The water was up to his chin, but Shields held on to the rope he knew he’d wrapped around his hand. He couldn’t feel it anymore, not with the cold water, but he knew he hadn’t loosened his grip. If he had, then he would have been washed away.
He could barely hear Roland calling out his name. If he turned his head, he would have a mouthful of water. Instead, Shields screamed out his words without turning.
“Temp! She’s further down!”
Hopefully Roland knew what he meant. Shields would be fine. He drew on the rest of his strength to turn and reach for the rope with his other hand. He could save himself. Roland knew that. Roland would save Temperance, where Shields could not. Again.
Shields couldn’t see. Without being able to see, feel, how could he pull himself to shore with the hemp? He had to be able to see what he was doing. Squinting through the current, he tried to focus on where he knew his hands had to be. Once he thought he had seen it, he adjusted his left hand, wrapping his arm with the rope. Then he let go. As he wasn’t swept away, he assumed the best and repeated the process.
Save her, Roland. Like you always do.
Gritting his teeth, Shields made his way to shore.