Friday, September 11, 2015

OUT OF EXODIA, excerpt #2

We’re on an outcropping of rock, our thousand foot descent abruptly stopped far short of a deadly plummet. Barrett has cushioned my landing and taken the shock of the long fall.
“Bear?” I don’t dare move, but his right arm still circles around me. Limp.
I can see straight up, maybe thirty or forty feet to the bank where frightened faces peer down at us. I scan the rock face; there are no marks, no scratches to define our trail, no path to ascend. My scrutiny ends a foot above me where only a dew-beaded spider web, one end split from its harness, proclaims our helplessness. I lift my right hand to wave and Barrett’s arm slips off my chest.
If his back is broken if his breath is knocked out of him and I’m too heavy if
They shout at me from above, but I can’t wave for rescue. I can’t because I’m holding Bear’s wrist, not feeling a pulse, not sensing his life at all. My head is tucked below his ear, cradled like that child I saw in his mother’s arms. Tears track from my eyes as more faces appear above. I don’t need to count to know there are eighteen. Eighteen spot us. Hundreds more are hanging back.

Time slows to an eerie beat. Two minutes. Three. Four. I’m crushing Barrett.