Shawn wanted the patting to leave him alone. Something tapped over and over again against his cheeks. It wasn’t hard enough to actually hurt; just enough to be really, really annoying. He moved his head to escape the torment nuisance, but unfortunately it followed him.
He wanted to tell the tapping to stop, but his vocal chords could only form a groan. “That’s it kid. Wake up.” His father? What? Why? Where…?
Shawn’s entire body felt sore. But why, that was the question. Or at least one of the questions. Why was his body sore? Why was he cold? Why was he unable to form words? More importantly, why was his brain not working to answer these pressing matters?
Shivers ensconced his frame, his muscles were sore, and the sweet song of unconsciousness called to him behind his heavy lids.
“Shawn!” His dad only sounded that sharp when he was really scared. Henry Spencer didn’t use that tone of voice that often; So when he did Shawn usually paid attention. With the difficulty of pulling fingers out of a Chinese finger trap, Shawn pulled apart his eyelids. He met his swaying Dads' gazes and promptly started coughing. Since when did the sight of his father bring about lung hacking rather than running out the back door? So many questions today…
The edges of his vision blackened while he got rid of his innards on the worn wood floor. Good thing he was placed on his side already. Good thinking Mr. Spencer, the old one.
“Get down from there.”
“Look what I can do.”
A flash of hot pain.
I took a moment for Shawn to realize that he was being spoken too.
“Will you be all right while I drive to the ambulance?” A lifetime of independence made Shawn nod his head yes. A shiver ran from his brainstem to his tailbone. Why was it so cold?
Didn’t ambulances usually drive to you? Wasn’t that kind of implied?
“This is boring. We can just go to the store and save ourselves a couple hours of mindless work.”
“Just relax Shawn. That’s what this is for.”
Something warm covered his body before Henry’s shadowed disappeared. Shawn closed his eyes. Finally.
“And stay awake.” Wasn’t Shawn supposed to be the psychic around here.
“If you won’t leave your eyes open, talk to me so that I can know you’re still alive.”
“Derkl.” Shawn coughed and tried again. “What happened?”
A pause. “You don’t remember?”
“No,” he confirmed.
“Think Shawn. Use the skills I taught you. Tell me what happened.”
“Isn’t that what I asked you,” Shawn grumbled. Oh, well. It might distract him from his achey body. The world swayed in a way that wasn’t coming from just his head. Brine and fishiness intertwined with the air. The lapping of water and creaking of engine was consistent with the sound of his father’s boat.
“Get off the edge.” Henry grabbed his son, but threw the dancing psychic-detective off balance. The world tilted away from him. The boat side met his head quickly. His body decided to jump from dry to not-at-all.
Shawn tilted his body more. His dad stood (tense and soaking wet) behind the wheel. Eyes alternating between the shore and his son. Shawn’s laser vision focused in on the ruined watch wrapped around Henry’s wrist. Henry loved that watch, it was a gift from his father who got it from his father. It would never tick again.
“You forgot to take off Grandpa’s watch.”
Steely eyes kept looking toward shore. “I had something more important to save.”
Shawn digested that, “You just didn’t want to pass it on to me.”
“Apparently you don’t know me at all Shawn, or where I place my priorities.”
“Wow, I’m trumped Mr. TickTock. I must be up high on the list.”
His dad looked back at him, said, “You’re at the top you stupid kid.” Then flushed and focused back on his driving. He muttered something about the engine.
Shawn felt warm in more way than one, and relaxed against the surprisingly comfortable deck. “If you’re going to do that Shawn, you better start talking.”
Shawn opened his eyes again. “You have a very weird idea of father/son bonding.”
A sneer that was almost a smile showed up on the elder Spencer’s lips. “I’m not the one that turns a normal fishing trip into a swan dive.” A glint joint the sneer-smile, “Plus, what’s more bonding than mouth to mouth? We’re closer than ever.”
Shawn’s memory returned too vividly. “Nooooooo!” Why couldn’t he have just drowned?