// I know it’s been a while. Exams were this week. Having finished them, without further a do…//

I begun by helping Blaire to her feet, now fully conscious. Apparently some warmth and affection undid her hurt and she was able to hobble across the rocks, with her loving arm wrapped tightly around my shoulders. Small step by step, we both clambered our way up the rocks and, with the rest of her strength she managed to clamber to the other side of the wall, lowering herself down back within the presence of the others. She gives me a strange look, her eyes delving deeper into mine.

“After this is all over, you should take me out sometime” She says in her calm and clear voice, it hit my ears like honey to the bee.

Jack, Leo, Gamble and Will simultaneously gave me a weird look and I felt a sense of shame.

“Look, at least I got her back, alright?”  I protest.

Leo rolls his eyes and sarcastically comments. “yeah. Your mother must be so proud. Let’s just get out of here before anyone else kisses each other”

We all agreed and set off, marching down the looming corridors. With a group of four intelligent and well-equipped cavers. Not only did I feel safe to carry on, but I could see to the ends of the corridors as if it were daylight. Our shadows bounced across the walls as I walked carefully with Blaire, behind the others. The mood was profoundly productive, we were working as team to get out of there. It was complete survival and I loved every second, knowing that we were completely there for each other, we were a reunited family.

We had finally trundled our way towards the Surprise View Ladder: I felt relieved that we were so close to the end of this journey. I had truly believed that, this was almost the end of this almost tragic tale. One by one, I watch the others spring up the ladder to make their way on the journey. As I was behind the rest, the light became dim and the walls began to close upon me, darkness diving into light.

“Damn this borrowed kit” I mumbled as I fumbled in a dark for the first rung. (I knew I had been caving long enough to start buying my own.) As I fumbled, I heard a faint pair of.. footsteps? Perhaps. A small tapping sound echoing from the water, crawls up by back and hits my ears as I grip onto the rung. I pray to god this could only be water voices once again. My face crunches up in fear. I look up at Gamble. “Gamble.” I loudly whisper up, stood frozen.

“I think something’s behind me.” I can hear my own heart pound within my chest.

Jack and Gamble tentatively shine their light behind me and both their faces drop. Gamble looks down at me from above and mouths ecstatically that I should climb up the ladder RIGHT NOW. I can hear a small screech behind me, it ripples through my spine. I slowly begin moving my feet up the ladder, cold water streaming down in front of my face, my boots swamped with mud. I only reach the third rung when the mud and tiring energy take the better of me. My feet quickly displace and slip into the air. Sharply, I cry out as I hang off my arms in agony. Scared, confused, bewildered all in the same moment. The boys above shout my name in support but to the very detriment of me, for shouting awoke the beast. I regained my balance and began climbing up the ladder in a sharp fashion. As I climbed each short step I heard a screech right behind my back and I suddenly felt a force as sharp at a thousand knives cut deep into my leg. I let out an agonising cry, letting all the pain and energy I had left in my very body. I looked up to see only a few rungs away, Leo and Jack, almost in denial of what was happening.

“Help me” I scream out, tears running down my face. My arms wrapped around the rungs with the last efforts of my life. My left calf muscle giving way to the shards of teeth that were the Acripericumuli. My left hand dived into my caving suit. I flung out a small kitchen knife I had previously stuffed in. With as much strength as I could muster, I stabbed the Acripericumuli hard in the side of the jaw. It squeals. It lets go of my calves. It wrenched each blade out of my body. I was hurled into deeper pain. I could feel the wet blood drip down my skin underneath my suit. It was warm from my beating heart.

“You need to get up” Orders Gamble.

I begin to climb up the rungs, one limb down, mainly utilising my upper body strength whilst wincing in pain. The Acripericumili having retracted down in pain. I scrambled to the top rung to reach the others. I feel the touch of a loving hand as I am pulled up by my fellow peers and comforted, dizzy in the moment. I sit panting, disabled in the fear and pain. I watch as the creature once again musters the strength to slowly climb up the rungs and rock, knife still in it’s head. It’s twisted neck curls round on itself and convulses with pain as it’s slimy, twisted body pants it’s way back up to us. I look at the others.

Leo’s eyes suddenly light up, as if a lightbulb in his brain shook him into action.

“Jack. Hold onto anything you can.” Jack complies, wrapping his arms around any protruding stable rocks he could find with his gripped gloves.

The Acripericumuli dwindles closer in it’s naked state. Damaged and disgruntled, it’s sip of my blood fed it’s passion for our flesh. I could see my own deep dark blood dripping of the huge fangs as it began to approach he men, who loomed just above the ladder. Leo unhooked one of Jack’s cowtails intensely slowly, with much a look of anger in his eyes. He glanced at Gamble and gave a small nod, as if his controlled anger was about to be unleashed in a way that only they knew. His intense fiery eyes then set themselves upon this beast just below him. One Cowtail clip in hand, he unhooked the carabiner(1) with his carefully placed fingers.

The beast before him let out a loud ear pissing hiss as Leo suddenly single handily raised his hand and forced the carabiner hook deep into the skin of the Acripericumuli. He jammed this metal implement deep under the spine and dug even deeper. A piercing shrill came out of the wide mouth that surrounded the face of the Acripericumuli. Leo retorted into shouting out Gamble’s name in the hopes that the next step would be weilded. We needed yet another hero.

Gamble’s face glazed over in confusion, but suddenly ran to the monster, that was half sitting on the edge, cowering in pain, hooked up to Jack’s cowstails. Gamble picked up speed.  He launched himself into the air. Feet first. Full Force. Tireless energy. He drop kicked the slimy monster off the edge. Down past all of the ladder rungs, and into the shallow waters below. The monster fell, yanking Jack’s harness, but Jack’s overwhelming desire and might of muscle proved strong as he willed himself to hold on the rock.  Leo watched below as the sheer weight of the monster dropped so quickly into the air that it’s spine spliced through its skin and protruded out of the body.  Only a small whimper of a screech could be heard as it’s soul left its being. That carabiner clung tightly onto the bone. Leo looked up at Gamble, now picking himself up from the floor after an excellent dropkick.

“Nice.” Leo stated, as he gripped and yanked onto the cowstails, to retrieve this special equipment. (After all, kit ain’t free) He hastily unhooked the metal from the cold hard bone and let the body drop down. It splashed onto the floor in an awkward position, as a bunch of pick up sticks are dropped into their strange formations for two children to pick and choose their first sticks. Jack loosens his arms and looks at the bloody cowstails in disgust, linking it back round his waist.

 

(1)    Spelling is debatable, apparantly