The next few days were filled with fun and adventure. The family hiked the mountains and explored new areas of the wilderness around them. Everyone was having a great time. It was nearing the end of the two weeks with only two days to go. Then they would go back home and the boys would start on their new album.
Zoe was crying as the family got back from another hike in the woods.
"I guess she is hungry and she does need changing." Diana said as she walked toward the camper while trying to comfort the crying Zoe.
"Dad? Is it okay if Ike and I go hiking around yet?" Taylor asked his dad with a pleading look on his face.
"Well okay, but be back before dark!" Walker declared sternly.
"Yeah..... we promise. We won't be late." Isaac stated firmly.
"Okay then. Have fun."
Ike and Taylor asked Zac if he wanted to go along too, but he said he was to tired and wanted to get some sleep. So off they went to hike new trails. They were walking toward the same area they were in the first day they went hiking. Ike noticed this watching his brother walking ahead of him. Ike stopped and saw Taylor turn around and give him a confused look.
"Why did you stop? What's wrong?" Taylor asked.
"We were here before. Let's go somewhere else. I don't like it here!" Ike grumbled remembering the disfigured man they ran into last week.
"Oh come on. You're still afraid! He probably isn't around here any more." Taylor teasted rolling his eyes knowing why Isaac didn't want to be in this area.
"No! I'm not afraid.... but it still creeps me out remembering that face. I can't help it! Okay? Don't tease me about it!" Isaac yelled, iritated that Taylor could read him like a book.
"Oh alright! Let's go in that direction then." Taylor said pointing right. "We never were there before. Are you ready to hike up that hill?"
Ike looked in the direction he was pointing. It was very far up and looked steep on the other side.
"Well I don't know. It might take up to much time and remember what dad said. I don't want to be late getting back this time." Isaac warned looking down at his watch.
"I think we have enough time to get up there and walk back in time to camp. Come on. It will be fun, Chewbaka!" Taylor said with a laugh.
"Oh I guess so. I worry to much. Let's GO!" Ike shouted enthusiastically.
It took awhile and the climb was hard. Finally they reached the top. Taylor plopped down and laid down on his back exhausted from the hike. He was breathing hard sucking in deep breaths of air. Isaac started to laugh at his brother.
"What's so funny? You look pretty worn out yourself, older brother." Taylor moaned feeling a little miffed.
"It's just... I thought you would never get tired. You're always like the energizer bunny. Just keeps going and going." Ike smiled sitting down next to his brother, trying to catch his breath also while he looked around taking in the view.
"Well I guess the batteries finally gave out this time." Taylor laughed looking up at his brother.
"Well let's get some pictures and then start heading down. It is getting late." Ike expressed with concern, not wanting their father to get mad at them again for being late.
Taylor stood up feeling like he got some of his energy back. He walked close to the edge of the cliff.
"That's AWESOME! The best view yet." Taylor shouted pulling up his camera to get a good picture of the scenic view.
"Watch out Tay! You're getting to close to the edge there." Ike warned him with a worried look on his face.
"Don't worry... I know where I am standing. I am not that close to the edge." Taylor assured him smiling and still taking in the view, feeling a overwhelming awe fill him.
"Just be careful!"
"There, done. What a picture. I can't wait till everyone sees this one. What a view!" Taylor exclaimed, spreading his arms out wide as he looked out over the horizon. Ike walked up next to his brother and saw what he meant. They stood there for a minute in silence, just taking it all in. Ike looked over at Taylor. He smiled at his brother, noticing the flush of Taylor's cheeks. He looked very happy. For some reason it made him suddenly feel closer to him.
"What?" Taylor asked noticing that Isaac was staring at him with a smile on his face.
"Oh nothing. It is just good to see you so happy. This trip did you a lot of good. You look very relaxed."
"Well you do too. You know I might tease you Ike, but I don't really mean it. I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings down there, before." Taylor apologized casting his eyes down to his feet.
"Naa... I know you mean well. Anyways, I tease you too." Ike countered back looking at his watch again. "We better get going!"
They started to walk away from the edge when Taylor dropped the cap to the lens of his camera. He reached down to grab it when suddenly his left foot slipped on some loose dirt. He pitched backwards loosing his balance. He let out a small scream as he felt himself starting to slide over the edge.
"IKE!!" Taylor screamed, trying to clutch on to anything as he slid down the side of the cliff even further. He suddenly grabbed onto a branch that held. His legs were dangling under him as terror bolted through his stomach and heart when he looked down seeing how far it was down below him.
Ike turned around quickly, startled by Taylor's scream and saw that his brother wasn't standing behind him anymore. Fear gripped his heart.
"Oh God... TAY!?" Ike shouted out and ran to the edge of the cliff. He looked down and saw his brother holding on for dear life to a branch about three feet below him.
"Tay? Hold on... please hold on! I will try to reach you!"
He desperately looked around for anything that would help him get Taylor back up. He noticed a small tree was next to him and an idea came to him. He laid down on his stomach and wrapped his feet around the tree for leverage and slowly stretched his body down, towards Taylor. He could see that Taylor was white with fear.
"Hurry IKE! I can't hold on much longer!" Tears started to roll down his cheeks.
"Don't cry Tay! Reach for my hand! Tay listen to me! Reach for my hand!" Ike pleaded reaching down his hands toward him.
Taylor was afraid to let go of the branch. He was rigid with fear as he looked up at Isaac's hands above him.
"Come on TAY! Do it NOW!"
Taylor slowly lifted one hand off the branch, but felt his body slipping as he sucked in a sharp breath of fear. Ike stretched a little further and caught his hand. Taylor gripped on hard never wanting to let go.
"Now the other hand Tay! Don't worry, I won't let you fall!" Ike shouted feeling his brother's weight pull at him. It hurt his feet that were wrapped tightly around the tree.
"I... I can't! I'll fall! IKE!?" Taylor screamed licking his lips as he sucked in rasping breaths of air.
"No! No you won't! Just DO it! Tay? Look at me! Take the other hand off the branch and then I can pull you up. Tay please!" Isaac shouted in desperation, hoping his brother would listen to him.
Taylor looked up at his brother into his trusting eyes. Suddenly he found the courage to release the branch and he flipped his body weight over to his brother. He felt his hand slip a little and looked below him, letting out a cry of agony. He was beyond scared as he saw some loose earth fall down the side of the steep cliff.
"Now Taylor... just hold on while I pull you up! Tay? Don't look down! Just look at me!" Ike ordered as he pulled with all his strength, dragging Taylor up toward him, feeling his brother's body slide slowly to him, but then he suddenly felt Taylor's body jerk and stop.
"IKE!? My pants! It is caught on something!" Taylor screamed when he felt his grip slipping from Ike's hands. Ike tried to re-adjust his right hand a little to get a better grip.
"TAY! Try to swing your leg to rip it away! I can see it caught on a branch!" Ike yelled, with the fear flowing through him as well as the adrenaline that made him hold on desperately, not wanting his brother to fall.
Taylor tried to free himself as he desperately kicked his leg trying to free his pant's from the branch, but every time he moved, he felt his hands slipping away from Ike's. Taylor started to cry again as frustration and fear filled him. Ike also was trying to hold back the tears that were welling up in him too.
"I won't let him fall!" Ike told himself.
"God please help us! Don't let me drop my brother!" He prayed silently in agony.
"IKE! I..I can't rip the pants away! It's really stuck! What am I going to do!?" Taylor screamed through choking sobs of anguish.
"I won't let you fall Tay! Just hold on! HOLD ON!" Isaac screamed trying to hang on with all his strength.
"IKE! I... I'm slipping! I'm slipping!" Taylor screamed with horrified eyes, that tore through Ike's soul.
Ike could feel him slipping too. He tried to grip Taylor's hands harder. He sucked in rasping breaths feeling his legs hurting him, with his feet still tightly wrapped around the tree.
"No! Hold on TAY!!" Ike could still feel him slipping away. Taylor hung there speechless with fear as sweat poured down his forehead.
Suddenly, they lost the hold and Taylor fell, plunging toward the earth below him. In unison they both screamed each other's name.
Ike hung there in shock watching his brother falling toward the earth. He could hear Taylor cry out in pure terror as he fell toward the earth. He saw him hit another branch about twenty feet below, which seemed to slow the speed of the fall. Taylor was going down feet first. He lost sight of him when his body went through some branches that cut off his view. Ike pulled himself up, sobbing uncontrollably, screaming out his brother's name that echoed in the distance. He took his fists and struck them against the ground with all his might.
"Why? WHY, did I let go!?" Isaac shouted in deep agony. He painfully sat up and slowly got to his feet. He found it hard to stand with his legs shaking under him. But he forced himself to stand up and ran down the hill as fast as he could. With shock and disbelief all he could think about was to get to his brother.
"Please God! Let him live! Please don't let him die!"
Taylor was falling. He screamed as he saw his brother hanging there above him in shock.
"OH GOD! Please don't let me die like this!"
Suddenly he hit a branch and he felt a searing pain cut into his left hip and heard a sickening snapping sound. He was in agony as he saw the ground getting closer and closer. He let out a blood curdling scream of pure terror.
"This is it!" He thought, squeezing his eyes shut, preparing for the blow of hitting the ground. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. He felt his feet hit the ground first and heard the sound of bones cracking. He screamed in agony as the pain enveloped his body from the impact. He laid there in searing pain. All he could feel was searing pain.
"IKKKKKKE!" He screamed when his world grew dark as he passed out from the shock and extreme pain.
Ike was down to the bottom of the hill and it was beginning to get dark. He ran in the direction he thought his brother would be. Sweat was pouring down his body. His lungs were killing him, but he kept on running, screaming out his brother's name. Finally he got around to the other side and slowed down a bit as he started to look around desperately.
"TAY!!?" "TAY!?" He yelled through choking sobs as his eyes searched for any sign of his brother.
"Please don't let me find him dead! God! Please!" Ike mumbled over and over again.
"Tay can you hear me? Where are you?" Ike called out and then listened and still he heard no answer. He looked desperately around trying to find him. He stopped walking, wiping the tears that were rolling down his cheeks with the back of his hand. All of a sudden he heard a groan. He knew it sounded like his brother.
Where did it come from? He stood and tried to listen hard.
"Tay?!" He yelled again as he sniffed back his tears and blinked rapidly.
He heard the groan again and he turned around and this time the sound was right in front of him. He saw a lot of brush and started to rip the stuff away. There about five feet in front of him he saw Taylor laying on the ground near the side of the cliff and noticed Taylor's legs were twisted in odd directions. Cuts and bruises covered his arms and face. Taylor groaned in agony with his body shivering from the pain that he felt. Ike ran to him and knelt down beside him.
"Oh God! Tay!?" Ike began to cry again.
Taylor opened his eyes slowly and looked directly into Ike's.
"IKE! It hurts! It hurts SO bad!"
Ike gently caressed Taylor's forehead. Tears were streaming down Taylor's face. Taylor looked desperately at his brother.
"Help me Ike! Please make the pain go away! I..I can't stand it! Ike! Ike! Please! Help me!" Taylor cried rasping for air.
"Tay I will try! I don't know what to do! I am afraid to move you! Oh GOD!"
All he could do was keep caressing Taylor's forehead. He wanted to seep in all of his brother's pain if he could.
"I'm... sorry Tay! I shouldn't have let go! I'm so sorry!" Ike moaned through racking sobs, feeling guilt overwhelm him.
"Not...not your fault. How bad am I? OH GOOOOOOOOD!" Taylor reached up and grabbed Ike's shirt as another wave of pain swept through his body.
"Your legs are broken really bad... really bad Tay! I have to go get DAD! Tell me if you hurt anywhere else?!" Ike asked gently through his tears.
"I..I don't know. Everything HURTS!" Taylor answered shaking uncontrollably. Shock was starting to set in. Taylor's coloring was turning white. He arced his back and let out a scream as another wave of pain hit.
"Don't LEAVE me IKE! Please don't leave me!" Taylor cried through gasping, choking sobs. Fear gripped him.
Ike gently cradled Taylor's face in his hands.
"Listen to me! I have to go get help. I have to go get Dad! I hate to leave you, but I have to! Okay?! I will be back as fast as I can. Okay?!" Ike crooned softly through his tears trying to console his brother.
Taylor just looked up at him with fearful pain filled eyes. Ike bent down and kissed his brother's forehead gently as his tears dripped on Taylor's forehead. Taylor squeezed his eyes shut and let out a sob of fear and desperately reached out to his brother.
"I... I'm afraid." Taylor said softly with his bottom lip trembling, reaching his arm up as Ike stood up. He started to sob harder as Isaac sadly watched his brother cry with racking sobs that shook his body.
"I know! I love you Tay! Just hold on! I will be back as fast as I can! Just hold on! Don't let go!" Isaac pleaded hating to leave him alone in the wilderness, but knowing it was the only thing to do to get help for his brother.
He put some brush over him to keep him warm. Fear rushed through Taylor's body as Ike was walking away from him.
"IKE!? Please... don't leave me!" He cried out desperately.
Ike heard Taylor call for him, but he couldn't go back. He knew he had to get his father and help immediately. He knew Taylor was hurt very bad. He had to get help fast. It was almost dark now as Ike ran and ran. He was in agony with his lungs feeling like they were going to burst at any second, but he couldn't stop when he thought of his brother lying by the cliffside.
"Almost there! Almost there!" Ike thought when he finally saw the camp ahead of him. The adrenaline suddenly surged through his body and he ran faster wanting to reach the camp as fast as he could for Taylor. He saw his dad pacing back and forth, looking very angry and his mother sitting on a lawn chair, looking very worried.
Walker saw someone running in the distance.
"Finally! They are in for it now." Walker fumed in his mind. He was very angry at sons. Here he told them to be back before dark. He warned them. He suddenly noticed that only one figure was running toward him. Where was the other one he wondered?
Ike collapsed on the ground with sweat and tears pouring down his face, knowing his body finally gave out on him.
"DAD!!" Ike screamed out desperately.
He could hardly breathe anymore and passed out. Walker felt a sudden fear grip his whole body and he bolted toward Isaac, running as fast as he could. Diana and the whole family felt the same thing. They all ran towards Ike laying on the ground. Walker got to him first.
"IKE!" He yelled with fear in his voice.
His anger melted away, while fear took over his heart. He lifted Ike's upper body up into his arms and gently flipped him over in his arms, wiping the loose strands away from his son's wet forehead. He saw that Ike was white as a ghost. Diana and the rest of the family caught up. Diana fearfully looked around for Taylor.
"Where is Taylor?" Diana thought with tears welling in her eyes sensing something was very wrong.
She saw Walker gently slap Ike on the face trying to wake him up. Ike suddenly woke with a start. He then realized he was in his father's protective arms as he started to cry with choking sobs. Walker gently petted his head.
"Where's Tay?!" Walker asked feeling something must have happened to him. Something bad.
"Tay! Tay fell DAD! He slipped off the cliff! Hurt! He is hurt very bad! His legs! Oh God... Dad! His legs! I'm sorry... so sorry! I couldn't hold on! Oh GOOOOOOOOOD! I couldn't hold on!"
"Oh my LORD!" Walker screamed looking up at the sky as he rocked Isaac in his arms.
Walker lifted him up into his arms and carried him back to the camp site and placed him gently down on a lounge chair. Diana started to cry which made Avery and Jessica cry. Zac stood in shock, while Mackie felt confused clinging onto him.
"Where? Where is he Ike? I will go and get him." Walker pleaded as the tears started to roll down his face.
"I can show you. I know where." Ike rasped, finally recovering somewhat from passing out.
"But you're exhausted Ike. Just tell me! I will find him!" Walker begged in anguish.
"Dad... NO! I have to show you! Believe me you won't find him. I can do it! Please! But we have to bring some kind of stretcher to put him on. I was afraid to even move him." Ike explained with tears welling up in his eyes again.
"I want to go to Dad!" Zac said wiping the tears off his face with both hands. "We can all carry him together."
Walker nodded his okay to Zac. He squeezed Zac's shoulder lovingly and turned to look at Diana and saw she was crying hysterically now as she paced back and forth.
"TAY! My baby!" She cried in pure agony wanting desperately to hold her son in her arms. Walker ran up to her and took her in his arms. She sobbed and buried her face in his chest.
"We'll bring him back. I promise! But you have to get help, Diana. Get a ambulance here. Do you hear me honey?! Diana! Diana please!" Walker begged, holding onto to her shoulders, trying to comfort her and wanting her to take control of her senses. She finally calmed down a bit and gazed up into his eyes.
"Yes... Walker, don't worry. I..I will! Right now!" She fought to regain her composure. She knew she had to help her son.
Mackie was crying holding on to his sister Jessica not understanding what was going on.
"It's okay Mackie. Tay will be alright!" Jessie said bravely. Jessie then took the crying Avery into her arms too!
"I want my Taybear! I want my Taybear!" Avie sobbed.
Jessica hugged them both to her. Diana saw Jessie's bravery and couldn't help but come up to her and hugged them all to her tightly.
"Now let's all go call for help for Taylor. Okay?" Diana said gently. Jessica nodded and led her brother and sister into the camper.
Walker decided to use the long lounge chair which they would lay Taylor on. Ike and Zac secured it by tying ropes around the hinges so it wouldn't collapse. Walker stepped out of the camper with a flash light and some covers to wrap Taylor up in. They finally got all the stuff together and headed out, following Isaac, to lead them to where Taylor lay helpless in the dark.
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