Caught by the Tide Ch. 01
The tide was coming in. Fast. This was hardly the time for discussion. But suddenly, I realised where I'd heard that voice before.
. . 'A rip current--never mind, it doesn't matter. Go back!' And when he straightened up, waving across at the cliffs, I knew there was no question about who he was.
'I can't!' This couldn't be happening. Not him. . .
'There's nowhere to go!' 'Yes there is! Go back! I'll meet you there. ' I stared at the place where he'd been standing, but the guy in red board-shorts--and now a vibrant orange T-shirt--had vanished, leaving me with no choice but to trust him. Hitching up my bag, I turned around and began to wade back to shore--what was left of it.
'Here!' I heard him shout when I reached the base of the cliff, casting a nervous glance at the water licking at my heels. And following the direction of the sound, I saw where he intended me to go. Up the rocks to the side, a steep, but not impossible climb for someone wearing stout shoes.
A rope would've been handy too. But I had neither-- the sea had even taken my flip flops. 'I don't think I can!' 'Yes you can. ' He was moving towards me, carefully manoeuvring around one rock at a time until his arms were just a few lengths from mine.
'You can do this. Come on. ' The next wave rather forced my decision. Shrieking as the surf washed around my ankles I lurched towards the rocks, clambering up the lower boulders as fast as I could.
But it wasn't easy, the stone hard and unyielding beneath my bare feet, my fingers scrabbling to find deep enough holds. And the higher I climbed the more difficult it became, the granite there flatter and more slippery with much sharper edges. 'Come on,' he called encouragingly at intervals, his arms still outstretched towards mine.
'You're doing it. You're doing so well. ' It was hard to believe. This then was the very definition of three steps forward and two steps back, I thought as I slid downwards yet again, experiencing a sharp flash of pain along my forearm as I brushed against an adjacent rock.
'I'm not!' I cried, clinging on for dear life as I gazed back at the water swirling below me. 'I'm going to fall!' 'Don't look down. You're nearly there. Nearly there.Just one more step. ' And incredibly, one more step really was enough, his hands coming down to seize my wrists, hauling me up towards him. 'Oh my God!' I gasped, landing on the ledge beside him, shaking with exertion as I wrenched my bag off my back, my arms and legs feeling ridiculously weak.
' 'Not today. ' He pulled a striped blue and yellow beach towel from the bag beside him and wrapped it snugly around my shoulders, his expression grim. 'But what the hell were you thinking? Surely you knew the tide was coming in?' 'What?' I glared at him, my relief instantly giving way to resentment.
'I wouldn't have been down there at all if it hadn't been for you and your buddies, kicking your bloody football at me every five seconds. ' 'Oh come on,' he shot back. 'Every five seconds is a bit of an exaggeration, don't you--?' 'You had the whole fucking beach! But no, you have to set up your goalposts right in front of me--' 'Look, we didn't even see you there until the ball hit you the first time.
. . . .