The Human Touch: Chapter Eight ...2
Johnny broke into a sprint on the rough ground. He was already thumbing his walkie-talkie.
‘Delta Charlie Three. Delta Charlie Three. Over’
Static noise filled his ear and a calm voice replied, ‘Delta Control. Receiving you, Delta Charlie Three. Go ahead. Over’
‘Code Green. Found something. Going to investigate. Over.’
Valour was a seasoned dog. He didn’t make mistakes. But there was no movement coming from under the shelf of rock that the dog indicated. Johhny, looked up; there was a sheer rock wall above him. If the kid had fallen from that height it didn’t look good. He wasn’t dead on contact, because he’d managed to scramble under the shelter of the rock, but he could be seriously injured. Johnny guessed unconscious, a terrified kid would be yelling the place down. It didn’t look good at all. He made this initial assessment as he ran, hoping that he was in time.
He got to the shelf covering— covering what? He didn’t know what to expect. A body?—and hunkered he down. He patted the dog and told him he was a good boy before commanding him to move back. The dog, his work done, wagged his tail and moved out of the way of the niche.
A pair of solemn brown eyes, wide and curious stared at Johnny. The kid didn’t look hurt, but he didn’t say anything. Although curious, his eyes had a vacant expression. Johnny’s training took over and he reassessed the situation. He came to the conclusion that the boy was in shock.
‘Hey there, Son, my name’s Johnny and I’m a first aider. I’ve come to help you. Looks to me like you’ve got yourself in a bit of a pickle, there. It’s okay, don’t be scared. Are you hurt?’
The boy didn’t speak.
Oh Jesus, thought Johnny, it looks as though he’s had a knock to the head. Trauma. A bad trauma. His eyes were doing a rapid St Vitus dance from one side of the socket to the other. The kid looked as though he was suffering a heavy concussion. Although conscious, he could be having some kind of fit. Brain Damage? Johnny swallowed. His adrenaline was on overdrive as it roared through his body. He calmed himself and the boy, who was pressed against the wall of the niche, mirrored him.
‘We need to get you out of there, Son. It’s going to be all right, now. I’m here to look after you. Your parents are very worried about you, but we can tell them that I’ve found you and that you’re safe. Can you give me your hand, Son, and I’ll help you out. It looks pretty cramped in there for a tall lad like you? Can you do that?’
Johnny wasn’t bothered about getting the lad out, that could wait; he was still trying to assess his medical status. He kept his voice very low and soft, while maintaining a steady stream of words.
‘Can you tell me your name, Son?’
The eye-flitting stopped as suddenly as it had started. He was looking at the rock to the top right of his line of vision.
‘What is your surname, Sir?’ asked the boy, politely. He made no attempt to look at him as he talked, and his eyes didn’t move an inch. He spoke in a dull monotone.
‘Peat. My name’s Johnny Peat, Son, but you can call me Johnny. What’s your name?’
‘You are very confused, Sir. Samuel May is not Johnny Peat’s, son. Samuel May is John May’s son. Samuel May realises that Johhny Peat may be confused on the matter due to the John forename. But Samuel May comes from a long lineage of May’s, due to the heritage of John May. In seventeen ninety-six, Benjamin Alfred May, married Agnes Bertha Coulthard. They bore nine children, six boys and three girls with, Emily being the eldest followed by Alfred Henry—the boy continued reeling off names and dates. He gave Johnny a run down of what each person died from and their dates of death and respective ages at the time. Sammy only stopped reciting facts about his family tree when Johnny touched him lightly on the forearm.
Sammy stopped in the middle of the word parentage, and without making any attempt to move or even change his expression, he emitted a run of high pitched screams so loud that the echo rang along the valley and came back to him many times. In the confines of the rock covering, the sound was ear splitting. Sammy stopped screaming the millisecond Johnny removed his hand and finished the word parentage and he continued his string of fact as though it had never been broken.
‘Well I’ll be dammed,’ Johnny said, thumbing his walkie-talkie. He’d been about to call an ambulance. Now he was angry.
‘Control,’ he said, tightly into the receiver. He didn’t give the correct call signs. ‘I’ve found the boy. He’s alright—I think. Dammit, Gaynor, why weren’t we told that this kid has problems?’
The boy stopped reeling off names and dates. He was only up to eighteen sixty-four.
‘Samuel May has indeed got problems. Oops. Samuel may has got big problems. Johnny Peat would not believe Samuel May’s big problems. Oops. And in eighteen-sixty-four, Emily Geldart married Howard Johnson May and they had seven children. The first born…’
‘It’s okay, Samuel, we’re going to get you out of here and back to your parents, okay?’
His eyes dropped from the roof of the cave and met Johnny’s for a split second before darting back.
‘Samuel May has indeed got problems. Samuel May is a dirty, dirty bad boy.’
‘Why don’t you come out here into the nice sunshine and tell me all about it, So—Samuel?’
‘Samuel May has indeed got problems. Samuel can not come out of this hole. Samuel May lives in this hole forever now. Samuel May is a dirty bad person and must live in the hole. Samuel May is fifteen-years, five-months, and sixteen-days old and Samuel May has peed his pants.’