now. She wanted to see him but was told that he was still sleeping from the medication.
Max and Isabel didn't care if their companions were sleeping or not. They just needed to see them to satisfy their need for reassurance. Max finally convinced Michael to find him a wheelchair and he escorted him to the nurses' station to find out the location of Liz's room. They wouldn't allow him into the ICU but he was more determined than ever to find her, so he had Michael distract them while he maneuvered his chair through the doors leading into the critical care area.
He scanned the room numbers until he located hers. He paused before he went inside, trying to compose himself in case she were awake. He needn't have worried, for the medication they had given her was very heavy.. He wheeled over to her bedside, needing to be near her, if nothing else. She looked very pale but her breathing was even.
He sat beside her, reaching out to touch her hand that lay atop the covers. He was thrilled just to be able to do this, knowing she was alive and would recover. He sat there for about half an hour until he was discovered by a nurse. She smiled as she watched him from the door, as he kept watch over his girlfriend, but she did her nursely duty and urged him to return to his room. He needed his rest, too, she reminded him. He nodded sheepishly, recognizing her as the nurse who had denied him entry before. She escorted him back to his own room and helped him back into his bed.
Meanwhile, Isabel had also sought out Alex in her need to check his condition. The only remembrance she had, was of him lying so broken in the cave and she had to seek assurance that they had actually repaired his injuries.She found him asleep as she had expected, but his colour was much improved and he seemed to be resting comfortably. She sat beside his bed, holding his hand, and smiling as she realized they would all be well again soon. She was allowed to remain a little longer than Max, since she herself wasn't in such a serious state.
It was now nearing midnight. All the patients were safely in their beds. Jim had gotten up to stretch a little and to check on the conditon of the other kids who he was also very concerned about. He met Philip outside in the hall, as he too made his rounds of the kids.
"Boy, are we lucky," Philip admitted to Jim."I can't believe we found them under all that mess!" he exclaimed, shaking his head. He rubbed his hand over his eyes, trying to fight the weariness that was setting in. Jim smiled at him weakly, as he nodded in agreement.
"Yeah, we're lucky alright," he sighed. He couldn't even contemplate the consequences if they hadn't reached them in time. The doctors had told him that Kyle had just barely made it. His left lung had completely collapsed and hs right was was just barely functioning when they had fianlly opened him up to repair his injuries. They told him it was a miracle that he had made it.
"How are your kids, Phil?" he asked.
"Oh, they're doin' pretty good. I think they're more concerned about Liz and Alex than themselves. I think we'll have to tie Max to his bed just to keep him out of Liz's room, " he laughed.' He sure is crazy about that girl," he smiled.
"Yeah, I noticed," Jim laughed, as he agreed with him. "They all seem to be overly attached to their partners, for want of a better word," he remarked, as he thought of Tess and Kyle, whose friendship seemed to have blossomed into something much more."Kids!" he shook his head laughing. "Be great to be that age again but to be a hell of a lot smarter, eh?" he grinned.
"You bet," Philip grinned back.
After they had made their rounds, assuring themselves of all the kids' present conditions, they settled down for the night. Jim returned to Kyle's room to sit next to him in the slightly uncomfortable hospital chair. Philip had been allowed a cot in a small room provided for the benefit of relatives who wanted to stay overnight.
Max lay restless and awake in his bed. He had pretended to take the sleeping pill they offered him. He was determined he wouldn't rest until he knew Liz was alright.And he wouldn't know that until she woke up herself.
Michael had spent some time with Maria, earlier in the evening, the only two of the couples who were actually able to do so. They were very concerned about their friends in ICU, and talked quietly about their conditions. They had visited them all earlier and Maria still teared up as she recalled their sleeping forms.
"Oh, Michael, I can't believe what happened!" she cried. "And I can't believe we made it out alive!" she exclaimed, as he hugged her close. Her head still ached a little from the bump she had received, even though she had been given painkillers. But she knew that was minor, compared to the discomfort her friends were feeling.
"How's Max doing?" she asked concerned. Of all of them, she knew he would be suffering the most, as they all knew he felt responsibility for all their actions in his leadership role.
"Not good," Michael admitted. "He's really eaten up about all of this. It's no good talking to him," he shrugged. "You know Max!" Michael emphasized. "I think once Liz is awake, he'll feel a whole lot better, though," he assured her.
Sunday morning came and Kyle finally awoke from his drug induced state. He smiled weakly as he saw his Dad slumped in the hospital chair. He groaned to get his attention. Jim woke with a start and shot up from the chair when he realized Kyle was awake. He grinned widely at his son as he held his arm. He called for the nurse and they checked his vital signs. Kyle fidgeted with the oxygen mask, indicating that he wanted it removed. They allowed him this since he seemed to be breathing with more ease.
The others also gradually came out of their heavy slumbers. Isabel and Max were ecstatic to hear that their friends were awake. Isabel went immediately to see Alex and Max was permitted to finally see Liz. He would have gone anyway, not caring who tried to hold him back.He grinned at her when she turned towards him, sensing his presence as he came down the corridor. He was by her side in a second.
They stared into each others eyes, words not enough to gauge the depths of the feelings they were sharing. He kissed her hand and she brought his to her mouth and kissed it.
"I love you," he whispered through his tears.
"I love you," she returned, as she squeezed his hand.
Isabel rushed into Alex's room, thrilled to see him sitting up and trying to maneuvre some food on his tray. He sat there awkwardly, his left arm in a sling to prevent too much movement to his injured collarbone, while his right leg was extended in traction. She smiled as she kissed him on the forehead and sat down to help him eat his breakfast.
"Hey, Muffin," he smiled back. "Some wild vacation, huh?" he joked.
"Oh, Alex," she grinned, as she shook her head. "Eat your breakfast," she demanded through happy tears.
Jim wheeled Tess in to see Kyle. He left them alone as he went to get some coffee. Kyle looked hopelessly at her battered face and her plastered leg.
"How you doin', Baby Cakes?" he asked anxiously.
"I'm doing just fine," she told him. "How are you?" she asked, just as concerned.
"I'll live," he assured her, smirking. He reached out and took her hand in his. He brought it to his lips and ran it over them. Then he pecked it and just smiled at her. "Love you," he managed to get out in a choked voice.
"I love you, too," she sobbed.
It was Christmas Eve and Philip had arranged a surprise for them. He had made arrangements to use the audiovisual equipment reserved for teleconferences between hospitals so that the kids could talk to their parents back in Roswell. He wheeled the machine from room to room as they all sent their messages of love home.
Isabel, Michael and Maria could have travelled back home for the holidays but Isabel was not leaving Alex's side and Michael and Maria were determined to see their friends through this crisis. Their parents sat in the conference room at the hospital in Roswell as they sent along their Christmas wishes.
There were many tears of joy and sadness. Philip had cautioned them about the appearance of the kids before they came on the screen. All the parents spoke to all of the kids in turn, since they cared for them all so deeply. It was hardest on Michael and Tess since they didn't actually have anyone at home for them, but all the parents sent their love to them as if they were their own, so thrilled that they had all survived their ordeal.
After the teleconference, the kids' spirits were much improved. They thanked Philip for his thoughtfulness. He just shrugged it off, happy that he could make them so happy.
|Part 18 | Index | Part 20
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