The sudden silence after the screaming and howling of the crash was shocking. Danielle could hear Alice, who was trapped under Jack, who was underneath Danielle, sobbing. Somewhere, Andre moaned long and low from pain. Danielle sat up on her knees, her head bouncing off the bottom of the boat.
Realizing she was kneeling on her friends, Danielle scrambled off and knelt in the dirt. She tried to look around, but the confines were limiting. All she could see was someone’s arm stretched out at an odd and painful looking angle and a beam of light coming through the rip made by the engine’s stick. She stretched her limbs as best she could and realized that she was fine–there were no broken bones; she wasn’t even bleeding. Back pain made her wince, and for a few moments it was hard to move her legs beneath her. She crawled carefully around Jack, checking to make sure he wasn’t pinched anywhere by the boat. She heaved him over and lifted him off Alice who was still sobbing as she scrambled to get out. Andre moaned again, and Danielle finally found him– his arm being the one that looked so mangled. He lay beneath them, cushioning their fall.
“Are you alright?” she asked trying to check his eyes for a concussion.
“Ribs hurt,” he muttered, his breathing coming in short gasps.
“Anything else? Can you feel your legs?” she asked, feeling his ribs gently.
“Yea, they’re fine–just my ribs. I didn’t hit my back or my spine. I didn’t hit my head either.” He grinned, looking almost like himself again despite the mud soaked tears streaming down his face. “Guess I’m pretty lucky.”
“We all got lucky,” Danielle said, satisfied that he would be alright for the moment. “Alice, are you alright?”
Alice sniffled, her sobs dying down. “I’m okay; Andre was holding onto me.” she said, her voice shaking hard. Jack stirred, and they could hear his groans emanating from the back of his throat.
“Jack?” Danielle scooted down the length of the boat to kneel beside him again. His eyes slid open darting from side to side.
“Where are we?” he asked, his voice trembled.
“We crashed in the boat; you passed out,” she said leaning closer. A beam of light from the ripped out hole the engine made fell across his face. His pupils were sharply dilated.
“I passed out?” he asked trying to get the words out in his mouth. He tried to clear the cobwebs from his mind, but the pain in his back that was pressing into the dirt made that impossible. “I took a pain pill before supper– but it wasn’t a strong one–I swear!” he said backpedaling at the look of fury on Danielle’s face.
“You drank after taking a pain pill!” She screamed, resisting the urge to smack him, “And then decided to drive a boat with three other people on it?” He looked away, ashamed. “You could have killed all of us. Andre is hurt.” she choked back her words, leaving it for now.
A thin crack of light seeping beneath the edge of the boat caught her attention. She crawled over to Jack and pressed her eye up against the ribbon of light. She could just see some fronds, a fallen sapling and a lot of torn up dirt that felt soft as it hit her face. She moved her hands to the ribbon of light and attempted to scoop out the dirt, but she could only do so much.. She turned back to the others.
“I think I can dig us out, but I need something to dig with,” she said. Andre sat up, grimacing with the pain and pointed a shaky hand toward the end of the boat, where the engine had been.
“I saw a little compartment down there in the seat,” he said trying his best to get up on his knees. “Check that; maybe there’s something in there.”
Danielle crawled down to the end feeling along the bench seat with her hands. She felt a crease and pushed on it, and with a click, the compartment flopped open, spilling its contents onto the dirt. She backed up letting the light from the torn out part of the bottom of the boat illuminate the contents.
“There’s a pair of shoes–little canvas ones,” she said as she grabbed them and tossed them deftly back to Alice. She slid them on and tied them tight.
“She told you to wear shoes,” Andre said, leaning forward against his own hands, trying to relieve the pain in his back and ribs. Alice wiggled her toes ignoring Andre’s comment. The shoes were a bit big. If she shook her feet, the shoes would probably fly off, but they were better than nothing.
“A flashlight,” Danielle said, rolling it back to Alice as well. Alice grabbed it and held it to her chest so as not to lose it in the dim light at that end of the boat. “And some papers that look like legal documents. Here are some matches, too.”
Danielle put the matches in her own pocket. Finding nothing else left on the ground, she reached up into the compartment and felt around. Something round caught the tip of her finger. She hooked her finger around it and pulled it out.
“I found a Frisbee,” she said grinning widely.
“Not up for a game—sorry,” Andre said still leaning forward.
“I can use it to dig, numb brains,” Danielle snickered, sliding back over to the opening.
“Are you sure we can’t get through this?” Alice asked sliding down to look through the opening punched by the stick.
“It’s too small, even for you,” Danielle said as she dug furiously using the scooped edge of the Frisbee. Alice, unconvinced, tried pushing her arm up through the hole. She could only get it up halfway. The sharp and deadly metal of the bottom of the boat was in her way. She withdrew her arm and settled back against the side of the upturned boat, and watched as Danielle dug deeper and deeper into the firm soil until she could crawl out of the hole on her stomach. Alice followed quickly all too happy to escape. Alice found a stick and together they dug the hole wider and deeper, big enough for Jack and Andre to get out. Jack helped the injured Andre exit first. As Jack pushed, Alice and Danielle pulled and dragged the ashen-faced Andre out of the boat and moved him gently so he could rest against a nearby tree. While Danielle and Alice tended to their injured friend, Jack crawled out from beneath the boat on his own bringing the flashlight and Frisbee with him and dropped them beside Andre near the tree. The four sat for a few moments simply staring back and forth at each other and sitting in silence as the lake lapped against the scarred rocks of the shore.