It wasn’t suffocating. The cold was gone completely. But they were still in stark darkness and hope trickled down their tired muddy faces.
“Simi, I am too sleepy. What if I don’t make it? I can’t feel my legs anymore. And I don’t have the strength to stay up anymore. “
Simi looked at Lisa and knew she had almost reached the zenith of despair. “I will keep watch, you sleep for some time. You will need strength for when they pull us out of this hell hole.”
Lisa took Simi’s advice and Simi was more vigilant than ever. It was more like the last burst of energy before the end, at least for her.
After an infinite lapse of time, Simi felt light showers of dust on her. The same as the one she had witnessed after the one minute of nature’s wrath had ceased. But this was different. This one was for hope.
“Lisa, get up. I think the rescuers are here. Please get up.”
Lisa got up to witness the same shower, now accompanied by faint thuds. It was the rescuers for sure. But she was too fatigued and dehydrated. Simi started screaming with all her might for help and the thuds stopped.
“Is there anyone in there?” Someone asked.
“Yes, we are. Two people. My friend is hurt. She can’t move. But she is alive” an elated Simi replied.
After twenty minutes of desperate wait, Simi could finally see daylight but no escape route. The dust shower had increased and Lisa refused to even raise her head anymore. Exhaustion had taken a toll on her, but the surging energy in Simi seemed enough for both of them.
After another ten minutes, Simi could finally see their rescuer’s face. Maybe it was exaggeration, but Simi had never been so pleased to see anyone, ever, let alone a stranger.
They removed the fridge first. Lisa was squirming with pain from the minute the cement boulders were being raised but the minute the huge machine was lifted, she screamed and fainted. The rescue team didn’t waste any time in asking Simi about her condition. A man came down, picked her up and left. There was chaos above, and Simi was lost, waiting, fearing what she didn’t even want to imagine. After sometime another man came to take Simi. He tried to lift her, but she protested. She wanted to know about Lisa.
“Your friend is fine Ma’am. She was pinned down for too long. There was a toxin build up in her blood – it is very common in these cases. Sudden blood flow caused her immense pain and she fainted. The doctors still need to look at her legs. But she is fine, she will be fine.”