BOHIDEUS: CHAPTER XI

ICE WATER

By Warren Scott Foster

Illustrated by Adrienne Potter  

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            Bo was awakened by the shocking cold of the most bone chilling water he had ever felt. The slam of his body into the side of the crevice had knocked him out, but from there he had slid down into a steep, churning river of melted ice which ran along the bottom of the crevice.

          Bo gasped for air, but forced his mouth closed as he realized he was inhaling water. He struggled to the surface, where he coughed and sputtered and gulped in air. A thin sliver of light glowed far above him, but quickly disappeared as the river ran past the opening of the crevice and into a deep black cave of ice. Bo could see nothing in the blackness. The freezing water seemed to boil with anger as it hurtled him along the icy cave. Slam! Crash! Thud! His body bumped back and forth against the slippery ice walls on both sides of the narrow river. Bo's hands and feet were numb with cold, and the numbness rapidly moved up his arms and legs. He could feel nothing.

          This is a more interesting way to die, he thought, dazed and confused, rather going splat at the bottom of the cliff! Without warning his head was sucked back under the water. Everything was black and numb. Was he already dead? No. At least his mind still worked, he realized.

          Bo could hear a tumultuous gurgling deep within the water. Now his lungs screamed for air. Gritting his teeth fiercely, he fought the urge to inhale. He paddled frantically, not knowing which way was up. His lungs desperately wanted to suck in air, but still he forced his lips together. It would be easier to just breathe in and drown, Bo thought, fighting to keep from losing consciousness. Surely he would drown if he lost consciousness again. No, no, NO! As long as he was awake he would struggle to live! Who knows what might happen? he hoped desperately. There might always be some unexpected way to survive!

          This time he couldn't imagine how. His mind grew more and more fuzzy. Everything seemed to be a far off dream. It was as if he were somebody else, simply an observer of this poor, beaten body swirling numbly in the blackness. Bo hadn't realized his eyes were open, but suddenly there was light in the water.

          In the next instant he was hurled to the surface. Freezing water bubbled and boiled around him as he gasped in a giant mouthful of wonderful, life-giving air. The current carried him to the edge of the bulging mound of water he had just come up out of, then tried to suck him under again. This time he struggled with his last few ounces of strength to stay upon the surface, for this time he knew which way was up!       

          Bo searched desperately for something to grab hold of. He was out in the open! Above him was the sky! Directly behind was the ice mountain. The river had carried him under it and squirted him up into the lake. One shore was only a few hundred feet away. It should have been an easy swim, but Bo's body was exhausted and beaten. He had been bumped and slammed around mercilessly. His stomach had lost its food in the fall through the clouds, and now he was weak with hunger, and his body quivered numbly in the icy water.

          Suddenly Bo's muscles began to cramp, no longer responding to the commands of his brain. On he struggled while the cruel currents tried to suck him back beneath the water's surface. On and on he fought, the pain in pain in his arms and legs torturing him. He wanted desperately to stop. And to sleep. Bo began to drift out of consciousness, and fought to remain awake.

          Somehow, somewhere in the deepest regions of Bo's mind, a picture came into his mind. As clear as if he had seen it in broad daylight. He saw his mother, as real as real can be, standing on the small rise above the river near his home. She was weeping, wishing her son would come back to her. Bo wanted to weep with her. Suddenly he knew that he must never give up.

          "I'm coming!" he cried in his thoughts, and commanded his arms to move. He forced them every inch of the way, and move they did. Sheer willpower forced his legs up and down. Kicking and flailing, he willed his body limb by limb, inch after inch, toward the shore.

          At last Bo crawled out of the water, shivering and quaking violently on his hands and knees, and collapsed. He felt the warmth of sun-baked sand beneath him, and slipped away into the blessed oblivion of sleep.  

Final Chapter

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