Lighthouse Capers (Chapter 6) – Part 2: Heroes

To his relief, the Great Light suddenly swept out across the sky revealing the steep cliff and the boiling sea below.  And he could see Johnny slumped against a sharp rock nearby.   He heard the boy moan, then whimper in pain.

The light beamed across the dark sky again and Stanley saw that Johnny’s right leg was twisted in a peculiar way and his forehead was bleeding from a deep cut.  Stanley forgot all about himself.  He felt very sorry for Johnny.    ‘What can I do?’ he asked again and again.  The situation was desperate.   What use could a little hamster be to Johnny?  Again the light shone out.  Now Stanley knew what to do.  ‘Thank you, dear Light,’ he whispered.

He scrambled cautiously down the path and finally reached Johnny.  The boy was shivering and crying.  Johnny felt the hamster gently nibble his sleeve and looked down.

‘Stanley!  I’m so frightened.  I wish you could help me!’

Stanley climbed carefully as close as he could get to Johnny’s face then he snuggled down on Johnny’s chest.

‘Thank you, Stanley.  I’m sorry.  I’m glad you are OK.’

From the top of the cliff Clem peered down at the tiny figure of Johnny lying awkwardly against the rock. As the Great Light shone out she saw the blue cap not far away from her in the grass.  That gave her an idea.  She grabbed the hat in her mouth then raced back to the Lighthouse cottage.

Clem climbed quickly through the cat flap, ran through the kitchen and into the lounge where Dougal MacDougal was watching TV.  He was enjoying his favourite programme about heroes with special powers.

Clem leapt onto his lap and dropped the hat on his chest.  But he was so absorbed in his programme he hardly noticed the little kitten!  So Clem grabbed the hat again and dug her claws into his leg.  Poor Dougal yelled so loudly he woke his wife Jenny who came in to see what was going on.

‘She stuck her claws in my leg – whatever did she do that for?’

‘Dougal, that’s Johnny’s hat.  I bet that boy’s up to mischief.  You are a clever cat, Clem.’

‘The caves. Oh no,’ gasped Dougal.

With that, he took his jacket and a very big torch and ran out of the house to the cliff edge.  Shining the torch down the cliff, he climbed carefully along the path until he could see Johnny.  By this time the boy had lost consciousness.  Dougal felt his pulse – to his relief, Johnny’s heart was still beating.  But what to do now?  How to get him off the cliff?  Would it be safe to move him?

Dougal needed more help but he didn’t want to leave Johnny alone.

A movement caught his eye. There was Stanley curled up on Johnny’s chest and Johnny’s hands were protecting him from the wind.

‘Stanley!  What are you doing here?’

The hamster stayed still in Johnny’s hands and looked up at Dougal MacDougal.

‘Stanley, you are a very brave wee beastie.  Look after the laddie for me.  I’ll be back soon.’

And Dougal climbed as fast as he could up the cliff and ran back to the cottage.  Once there he telephoned the emergency services while Jenny went to the holiday cottage and told Johnny’s parents what had happened.

An ambulance arrived and two paramedics scrambled awkwardly down the cliff guided by Dougal.  Johnny was still unconscious.  One of the men checked his injuries while the other made an urgent call on his mobile phone.

Clem watched from the top of the cliff.  Johnny’s dad, wearing his pyjamas and dressing gown, ran past her and down the path to see his son.  The kitten followed him, nimbly scampering down the cliff.  She was anxious to find out what had happened to Stanley.  Where was he?

Of course, cats can see perfectly well in the dark.  Clem did not need a torch.  She quickly reached the four men huddled around Johnny, who was now awake.  They were having a very serious discussion.  Not about his injuries.  Not about how to carry him up the cliff.  Not about who was to blame.

The hamster wouldn’t budge an inch.  And Johnny wouldn’t let go of his friend.

‘Well, I’ll just have to phone through to the hospital and warn them what to expect,’ said one of the paramedics, scratching his head.  ‘I’m certain they won’t allow an animal in there.’

‘Johnny, give the hamster back to Mr MacDougal,’ said his dad.

‘No, I can’t, Dad.  He’s looking after me,’ Johnny insisted.  ‘He makes me brave.’

Then Clem heard a loud rushing noise which seemed to be coming from the sky above.  It grew louder and louder.  She looked up to see a huge whirring creature looming in the dark sky over the cliff top. The kitten flattened herself as close to the ground as possible and snarled and spat at this menacing thing.

‘It’s OK, Clem,’ said Dougal MacDougal, picking her up and holding her safe.  ‘It’s the air ambulance, come to rescue Johnny.’

The helicopter hung suspended in the sky above them and shone a bright search light on the cliff face.

One of the paramedics talked to the crew on his phone and then Clem watched as a stretcher was lowered to the ground and Johnny was wrapped in a thick blanket, carefully lifted onto the stretcher, strapped safely in and gradually winched up and up through the air, up to the copter.

All this time, Stanley stayed with Johnny, wrapped up in the blanket.  He peeped out as they rose slowly through the night sky, swaying slightly in the wind, high above the sea and higher and higher above Mr MacDougal and Johnny’s dad who stood far below on the cliff path.

‘Well,’ thought Stanley, ‘this is a real adventure!’

‘Wow, Stanley,’ said Johnny, ‘this is amazing.  A real adventure!  Just wish my leg and my head didn’t hurt so much then I could enjoy it more.  Wait till I tell my friends at school about this!’

And it was very exciting flying in the helicopter and landing on the special helipad behind the hospital.  But I’m sorry to have to tell you that Stanley was not welcomed by the doctors and nurses. The consultant looked fiercely at Johnny through his spectacles:

‘Young man, this animal will have to go.  I intend to operate on your leg and we certainly cannot permit a hamster to enter the operating theatre.  Animals are covered in germs which cause terrible infections.’

‘Germs? What germs?’ thought Stanley.  He looked closely at his fur and whiskers. ‘I can’t see any germs on me.’

Fortunately, Johnny’s father and Mr MacDougal arrived shortly afterwards and Johnny finally gave Stanley back to Dougal, after his dad promised to buy him a hamster of his own once they returned home.

Back at the lighthouse cottage, Stanley and Clem sat together on Dougal’s lap.  Stanley chewed happily on one of Jenny MacDougal’s shortbread biscuits.

‘Well,’ said Dougal, ‘You two are heroes.’

‘Oh good,’ Stanley said to Clem. ‘Does that mean I deserve another biscuit?’

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