Cathy Potter ran toward their little cabin as fast as her feet would carry her, stumbling several times along the way. The adrenaline coursing through her body was more than overcoming any cries of exhaustion that her lungs and legs were transmitting to her brain. The only thought on her mind at the moment was making that 911 call, and getting back to her husband as soon as she could. She laughed hysterically at the thought of him telling her to change first before returning. He could just kiss her pretty little wet ass when she got back, she thought to herself as she reached the back door of their rented bungalow.
They had left the heat on before they left for what they had thought would be a leisurely stroll down an empty beach, and the heat almost overwhelmed her as she dashed to the phone. She picked up the receiver and quickly tried to dial 911. In her hurry she messed it up twice. 991. 912.
"Dammit!" she cursed.
She forced herself to slow down, and got it right on the third try. The phone rang three times on the other end before there was an answer.
"Long Beach Police, please state your name, address, and emergency," came the monotone reply.
"My name is Cathy Potter, I don't know what the address is, but I'm staying at a cabin a few miles north of Long Beach. There's been a…”
"Ma'am, I need to know more than that. Do you know how many cabins there are on this peninsula?"
"No, and I don't give a rat's ass either. There's been a plane crash on the beach, and unless you get a medic unit down here in the next few minutes, you can add a couple of fatalities to your list!"
"Calm down, miss. Now just where, exactly, on the beach are you?"
"Look mister, I don't have time for this. I know you have a job to do, but I'm a nurse, and so do I. I’m doing anyone any good yapping on the phone to you, so… Wait, this might help."
Cathy noticed a business card lying on the nightstand by the phone.
"Cranberry Cabins, Pacific Beach," she blurted out, following it with the address.
"That'll work," came the reply with a little more enthusiasm. "You say the plane crashed on the beach?"
"North or South of where you are?"
"About a half a mile south. I've got to get back there, can't talk anymore. Please hurry," Cathy pleaded quickly. Then she hung up the phone without waiting for a reply.
She pulled the covers off of the bed they had used and rolled them up into a ball. Then she turned to the still-made second bed and struggled to remove the blankets from it. She realized it was more than she could carry easily, and decided it was worth the extra time to roughly fold them. Once that was done, she grabbed both their bathrobes and threw them on top of the pile. That would have to do for now, she told herself, grabbing the bundle in both arms and running out of the cabin.
The cold air felt terrific to her as she left the heated cabin, but she was amazed at how much the wind and rain had picked up. She was afraid the CARE package she was carrying would be totally soaked by the time she got back to the crash site so she quickly ran inside again.
"Mark was right," she said out loud, "we should have brought the damn tarp."
In the blink of an eye she relived the conversation they had gone through while loading up the car. There had only been so much room, and Mark had wanted to bring a tarp to take out on the beach and make a lean-to in case it rained. She had insisted that she wasn't going on a damn camping trip. She was going on a second honeymoon. He had barely talked her into the cabin. She really wanted to stay at a plush motel with room service.
She thought of using a garbage bag, there was a box under the sink, but she realized they would be too small. Then she saw her answer. She ran through the open door to the bathroom and began ripping the plastic shower curtain off the rings that held it to the curtain rod. A minute later she had bundled her load in the curtain and was running up the trail toward the beach.
Mark Potter had been kneeling by the unconscious woman for a couple of minutes, trying to shelter her from the wind and rain as best he could. He was afraid to move her in case she had back or neck injuries though, as far as he could tell from just looking at her, she had escaped without a scratch. He couldn't help but notice that she was a strikingly beautiful woman, even in her rain drenched unconscious state. He gently reached down and pulled back the soaked hair that had plastered itself to the side of her face when she began to stir.
"Jonathan?" she muttered, eyes still closed.
Mark wasn't sure what to do, but he had the feeling if he could get her to wake up it would be for the best. He bent down closer to her ear.
"My name is Mark. Can you hear me?" he said loudly over the wind, not quite shouting.
"Joe?" she said this time.
Joe, he asked himself? Oh God! Please don't tell me there was a third person in that plane.
"Joe, is that you?" she asked again, rolling her head to the other side.
"My name is Mark," he repeated, feeling like some kind of kid's doll repeating a few random phrases when the string was pulled. 'My name is Mark. My name is Mark. Can you come out and play? My name is Mark.' Maybe he was really the one in shock. Would he even know if he was, he pondered? He would have to ask Cathy about that one sometime, he thought to himself. Where is she, anyway? He refocused on the problem at hand.
"Lady, if you can hear me, you need to wake up, okay?"
Mark was thinking about whether he should shake her a bit to wake her up, when Sara's eyes opened on their own.
"You're not Joe," she said with a start, her teeth chattering from the cold.
"The name's Mark," he said with a chattering smile of his own.
"Where's Joe?" she asked, trying to sit up.
"Not so fast lady," said Mark, forcing her to lie back down. "You've been through too much to be jumping up and back out on the dance floor."
"Where's Joe?" she asked for a second time, closing her eyes again.
"Was he in the plane with you?"
"The plane, yes," she replied, trying to get up again, "the plane!"
"It's okay! It's okay! Just lie still. Joe will be alright," Mark lied.
"I'm so cold" she said with a shiver that seemed to shake her whole body.
"We'll have you warmed up in no time," said Mark, wondering just what in the hell was taking his wife so long. She hadn't been gone more than a few minutes, he reminded himself, but every second was feeling like an eternity. He looked up just in time to see her running out between the dunes and towards him with a large bundle in her hands. Mark was a big fan of old Western movies, but the cavalry had never looked so good to him as seeing Cathy stumbling down the beach at a full run.
Although he knew she could see him, he began waving his arm back and forth. He thought he could hear her scream out his name, but the wind had picked up so much that it was impossible to tell anymore. Then he heard a sound that was loud enough to override the wind and surf. It was faint at first, but steadily increased in volume until there was no doubt what it was he was hearing. The steady 'wop-wop-wop' could only be a helicopter. He turned his head toward the south and could see the sleek red and white Coast Guard rotary aircraft coming up on them at full speed, lights flashing, a mere hundred feet off the ground.
"General Custer, eat your heart out!" shouted Mark, as he turned his head to Sara, just stared at him as if he were the one in shock.
Janice continued to travel Highway 26, only doing about five miles an hour above the speed limit. It was killing her to go so slow but she couldn't risk another run in with the State Patrol. Granite was silent, always watching out the front window, totally oblivious to what was going by him along the side of the road. That was way out of character for him, and she decided he must be as anxious to get this over with as she was. In some ways, it surprised her that he could be so intelligent as to know what was going on, and she wondered just how much he really knew.
"Granite, you amaze me," she said to him as she downshifted to swing around an old Chevy truck doing only fifty in front of her.
"I sure wish you could talk to me, you big old stud, but I guess there's only so much I can do with this gift of mine," she went on, realizing to herself that she had never really tried.
She turned her head to look at him while signaling to get back into the right lane. His head was still forward, held high, as if he was deaf, dumb, and cast in stone. She continued to ponder the fact that she had never really tried to communicate with anyone until today. She had played around with the levitation thing, and smoked a few charcoals in her time, sure, but now she knew she could talk with Eddie and Jonathan, God only knows what else she might be capable of doing. If she ever got through this crap with Eddie in one piece, she would have to do some serious experimenting.
“And I'll start with you when I do, Granite,” she thought to the dog and turned her wipers to full speed to keep up with the ever increasing rain.
“No talk. Drive,” came a low broken voice in her head.
"Well I'll be dipped in shit!" exclaimed Janice as she realized that her dog had actually answered her.
“Smell better than perfume,” came the answer again.
"Jesus Granite, you've even got a sense of humor!" she shouted as she almost drove them off the side of the road.
“Not joke, perfume smell bad.”
"I'll never wear it again, Granite, I promise you," she said, as tears of joy began to form at the corners of her eyes.
“Good girl,” he said.
"Good girl! Ain't that something! Good girl! Just like when I tell you good boy! God, I can't believe it!"
“No talk. Drive.”
"You're right, Granite. I'll drive. But it'll take me a while to get used to you telling me what to do, okay?" she said as glanced at him one more time.
He turned around and licked her on the hand, then went back to his statuesque pose of staring forward out the window.
“No talk. Drive,” came the message again, calm but firm. Janice did exactly as she was instructed, but her mind was racing a thousand miles an hour now. There was so much to question; so much to test. She didn't know where to begin. She felt somewhat irritated at herself for not realizing all of this sooner. Eddie had, a lot sooner. She tried to recall when she first knew he had the power.
It was tough at first, since she had blocked out most of her later childhood for so many years. But she knew the answers were still in there. Her trip to the psychiatrist had made a believer out of her on that one. She wondered if she could bring back some of those memories by herself, without the help of a Sigmund Freud. Today. Now.
Might as well give it a shot, she thought to herself. Granite is obviously not in a conversational mood right now. As she continued to wind down the backside of the Coastal Mountains towards Highway 101, she let her mind drift to a time long forgotten. At first, everything seemed so blurry, as if viewed through an unfocused wide-angle camera lens. As she concentrated harder, the unconscious side of her brain finally focused and everything came rushing back as if it were yesterday.