11 - Day Five

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AJ groaned and slowly opened his eyes. His vision was blurry and the sounds around him were muffled. He frowned and lifted his hand, squinting at it until he could make out the IV in his arm and the blood pressure monitor on his finger.

"There you are," said a low, masculine voice from somewhere near AJ's feet. "We're glad to have you back, son. You had everyone pretty worried for a while."

AJ frowned and tried to remember how he'd gotten to his present location. His struggle against the currents of the river raced back to his mind and the once-steady beeping of the heart monitor suddenly spiked as he quickly sat up and looked around.

"Whoa, slow down, now," said the doctor, moving closer to AJ and trying to get him to lie down once more. "Take it easy. You're ok."

"Where are Brian and Melanie?" AJ gasped, fighting against the doctor.

"Don't you worry," the doctor replied. "I'm sure they're just fine. We were hoping maybe you could shine a bit of light on that for us."

The doctor adjusted AJ's bed so he could sit up just as Kevin, Howie, and Mel walked into the room, followed by two police officers.

"Hey, buddy," greeted Howie. "How are you feeling?"

"Are Brian and Melanie here?" AJ asked frantically. Mel looked down at the floor as the two boys looked at each other.

"No, sorry," Kevin replied softly. "No one's been able to find them yet. Were you with them?"

AJ nodded and proceeded to explain what had happened after they were thrown from the bus to the point in which he lost sight of the other two as he was swept down the river. One of the police officers took notes, hoping some of AJ's story would help them to locate the other two band members.

"Is everyone else ok?" AJ asked.

"Yeah, we're all fine," Kevin replied, sitting in a chair at AJ's bedside. "You, Melanie, and Brian were the only ones that went missing. We've had search teams out looking for you for the last two days. We're so glad you're all right. The police that found you said if you'd gone any further down that river you would have gone over the falls. You were really lucky."

"How were Melanie and Brian when you saw them last?" Mel asked, sitting on the end of the bed and looking intensely at AJ. He looked back at her, trying to choose his words carefully to keep her from worrying. "It's bad, isn't it?" she asked finally. She could see in AJ's expression that he didn't want to tell her.

"Melanie hit her head pretty bad," he replied. "I'm pretty sure she has a concussion. She's hurt her ribs as well, but we weren't sure how bad. We tried to get her to eat, but she wasn't able to keep anything down. She's still with Brian, though and he's taking care of her."

Mel looked away and nodded tearfully, not wanting AJ to see her cry. "She was getting better, though," AJ added quickly. "She was more lucid the last time I saw her. She's walking around without getting dizzy and she was keeping up really well."

"What about Brian?" Howie asked.

"Just a dislocated shoulder," AJ replied. "We popped it back into place. He's fine. He's really good with all that camping shit, so he was handy to have along."

"Excuse me," Mel said quietly as she slid off the bed and walked out to the hallway. "I'll let the others know you're awake."

The boys watched her leave and the police asked AJ a few questions before leaving the boys and the doctor alone in the room. The doctor checked AJ over before dismissing himself as well.

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