Holly’s small body was being embraced by Will, as he was struggling to keep her warm. She was shivering, coughing, and sniffling. The cold had gotten to her.
“Goddamn! You’d enjoy your little walk there, boys? Come over here, she’s white as a dove,” Will explained. Holly looked much worse.
Charlie swore as he ran toward them. He crouched down and inspected her. I could practically see his mind computing a plan.
Standing up, he declared, “Hypothermia. Duncan, get her water. She’s dehydrated. Will, get some food. I don’t know how but get some. Duncan, stay with her for a while. I’ll find some more clothes.”
We all nodded while everyone dispersed to complete their tasks. I crouched down and leaned Holly on a massive tree trunk. Her skin was pale. All she did was look at me with cold eyes. She didn’t talk. It was quiet, except for the twitches of branches above us.
I unscrewed the bottle. “Open your mouth.”
“I can drink water by myself, you know,” Holly accused.
“Fine,” I said, handing her the bottle.
I watched her wrist shake holding it, she had to grasp the bottle with two hands. When she tried to position it to her mouth, I knew it would spill.
“I’ll take it from here,” I announced, taking the canteen away from her. She did a small pout and opened her mouth.
She urged me to take it away. “What’s the matter?” I asked.
“It hurts to swallow,” Holly complained.
I sighed. I felt like I was dealing with a child. “You need to drink this. You’re dehydrated.”
She drank some more, finishing the first bottle. I set it down next to me and leaned on the tree next to her.
“You’ll be alright. You will,” I said, trying to reassure her. She stared into the fire that Will had created. I slowly moved in closer to her. She accepted my advances.
“When do you think we’re going to be rescued?” Holly asked. I noted how she said when and not are. Even with hypothermia, she’s still optimistic.
Will came towards us, trudging along the trail that we had made, just from constantly walking back and forth from the site to the river, and back. Holly had fallen asleep before I could answer her question, which is sad.
“Is she okay?” Will asked as I stood up.
“Yeah-no, well, yeah, she’s okay,” I stammered. I didn’t want Will to think anything, as I was almost too close to her.
Will sighed and opened his palm. He was holding berries. I didn’t protest on what berries they were, and if they were safe. Will had revealed to us a couple days ago that he was an experienced hiker and camper. He knew what was safe and what wasn’t.
As Will was feeding her, I noticed Charlie come back from the site, huffing, bearing a heap of clothes. He placed them on the log and sat down on them.
“You warming them up?” I asked as a joke, trying to ignore the tears falling from his eyes.
“Someone’s got to do it, it might as well be me,” he commented, using his hand to wipe the tears. All he did, though, was smear the dirt and dust across his face. He smiled anyway, through the tears.
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It was a hard night.ns126.96.36.199da2