The first Alive, "Over the Tears of the Fallen 8

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They were, even more than I, prepared for the weather. The fellow reached up and undid the clasp under his chin of his dry-za- bone and the wind caught his hood and whipped it back and away from his face. "Oh it's you Bobby", I said. I couldn't tell who it was under all that coat.

Bobby's shock of near black hair blew wildly in the wind and his ruddy cheeks were visible even in the little light available. "Janet" I nodded to her and she then removed her own hood, if it was not his wife that he was out searching with I was going to be very embarrassed.

I smiled at them as they did to me as I had not seen them for a while but they were just smiles of recognition, it does not do to be too happy on a night like this and they knew that as well as I. 

They were both locals and I had known them for many a year; boy and man. Though if they even considered me a man at that time I have no idea. They were friends of my mother and father and I had always liked the pair of them. "Anything"? I asked with a grim look upon my face. "Aye" Janet said, "there's a body up at MacCringans point though the police had found it before we got here, thank god".

"Ah that's a shame I said. I went down to the shipyard pier".

Along the shore? Bobby asked with a grimace on his face. In this light"?

I realised then that the other place the bodies could have washed in was MacCringans point. I knew that just as well as Bobby did yet had not thought of it. I smiled "well one survived anyway". The smile was grim and pained but in so many of these cases there were no survivors. The fact that there was one meant there may well be others and I had not seen the lifeboat return to shore they may well have picked up many more.

I told them of the fellow getting onto the pier.

Janet looked me up and down. "You're bleeding she said, you had better get that cleaned you know how dirty this loch can be at times". "I know", I replied "I have iodine in the house, I'll clean it out later". Janet and Bobby both sharply took their breath, iodine, was great and it worked well but it stung like a jellyfish and left a dirty brown scar that stayed for years. "Don't worry I said I will see to it but I need to go and find the police first to tell them of the survivor". "Aye" Bobby said, "you go do that and we will head up by the pier and see if we can find him and we'll take him home, if we can't, perhaps someone else has taken him in". I nodded, said my farewells and started to walk away heading towards MacCringans point, when I heard Bobby's shout from behind me. "Get the police to call me. And I will give them an update".

It was nearly a mile to MacCringans point over sodden grass and mud, sheep shit and the occasional small stream that you have to jump. I just walked through them I was soaked anyway.

I slipped a couple of times in the mud and at one point very nearly left my boot behind it was mired so deeply that it was all I could do to pull my foot out and not leave the boot behind.

When I reached MacCringans point it was lit up like a Christmas tree. There were two police land rovers there. I remember being surprised even then that even a Land rover was able to make it down the track. They were obviously better with the terrain than I imagined. There was no road to the point just a deeply rutted stone and sand track down to the beach that I imagined a tractor would have difficulty following; I never imagined that a car could make it. I was wrong it seems. The land rover closest to me had a police man standing beside it and so I headed for him. They had a high powered spotlight upon it and were scanning the sea. The blue lights were flashing though the siren was silenced. The other land rover sat perhaps thirty yards farther up the stream, it had a bar across the top of it and had blue and red lights flashing continuously. I assumed that it was a traffic car, rather than the usual panda cars and that it had been drafted in just for the search. They were right that this was a place for swimmers to make to, even at sea, in the waves, you would at least have an inkling of all that colour clear in your vision, giving you a point to make to.

The poor souls will have been exhausted

I strode up to the police man and took his shoulder. He jumped, he had obviously not heard me over the noise from the sea despite the squelching of my boots and the flapping of my coat.


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