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Changing Tides part 1
By Stefi

Disclaimer: The characters Miss Parker, Sydney, Jarod, Broots etc. and the fictional Centre, are all property of MTM, TNT and NBC Productions and used without permission. I'm not making any money out of this and no infringement
is intended.


Author's note: This story was inspired by a movie (with Stallone, I think) I saw once, in tv. Well, I saw something here and there, really. I don't know the title and why the characters were in that mess. Only, I thought it was perfect for our heroes. Maybe some of you will recognize the movie or maybe not.
Be kind with me, I'm a little muddling.

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Changing Tides part 1
By Stefi

"This way!" Jarod shouted to the others, while the water ran after them. He jumped in the canal and stretched his hand out to Eric and Josephine, who needed the most help to cross the water. Parker, further on, was holding up little Adele, handing her over to her father, already on the other side. Then Paul, Laura, Davis and at least Parker.
"Faster! Faster!" she yelled. The water was only at their knees, but the violence of its push was threatening to make them falling down and be taken away in the running water. Which was what happened to Rose, Laura's friend and the other man. They all had seen him dragged away by water, his eyes open and fixed. Rose, instead, had vanished, literally. Parker still heard Laura's cry, (Rose!! Where are you?), the young girl wanted to search for her friend but there was no time. They had to run, run to save their lives.
Another boom, more violent than before, caused stones, wooden pieces, and others to make them to stop and search for refuge. Eventually, the stone rain stopped, the water seemed to have slowing its course, but the survivors didn't stop. They kept on walking through the water. Josephine collapsed and Eric tried to hold her up, but she was tired.
"Jarod!" Parker called from behind "Come here."
Jarod went back to the old woman. She was breathing hardly, trembling and soaked to the bones. She needed to get out of there, to some hot place and with medical cares. She wasn't very old but right then she looked weak and fragile.
Jarod couldn't do anything for her. "Okay" he said to the others "We stop to rest for few minutes."
"Do you think it's wise?" asked Todd, Adele's father.
"No, it would be better to keep going. But we are all tired and need to rest." They seemed doubtful. "Just for a minute." repeated Jarod.
They all tried to sit somewhere and began to rub their arms to warm them. Parker asked herself for the hundredth time how had she ended in that mess. She was in this absurdly named town for 'a little vacation', so her father had called it.
'Why he wants always send me on vacation!' She had been bored to death! And then, the evening before leaving, she had seen Jarod! By chance! In the same town for God knows how many days and she ran across Jarod the last of her 'little vacation' days!
She had followed him in the subway; and then taken the same train without him seeing her. She had checked the carriage, there were few people: two guys, about 20-25; a man with a child, clearly his daughter; an old couple, married for a long time, and a dog sat at their feet; two girls about 16-18, chatting and whispering; a man reading a newspaper, with a hat on his head. Parker had approached slowly her prey, sat with closed eyes. Jarod had looked up to see Parker in front of him and his surprise had been priceless for Parker.
But before she could do or say something, pandemonium happened.
The train was stopped so abruptly that everyone in there was thrown above the seats. Then everything began to tremble so hard that it was impossible stay still. And then an awful rumbling started, there was an explosion, pieces of glass came in, shouts and cries, the train rolled on its side as the water came in, dragging everything and everyone with it.
They had managed to get out from the carriage, how? Parker still didn't know, but the water's violence was hard to fight and the man with the hat was ended drawn away and so had Whistle, the dog. His master still took the leash in his hand. Rose had disappeared.
'And here we are,' Parker looked at the people around her, 'in a trap for mice, underground, and with no idea about what to do or how get out'
"You're okay?" asked Jarod.
"What do you think, Wonder boy?" she hissed.
He smiled and said, "At least, you're not wearing those miniskirts of yours or your stiletto heels."
"Yeah," she smiled too, but with fake enjoy. "This is really my lucky day, isn't it?"
"We have to get out fast," he whispered "Josephine can't stand it anymore, she needs a doctor or-" Jarod looked at his feet.
"Or she'll die," Parker completed, nodding. She had the bad feeling that the old woman would not last enough to see the daylight again. But she chose to keep this thought for herself. Jarod stood up.
"Okay, let's go." And he helped Eric with his wife, as Parker helped the others.
They walked through tunnels and canals, climbing up and sliding. They turned left, then right, and right again until they lost their bearings. Jarod had no idea about the direction or where the way out was. But there was only one way, luckily, and it had to go somewhere, right?
'Wrong!' He thought and he stopped. In front of him were two ways, now.
"Now what we do?" asked Davis.
"We take one of them." Parker's voice was cold and annoyed. 'This guy is a bore!' She thought.
"Yeah? And how can we know which is the right one?" Davis insisted, looking at Parker almost defiantly "Do we guess?"
"No," intervened Jarod. "First we take a look, and then we decide." He talked to Parker "Come with me." And before following her, he said to Davis "Let me give you one good advice: never argue with Parker! For your own sake." And he went after the hot-tempered woman.

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Broots looked around himself as he went into the Sydney's office. The elder man was at his desk, a pen in one hand and many sheets in the other. He was really busy but smiled to the nervous co-worker, who seemed concerned about something.
"What happens, Broots? Are you bored without Miss Parker?"
The bald man didn't smile at the joke and became more nervous. Sydney frowned and repeated, "What happens?"
"Do you know.. Miss Parker.. " Broots looked again around himself "Where is she?"
"Of course, my friend, and you too." Syd didn't understand "What's the matter?"
"There.. Where she is.. Something happened, uh, an accident.. Pretty serious.."
Sometimes Sydney understood Parker's lack of patience.
'Why this man finds so difficult to get to the point!' he thought.
"An accident, I see. And so, Broots?"
"The subway there, uh, where she is, I mean, ah, it collapsed in a couple of points and.. There are corpses and missing and.. " his voice faded out.
"And you are thinking about Miss Parker." Sydney nodded "But I think there's no reason to worry, Broots. She's not the kind for the subway." Broots nodded, doubtful.
"Well, if you are worried, then call her on the cell. Even if we officially don't know where she is, we can call her if it's necessary." Broots seemed more and more concerned.
"That's the problem, Sydney. I didn't succeed in calling her. Her cell was out of use."
Sydney felt a chill in his heart but he tried not to worry "Maybe at the hotel-"
"They haven't seen her" Broots cut him off "Miss Parker went out yesterday evening and she's still out." He began to panic "I know, Syd, there could be many reasons to explain these facts, an improvised trip, a man, but.. Syd, I'm worried, I can't help it!"
Sydney nodded, worried him too, now. "Let's go!"

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"How long are we staying down here?" Parker asked to Jarod.
"Don't know. Maybe six-eight hours, maybe more."
They had taken the way on the right. It wasn't an easy way but it was leading up and this was a good sign, hopefully.
"Hey!" called Davis from behind "Do you know where you are leading us?"
"I'll wring his neck." said Parker to herself.
"Calm down, Parker." smiled Jarod "He isn't the first moron you had to stand."
"Hey! I've talked to you both!" Davis grabbed Jarod's arm "Where are you leading us?"
"Out, I hope" Jarod looked in Davis' eyes "Have you some magic lamp to help us getting out of here?"
Davis left his arm and made a step back.
"Or maybe have you some idea? If it's so, please talk."
Davis shook his head "No idea. I was only asking."
Parker's eyes narrowed 'A little idiot who thinks to be cool.'
Suddenly, a rumbling shook the walls!
"Run!" shouted Parker, grabbing Davis and Laura. Jarod tried to help Josephine, as Paul, the other guy, took Eric's arm and Todd protected Adele. They ran faster than ever, trying to avoid the stones that were rolling down all over. The noise of running water was frightening and again they had to fight against its violence.
Eventually, the trembling stopped and they slowed their run.
"Parker!" called Laura "A light!" Parker ran ahead, splashing water around, and the others behind.
There was a large cave, with guiding-lights in the corners, some wooden form and on a stair engraved in stone there was a full-size crucifix. Everyone collapsed on the forms. Jarod helped Josephine to sit and Eric took her in his arms.

"It looks like a church," said Laura, looking around.
"What's the purpose?" asked Todd.
"Maybe to bless the subway?" said Davis "It didn't work, in this case."
"Always comforting, you, uh?" hissed Parker.
"It seems to you there's something to be glad about?" shouted the guy.
"Maybe not, but certainly you don't get things better!" She shouted back.
"Please, stop it," cried Laura.
Paul took her hand "Don't cry, everything will be okay."

Davis looked disgusted his friend "Really? And how do you know?"
Paul sprang up and shouted "Davis, stop it! Understood? Parker is right, you're a pest! Where will be all of us if those two weren't here? You know what I think? If our lives were depending on you, we would all dead!!"
"Okay, now stop, all of you!" said Jarod with strength in his voice. "We are only wasting our forces instead of resting." He looked at Parker "You really are not able to stay calm!"
"No, Wonder boy!"
"Better if you do it," and Jarod went back to Josephine.
Todd asked him, low voice, "A really tough woman, isn't she?"
And Jarod, with same tone, "You don't know the half of it."

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Sydney once again checked Parker's car but there was no sign showing where she could have gone. Broots was very depressed "What do we do, Syd?"
"Are you searching for the owner of that car?"
Sydney turned and found a couple of little boys, ten-twelve years old, who stared at him and Broots.
"Yes. Did you see her?"
"Uh-uh. Yesterday." nodded one.
"She was gorgeous!" smiled the other. Sydney smiled too.
"Please, can you tell us where she's gone? It's important that we find her."
"In that way" the first boy pointed at the street in front of them "She was following her boyfriend."
"Boyfriend? She was with a man?" asked Broots, suddenly angry "And we, here, to worry about her!"
"She wasn't WITH a man" said the second boy "She was AFTER a man!" Syd and Broots exchanged looks.
"And can you describe this man?"
The boys looked at each other and shrugged.
"Tall, dark dressed, and cool"
"Cool?" asked Sydney, amused.
"Yeah! You know, cool!" the boys nodded as if the idea was clear enough.
"And she's gone that way" repeated Sydney, pointing his own finger behind him.
"Uh-uh. She seemed really pleased. As.. As a cat eating a mouse." They nodded again.
Syd smiled "Thank you. You've really helped us" he grabbed Broots' arm and took their way.
"Do you think what I think, Syd?"
Sydney nodded "Jarod. He's the only man that Parker could be gone after" They walked in the direction pointed by the guys. And they stopped dead!
Ambulances, police cars, firemen..
The street leaded to the subway!
Sydney turned pale with anguish and Broots got hold of him.
"Oh my God!"
"Syd.. Listen.. It doesn't mean anything. You know, maybe they didn't go in the subway. You'll see, they will be okay.. Come on, sit on this bench" Broots kept on talking to his elder friend, trying to encourage him. But the truth was that he too was afraid.

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Parker was checking the cave, trying to find a way out.
'It has to be close,' she thought 'It must to be close.'
She beckoned to Jarod "How's Josephine?" she asked with low voice.
"She's dying." Jarod sighed.
"I think it has to be a passage somewhere, real close."
Jarod looked around himself "I hope you're right, because otherwise..."
Parker stared at him, stunned "Jarod! Do you want to give up?"
"No, but... " He looked in her eyes as if he was going to say something. But he shrugged and walked away.
Parker stayed still, looking Jarod as he went close to the old woman.
Adele began to cry, softly "I want to go home" she whispered. Todd held her tight "Come on, sweetheart, soon we'll be at home."
Parker thought about Syd and Broots and she thanked the Lord they weren't there.
'At this moment, they surely know what's happened'
She watched Todd soothing his daughter. Her father never did it for her.
Laura too tried to reassure the little girl "Your father is right. Soon we'll be out, and besides they are searching for us, you know? Up there, they know we are here."
"And who told you so?" Davis' voice was sarcastic.
SBAM! Parker punched him on his nose with all her strength. She bent over the guy, whom was stunned and speechless, and she grabbed his T-shirt. "I tell you once, Davis, SHUT UP!"
He nodded eagerly, trying to stop blood from his nose. The others looked at each other, half smiling and half fearing.
"Never argue with Parker," whispered Todd to the guys beside him.
Jarod shook his head, resigned, "Parker, would you please calm down?"
She was going to make some sharp remark, when she stopped and pricked up her ears. "What's this noise?" she asked.
Jarod listened carefully but shook his head "I don't hear anything."
Parker kept on listening, moving to the direction the noise came from. Adele said "It's like a screeching sound."
Parker nodded and asked, "What the hell it is?"
Now all of them can hear the noise, more and more increasing and getting near. Slowly, they all stood up.
"I don't like it," said Jarod "This is not a screeching, it's a squeak!"
"RATS!!!" shouted Parker. They all searched for refuge, as a myriad of rats ran in their direction.
Everyone shouted and cried, Parker stared at the animals with disgust and fear: rats can be dangerous, if one of them decides that you are to its taste.. But they didn't seem to be interested at the humans, for they ran wildly away. Parker followed with her eyes, the way taken by the rats, as Laura cried hysterically and the men swore.
"Jarod!" she yelled and with her head indicated the rats to him. Jarod nodded as if he had read her thoughts "They are running away! Toward salvation!"
"Behind the crucifix! The way out has to be there!"
They both moved through the water, to check the wooden cross and there it was! A passage hidden in the wall!
"Help me to move the crucifix!"
Jarod inserted himself in the tunnel and lighted on the lamp.
"Can you see anything?" asked Parker.
"Another cave, full of water" he said, moving the lamp all around "A stair! It leads... to... EXIT NUMBER 18!"
Parker turned to the others "Come on, this way!"
Jarod ran to Josephine and Eric as Parker helped Laura, who was still crying. Parker looked straight in her eyes.
"We don't have to fear rats, we have to FOLLOW them. They know the way out!" Laura seemed to calm down.
"Okay" the girl nodded "Okay" and she inserted herself in the other cave.
"Be careful, there's water all around. Be careful!"
"Parker!" called Jarod and she ran to him and the old couple.
"What happens?"
"He doesn't want to leave her"
Parker looked at Josephine, in Eric's arms: she was dead.
"Come on, Eric" whispered Jarod but Eric shook his head.
"No. I won't leave her." He choked the tears down and stared at Parker "I won't!"
"Okay, Eric" she sighed "Then I'll stay with you." The two men looked at her, stunned.
"We have lost three of us, down here," she said, "and I will NOT leave anybody else. If you want to stay, I'll stay with you." Jarod stared at her with a weird look.
"But are you sure that she would you doing this?" she asked. Eric was crying, caressing the cold cheek of his dead wife.
"Help me to lay her down," said Jarod and they put the woman beside the crucifix. A last look and they followed their companions, who were trying to reach the stairs. It wasn't easy, water made the way very slippery. But slowly, they reached the old iron-stairs.

"Okay, people," said Jarod "Now, one at a time, we go up carefully, keeping us steady, okay? Todd, you're the first, so you can help the girls." And Todd went up. The stairs were trembling and squeaking, but everyone passed through it without problems. Jarod was still on the stairs when they heard a barking dog.
"Whistle!" Called Eric. The dog appeared through the running water and the old man tried to reach for what was left of his family.
"What's on your mind?" shouted Parker as Todd grasped Eric's arm.
"I want Whistle! Parker, please!" cried the man. The others tried to persuade him to let go. But Parker and Jarod understood why Eric wanted the dog so badly: he needed Whistle; the dog was all he had, now.
"Okay," said Jarod, "now I take him, okay?"
"Let it go," shouted Davis, "It's only a dog, what do you care?"
Parker narrowed her eyes, "Hey you, the life of that dog is worth as much as yours. He has the right to live!" 'Unlike from you!' she thought.
Jarod leaned out to reach for the dog but he missed him.
"Come on, Whistle," incited Eric. "Make an effort, come on!" The dog disappeared under the water, and then re-emerged and Jarod leaned out again "Come on, doggy, come here"
Whistle swam towards the stairs again and tried to jump. Jarod grabbed the dog collar. "Gotcha!"
They all laughed when the poor dog, soaked to the bones, shook off the water.
"Come on," said Laura, "Let's follow the rats!"
Suddenly a violent rumble shook the walls. Jarod was still on the stairs and fell down in the waters.
"JAROD!!" yelled Parker. Todd tried to drag her inside but she wriggled out of him and jumped in water.

The water was cold and dark; she couldn't see anything. She moved her hands around in the water but found nothing.
'Jarod? Where are you?'

Todd was searching for any sign from Jarod or Parker. It was absurd! They were so close to the way out..
Eric held Whistle and cried, thinking about Parker's words: leave no-one behind...
Davis was insisting to go away but nobody paid attention to him...
Parker emerged, gasping for air, and called, "Jarod!"
She took a deep breath and plunged in again.
Everyone waited with hope and fear.
Parker emerged again, alone, another deep breath and down again.

Parker moved around and then her hands found some hair, an head, a nose... Jarod! She inserted her arms under Jarod's arms and swam towards surface.

A cry of relief was the welcome for the two, when they emerged. Todd shouted "Hold on! We'll find a way to take you up!" But there was no time; another rumble and more stones fell down.

"The passage is collapsing," yelled Paul.
"We can't leave 'em there," shouted Todd.
"Todd!!" called Parker "Give me a lamp!" Todd threw a lamp and she caught it "Now, go away!"
"But Parker-"
"Go away! Before it's too late! Follow the rats! We'll find another way out! GO!" The passage collapsed and Parker swam to the side of the cave, to protect from stones Jarod, still passed out.

The group ran behind the rats, without stopping. Todd ran and cried, holding his daughter's hand. 'I shouldn't have to leave them!'


End part 1

Feedback: ste.piro@inwind.it











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