Part 3 of the Oblivion Trilogy
*** *** ***
The scream woke her and Timmy leapt out of bed and came rushing to her side, “What is it Gerry, should I fetch Grandfather?”
Wild eyed, Gerry stared at him, and she could only nod. The dream had been so real. What had caused it, she had nothing to fear, no problems, in fact quite the opposite, Devin was due home that day, so why did she have such a terrible nightmare about him.
Timmy came running back, “Grandfather is on his way, he is with your mother, she too woke up screaming. Is it something you both ate do you think?”
At his words Gerry, was up and running, picking up her dressing gown as she went and bundling herself into it, she ran towards her mother’s chamber.
“Mama!” she cried, as she flung herself into her mother’s arms, “Did you have the same dream too?”
Marie stared wild eyed at her daughter, “No dream,” Marie told her, “Real, real.” she gestured wildly, placing a hand upon the region of her heart. Though her English had improved tenfold, from time to time her speech lapsed back into the past.
Father looked searchingly from one to the other of them, “What is it?” he dared to ask, afraid of the answer. For the two of them to have such a dream at the same time, could only mean it was as Marie had said no such dream, but a message that coursed through the Bond each of them shared with the men that they loved.
“I dreamed...” Marie began waving her hands frantically, “Mich’ael fell, long way down. He hurt, bad.”
“And I too, Father, I dreamed that Devin fell. There was this long black vertical shaft, with jutting rocks, he hit them on his way down and he lays twisted and crumpled at the bottom!”
“What are we to do?” Father whispered, he knew full well the import of their words, “We are so far away, I don’t even know how to get there myself, so who could help them?”
There was only one answer to that, both women spoke it together “Catherine.”
With no time to lose, Catherine agreed to go at once to Sonn Alp. She did not for one moment feel that it was just a dream. She knew the strength of the Bond, would know herself if anything like that had happened to Vincent, but she could not rescue two grown men alone, and it would take several hours to reach them.
“You must take some people with you Catherine.” Father told her, “Peter for one, I have no valid passport though I will now apply for one at once, its a pity you did not know anyone closer who could get to them before you arrived.”
Catherine had been thinking the same thing, “But I do Father! If I can contact him. When I was in Italy, I met a man,” she saw Vincent frown, there was no time to explain now, “ He works for the British Museum, and knows the terrain, he could help, if only I can contact him, I only know his first name.”
“Then hurry Catherine, get to your apartment and call him from there, I’ll rally round here and find whoever has a valid passport to come with you.”
“Thank you Father, chose men or women and contact me then I’ll make the flight reservations while I am Above.”
As they parted, Vincent accompanied Catherine upwards to the basement of her apartment building, he was very quiet, wondering about this man she had met, and never until this moment had mentioned. He had no reason to feel in doubt or insecure, but being Vincent he invariably did, especially as Catherine was once again off on a journey that did not include him, but did include Devin, and now some unknown man, she had met before, and had never spoken of. Why was that?
Reaching the basement, Catherine turned to him, “Vincent, what can I say to you?”
He smiled, “Are you trying to make a habit of asking that every time we reach this point, my Catherine?”
Catherine thrilled at his words, how she loved for him to refer to her as his Catherine, smiling, she pulled his face down to hers, and kissed his lips passionately, “ I promised I would never leave you again, and now here I am doing just that. I’m sorry Vincent to break the promise.”
“The promise is not broken of your own accord my Catherine, but I worry for your safety, take care my love, and return to me as quickly as is possible.”
“I love you Vincent, you and only you, never doubt it Vincent, nothing will prevent me from returning to you, not even death.”
Vincent shuddered, why had she added the last three words, was there something so terrible about Sonn Alp that was still of danger to her?
He drew her tightly against him, brushing his lips across her cheek, and as they came to rest upon her throat, he crushed her to him, not wanting to let her go, but he knew time was vital, his brother needed help, and reluctantly he released her.
Timmy ran behind Father, “Let me go Grandfather please, I have a valid passport, please let me go,” he pleaded.
Father looked down at the boy, uncertain, what could he say to him. This was his father they were talking about. A man he had never yet met, and now it looked as if ... No! he could not allow his mind to think along those lines, yet twisted and crumpled that’s how Gerry had seen Devin. What right did he have to refuse the boy’s pleading, what turn would their relationship take if he did?
“If Gerry says you can go, then it is all right with me.” He told Timmy, somewhat passing the buck, though secretly he hoped that Gerry would not refuse the boy. Timmy raced off , then raced back and hugged Father, and raced off again to seek Gerry, while Father continued his task of finding more people to journey with Catherine.
Up in her apartment, Catherine was busy dialling numbers. Peter was on his way, fixing up a locum to take his place, and Catherine reserved four seats on Concord to leave within three hours. She could have got an earlier flight, but there was a stopover, and she knew that time was the essence here, Concord it would have to be, and it would get them there in half the time, even though it was expensive. Still what was expense when it came to a family member in trouble?
That done she busied herself with the most daunting task of all, contacting Scott who worked for the British Museum.
Not knowing his other name, she rang London first. It took an age to get through to anyone. She was transferred here and there, until finally a woman’s bored voice told her, “I think the gentleman you require is Scott Phillips, but he isn’t with us at the moment. He is in the Alps excavating a site. I’m afraid I cannot give you a contact number, but I can have him call you, give me your name, number and a message and I’ll call him.”
“Its a matter of urgency”, Catherine told her, “I have a flight booked in less than three hours to Austria, please would you hurry, if you leave me your name, I’ll pay you for your help.”
The bored voice raised an octave, “Really, that would be most kind of you, my name is Dorothy Turner, now what is your message for Mr. Phillips”
“Tell him to call Catherine Chandler immediately, tell him we met in the Dolomites about eighteen months ago, and I was the woman he asked for help with translating to the French people, he should remember me then.”
“That’s most strange, Miss Chandler, we seem to be talking about the same Scott Phillips, but the Scott I know is fluent in French, always has been, as well as many other languages.”
“Well that is what happened, now please may I ask you to get on to it straight away, it is a life and death situation believe me.”
“And you won’t forget to pay me?” The woman asked.
Catherine felt her anger rising, but kept it in check, “I won’t forget, I’ll even reimburse the museum for the call.” She added somewhat testily.
“Then make it two separate cheques, one to me and one to them, and put my name on the envelope will you? Now tell me your telephone number with dialling code.”
Catherine gave it to her, and heard the woman gasp, “Is this an international call?” She asked Catherine.
“Yes, I am calling from New York, USA.”
There was a pause at the other end, “I’m sorry had I of known I wouldn’t have kept you holding on so long, I thought you were ringing locally. Okay stay put then, and I’ll try to get through to Scott, but if I can’t where can I tell him to reach you in Austria?”
“Tell him to meet me at the Institute of Climatology, on Sonn Alp, Austria.”
“Really, I believe he actually knows of that place, he went there to do some work for a scientist there.”
“How do you know all this?” Catherine was intrigued to know.
“I have his file up in front of me on the computer, here, yes, the Institute of Climatology, Sonn Alp. He had a meeting with a Professor Strasser.”
“That’s the same place, tell him to meet me there, I am travelling by Concord, and should be there by the evening.”
“I’ll see if I can get hold of him first and get him to call you before you leave.”
They said their goodbyes, leaving Catherine to walk aimlessly around the apartment waiting.
When the shrill of the telephone came, it made her jump, and nervously she picked it up, “Hello.”
“Is that Catherine?” The male voice asked her, “It's Scott Phillips here.”
“Yes”, replied Catherine, “Thank you for returning my call so promptly, “Scott I need your help. You are the only person I know of near enough to help. I have some friends on Sonn Alp, at the institute, they have fallen through a vertical shaft and need help, can you go there, I plan to arrive this evening.”
There was a hesitant pause at the other end, “I don’t understand Catherine, why me? Why can’t anyone else help out? Who has fallen?”
“My brother-in-law Devin and one of the professors, Mich’ael Reidel.”
“Mich’ael you say, I know him well, but why doesn’t Professors Kogler and Strasser help them?"
Catherine knew it was going to be hard, if there had been any other way she would have taken it, “They're both dead.” She told him, “Please, there will be time for questions later, please will you go to the mountain and see if you can help them?”
“Of course I will go, but surely there is someone already there, the person that called you perhaps and told you about their fall?”
“No there is no one, look trust me Scott, I know this may seem hard to grasp, but really there are two men who are injured badly somewhere down a vertical shaft inside the mountain, and there is no-one to help them but you, until I and my friend’s arrive.”
“Yes there is Catherine, look don’t worry, I’ll get a medical team together, and some helpers, and we will find your friends and rescue them, though please still come, it will be great to see you again.”
“And you”, Catherine lied, how could she tell him otherwise, when she needed his help so badly, “Besides I have a bone to pick with you.”
Devin knew he wasn’t dead, but he did know he would be, if he couldn’t find a way out of the shaft he had fallen into. A faint light from the sky above glimmered, and he wondered if it were possible to climb up to it, some hundred feet or more. Mich’ale lay unconscious at his side, blood oozing from a deep gash in his brow, his legs twisted and so obviously broken beneath him. About to reach out to him, Devin’s intention was to put Mich’ael into the recovery position, then froze, best not to move him, his back could be broken. Not only that but Devin realised that he should not move either, for suddenly he knew that he could not move his legs, and his arms felt weird, he did not know what to do. Both he and Mich’ael were totally helpless. And the only people that knew they were there were thousands of miles away. Would they be able to arrive in time, even if he could reach them? He had no telephone. Suddenly he remembered the Bond, and through it he reached out to Gerry with all the failing strength he possessed, before he passed out from sheer fatigue of thought and injury.
*** *** ***
Catherine could hardly dare to believe it as she found herself once again sat upon an aeroplane taking her to Austria, though this time with some anxious friends at her side.
Peter, Timmy, Mary and Mouse. They had all been so surprised to know that Mouse had a valid passport, he said he had purchased one for emergencies. Dear Mouse, who insisted this was an emergency where he would be needed had begged Father to let him be included, and Father had relented, because of the sincerity in those pleading eyes, just as he had been unable to refuse Timmy.
This unusual group of friends flew the thousands of miles in record time, thrilled to have a once in a lifetime trip on board the world’s fastest aircraft. Mouse with his love of inventing things couldn’t get over how wonderfully made the aeroplane was, how sleek it flew through the sky, cutting through clouds. He had never flown before, and watching aeroplanes flying above he had thrilled to the power of flight, but never had he experienced such wonder as the flight of Concorde
“The most fantastic flight I ever took,” said Catherine, “ was during a thunderstorm, the aeroplane was high above the storm so that it wasn’t buffeted in any way, and above the storm the sky was crystal clear with a full moon and stars. Below me, however, the storm raged, and silver threads of lightening snaked their way between the clouds, it was fantastic. I marvelled at the splendour of that performance, and never have I experienced anything as fine since, as far as nature is concerned. Above the storm I felt safe and secure too.”
“That’s a marvellous experience Catherine,” Mary told her, “I absolutely adore thunderstorms. You know when I was in my teens my desire was to be a storm chaser. I had a boyfriend who would chase twisters, and he took me on a few of his jaunts. The thrill of seeing the tornado was breathtaking. I really thought I had found my vocation but somehow after we split up, I drifted away from that idea. I suppose I regret it in a way, but then you can’t have everything.”
“Sometimes, we have to chase after other dreams,” Peter told her, affectionately. “No matter how long the fulfilment takes in coming huh?” His grey eyes twinkled at her, and she knew he was talking about herself and Jacob. She nodded, “Yes for a certainty that particular dream was a very long time in coming to accomplishment, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. In all the years I have been working alongside Jacob Wells, the love I held secretly for him grew and deepened. I feel as though I have spent a lifetime married to him, without the benefits.” She smiled, “But now my dream is coming to pass.”
“When will you be married Mary, do you know?” Peter asked her.
“We were waiting for Devin’s return, we hoped to be married within a few days of that. Now,” she shrugged her shoulders, “Who knows, it depends on how badly injured Devin is.”
“Gerry got a message from him just as we were leaving.” Timmy told them importantly, they all turned in their seats to look at him, “Its true,” he told them, “She said he was calling to her for help, she took comfort in the fact that he could talk, but then there was silence. She searched through the Bond, and found him to be unconscious. I wish I had a connection with someone like that, its neat.”
Peter drew his brows together, and whispered, so Timmy could not hear, “This doesn’t sound good, if Devin is unconscious, how will we be able to establish their whereabouts?”
“Well, its not as bad as it sounds, Peter. Sonn Alp is a huge mountain, but apart from inside the West Wing, I know of no other way inside in, certainly if they have fallen through a vertical shaft, it will be somewhere in that location. When Devin left a message on my answer-phone earlier in the week, he told me they planned a trip up to the peak on the last day, and that there was a small buggy like train that they could go on, to make the journey less strenuous. So I suggest we start there.”
Peter nodded, “How long will it be before we can get to that spot after landing?”
“We’ll need a car, perhaps Scott will meet us with one, we will have to cram ourselves in, from then it will take about twenty minutes. I actually made the trip on horse back, it took me hours, but then I had to keep stopping to let Jack rest.”
“Jack?” Mary enquired.
Catherine smiled fondly remembering, “The pony I hired, he had no name so I gave him one, I’d like to see him again, we grew to be good friends. He was a pretty blue roan, and quite a character, I can tell you.”
“Animals generally are.” Mary told them.
Timmy listening in, suddenly put forth a question he had been pondering on asking them since his arrival in the tunnel world, “When I lived with Grandpa, he had this dog, named Sandy, he is being looked after by Grandpa’s neighbour. I was wondering would Grandfather allow Sandy to come to live in the tunnel world with me?”
“A dog? There has never been any animals save Mouse’s Arthur living Below, I wouldn’t like to say, what sort of dog is it Timmy, not that it makes any difference?” Mary asked him gently.
Timmy’s face fell, “Sandy is my best friend.” He told them softly, “He’s a golden retriever and he is very intelligent.”
“Well, Timmy, I can’t answer your question. Its not for me to say, you see any new member has to be accepted by the council, and this is a request that will have to be met by them, there are all kinds of reasons why it may or may not be possible. Look wait until you get back huh, and speak to your Grandfather about it.” Mary told him kindly.
Timmy nodded, but did not speak. Tears had welled in his eyes, a life without Sandy was too unbearable to contemplate. He owed Sandy his life, on more than one occasion, and planned to tell Grandfather about those occasions and ask if Sandy could stay.
Eventually the blue ocean of the Atlantic beneath them dwindled to a shoreline, and they found themselves flying over land, “Not long now,” Catherine told them, viewing the familiar sight. She had not seen this on her last occasion coming into Europe for she had been sleeping, but remembered it on the outward journey home again. “I am always afraid when we are travelling directly over water. Silly really, because if the plane should crash, then either way, land or sea, the results would likely be the same.”
“Yes,” Peter took her hand in his. “I know that feeling, but somehow, the risk is fractionally less over land. Sometimes there are survivors, whereas if the plane cuts through the ocean, only oblivion is left, and the thought of all that water seeping through, knowing that the plane is taking you miles from the surface, is a fear that I too take with me on every flight over oceans.”
Everybody shuddered, at the mere thought of it.
Soon the captain was announcing their arrival at the airstrip, and asking everyone to fasten their safety belts. Catherine looked at Mouse, “You’ve been very quiet Mouse, did you enjoy the flight?”
Mouse’s eyes shone brightly, he nodded, “Yes.” Was all he could say, it was unusual to hear Mouse lost for words, no doubt he was storing them up, and when they erupted there would be no stopping him. Likely everyone in the tunnel world would hear of Mouse’s trip on Concorde for years to come, and they had the home ward journey to look forward to yet as well!
*** *** ***
Mich’ael groaned. He did not know which part of him hurt the most. His entire body seemed to be encased in pain, and his moaning became louder and louder, eventually raising Devin from his unconscious state. He too knew a body that didn’t seem to belong to him, and through an impenetrable mist his mind told him that if they didn’t get help soon, they would most certainly die.
The shaft they had fallen into was damp and oh, so cold, and though a little light came down from above, it was difficult to tell exactly where they were laid, and whether any movement slight or otherwise would throw them down further still.
“Are you awake Mich’ael?” Devin asked through dry cracked lips.
For many moments there was no sound, then he heard Mich’ael whisper, “Yes.”
“Then don’t move, I think you... have broken...many bones,” as well have I, he added to himself.
“I can’t.. move anything...” Mich’ael told him slowly, the pain he was feeling could be heard in his voice. “I think... I have broken... my back.”
“Yes, that was... the con...clusion... I drew. There is some...thing... wrong with my... legs... too. I think... we have both... broken our legs, and... my arms feel weird, like they... are separate... from... my body.” He told Mich’ael painfully.
Mich’ael groaned, “I tried to save...my fall...on the way...down. I was...doing okay until...my head hit...a large... jutted rock... then I knew... no more.”
“I too, tried to save....my fall...I think...had we...not...” Devin paused, licked his dry lips, with an equally dry tongue, “we would...have died.”
“Perhaps that...would...have been...better.” Mich’ael told him, his last words drifting away into slumber.
“Keep Awake!” Devin hissed raggedly. “We must keep...talking...got to... stay...awake.”
A half sinister laugh, escaped Mich’ael, “Why?” He asked Devin, “Who...will...find us...here?”
“I believe... Gerry knows...I sent a message...through...the Bond.” Devin replied, hopefully.
“And you...think...she...heard...all this way?” Mich’ael snorted.
“Yes...I...have...been...keeping...contact with...her...all week. She will...send help, I’m...sure of...it.”
Mich’ael sighed, “So faraway. No...time.” He told Devin weakly. “No...time.”
Devin struggled to move to look at Mich’ael and saw his eyes closing, his head gently lay to one side, “Mich’ael!” Hoarsely he screamed the name, then again and again, a few rocks tumbled inwards at the sound, quietening Devin instantly. Mich’ael made no sound, no movement, Devin could not even see his chest rising and his mind reeled and refused to acknowledge what appeared to be obvious. If only he could do something!
Slowly, tentatively, he put out the only hand he had any feeling in, reaching for Mich’ael. With the side of his palm he used all his failing strength to concentrate on massaging the region of Mich’ael’s heart, and felt jubilation when a slight movement told him, Mich’ael was breathing, just. He knew of nothing else he could do, for he dared not move his own body. He could do a lot more if he were closer, but took comfort from the fact that at least they had landed side by side, and had close enough contact for their bodies to keep one another warm if nothing else. Devin was also grateful that he could see the light from above, and from time to time he could see a bird flying over head, so he concentrated on counting each bird as it flew by, in order to keep himself conscious. Then slowly he looked around him. From above he could see the opening of the shaft, beyond that the intense blue of the sky, the occasional fluffy white cloud, inside the opening, grass hang all around the edges, tiny little sinews, hanging on in threads, to the land above. From there the light picked out the steel grey rocks of the vertical shaft, growing darker where the light did not touch, and Devin could see that most of the rock was jutted, as if it had been ripped apart under tremendous pressure. The shaft was about three feet wide at the widest point, and he could remember falling almost vertically until about seventy feet down where the shaft widened, and he had felt his body twist and fall almost flat to the level they were now on. Unable to move any of his limbs, Devin felt frustrated that he could not tell how wide the part was that they lay in, and it was almost too dark to see. Bored and finding counting birds tiresome, Devin began to concentrate on remembering poetry he had learned over the years, and chanting them out loud, he tried with all his might to keep his eyes from closing. If they were to have any chance of being rescued he had to stay awake!
*** *** ***
“So here we are again Vincent, it brings a sense of da javu does it not?” Father told his son, as they sat side by side drinking tea. The chess set remained closed, with Devin so obviously hurt, Father did not want to contemplate playing his favourite game, even though it would take his mind off of things. “I don’t like to think of what could possibly have happened to Devin and Mich’ael, Vincent, but I have done nothing but pray since Gerry and Marie both had that dream, I only hope that Catherine can send word as soon as she hears anything.”
Vincent hardly heard a word his father said, his mind still on other things. “Vincent?” Father enquired, “What troubles you so?”
Vincent turned pain filled eyes towards the old man, “As if I had to ask”, Father told him, “Catherine huh?”
“Father leaned over and took the large furry hand in his, “There is no need to worry Vincent, things may appear to be back to square one, but really everything is oh so different this time.”
“Are they Father, really are they?” Vincent’s words wretched from his soul, stunned Father by their impact, almost, almost venomous.
Father’s eyes beseeched Vincent to tell, though his mouth put the request into words, “Tell me, Vincent?”
“The last time, Catherine went away, she...there was a man.” His great body shook with anger, “She never mentioned this man...till now.”
“Vincent!” Father snatched his hand away, “Surely, you are not suggesting...Oh how could you!”
Vincent shrugged holding both arms outward from his sides, “What else am I to conclude... Catherine has never before mentioned this man, yet when she came home she told me everything, every fine detail of her trip away even so much as the trip she made into the Dolomites, where she met him, yet she never mentioned him, what else am I to conclude, Father?”
“Obviously not, what you are thinking. No doubt this man was of so little consequence that Catherine didn’t even think about it.”
“So tell me?” Vincent began.
“What am I to tell you?” Father replied, grinning, repeating words Vincent so often used himself to answer that question with, and trying to lighten the moment.
Vincent’s smile did not quite reach his eyes, as he answered, “Tell me, why was it that the moment you asked if there was anybody close enough to help, that Catherine thought of him?”
Father shrugged, “Maybe she wasn’t thinking of him, only the work he is skilled in. It could be she would never have thought of him otherwise. All I can add, is that I am pleased that she did meet such a person, who could help at a time such as this. No doubt he will be waiting for them on airport, and he can arrange for a team to help in the search.”
“But don’t you see Father, Catherine will be thrown into his company again. I know Catherine Father, no matter how trivial a thing, she would have mentioned him, unless, she thought he was the sort of man, who would rival me. Whatever you say, Father, I cannot help but think that she would rather have not called for his help, for reasons known only to herself. And that is what worries me.”
“Then Vincent, I can only remind you, what a rottenness jealousy is, and...”
“Father! I am not jealous, is that what you think? No it is far more than that, I am fearful for Catherine. She has given me everything, I do not doubt her love for me, but this man, I feel she is apprehensive about meeting him again, why would this be so? I know that she loves me, but there are things she has had to give up because she dared to love me, this man, he could remind her of all those things, he could make her yearn for those things again, and that is what worries me.”
“Then I suggest that you search for Catherine through your Bond, if my calculations are right she should just be arriving at the airport about now, and if this man is there awaiting her arrival, then you may be able to glean something from her response of seeing him again.”
“And then what? How can I help her so far away Father?” Vincent spread out his hands in defeat.
“By the only way open to you Vincent, through your emphatic connection. You must pour out all your love for her, so that it fills her being, and then she will draw upon your strength in which ever way she needs it.”
Vincent nodded, “Thank you for your counsel Father. I shall be with my children if you should need me.”
With that he was gone, leaving Father feeling somewhat at a loss as to what to think.
*** *** ***
Scott Phillips, did in fact long to see Catherine again. It had seemed to him, from the moment he had clapped eyes upon her, that for the first time in his life the radiance of the sun had shone upon him. And that day when he had seen her walk away, a light had gone out in his life, never to return. Now as he contemplated seeing her again, he wondered for the umpteenth time, why she had thought of him to help her, but whatever the reason, no matter how slight, it would be a pleasure to be able to spend time with her. Time to get to know her better, and Scott began to feel light-headed at the prospect.
As Concorde came in to land, Scott waited by the arrival lounge for his first sight of her in over eighteen months. He would know her anywhere, yet when he caught sight of her coming through with the other passengers, his heart leapt at her beauty, and when she caught sight of him and smiled, his heart somersaulted in his chest.
Coming towards him, hands outstretched, Catherine took his hands warmly in her own, and squeezed them, “Thank you so much for meeting us.” She told him. Scott wanted to draw her towards him and hug her, but the chrome bar between the two prevented close contact. Still as she made her way around, he kept fast hold of one of her hands, and pushing through crowds, they came to the end of the bar, where he openly embraced her, never wanting to let her go. The scent of her intoxicated and aroused him to a degree he never thought possible, and was unaware of his arousal until she pulled back sharply searching his eyes. Her mouth dropped open in shock, “Scott!” She reprimanded him, “I called for you to help me, not for anything else. Behave yourself.” She added lightly when she saw the hurt her rejection had caused him.
He stepped back, and looked so apologetic, that she smiled, causing his heart to flip once more, “Gee, lady, if you keep smiling at me that way, I swear I won’t be able to contain myself.” He told her mischievously in a mock American accent.
Catherine laughed, then turned to introduce him to her friends, some of which had noticed his passionate greeting, and had wondered about it.
Introductions done, Scott led them outside to his waiting car.
Fortunately he had sent two cars, as one was full of rescue gear, and Peter frowned when Scott gestured that Catherine should share the seat beside him, then smiled smugly when Catherine refused and got into the other car. 'So,' thought Peter, 'This relationship is one sided thank goodness, still I had better keep my eyes on this young man, obviously he is smitten with Catherine, and how so!'
*** *** ***
Reaching the institute at last, Catherine was grateful for the comfort of her friends, and told them so, “The last time I was here, the place was so eerie, and I never thought to see it again. Never wanted to do. I am so happy that you are all here with me this time.”
*** *** ***
“So this is the place where Marie and Gerry were created”, Peter mused looking around him, “I never realised it was so big.”
“Oh it stretches further than what you see here.” ”Catherine told him, watching Scott getting out of his car, and going around to the back doors to bring out his gear. He had sent three men there ahead of him, and had a helicopter on standby for when they had rescued Devin and Mich’ael. Going across to him now, Catherine told him, “Scott, Peter over there, is a qualified GP, with years of experience, he even delivered me when I was born.”
“That must have been a sight to behold.” Scott told her seriously, “That’s one up on me he has then, having seen you naked.” he laughed, “Unless you would like to even up the score.” he smiled hopefully.
Catherine sighed, “Scott see this.” She lifted her left hand to his face, “This is a wedding ring, I am a happily married woman, and you have got to get any relationship with me firmly out of your mind.”
Scott was obviously stunned, “I didn’t know you were married.” He told her, “You never mentioned it when we last met.”
“I never mentioned a lot of things. I couldn’t even remember whether or not I had told you my surname. When I spoke to you yesterday, I used my maiden name in case I had, so you would know who I was, however, my name is Catherine Wells now.”
“No you never ever told me your surname, I’m sorry Catherine I seem to have misinterpreted things rather.”
“That you have, but now hopefully, we can put it all behind us, and get to the job in hand.”
“I’ll try.” he told her regretfully. Though deep inside he still harboured the dream of having her for himself, no matter what she had told him about being happily married.
Later after depositing the gear in an easily accessible place, Scott led the way through the West Wing to where the buggy track was located, he frowned when the buggy was not in place. “Obviously they are up there somewhere, we can do one of two things, either go up the mountain on the outside, or follow this track upwards to see if the tunnel has collapsed anywhere, that way at least we will know whether or not we are in the right place.”
“Or we could split into two groups,” Peter told him, “One in and one out, and save half the time.”
Scott looked at Peter, he couldn’t put his finger on it, but he sensed a hostility about the man towards him. Scott shook his head, “ Look we can’t do this unless we are as one team, not pulling in two different directions. I’m not the enemy here,” he shot a direct look towards Peter, “And I think I should appoint myself the team leader, unless anyone has any objections. There’s the lives of two men at stake here, we have no time for squabbles between us.”
“I didn’t know there were any.” Mary cut in.
“There are believe me, undercurrents between Peter here and I, and I don’t like it. So what’s your problem Peter?” Scott asked him angry now.
“You know what the problem is.” Peter told him boldly.
“It was a misunderstanding Peter, nothing more”, Catherine told him, though she felt she didn’t have to say a thing, she wanted to clear the air once and for all, “When I was here before with Devin,” she told everybody, “ I met Scott, and he asked me out, I refused. I didn’t know that he still cared for me, and when I called him yesterday, he took my call the wrong way, believing there was a chance for him after all. Scott and I have now cleared up this terrible misunderstanding, so Peter,” she looked directly at him, “There is no need to act unceremoniously towards Scott any more.”
Peter nodded and extended a hand towards Scott, “Then I apologise. Forgive my over bearing attitude, but Catherine is like a daughter to me, and even though she is now married with a family of her own, I still look out for her interests.”
Scott took the hand, feeling a fraud for shaking it, for accepting Peter’s apology, knowing full well, that he had not given up the hope of having Catherine for himself, but realising at least, they could do the job in hand under a less strained atmosphere.
The climb was obviously too much for Mary and she declined going up, staying instead to look for a kettle to make some tea, she told them. So the rest of them followed Scott up along the buggy track, wondering how far it would actually lead them.
They were surprised when after a couple of hours, they saw a glimmer of light ahead, and saw in front of them on the track the buggy itself. “This is very strange.” Scott told them. “I hope we have chosen right. Perhaps they aren’t in this region at all. However, why they didn’t come down the mountain in the buggy after going up is most strange. Professor Reidel, would know that it cannot be called back down from below.”
“Then they must have fallen on the outside on the way down.” Catherine told them, “Perhaps over the mountainside, it is after all a sheer drop.”
Quickly they hurried through the upper exit, and out onto the summit, scanning with binoculars all around, “Can you see anything?” Peter enquired as Scott and his three colleagues turned the binoculars this way and that.
Scott hadn’t seen anything visual that told him life existed, but he did see something, which caused him concern. Pointing he said, “Down there, see about three hundred yards from here, it looks as if the ground has opened up. Look take these, see for yourself. The green of the path suddenly gives way to a large shadow. Or is it a hole do you think?”
Peter took the binoculars, “I don’t know the terrain, but certainly the colour is different, let’s go and look.”
“No wait! We have to make certain we don’t fall into the same trap as they did. Obviously the ground is unsafe. We need to be roped together, and attach one end to something stable, to hold us all. I’ll go down there first, and call back if I see anything.”
Quickly they donned belts and hooked ropes to themselves, tying the end to the buffer rail at the top of the track, and watched as Scott quickly made his way to what appeared to be a gaping hole in the ground. As he approached he saw for a certainty that it was, “It is a hole,” he called back then cried out again, “I can hear someone.”
Devin could hardly believe he had heard right when first the sound of voices floated overhead.
They were some distance away, and he did not recognise any of them, but was relieved to find they spoke English yet did not know if they were looking for him. Feebly he called out, “Help!” and could have fainted with relief, to hear someone shout, “I can hear someone.”
Suddenly the light above narrowed as someone peered into the shaft, and called down to him, “Hello, how many of you are there?”
“How badly injured are you?”
“Neither of... us can move, I... think we may... have broken... our backs.”
Scott sucked in a breath, undecided for the moment as to what to do. “I’ll be back in a minute, don’t worry we’ll soon have you out of there.” He lied, hoping to comfort Devin.
Going back to the others, his face showing the worry he felt, he told Peter, “I’ve spoken to one of them. It’s bad. He reckons that both of them have broken their backs.” a gasp rose up from everyone, “ I’m going to radio for the helicopter, and more supplies, we are going to need a lot more gear than I’ve brought, they are a long way down. I couldn’t even see them.”
“Can anyone get down to where they are?” Peter asked.
“Possibly, would you like to try?”
“Yes, then you can pass my medical bag down to me, and a flashlight.” Peter made to step forward.
“Wait, I’ll come with you, the rest of you stay here, the ground is unsafe.”
Scott and Peter, walked carefully to the spot, the grass was springy beneath their feet, and they heard rocks slipping, then the sound of moaning. “We can’t risk going any further, too much weight, we could cause a cave in on top of them.” Scott told Peter.
“We need to find another way in, perhaps if we send the boy down, with a flashlight he can take a look around, tell us if there is another way out, what do you think?”
Scott sucked on his lower lip, pondering, looking back at Timmy, he nodded slowly, “Could do,” he replied, “But he will need to wiggle along the ground and over the top. Does he have any experience?”
Peter shook his head, “I wouldn’t think so, but I don’t know, we haven’t known him long. But what else are we to do?”
“I was thinking of Catherine. She’s quite tiny and lightweight, we could send her down, she would have more wisdom behind her than a child, what do you think of that?”
Peter nodded, “We best put it to her, but first I want to call out to Devin.”
“Not too loud then, we don’t want your voice causing an avalanche”.
“Oh Lord, I never thought about that, would I really?”
“Never under-estimate the mountains, and echo can bounce and gain momentum to such a degree that whole galleries have caved in. See if you can speak loudly without shouting.”
Peter got as close as he dared to the gaping hole, “Devin,” he called, then again, “Devin?” a little louder.
A faint sound came below, sounding rather like ‘Yes, who is it?’
Peter relaxed, “Its Peter, don’t try to speak, there are several of us here, we will get you out.”
“Who?” came the faint reply.
“Catherine, Mary, Mouse, myself and Timmy.”
“Mouse! Timmy?” Answered Devin, surprised and curious in the same instance.
“Yes, Timmy. A young boy, you’ll meet him soon. Listen Devin, we are going to try to send Catherine down to you, she is the only one, save Timmy, who is light enough to prevent too much of a cave in. The ground is very loose up here. She’ll bring medical supplies and a flashlight. Here she comes now.”
Scott brought Catherine as close as he dared to the hole, then bade her to lie flat. He gathered the rope, and Catherine eased her way backwards, holding onto the rope with her hands, as she descended into the gap. A few loose stones tumbled with her, she heard them hitting the shaft all the way down and then heard Devin moan as they hit him. “I’m sorry Devin” she called softly, “I’ll try to be more careful.”
Soon she had lowered herself into the shaft, and Peter watched as she disappeared from view. It was so awful just standing there unable to do anything but watch. He felt so helpless.
Guiding herself with her hands and feet, Catherine wedged her back against the shaft wall, as Vincent had taught her to do, and edged her way precariously down. She was unable to see beneath her, and had not brought the flashlight. Scott would send that in to her after she was down.
Devin could see parts of her, as a silhouette against the light and he marvelled at her courage.
She had gone down about seventy feet, when the shaft no longer existed,instead widening out into a cavern and she could only allow herself to dangle while Scott and Peter taking her weight between them, passed lengths of rope through the hole from above.
Swinging to and fro, and twisting around and around, Catherine became disorientated. She still could not see Devin and was worried that she might eventually come to rest on top of him, she called softly to him, “Devin, where are you. I can’t see you.”
“Below... you.” Came his whispered reply. Catherine was stunned at the pain in those two words, they seemed wrenched from him.,br>
Stretching out her toes, she swung her body across the breadth of the cavern, so that her toes merely skimmed Devin’s body, judging where he was actually laying. What part of you did I touch?” She asked him.
“Where is Mich’ael, to the left or to the right of the way I'm facing?”
Ascertaining where they were, Catherine called back up, “I’m almost down, just another couple of inches, give me some slack when I say, I’m trying to straddle them.”
Swinging herself, Catherine waited until her toes skimmed Devin again, then as she reached his right hand side, she called up, “Now”.
Immediately, Scott and Peter let the rope go, and Catherine landed squarely alongside Devin, without tottering.
Dropping to her knees she knelt over Devin, feeling his body in the darkness, checking for broken bones and gasped when she found his legs twisted beneath him.
Devin moaned. “I’m sorry Devin,” she told him, “Did I hurt you?”
“No,” he managed a shallow laugh, “What I have...to do...to get...you to... caress me.”
Catherine giggled, “At least your humour is still intact.”
Aware of a movement above, Catherine looked up to see the flashlight being brought down towards her, and stood to guide it down. It was great to have it, and she turned it on at once, but then automatically wished she hadn’t as the full impact of what lay before her came to light.
The two men had fallen into a cavern of immeasurable size. Catherine gasped at its beauty, but the horror of the two broken and twisted bodies that lay before her, drained all thought and feeling from her mind. She merely saw the cavern’s beauty, and wondered just where to start, with the injuries that literally throbbed before her. She had no idea what to do with Mich’ael who looked as though he were dead.
“I shall need help” she called back up, “Can you send Timmy down?”
There was a shuffle above, and Devin asked “Who is...this Timmy?”
“How conscious are you?” Catherine wanted to know.
“Why?” came Devin’s curious reply.
Catherine bent down and took hold of Devin’s hand. “Timmy...” How could she tell him? Was this the right moment? She longed to tell him, knew that Gerry longed to tell him, Father even, all had wanted to see his face when he found out, but this had changed all that, and even as she held his hand, Scott was lowering Timmy down to reach her.
“Here he comes” she told Devin, “I’ll let Timmy introduce himself.”
Grabbing Timmy around the waist, Catherine pulled him gently down, away from Devin, settling him down beside her. The flashlight was as bright as sunlight, and lit up the whole area, so that Timmy and Devin could see one another clearly.
Devin frowned as the boy knelt down at his side, “Hello.” He told him, “You...remind me...of someone.”
Now faced with the moment, Timmy was lost for words. This was the man that had given him life. This was the man he had longed to see for so many years. He had visualised the moment on so many occasions. Visulised throwing himself into his father’s outstretched arms, but the situation now robbed him of his dreams, for he could not bear to touch the injured body, for fear of causing him pain. Devin continued to search the boy’s face.
“Are you...related to...Joy Stuart?” Devin asked him at last. Timmy gasped, “Yes, she is my mother.”
“Your mother!”, Devin’s brows drew together. “I don’t... under... stand.”
Catherine stepped back to take Devin’s hand in her own, she nodded at Timmy, as if to say tell him, but Timmy shook his head and gestured that she should.
“Devin, Timmy is living with us now. His mother left Timmy to be cared for by her father, and when he died, Timmy came to live with us Below.”
Devin shook his head slightly from side to side, “I still...don’t understand”. He questioned her, “Why...with us?”
Catherine swallowed, “Because Timmy is...”
“Your son.” Timmy cut in whispering the words.
Devin’s eyes flew wide open, “My...son.” He exclaimed with disbelief, as his face went through a dozen different expressions, shock, surprise, followed by a depth of love and affection he had never known before. His fingers reached for Timmy’s hand, and squeezed it affectionately, “I never...knew.” he told him as his eyes brimmed with tears.
“I know.” Timmy replied, smiling happily, as tears welled in his eyes, “I’m very pleased to meet you.”
Devin smiled, “As I am... to meet you...’ Timmy. I...don’t know... what to... say. Its...wonder...ful.”
“That’s what Gerry said you would say.” Timmy told him brightly.
“Yes, she’s great, she said I can call her mom.”
Devin smiled, imagining the scene and nodded gently, “And you...can call...me dad.” He told him simply.
All the while they had been talking Catherine had been half listening as Scott passed supplies down to her, and looking about her for an alternative way out. She had felt for a pulse on Mich’ael and had been relieved to find one, be it very weak, she knew also that Devin was not as well as he made out and she worried about moving the both of them.
“Devin, I’m going to take a look around. You wouldn’t happen to know if there was a way out of here would you?”
Suddenly a groan from Mich’ael made her turn around, and hurry to his side. “Mich’ael, its Catherine, wake up.”
Slowly Mich’ael’s eyes opened, and focused after many moments, a slight smile forming on his lips, “Cathy. You....came.” Mich’ael’s voice cracked.
“Did you doubt it? Gerry and Marie both knew you were in trouble at the same instance. They woke with a nightmare, both had seen the two of you fall.” She told him warmly.
“Devin....said Gerry...would know.”
“Mich’ael, we are in a chamber, it is large and very beautiful, do you know if there is another way out?”
Mich’ael tried to look around him, but could only move his eyes, and after some moments replied, “It might be...the one...next to the rail...track, Marie... used it.”
“The one she used to escape through, of course! Then there will be a way underneath the wall back into the tunnel where the track runs. Look, help is on the way, but in the meantime, I will have a look around. There has to be an easier way to get you both out of here and I mean to find it.
*** *** ***
Vincent found it strange yet welcome that not only could he feel Catherine’s emotions, but that both Marie and Geraldine provided back up, for an overall picture to form. Having shared with Catherine a whole range of feelings over the past few hours, they had now evened out to feelings of apprehension, and if he concentrated very hard, he could almost picture her. Had she of been concentrating back towards him, the connection would have been stronger and he could have seen everything through her eyes, but her mind was on more important things.
Marie was finding it the hardest to gain contact. She felt Mich’ael’s great pain, his heart beat was shallow and broken, his breath torn from him, she feared greatly for his life, and willed her strength into him. Geraldine too could feel Devon’s pain, but being Devin she smiled as he tried to make light of it, and guessed that the affection he and Catherine shared was helping in this way. The three of them were sat in Father’s chamber around the table, each with his own concentration, while Father sat watching them, praying from time to time, when one or other of their faces showed anxiety and strain. He did not like to disturb them, and found it tiring to watch the intensity with which they meditated, each on the one they loved.
“I believe Devin has met Timmy.” Geraldine spoke at last, “Yes, I can feel a surge of wonder followed by joy,” tears coursed down her cheeks, “For all the moments there could have been for these two to meet, none could have been as perfect as now. Devin really needed to hear that knowledge at this moment, it has filled him with hope.”
Father coughed, to clear a throat filled with unshed tears, “I wish I could have been there to see it.”
“Catherine entered a vertical shaft, I felt her spinning on the rope, as the shaft widened into a cavern. Now she is looking for an alternative way out, rather than take Devin and Mich’ael back up through the shaft.” Vincent told them, still with his eyes tightly closed.
“I see.... nothing with Mich’ael. His eyes... closed, in great pain. Vincent, reach Catherine, tell her, describe cavern, I may know of way out.” Marie told him. Vincent nodded, telling them both, “Look let us hold hands like we did when Geraldine needed us, across the miles our combined strength will fly.”
Father watched as each reached for the other, clasping hands, he could only wonder at the sight through tear filled eyes. The emphatic connection was truly remarkable. Now a threefold cord that had become unbreakable.
Catherine had been walking along the wall that separated the rail track from the cavern when a bolt of power seemed to fill her, so strongly that for a moment she stumbled by its force. Righting herself, she was stunned in the next instance, by not only hearing Vincent call out to her, but as if behind him, also the voices of Geraldine and Marie. Closing her eyes, she told them, “I hear you, I hear you, all three of you, this is unbelievable.”
Then turning back to Devin and Mich’ael’s sides she told them, “Vincent, Marie and Gerry are coming through into my mind, they have joined forces, its incredible.”
Mich’ael gave a ghost of a smile, and licking his lips, told her, “A three...fold... cord can... not...be... torn...in...two.” (Ecclesiastics 4 v 12.)
Catherine drew her brows together, she didn’t entirely understand what he was driving at, but was pleased that he was still conscious. Calling softly up to Peter she asked, “Peter, would it be all right for them to have some water?”
“No Cathy”, came his reply, “Not to drink. They will both need surgery. I’ll pass some down, and you can moisten their lips, only don’t let them swallow any of it.”
“I’m going back to look for a way out, Peter, can someone go back onto the rail track, I believe we may be able to get through the wall that divides us.”
Catherine resumed her connection with Vincent while she waited, she listened as he spoke to her, reassuring her, sending her his love, she drew on his love and returned her own. Then behind him, she heard Marie, her voice so quiet that Catherine had to strain her ears to listen, “Catherine ...describe ... cavern.”
Catherine told her that the injured men, had fallen through the sloping sides of Sonn Alp, into a cavern which appeared to run parallel with the rail track tunnel.
Marie pictured it, she knew exactly where Catherine stood, “Go along ... dividing wall. Feel ...bottom. There is a gap.”
Catherine hurried over. It was a long wall, some thirty or forty feet, she slid her hands all the way along. Most of the wall was solid, but from time to time, other parts were made from loose rock. Vincent visualised Catherine, and Marie told her, “Lie flat...look low, see lights.”
Catherine heeded her words, by lying flat against the wall upon her side, she eased the loose stones away, where her fingers reached only solid rock, she moved on, slithering across the rough floor, feeling the sharp rocks penetrating. The ground was uneven, yet she put up with the discomfort, to pull herself along lest she missed a spot. After she had worked her way along like this for some twenty feet or so, she found a spot where she could put first her hand through the gap beneath the wall, and then practically up to her elbow. Pulling her arm back, she lay with her face pressed as close as she could get, and with one eye closed (because it was totally against the wall) with the other she was able to see straight through. And sighed with satisfaction when she was just able to distinguish the tunnel lights on the other side. “I’ve found it.” she cried out and through the Bond, and heard a joint sigh of relief pass back through to her.
“Catherine, I can hear you, whereabouts are you, can you shine your flashlight through?” Scott’s voice called to her from the other side of the wall. Picking up her flashlight, Catherine directed the beam, until Scott could see the shaft of light at the foot of the wall. “That’s great Catherine,” he told her, “I know exactly where you are, now all we need to do, is channel out a hole big enough to get you all through.”
“Vincent,” Catherine called through the Bond, “Thank you all so much, we have found a way out. I have to help now, so won’t be meditating for a while, please stay in touch.”
“Scratch out gap.” Marie told her, and Catherine remembered, ‘But of course’, Marie had told them, that she used to re-fill the gap, so no-one would ever discover her escape route. Calling out to Scott she told him, “Scott, are you there?”
“This gap, it goes beneath the wall, we have to scratch out with our hands, help me from your side, see if I can wiggle through.”
“How do you know this, Catherine?”
Catherine thought about that and smiled, “I have an inside informant.” She told him supressing a bout of laughter.
Scott frowned, ‘what on earth was she talking about?’ Still he did as she bade him, and using a large piece of sharp rock which seemed to be put there for the very purpose, began to dig beneath the wall, while Catherine dug from the other side.
It seemed only to take moments, to burrow underneath the wall, hollowing out a gap, not only large enough for Catherine to slide beneath, but looking at it, Scott felt that he too, at a push could get through also.
Vincent continued to watch through Catherine’s eyes, his heart beat fast as the moment arrived when he watched as Catherine focusing on Scott’s arm, reached out to grasp it, and he helped her slide through the gap beneath the wall. Vincent felt it, as she was pulled to her feet, and he knew when Scott’s arms slid around her waist, and for fleeting moments watched helplessly as Catherine lifted her eyes to Scott’s face, and even in the half light, Vincent saw what he considered a good looking young man. His heart leapt in his breast, and a gush of distress tore through him, which he stamped down on, just before it could pass through the connection to Catherine.
Catherine did not feel any of Vincent’s emotions towards Scott, but she did know when Vincent suddenly shut off the Bond, frowning she wondered why he had done so.
Letting go of Marie and Gerry’s hands, Vincent burrowed his head into his hands, leaving the pair of them bewildered, “Vincent what is it?”
Geraldine asked concerned, “Why did you shut down the connection?”
Vincent shook his head from side to side, unable to express the words, not wanting to hear them said, Father left his chair to hurry to Vincent’s side, worry creasing his face. “Vincent what is it, what did you see.”
After a age Vincent raised tear filled eyes to the three around the table watching him anxiously, “That man,” was all he could say.
“For God’s sake Vincent!” Geraldine spoke sharply, stunning him, with her ferocity, “He is only helping.”
“No!” Vincent cried with a heart in anguish, standing abruptly to his feet, “Did you not see the way he looked at her?”
“Yes, but let’s face it Vincent, Catherine is a desirable woman. Most men would react that way around her.”
“And so that’s all right then is it?” Vincent’s growled.
“No. Yes, it is, damn it, it is, it’s a natural response to a thing of beauty. What concerns you is only if Catherine responds to anyone showing this affinity towards her.” Geraldine told him, also raising to her feet. “Sit down Vincent, resume the connection, through Catherine I want to see what is happening, Devin is in too much pain to tell me all I need to know.”
Reluctantly, Vincent sat down, he reached out his hands on either side of him to take hold of his sister and his mother once again, and then closing his eyes, re-opened the Bond.
Catherine was beside Devin now. They could see Devin clearly through Catherine’s eyes. She sighed when she felt Vincent’s presence once again, “Hello”, she told him. “Where’d you go, I missed you.”
Timmy was pressing a moist cloth to Devin and Mich’ael’s dry lips, and there was someone else. Other hands felt at their bodies, trying to ascertain their injuries. Vincent could not see who the hands belonged to, but when they reached out and grasped Catherine’s hands, a jolt of jealousy flew through him, which he was unable to capture before it fled through the connection and hit Catherine with such a force that it jolted and bewildered her. Catherine looked up at the man that held her, and Vincent groaned when he saw Peter’s face looking back at his own, though all Peter saw was Catherine’s face, “What is it Cathy, are you unwell, you look terrible.”
Catherine shook her head. Suddenly she was filled with an anger she did not know was possible to feel towards Vincent, and letting go of it she flung it back through the connection, followed by the words, “How dare you, how dare you.” And wilfully clamped down hard on the Bond, closing it off between them.
“Vincent!”, Geraldine screamed, “You bloody idiot. I could hit you.”
“Whatever has happened?” Father cried watching as Vincent’s chest heaved with shock, and Geraldine’s eyes flashed towards Vincent with a venom he had never deemed possible between these two, “Ask this stupid son of yours” Geraldine told him firmly, “him and his insecurity, whenever will he learn that Catherine really does love him.”
Speechless, Father waited while Geraldine went on, “Peter was reaching out to Catherine, to take her hands, and this idiot got jealous.”
“Of Peter! Vincent!” Father was stunned.
“Not of Peter, I thought it was him, his hands.” Vincent told them feebly, as if his words would make it right.
“And what if they were? Do you think he was going to pull her to her feet and make love to her, right there in front of them all, in front of Devin, of Mich’ael... of, of Timmy?” Geraldine ranted, her eyes flashing.
“No of course not, Catherine would not have allowed him to.” Vincent bowed his head apologetically.
“Nonetheless, you thought that he would, no wonder she spat those words at you, I would too. So little faith you have, so little trust, you’ll be lucky if she ever wants anything to do with you ever again after this, I can tell you.”
“Do you... really think so?” Vincent’s voice crumpled, his body following it, as he slumped into his chair. The thought of life without Catherine was too unbearable to contemplate.
Immediately Geraldine regretted her words, but the fact still remained he had Catherine to convince.
“If I were you, dear brother, I would go quietly into a corner and eat humble pie. You owe Catherine a huge apology, and a great deal of grovelling wouldn’t go amiss either.” Geraldine sighed, he looked like a little boy, caught with his hands in the cookie jar.
Vincent sighed, “Yes, I will do as you say,” and with that he pushed back his chair, rose and walked dejectedly towards his own chamber.
*** *** ***
Left to her own devices, Mary set about exploring the complex, amazed by its size. Most of the rooms were now empty, save for computers and printers, so she wandered the grounds, trying to imagine the life that Marie and Geraldine had been forced to live and wondering what would have become of Vincent had the scientists decided to keep him there. No doubt he would have turned out much like Gerry, but the thought that they would never have known him was too unbearable to contemplate.
*** *** ***
She wished that Jacob could be with her, he would have liked to have seen the place, Vincent also, despite the pain of doing so.
Reaching the perimeter fence, Mary tried to recollect what it was that Catherine and Devin had told her about their great escape with Gerry and Mary that night. And one piece of fencing that had been ripped apart, and repaired badly, reminded her of Catherine telling Vincent how Gerry would soon make an exit where there wasn’t meant to be one. Just as Vincent had on numerous occasions when he had rescued Catherine time after time. She could hear Devin adding, “Yes, Vincent you’d make a great door salesman. I can see it now, ‘Good morning Madam, would you like a new doorway? Where here? This do? Crash, there you are Madam that will be fifty dollars please.”
Mary laughed out loud as she remembered the eruption of laughter that had followed Devin’s candid remark.
It didn’t seem possible that only two weeks earlier the six of them along with Charles had spent ten glorious days on an idyllic island in the sun. And were joined by young Jacob, Mouse, Cullen, Jamie and Brook. Then there was that wonderful discovery of the treasure thanks to Mouse, and Devin’s friend, Greg Masters, who had owned the island, coming out to see the treasure, and signing the island over to Devin to have as his own. And Mouse had been so thrilled when he had been told that the island had been renamed after him.
And since they had returned, Timmy had come into their lives. But Mary felt immensely sad that Jacob had never known about this grandchild, flesh of his flesh. Certainly Jacob would make up for lost time, the child was exceptionally gifted, and a treasure to know. She hoped that Devin’s injuries were such that they didn’t prevent him too much from enjoying his new-found son.
Yet there were many regrets in life, was she right to dwell on the what ifs? For what if, she had let Jacob know years ago how much she loved him, would they have been as perfect partners as they were now? No one knew the answer to that, but for a certainty she had loved him secretly for a over twenty years. A love which never faded one iota with the passage of time.
Smiling to herself, she thought about the first time they had made love, not so long ago, on that beautiful island, she felt young again, the years washed away for the both of them, and she hugged herself every time she thought about it. Since that day, they had not had the privacy to repeat the act, and she longed desperately for their wedding night, though with Devon’s injuries that day was forced further into the future. That he came first in their lives went without question.
Wondering how he was, she walked slowly back in the direction of the Institute, glancing upwards as she walked, and stopped suddenly when she caught sight of everyone crowded upon the side of the mountain. Scanning the scene with a hand held to her brow to ward off the sun, she could make out people coming and going to the peak and back, and disappearing from view. there was a lot of activity, obviously the two men had been found. Hurrying now, she walked quickly back towards the West Wing, in case she was needed.
Catherine shook visibly, her hands trembled in front of her, as she re-drenched the cloth with water and held it once again to Devon’s lips. Noticing her unrest his eyes questions her, and she shook her head. “I don’t want to talk about it Devin”.
“Vincent huh?” He questioned when she removed the cloth.
“Yes, he’s jealous again.” Was all she would tell him.
“It’s not jealousy, Cath. Its insecurity. Try not to judge him, you know that he loves you.” He told her his eyes full of sincerity.
“Yes, perhaps too much Devin, perhaps too possessively. I don’t know how much more I can take of that.”
“Surely he’s not bothered anymore about me, not in this state, is he?”
“No, its directed at Scott this time, and Peter, can you credit that, when Peter held my hand I felt a jolt of jealousy shoot through the Bond that stunned me.”
“No, I can’t believe that. There must be some mistake.”
Mich’ael, who was listening in interupted, “Yes...Cathy, that’s not like...Vincent at all.”
“I know, that’s what makes it so baffling. Look let’s not talk about this for the moment, how about the two of you, are the injections Peter gave you both working yet?”
“I couldn’t feel...anything...anyway, but...somehow...I do... feel... better.” Mich’ael told her. “Any news...yet? How...are...we to... get...out...of...here?”
“Scott and Peter are looking into it now, we hope to be able to take you out through the same gap that Marie used to use. I got through it, and if it can be made deeper, we’ll soon have you out of here.”
“This cavern looks to be a beautiful place Cath.” Devin told her, “Another time I would have loved to explore it.”
“Me too.” Mich’ael added. He could only see bits of it, but what he saw made him wonder about the hours Marie had spent down there, it was so beautiful, he could easily tell why she had loved it so. “Its no...wonder...Marie...feels at...home...Below.” He mumbled almost to himself.
Peter returned, “Well its almost ready. Mouse is helping now,” he smiled at the thought of Mouse with that namesake hollowing out a hole in the wall, “and the helicopter is on its way. We plan to have it land in the grounds rather than risk its propellers causing more of a disturbance up on the mountainside, Scott was saying we could use the buggies to get you down with, by laying the stretchers over them, he’s looking into that idea now. How are you both feeling?”
“Had...better...days.” Mich’ael told him. “Looks like... the... other...inst...tute...idea...will have to...wait...now.” He told Peter sadly.
“No, Mich’ael, if you want it, there might still be a way, look don’t give up, be positive, once we have seen the X-rays then we can start to worry.” He winked and Mich’ael gave a half smile. "What... ever... you...say...doc.”
“I suppose this means weeks in a foreign hospital doesn’t it?” Devin mused.
“I’m afraid so Devin, even if your backs aren’t broken, you won’t be able to do anything but lie flat for several weeks, months even, it will be a long time before either of you see American soil again.”
“Gee, you really know...ouch, how to cheer...ouch...a guy up, yowl!”
“Devin, what is it?” Peter grasped Devin’s hand as he struggled against an intense pain clutching his chest.
Devin could not breath, pins and needles shot up and down his left arm, and the pain in his chest was suffocating. His eyes lids closed as if weighted down and he suddenly felt cold all over, right through to his bones.
Peter jumped to his feet, running across to the wall, “Scott, Scott,” He yelled, “Get Devin out of here now, he’s arresting.”
Devin heard him, and couldn’t believe it, he was having a heart attack!! No! His only thought was Gerry, and frantically despite his pain he reached out to her through the Bond, crying out her name “Gerry, help me, help me, I’m dying”.
Then an amazing thing happened, Timmy who had gone through the gap to help dig from the other side, was suddenly beside Devin, knowing exactly what to do. Pulling Devin's shirt aside, he massaged Devin’s heart, speaking consolingly to him the whole time without panicking, while Peter and Scott filtered a stretcher through between them. Mouse frantically kept on digging the trench ever deeper, beneath the wall. Catherine stood motionless, like someone in an audience watching a play unfolding, unable to do a thing.
“Cathy, here, help me roll him onto the stretcher.” She heard Peter’s voice, but she could not move. “Cathy!” He shouted. Still nothing. Getting to his feet, Peter looked at her, ‘she’s in shock’ he thought, and slapped her face. The sting of his slap brought back her senses, though along with it, came a piercing scream that ripped involuntary from her lungs.
Clapping his hand over her mouth, Peter drew her down to sit beside Devin, who was now unconscious. “We have to help him Cathy.” He shook her gently, “I must get him out of here, we may only have minutes. Come on.” He urged her.
Catherine looked down at Devin’s tortured face, the pain still etched upon it, and her heart went out to him, and she began to feel something of what he had felt for her that day she had been shot, when he had seen her lifeless body just lying there, seemingly dead.
Moments later and struggling with his body upon the stretcher, they carried him across to the wall and slid him through the gap. It was not easy, but with time ticking away, they accomplished it far quicker than they had hoped, and soon Scott, and Mouse, had Devin astride the buggy and off down the mountain track. Peter rode with him, Timmy in another buggy, while Scott radioed through to the medical team waiting within the helicopter so they might run to meet them.
Catherine could do nothing. She could not leave Mich’ael alone, yet she did not want to stay, needing to be with Devin. Suddenly she knew that whatever had happened earlier, she had to call on Vincent, on Gerry and Marie. They had to form a chain of strength, just as they did that day in the cavern to help Gerry. It was probably Devin’s only chance of survival.
*** *** ***
It had taken Devin and Mich’ael twenty minutes to get to the top of Sonn Alp by buggy, and Scott knew they did not have twenty minutes to wait for the buggy to get down. Although they were at about half way when they started, still ten minutes was far too long. The medical team ran through the tunnel as fast as they could, and Scott pumped up the buggy to go at full steam, so they actually met inside of two minutes. Peter checked Devin’s pulse, it was still frighteningly erratic, but at least he was still with them. As soon as the medical team reached him, they connected him to a monitor, and gave him an injection to steady his heart, Timmy had done his best to massage the heart all the way down the slope, sitting beside Devin his young face ashen. “Well done Timmy,” Peter told him, when at last he had assured the child that Devin was now in good hands, “Wherever did you learn to do that?”
“I saw the medical team apply it to Grandpa.” His eyes filled with tears, “but it never helped him live.”
“Well I should think that on this occasion you can be very proud of yourself, but for your administrations, Devin would not have made it this far.” Peter told him, though the situation was still very serious.
Scott translated between the medical team and Peter, gave all the details they required, helping as he did so to prepare Devin for the flight to the nearest hospital.
“Can I go with him, please?” Timmy asked.
Scott nodded, “Yes, someone has to do. Where is that other woman that came with you Peter?”
“Here she comes now, she is soon to be Devin’s step mother, she will go with Timmy to the hospital also.”
Mary was running towards them, “Is that Devin?” She shouted as she ran, “Is he all right?”
Puffing she came to stand alongside Peter, her eyes never leaving Devin’s face, “How is he?” She asked Peter breathlessly.
“I’m afraid not good, he was doing all right, then suddenly he had a heart attack.”
“A heart attack! No!” Mary shrilled, “But he is so young.”
“Peter shrugged, “Young children can have heart attack’s Mary. What concerns me is why he had it. Maybe he has internal bleeding, I want you and Timmy to go with him to the hospital. I’ll join you there, as soon as we have Mich’ael out.”
Mary nodded, her face grave, showing signs of strain, ‘If Devin should die? No it didn’t bear thinking about.'
Wordlessly she took hold of his hand, as the medical team prepared for take off.
*** *** ***
Gerry paced her chamber, ‘whatever was Vincent thinking of?’ she was furious. With Devin and Mich’ael unconscious, Vincent through Catherine was their only link. ‘I wish I could contact Catherine myself’ she spoke out loud. Just then she felt funny. Her left arm felt like lead, and an engulfing pain tore through her chest. What on earth, she thought, this pain is not mine! Struggling to walk, she made her way towards Father’s chamber, and encountered Marie coming to find her. “Gerry!” Marie grabbed her daughter’s arm. “Father” Gerry uttered strangely, her eyes closed tight against the pain, “Hold me.”
When Father saw the state of Gerry, he jumped to his feet, letting the book he was reading slide to the floor, “Gerry whatever is it?”
“Not me, Devin.”
“Where is the pain?” Frantically Father searched through the slits of her now half closed eyes for an answer, dreading the worst.
“Heart,” was all Gerry could manage.
“Oh God, No! Not Devin! No!” Father exclaimed, realising the import of her words, as he helped Marie bring Gerry across to his just vacated chair and settled her down.
“Gerry try to reach him, let your strength feed him. I’ll find Vincent.”
“No need Father, I am here, I was on my way here when I heard you shout, and then Catherine called to me,” then taking in the scene before him he added softly, “So its true.”
“What? What?” Father cried anxiously, “What did Catherine tell you?”
Vincent’s ashen face stared with disbelief, not believing what Catherine had told him through their connection. Though her fear came through loud and clear. He could still hear her in his head. Still feel her heart hammering alongside his own. She had called for his help, their combined help, to save his brother.
“Catherine wants us to join hands, have Gerry reach Devin, and pass all our strength through to him, like the day we helped Gerry in the cavern.” Vincent told them quickly, “Come there is no time, we have to act quickly.”
“But what has happened to Devin?” Father asked again dreading the answer.
“He’s had a heart attack.” Vincent’s words spoken so quietly relayed the disbelief of the answer, even to his own ears the words sounded false.
Father closed his eyes, as the room swayed before him, “Oh dear God,” he whispered, “Please help him.”
Sitting around the table they joined hands and allowed Gerry to reach through to her husband, in much the same way as everyone had for her the day she fought with The-ri’on.
Thousands of miles away, Devin’s subconscious mind ticked over like a separate being, watching the scene around it, and gently it drew Gerry in.
*** *** ***
Mich’ael was slipping in and out of consciousness, as Catherine continued to talk to him, her mind elsewhere, sighing with relief when she heard Scott and Peter returning.
“How is he?” Peter asked, scrambling to his feet after he had slid beneath the wall.
“So so.” Catherine told him, “And Devin?” She asked anxiously.
“Much the same. Mary and Timmy have gone with him to the hospital.”
“I’ve contacted Vincent, he, Gerry and Marie, are infusing Devin with their strength.” She whispered, before Scott joined them.
Peter nodded, then shook his head, “I still find that hard to take in, but I am so glad that it does work, Devin really needs their help right now.”
Mich’ael groaned, “Move...me...now?” He asked hopefully.
“Yes, Mich’ael, we are going to take you out now, then as soon as the helicopter returns, you too will be whisked to hospital.”
“Thank...you.” Mich’ael told him breathing out a great sigh of relief.
*** *** ***
“I wish we knew what they were saying.” Mary told Timmy, as the pair of them sat side by side outside the operating theatre, into which the paramedics had rushed Devin. “Perhaps, when Scott comes we will know more. Though I wonder how long it will be before they get Mich’ael here. Was he very bad Timmy?”
“Worse than dad. He couldn’t feel anything, he couldn’t even move his head.”
“Oh dear,” Mary sighed, “This is so awful for everyone, and with your Grandfather, Gerry and Marie being so far away too. They must be frantic.”
“Why don’t you call a helper with a message?”
“There’s no need Timmy, the Bond that Vincent shares with Catherine and the one Gerry shares with your father will already have conveyed to them what is happening here, they probably know more than us in fact.”
Timmy frowned, “How does this Bond work, its real neat?”
“Its a bit like telepathy I think, truly it is special and unique to people like Vincent, something to do with the animal side I believe.”
Timmy nodded, for his eight going on nine years he was remarkably wise for his years, a wisdom he had picked up from being around adults all his young life.
“Its a bit like the bond I share with Sandy then.” He told Mary, sadly.
Timmy nodded, “Sandy is more than a dog to me. He’s my best friend. Whenever the other kids were after me, Sandy would always chase them off. He used to wait for me outside the school gates, he always knew when to come, and we would walk home together. None of the other kids would come near me when Sandy was there. I miss him.”
Patting his hand, Mary tried to comfort him, “When we get home, we will talk about Sandy to your Grandfather. There has never been a dog living Below, but we do have a racoon,” Mary laughed. “And now a monkey too,” she added thinking of Mouse’s latest pet that he had rescued on the island. “So I don’t see that there is any real problem, and William often has meaty scraps to throw away. Don’t fret so dear, we’ll do our very best to get your dog back with you.”
Timmy’s face lit up, “That would be great.”
Sitting in silence once more the pair watched as hospital staff came and went through the doors leading to the theatres, when suddenly a grave faced doctor came running down the corridor, his bleeper blaring, and disappeared through the theatre doors.
Growing agitated, Mary stood, trying to peer through the tiny frosted panel in the door, she could see people running everywhere, fear gripped her throat.
Beyond the doors, the scurrying staff called anxiously to one another, “We’re losing him. We’re losing him.” They cried.
Devin’s body jerked in spasms, as another shock wave was applied to his chest, yet the monitor continued to show a long stream of green light. “Stand back,” someone called, applying another shock to his chest and waited as a hiccup appeared on the screen.
“Try again, one last go.”
Another shock wave, another hiccup, then nothing.
Dejectedly the staff slowed in their actions, as they realised their effort was now in vain as the steady stream of green light told them that life had ebbed away from the body that lay before them.
“Are we agreed then?” Someone was saying, they nodded, unable to speak, it was always the same when somebody died, they felt useless, and then there was the heart rending job of breaking the tragic news to the relatives.
“The time is 17.24. Sister Prue, can you finish up here please, there is another casualty from the same accident on his way in.”
One by one the staff left the room, leaving Sister Prue, her blonde hair swept up high on her head, to tidy up the room, disconnect the machines and place a sheet over Devin’s body. As she pulled it up over his face she studied him, and tears filled her eyes. It was always traumatic when someone died so young, and this good looking man had a young son outside waiting for news of him, a young son who had tried to save his father. Had she of known the rest of Timmy’s story, she would have been unable to stop the tears from falling.
*** *** ***
Arriving at the hospital some time later, Peter and Catherine were met in the foyer by a grave faced doctor, who ushered them into a relative’s room. Sitting them down, he watched their faces, he always hated this part, expectant hopeful faces would look up at him, and he would have to dash their hopes to pieces. This was one of the worst things about being a doctor.
“Are you both relatives to Devin Wells?” He asked them in fairly good English, Catherine nodded, “He is my brother-in-law and Peter here is his GP.” The doctor nodded. “Well,” he cleared his throat, “I am sorry to have to tell you...” Catherine gasped. She knew those words. Hadn’t she heard them before when her father had died? “No.” She began to say shaking her head, as the doctor went on, “that Mr. Well’s died a short while ago. There was nothing we could do. I’m so sorry.”
“Tears coursed down Catherine’s cheeks, as she continued to utter the same word, “No, no, no.” She slumped against Peter her body shuddering with pain.
Peter’s arms came around her, holding her close, tears filling his eyes, he had seen death so many times yet never was he unaffected, especially now by someone so close to him, the whole family so dear to him. “Can we see him?” He asked the doctor who nodded gravely, “Yes of course. Follow me.”
*** *** ***
“Vincent, can you feel anything?” Gerry wanted to know after they had held hands for some while and not seemed to make any contact with Devin.
“What from Catherine?” He asked her, for the last few moments, a great turmoil was going on inside his wife that he did not understand, and it worried him greatly.
Gerry nodded, “I cannot seem to reach Devin. The Bond seems to be closed off at his end.” Her worried face spoke volumes.
“Catherine is distressed, all is not well with her, I feel great turmoil within her. I need to be by myself to reach her.” He let go of their hands, and sat with his head bowed into his hands, concentrating hard on Catherine’s emotions, reaching out through their Bond, begging her to tell him what was happening.
Catherine and Peter were shown into a clinically white room, with a blue flowered border running near the ceiling, funny the things one notices at such times, and shown across to a bed where Devin lay motionless, when Catherine felt Vincent beseeching her to make contact.
Her heart heavy, she approached Devin, looking down at him, he looked different, almost still in pain, which concerned her, for generally with death, all pain is erased and a tranquillity takes over. “He looks as if he is sleeping.” She told Peter, her words echoing through the Bond to Vincent, who recoiled when he absorbed them.
Peter nodded, “Yes, he does, I can’t believe he has died Cathy, something isn’t right here, his face shows too much pain, its almost as if he is clenching himself against the pain. Look I am going to find someone, I want a second opinion.”
Swinging around to face him, Catherine’s eyes searched his, “What are you trying to say, that he isn’t dead?” Shaking her head with disbelief she grasped hold of Peter's arm, “Peter tell me?” She implored him.
“I’m not saying anything yet Cathy, but I want some answers. Look you stay with Devin, and I’ll go speak with the doctor.”
Listening in, Vincent could only hear Catherine’s voice, and almost afraid to ask, he whispered, “Catherine...who has died?”
Sitting down alongside the bed, Catherine took one of Devin’s hands in her own, it was chilled but not cold. A lump constricted her throat, and she could only sit and stare at his face, willing him to open his eyes. Vincent called again, softly, urgently, “Catherine...hear me, who has died?”
Her sorrow filled heart answered him with one word, “Devin.” And hearing Vincent’s cry of anguish, Catherine sobbed as though her heart would break.
*** *** ***
Beyond the far reaches of unreality a soft mist was swirling, gathering momentum, and engulfing everything in its wake. Devin found it impossible to see through this impenetrable fog, could not discern if it was real or a dream, only that his footsteps were silent, and his journey seeming to have no end. There was no sense of time or space, no sound, just this deep pale grey fog, swirling around him with every forward step.
A feeling of walking on air struck him and briefly he thought about the grass beneath his feet on the mountainside, the way it had felt, like walking on nothing, and expecting to fall he flung his arms out wildly, frantically, reaching for something to hold on to.
A strange sensation came over him, as his legs fell into a grave like hole, his arms held onto the grass, his body stretched, so that as he fell the hundred feet or more, his whole body was able to stretch from top to bottom in the same instance. Devin let out a deep sigh at being able to pull himself up out of the hole, and walk away from the area. As he did so, a brightness penetrated the fog, inching it back and away from him, and as the fog slipped away, a blazing light dazzled his eyes, followed by a whispering from someone he knew.
“Devin...Devin...” Concentrating hard, Devin remained motionless, straining his ears to recognise the owner of the voice. “Devin?” louder now, calling, calling.
Looking around him, Devin could see nothing but the bright dazzling light. He shielded his eyes from the brilliance, wondering where he was, and who was calling to him. Feeling confused and disorientated he waited, though he wasn’t quite sure for what.
*** *** ***
“Devin, Devin...” Catherine whispered, “Can you hear me? Its Cathy. Devin... wake up.” Catherine felt almost silly. When her father had died, she knew the futility of asking him to open his eyes, knew he could no longer hear her, but with Devin it seemed different somehow. Perhaps because her father had laid in the coma before his death, and Devin had been talking to her moments before the heart attack, yet there was more to it than that. While Peter was away, she could see that the pain upon Devin’s face had not eased any and though his whole body was motionless, he still looked alive.
Vincent returned to her, his voice unsteady, “Catherine...tell me it isn’t so, not Devin?”
Catherine turned her emotions inward, reaching out to Vincent, “They say he’s dead, but Vincent I don’t believe he is. Peter doesn’t either, Vincent, you must help him. Now I am here, I will hold his hand, and you, Gerry, Marie, Father, must infuse him with your love and strength through me, it is his only chance.”
Without telling Gerry or Father what had happened, Vincent only related part of Catherine’s message to them, “We must try again, Catherine is with him now, we must all try through Catherine to help Devin, but Gerry, you must also keep trying to reach him yourself.”
Gerry looked hard at Vincent, “There’s something your keeping from me isn’t there?”
Looking at the two of them, Father knew she was right, “Yes, Vincent what is it? What’s happened?”
Vincent groaned, what could he tell these two people? They loved Devin so much, as did he.
“You’re frightening me Vincent.” Gerry told him softly, “Please, tell me. He’s dying isn’t he?”
Vincent shook his head, the tears streaming down his face, “The doctor’s say...” He began, shaking his head with disbelief. “They say, he has died." A gasp came up from the three around him, and he hurried on, “but Peter thinks they are wrong. And Catherine feels he is still alive too. She wants us to send our strength to him via our connection, and try to bring him back.”
Slumping back into a chair, Father’s whole body shook, “No, not Devin, please Vincent, you have to help him, I’ll call everyone here, we all have to help, just like the day we helped Gerry. Does Catherine really think we can do it?” The doctor in him disbelieved, but as Devin’s father his heart was filled with hope.
“We cannot bring anyone back from the dead Father, but if he is still alive, we can try to rouse him, just as Catherine brought me back that day in the cavern after that time with Paracelsus.” Suddenly he had a thought, ‘perhaps if Catherine were to kiss Devin?’ then he dismissed the thought before it took root.
Not many minutes passed before everyone who could be contacted had assembled, and holding hands, they began the task of connecting with Vincent via Catherine, and Gerry via Devin, with hope in their hearts, and a prayer on their lips.
As soon as Mouse, Timmy and Mary had joined them, Catherine bade them all to stand around Devin’s bedside, while Catherine took one of his hands, and Timmy took the other. Then in a circle each held onto the other, and concentrated, forcing all their strength through the Bond towards Devin. Across the thousands of miles this human chain of love breathed life into the man that lay as dead before them, praying with all their hearts that it would work. Since that time Catherine had brought Vincent back, and all of them had through Devin saved Gerry, they had such absolute faith in the Bond, and did not for one moment expect it to fail, yet still they prayed as they had never prayed before.
Tentatively, Catherine’s fingers stroked the inside of Devin’s wris, and as she did so, she was certain, a tiny little pulse flickered beneath her fingertips. Believing it to be her own, she held his hand in hers and stared at the veins in his wrist, and sure enough, there it was again, a tiny little hump that appeared and was gone. “Devin!” She screamed, just as Peter and the doctor came in through the doors, “Peter, he’s alive, I saw a pulse!”
The doctor hurried over to Devin's bedside casting a strange look at the chain of hands around the bed, and lifted Devin’s wrist. They waited in excited expectation while he examined him, and their hearts sank when he shook his head.
“No, I don’t believe you. He is alive, he is!” Catherine cried, “Just look at him, how can a dead man feel pain, just look at his face, contorted with agony, you must have something, something that can detect a pulse.”
The doctor turned sorrow filled eyes to hers. It was always this way, relatives could never grasp the reality of death, they always believed in the impossible, but then she was right about one thing, his face did still show signs of pain, and that was most unusual. Looking at his watch, he saw it had been some twenty minutes since they had pronounced him dead. He lifted the eyelids and shone his torch into the eyes, frowning as he did so, “Maybe” he told them, “We are wrong.”
Quickly he pressed a buzzer on the wall, and within seconds the room was swarming with medical staff. Speaking to them in Austrian, Catherine and her friends watched in fascination at the speed with which Devin was fitted with sophisticated monitors, not the same ones as before. This time when the monitor regulating the heartbeat was switched on, a tiny little bleep was heard from time to time indicating a definite pulse and a simultaneous cheer went up by all in the room.
Wearily Catherine rested her head against Peter, the relief washing over her like a tidal wave and far across the miles Vincent felt it, and sighed, at the same time as Gerry felt a response from Devin as gentle as the wings of a butterfly, twitch within her heart. Together they cried the words everyone hopes to hear, “He’s alive,” and all those that heard those words closed their eyes and with all their hearts they thanked God.
*** *** ***
“I have to go Vincent, I need to be there with him, it may be some time before I return, will you be all right here?” Father told him packing the last of the things he expected to need.
“Of course Father,” Vincent kissed the other man’s brow, “You must go to Devin, it would be unthinkable to do anything less. We shall be all right, don’t you worry about anything. Give Mary, Catherine and Devin my love, and wish them home soon.”
“If I stay, there will be no need for Catherine to do so too. I shall send her, and Mouse home. Peter is already on his way back, so you can call him if you need a doctor. I expect Timmy and Mary will stay. You know Vincent, there are so many things I have to thank Catherine for. Now I am indebted to her for saving the lives of both my sons.”
*** *** ***
It had been three days since that fateful night of Devin’s remarkable recovery. Still the doctor’s were concerned about it, they had never known anything like it before, and talked amongst themselves about what one of them had seen when he came into the room with Peter and found everyone holding hands around the patient’s bedside. As nothing had ever happened like this before they wanted to know more about this way of bringing someone back from the dead. “Its not that” Peter told them, “No-one but God can do that, obviously Devin hadn’t died, but his heart beat was so shallow that only sophisticated monitors could pick it up.”
“That may as be,” the doctor who had been speaking with him that night told him, “But not for the great love shown by his friends, and especially his sister-in-law, we may never have known that he hang on the brink of life, and we could have lost him. Whatever bond Mr. Wells has with his friends must be a remarkably strong one.”
Peter nodded, thinking, ‘You don’t know how close you are to the truth there.’
The doctor went on, “Our problem now is bringing him out of that coma. We have him on a life support machine, and until we feel he can breathe strongly by himself, he will have to stay on it.”
Peter nodded, replying, “And I don’t suppose you know how long he will be comatose for?”
“Not a chance, or his state of mind when he does. We have fixed up his injuries, but until he comes round we don’t know how extensive the two heart attacks were on him. Also with Mr. Reidel, he sustained terrible injuries, it may be months before we know if he will ever walk again. Tell me has that area on that mountain been sealed off, we wouldn’t want someone else falling down that shaft would we?”
“Yes, Scott Phillips, you know the man I told you about, he has arranged all of this. So you have no further need of me?”
The doctor shook his head.br>
“Then,” added Peter, “ I shall go back to America, I believe Mr. Wells’ father is intending to make the trip out here tomorrow, and his son and step mother will be staying.”
They shook hands, firmly, liking one another immensely, “If ever you are in America look me up will you, here’s my card.” Peter told the other man warmly, who smiled and expressed his thanks as they parted for the last time and Peter went off in search of Catherine.
*** *** ***
When Father had finally departed, Vincent felt at somewhat of a loss. Without his advocate to keep him sane in Catherine’s absence he had only Gerry and Marie to repeatedly inform him of how foolish he was being to worry about his wife so much, yet Vincent could not shake off the fear that something was about to happen to her. And although they had been in touch through the Bond during the time Devin needed help, she had seldom contacted him because of the other thing, and he did not know what to do about that, still peeved that she had never before mentioned this man Scott to him.
From time to time he opened the Bond, only to find she had closed it at the other end. All he could do was wait until Father arrived with the letter of apology he had written to her, and hope that after reading it she would contact him. He loved and needed her so much and things always seemed to go so wrong when ever they were apart.
*** *** ***
To be continued in Chapter Seven - clic on 'Next' below:
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