July 30, 2016 2:00 am
“That is my dad at the door,” I said.
The ranger went to the door and opened it.
“You need to help me. My child is missing.”
“Wait, hold on. Your child is here with me.”
Dad came in and he was not happy.
“What possessed you to do such a thing? I told you to go to your tent and stay there. Go back to your tent now and do not leave until I get there. And, this time I mean do not leave!”
“But Dad, you don’t understand.”
“I understand plenty and you are to go now! Where is the other ranger?”
“There is no other ranger,” I said. “You need to let me explain.”
“I don’t need to let you do anything. NOW GO!”
That is when the ranger intervened.
“Sir, you do need to listen to what has happened. There is no other ranger. The person or thing that came to your site tonight was not a park ranger. I am the only ranger at this site.”
“What do you mean or thing? What is going on here?”
“Please just sit down and we will try to explain everything.”
“Yes, Dad we will explain it all if you will just listen.”
He glared at me and I thought he was going to say no. But, he did sit down and then we told him everything. I started with what had happened to me when I went to the water. I told him how I met the ranger’s son and how together we planned a way for us, or rather me, to get back. The ranger filled in the part about losing his son and the six kids.
I could see doubt in my dad’s eyes and knew he was not believing any of it. I handed him my diary and told him to read it. He was reluctant at first but then read the diary.
When he finished he said, “Most of this is not your handwriting. Who did you have write it?”
“I don’t know who wrote it but it is exactly what happened to me each day.”
“Each day? You were gone approximately a half an hour and you expect me to believe all that happened to you in that time period?
He looked at the ranger and said, “You actually believe this to be true?”
“I do believe it is true because of what happened with my son. I don’t know if the person who helped get your child back was my son but I have to hope he is okay and taking care of those other kids.”
“Okay, say it is true. And for the record, I am not saying I buy any of this. Where is the other ranger now?”
“We don’t know. But I do know that he or it will be back in the morning and will try to take your child away.”
“Let him come and see how far he gets!”
I could see my dad was mad and I think a little scared. He didn’t want to believe what I was saying but I think he was starting to see it was a possibility.
“We need to get out of here and I mean now,” dad said.
“Dad, we can’t just leave. We have to help my friend. Those things know for sure that he is alive now and they are going to go after him. That means the other kids are in danger as well. No, I am going to stay and fix this.”
“How do you plan on fixing this? Where is this friend of yours? We will go get him and the kids and take them out of here as well.”
“They are not here in the campsite. I will need to go back and get them.”
That came from both my dad and the ranger at the same time. They both looked shocked and horrified.
“Absolutely not!” The ranger said.
“Forget it,” my dad said.
“I can’t forget it and we have to help them. This will be a slaughter and it will be my fault.”
I looked right at my dad and said, “You always said to be faithful and true to your friends. Well friends do not let other friends get hurt, especially when they risked their lives to save you. No, I will go on my own and I will help my friend.”
“How? By going back? How do you plan on getting there? Do you have a magic carpet that will take you?”
Dad was not happy and getting very upset again.
“No, I don’t have a magic carpet but I have an inner tube that will take me back.”
The ranger was the next to speak. He said very softly, “Thank you for wanting to help my son but I am afraid I agree with your dad. That is not going to happen.”
I tried to say something else but he put up his hand and stopped me.
“Let me finish. I need you to take me to the tube and get the water to start running fast. I will go on the tube to find my son or whoever is there. I owe it to my son to try. Will you please help me get to him?”
“You can’t go alone. You don’t know where to look or even how to stop at the right spot. If you get it wrong, the water will take you to those things and you won’t be able to help anyone.”
“After what you just said, do you really think I would ever agree to let you go?” said my dad.
“Together the ranger and I could make it. I know what to do and I know exactly how to stop in the right place. I have to do this.”
“Would you at least agree to listen to the plan?” I said.
I didn’t realize but everyone was standing. We all sat down and I explained my plan including how we would tie the rope to the tree and use the locking pulley to stop the tube at the spot where we needed to get out of the water. Dad was quick to ask, “Who is we?”
I told him the ranger needed to go because I was sure it was his son and I understood exactly why he needed to go. It had been 12 years and he finally had some hope.
“How are you planning to get back?’ asked my dad.
“This time I will go prepared. I will make sure we have what is needed to get back starting with a raft to carry all of us and a pulley system that will pull the weight. We will each carry a backpack with items needed to return and nothing else.”
“So now the question is, do I have your permission to go? It will be so much better if I know you are not angry or upset. But, I do have to do this and it has to be done before dawn when that other thing comes back.”
My dad looked at both the ranger and me and finally said, “You can go on one condition and that is, that I go with you.”
“You can’t,” I said. “It is too dangerous. If something happened to you what would mom and the other kids do?”
“I don’t think that it would be a good idea,” said the ranger. “We have no idea what is going to happen or if we can get back.”
My dad looked right at the ranger and said, “12 years ago you lost your son to whatever is going on out there. I have no intention of losing my daughter. Either I go or no one goes.”