The raft was well on its way downriver as I was thrashed against the boulder blockade like a sock in a washing machine. I had no interest in how the rest of the crew was faring, I was facing death and the only remote chance I'd have to help others was to save myself first. I was oblivious to direction, even with my eyes wide open I could only see foam and flotsam, up and down had ceased to exist.
Slammed into the wall once again I scraped my fingers over the stone surfaces and found a wide chink I could grip and pull myself close to. I coiled my body and set my feet onto the rock beside my hands; I needed distance from the rapid and I had to take a chance the way was clear behind me.
Already nearly hypothermic I poured every ounce of oxygenated blood I had left into my legs and with a snap, pushed my muscles as hard as they'll ever need to work.
I took a hit from another large boulder before reaching the surface, a shot that emptied my lungs entirely. But just as I felt myself slipping into the void, a pair of hands grabbed my waistband and dragged me toward a rescue raft where three others hauled me out of the water as if tossing a whale onto a beach.
We had all survived in various conditions, some with injuries and some without so much as a mouth full of water. All we could hope now was that the raft and paddles had found a nice backwater to slip into and wait for the newly humbled master boatsmen to come find them.