Placing his hands on the hot green railings, the temperatures soar to thirty-five degrees Celsius. The warm breeze brushes his face. From his high view point, he casts his eyes across the bay to the distant white cliff face. Large cargo ships sail by. A young couple brings his attention to the beach on his right. Summer tourists. The girl is standing on the sand and her partner is in the water. He is trying to encourage her to get in. She refuses. After several attempts, she gives up and returns to her sun lounge much to the disappointment of her partner. A sea gull’s screech draws his eyes away from the couple on the beach, upwards to the bird soaring high searching for a morsel of food. Returning to his task, he pulls himself upwards on to the hot railing steadying himself. He peers downwards, and his eyes rest on the bed of rock below.
One final check to ensure that the climbing harness is securely fastened, he releases his feet from the railing and abseils down the rock face. The high temperatures force beads of sweat to form on his forehead. The climbing equipment is not helping.
He sways slightly as he lowers himself almost half way down the rock face. His eyes catch sight of the cat perched between the crevices of the rock. It sits wedged and frozen in fear. Moving in closer, he opens the cage he has strapped to his harness. Studying the cat for a few seconds, he reaches in, grabbing it and placing it inside the cage. Allowing himself to suspend for a few moments off the cliff face, he surveys the view of the beach to his left. It is filling up for the day.
The sound of a wave crashing into the base of the rocks below disturbs his thoughts. He focuses his eyes downwards as the swell of water disappears from beneath him. A loud vibrating sound rises upwards from the ocean as he tries to swing his harness around to have a better view. Unable to move in his harness, the rising waters speed upwards towards him. Yells escape his mouth and the force of the water overwhelms him, pushing him against the rock face. While forcing himself to breathe through the power of the water, he gasps for air against the rising foam and water. Darkness descends on him. Everything becomes quiet.
A voice gradually becomes audible in the distant darkness. It clears and a woman calls his name. Lifting his eyelids, piercing hazel green eyes stare into his. Her raven black hair surrounds her pleasant face. He recognises her. Dr. Elizabeth Bannon.
Swallowing hard, he wipes the saliva from the corners of his lips. Pulling his body upwards on the long couch, he surveys his surroundings. He returns his attention to Dr. Elizabeth Bannon while she continues to hold his focus, sitting in her chair and throwing her pad on the nearby desk. She stands and moves to the window running her hands through her hair. He keeps his eyes on her as she continues to stare out of the window for some time before returning to her chair and sitting down facing him. Her lips part in a gentle smile.
“I know this is difficult for you Jacob, but I need you to try harder. We have been trying this technique for the past two days, and still you are unable to get beyond the cliff face,” Elizabeth says lifting up her writing pad again.
“It is Friday. I go to work as normal.”
“Yes, I know it is Friday. You keep reliving the morning of Friday the 8th of June. You have a run on the beach. You go to work as normal. Your first stop is the National Park. You get a call to rescue a cat from the cliff face of George’s bay.”
“Then it happens.”
“The sound is horrendous.”
“It’s like the ocean is vibrating. I try to turn around but the harness restricts me. I see the water disappearing at first from below me and then I notice it rising upwards towards me.”
“It overwhelms you and pushes you against the rock face,” Elizabeth continues as she softens her voice. “Relax. What images or thoughts come to your mind next?”
“I don’t know. I think something emerges from the ocean.”
“What is it?”
“I’m not sure. It’s big and very loud.”
“Let’s return to earlier that morning, prior to receiving the call to rescue the cat. You mentioned seeing birds plummet from the sky and drop into Creek Lake. Tell me about that.”
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