The Savior – by Christopher Rudolph
The sky was crystal blue as they cruised along the Pacific Coast Highway. The Robinsons headed steadily North on one of the most scenic drives imaginable. The panoramic coastal view was stunning. Ben and Amy sat closely together in the back staring out of the same left window completely mesmerized. Rows upon rows of staggered waves leaped and lapped over jutting rugged rocks that licked white sandy beaches. It was a perfect family outing. A father, mother, sister, and brother taking in nature’s bounty on a warm and sunny Saturday morning in July.
The spectator’s peaceful trance was soon broken by the alarm clock going off in the stomach of a seven year old boy. “I’m getting hungry,” exclaimed Ben. His younger sister quickly agreed. “Me too! Mom when are we going to have the picnic?”
“Honey, the kids are getting hungry. Why don’t we just pull over on the side of the road right here. We can have a picnic down there.” She reached over the lap of her husband, and pointed to a pristine beach. The sun reflected off the incoming waves. “Ok, ok. It’s getting close to noon,” said Jack. “Awesome! Our own private beach.” Lucy turned around, looking at her kids excitedly. “How cool is that?” She put up her hand and both Amy and Ben swatted her some high fives!
So, they pulled off to the side of the road, got out with all their picnic gear, and eagerly crossed the highway. All went up and over the guard rail, and they headed down to their own beach paradise. Amy and Ben, carrying their pails and shovels, quickly headed towards the shoreline. Ben ran and Amy skipped.
Lucy stopped around twenty yards from the water. “I think right here will do,” she said. “The perfect spot,” said Jack whirling around 360 degrees with his arms and hands outstretched. He then slipped his backpack off around his shoulders and slammed it into the sand. Lucy dropped her bags and they both unpacked their portable picnic.
Soon, they were all setup. Both laid back on the large blanket resting on elbows firmly planted in the sand. They looked into each other’s eyes and sighed. The relaxation they desperately needed had finally arrived. Both had been working long hours at the office. The stress was beginning to take its toll physically and spiritually. Today was a day to rejuvenate.
They both watched their children playing at the water’s edge. A large clump of piled sand already provided the necessary material for their glorious castle. Amy was the sculptor fastidiously working to make it elegant for the most noble of Queens. Ben was digging and scooping sand out around the castle’s base. A mote was needed of course to protect them from the fire breathing dragons.
As the two children played by the water’s edge, some seismic activity, something like earth burps, began to rumble under the nearby ocean floor. Unnoticed by all, it was still enough to make a freakish wave begin its mad dash for the beach. It gathered momentum and grew larger and larger. Faster and faster it moved violently towards its target.
Lucy and Jack veered their eyes away from the gorgeous sky down to where their children were playing only to see an enormous wave about to engulf them. Unleashing its fury the two children were knocked and dragged backwards. The water quickly changed direction and was streaming back to sea just as quickly as it had arrived. Ben dug his fingers into the sand, and after being dragged for thirty feet he finally stopped and felt the water rushing over his head and backside.
Amy however did not have the strength to fight it. The returning water quickly flushed her out to sea, and a fast current continued to carry her hastily away. She was only five and not a strong swimmer, but she had recently finished a basic swimming course at the YMCA. She had mastered the doggie paddle, and she knew how to tread water. Still, she was no match for such a strong current, and it was taking all her strength just to keep her head above water.
Lucy watched in horror as her little daughter got swept out to sea. Her little head, bobbing up and down, got smaller and smaller. Lucy was in a total state of shock, totally frozen and still in disbelief that this was happening at all. Her mental state was made worse by the desperate reality that she herself didn’t know how to swim.
Jack had already dove into the water, and was trying to swim out to save Amy. He reacted so suddenly that he hadn’t even taken off his jeans or his shoes. To make matters worse, the ocean was playing a cruel trick. Just as quickly as it took Amy it reversed directions near shore. There was a strong current that was driving him back, and he was weighed down by his wet jeans and soggy shoes. A strong wave literally threw him back on the beach right in front of Lucy and Ben. Drenched, Jack stood up and yelled out to Amy. He was waving his hands furiously screaming her name over and over. Off in the far distance, Amy faintly waved back to them all.
Everything now slowed down. Lucy could see Jack’s lips move but she heard nothing. She saw him grasping his head with both hands. She saw tears gushing down his face. She saw him looking madly around, his head moving back and forth scouring the beach. They were all alone. There were no lifeguards. They might as well have been on their own desolate island.
Suddenly, Lucy snapped out of it. “Jack, get your cell phone! Call 911!” Jack looked around thinking about where his cell phone was. “I, I, I left it in the car,” he stammered. “Go get it! Go!” So, off ran Jack back to the car.
Lucy looked around frantically. Were they really alone? Was this really happening to them? How could nature’s wrath just snatch her child away from them? Up and down the beach she looked and saw nobody. Then she spotted, off in the distance, some fisherman on some large rocks that were surrounded by frothing waves.
Lucy pointed to the fisherman. “Run Ben! Run and get those fisherman to come here!” So, off ran Ben on his mission. By now it was hard to even spot Amy. The sun glimmering off the rippled waves made it hard to see her little blond head. By squinting Lucy could still catch a glimpse of her. Soon she wondered, “Is that her head, or is that a buoy of some sorts?” She no longer could tell for sure.
Jack arrived back from the car. He was holding his cell phone but appeared totally devastated. “The battery is dead!” he screamed. He threw the cell phone into the sand. Just then Ben appeared in the distance. By his side one of the fisherman was running with him. The rest were not far behind.
In a couple of minutes, Ben and the fisherman were there. “Do you have a boat?” She repeated again, “Do you have a boat?” The fisherman didn’t seem to understand. “No hablo Inglés, Señora.” The others arrived. Lucy directed her question to them. “Do you have a boat?” They also looked at her as if they didn’t understand. Then one of them said, “No, no have boat.” Lucy’s heart sank into her stomach.
“Where she is?” one of the fisherman asked. Lucy pointed out to sea. The men looked and looked. They looked some more but still did not see her. Her little girl was lost. Then one of the men spotted her and pointed. The men crouched down and followed his finger. One of them shook his head up and down to the others, and he was off. He dove into the sea. He was a much better swimmer than Jack. He was making some good progress and his strokes were strong. Then the current fought against him and began driving him back. He tried again and swam some distance forward only to be pushed back again and again. Eventually the sea won, and exhausted he washed up on the beach.
At this point all hopes were dashed. The reality that they would never see Amy again began to enter their minds. How could things turn so suddenly? What had they done to deserve this? This was a living nightmare of the worst kind. Lucy got on her knees and looked up to the sky. “Give me my baby back!” she pleaded and then collapsed on the beach clawing her hands into the sand. A golden eagle soared above circling, then disappeared behind some foggy mist.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a voice was heard behind her. “Don’t worry Mam. I will save her.” Lucy whirled around to see who it was and a man passed by quickly. He was sprinting down to the water’s edge. He was an unusually tall and strong looking man. His sinewy back muscles twitched with every stride. His golden tightly cropped hair reflected the sun’s rays as he rapidly rushed forward. Lucy thought, “My God, who is this man?” He looked to her to be some kind of soldier. Perhaps a Navy Seal, an Olympic Swimmer, or some other great athlete.
He entered the water with great force. After swimming forward swiftly, he quickly veered off to the left. He was a professional. He knew not to swim into the current but to swim around it. Once he was around it, he swam and swam until they could no longer see him. Everybody stood on the beach looking out to sea. Nobody said a word.
After what seemed to be a very long time, they were spotted. Amy was riding on his back, and he was swimming powerfully fast doing the butterfly stroke. Two dolphins, one on each side, were swimming with them jumping in and out of the water. The sun glimmered off the waves and off her head. Lucy couldn’t believe it. Was this for real or was it some kind of mirage? Before long the man arrived on shore. Amy was in his arms and she looked unusually calm. The man approached Lucy. He gently placed Amy in her arms. Lucy hugged and kissed her, tears streaming down her face.
She looked around to find the man who saved her daughter. She wanted to thank him. They all wanted to thank this incredible man. But just as mysteriously as he arrived, he was gone.