The sounds of laughter came to Russell's ears as his heart filled with joy knowing that he finally was back at the camp. Lucky for him it sounded as if everyone was outside for the day.
Russell took a megaphone out from a counselor's hand and rang it all through the camp.
"Listen up please! This is an emergency! The elderly man Mr. Carl Fredricksen is in the woods stuck in quicksand! I need your help to pull him out!" Russell turned to the counselor. "Sir so we have any rope, long rope, around the camp?" Russell asked.
"Are you telling us the truth son? There is no quicksand around in the woods." another counselor said. "Yes! I'm telling the truth. He's near the Sarandoga Lake and when I last left he was at his hips. I think..."
"Stop lying! No lake is filled with quicksand and why do you care about that old man when you said you didn't like him?" a boy yelled.
"I'm not lying! And I love my Daddy and I should never have yelled at him" Why would I make this up? We need to help him! Please, I beg you all to help me!"
The camp stayed silent, turning and looking at each other. Tears fell from Russell's eyes as he wondered what was happening to Carl right now. Was he going hysterical? Did Robert fall in trying to help him? Was Carl gone?
A camp counselor took the megaphone from Russell. "We must find some rope. Once we find it we're all heading into the woods as fast as we can."
Russell smiled at the counselor, relieved that he believe him.
They found a long piece of rope and followed Russell through the woods.
"That's a pretty funny story Carl." Robert spoke through laughter. "I know, it was..."
Carl opened his eyes to look at Robert.
He screamed seeing he was at his neck and accidentally struggled trying to move his arms up to the surface.
"No Carl no!" Robert shouted. Carl stopped, relaxing again, at his chin. "You shouldn't have opened your eyes."
"Where's Russell?!" Carl shouted hysterically.
"I don't know Carl." Robert spoke, frightened. He was beginning to worry about where Russell was fearing he might have gotten lost.
Carl was shivering and breathing hysterically. "Don't be scared Carl, everything will be fine." Robert tried to sound truthful. He didn't want to let Carl hear his trembling voice. "I-I'm s-so cold. I-I'm getting c-colder as I get deeper."
"Try to relax, just keep your head up."
Carl's heart was pumping and could barely breath. He remained perfectly still but wanted so badly to move and get out. Tears fell from his eyes as he felt himself sinking slowly over his chin beneath the cold mud. He looked into the sky. Ellie, please help me.
Running footsteps were heard. "Dad! We're coming Mr. Fredricksen!" Russell shouted appearing from behind the trees.
As soon as everyone saw Carl their were gasps and talk going around. "See I know from that story was true! This river is filled with quicksand!" the boy from the camp fire yelled.
The camp master began tying the ropes together quickly. "Don't worry Mr. Fredricksen we're going to get you out of there." one of them spoke.
Russell clung to Robert. He should never have fallen to his knees and took up time in the woods. Carl sank quickly in the time he was gone. Carl looked at the little boy and Russell looked into the frightened eyes of his guardian. He never saw him so frightened before in his life.
"Russell," Carl suddenly spoke. "You've made these the best years of my life and you have been, along with you Robert the best friends I ever had."
Tears fell from Russell's eyes. "Don't say that Mr. Fredricksen. There's still a chance."
"Mr. Fredricksen, we're going to pass you this. Here!"
They threw the rope. The rope stopped right near Carl's head. All the people who came running down the path grabbed hold of the rope.
"Move your hands up Carl!" Robert yelled.
Carl could only move his hands a little at a time. The mud was so thick that each little move made it harder. He struggled and moved his hands faster to the surface only making him taste the mud.
"I can't!" Carl sobbed lifting his mouth out. He was too afraid to lift his arms any longer knowing that he;s just sink no matter what he or anybody else did.
Russell ran to the edge of the bank. "You can!" Russell shouted in tears. "I don't want you to die Daddy! You can do it! Please, try for me! I need you!"
Carl held his breath, trying to breathe through his nose. His fingers broke surface but he sank to his nose. He was getting suffocated. The end of the rope was slowly disappearing beneath the mud as Carl couldn't reach it.
"You can do it Carl! Please try!" Robert yelled with tears streaming down his face.
Carl could see everyone's tears and the children clinging to their parents in a frightened manor. He felt so guilty for everything that he did that embarrassed or was getting in the way of. Like what was happening right now, this was all his fault.
His hand touched the rope.
The next thing he saw was darkness.
"NO!" Russell screamed as he ran towards the mud. "Russell stop, don't go near it!" Robert yelled grabbing him by the arm. "No, we have to go in and save him! We need to help him!" Russell sobbed.
Robert pulled the little boy back and sat on his knees. He tried to put on the bravest face he could so he could look his son straight in the eyes. "We did everything we could have done to save him and we did our best."
"But it's all my fault! I yelled at him and ignored him and it's all my fault! I wanted him to die and now look what happened!"
Robert gulped back the sob in his throat and took a deep breath so he could speak. "Nothing is ever your fault Russell. It was just an accident. Just look at it this way, we made this the best last years of his life," he let the tears fall along with Russell. "You gave him a son and you've made him so happy. I wish we could have saved his life too." This was when Robert began to cry and gathered Russell into his arms as they both cried together.
A hand fell upon Robert's shoulder. He turned to see the camp counselor.
"Usually when these kind of things happen the fire department can find them. Would you like us to call them?" he asked.
Robert nodded his head and stood up from the ground along with Russell.
The rope suddenly jerked in Russell's hands.
"The rope is moving."
Another tug on the rope came.
"He's alive! He has to be! PULL!!"
The whole camp grabbed the rope and began pulling. A hand suddenly emerged from under the sand. "He's alive! PULL!!"
Carl's glasses were missing when his head emerged. He was semi conscious as he tried to hold on tightly to the rope.
He passed out in Robert's arms when he fell to his knees and pulled him on to the bank with other people's help.
"Daddy?! Are you alright Daddy?! Wake up!" Russell yelled shaking Carl to get him to wake up.
Robert quickly performed CPR until Carl finally began coughing up the mud and water. "Spit it out, just spit it out Carl>' Robert spoke patting his back.
Carl panted and turned to try and make out the figures of his family. "THank you." he spoke weakly.
Russell threw himself around Carl giving him a tight hug as tears fell from his eyes. "Oh Daddy I'm so glad you're okay I'm so sorry for what I said to you! I didn't mean any of it and I love you so much!"
Carl's eyes close as he passed out from exhaustion.
"Someone call 911 ! We need to get this man to a hospital as soon as we can!" a counselor yelled.
Someone had their phone on them and an ambulance was on it's way. "Can we have some help carrying Mr. Fredricksen out of here, two or three would be alright."
"I can carry him." Robert spoke bending to pick him up.
"Mr. Christopher you've done so much already. Rest and have someone else..."
"I'm a doctor," Robert said taking Carl in his arms. "I've handled patients all the time and i'll be the one who takes him back."
They walked off through the woods and when they got back to camp the sound of the siren was coming down the road.