the trek across the flat open plain had been a long and tiring one and the all
important message he had to deliver was, in the envelope, secure in the small
backpack he was carrying. hed run a fair part of the way across the plain as
speed was necessary. tiem was short and getting the message through to the
headquarters before the planes arrived was vital. tired though he was the
journey was not without its challenges not least of which was the climb he
now faced. hed known about the risks he would need to take when he'd accepted
the mission but the climb up that sheer granite wall which was several hundred
feet in height was not one he lliked to think about. to fall from that kind
of height might kill him but dying out there if it didnt would be a long
anslow death which was not a thought he wanted to think about. he knew he had
to keep his mind focused on the objective and that meant finding a way up that
climb. hed been climbing mountains as a kid having grown up in the area around
the mountains in north wales but it had always been with mates and proper
climbing gear. if you fell you only dropped back double the distance since the
last piton went in. it had always been fun and exciting but as long as you
took precautions normally safe enough. this was different though. the ascent
was one he had to take and not something he could refuse or a gambit he could
afford to lose. he walked back and forth along the base of the climb
looking for handholds to get a starting point and attempting to see if any of
them would lead anywhre or at least as far as he could see. eventually he
found a starting point.sticking the tip of his right bootinto acrack in the
granite wall and grasping soem cracks higher up he leveraged himself up.
feeling up he found more handholds and slowly inch by painful inch he dragged
himself up the vertical wall. . he was hoping and praying that the run of
cracks would last and it would be a case of god alone knows what he would do
if it ran out but at the moment he was finding ways to ascend the climb. this
had been going for some tens of minutes when suddenly the rock crumbled under
the toe of his right boot. his nails clawed at the granite tearing at the
flesh of his fingertips and he lost all but the hold of his right hand.
swinging precariously he desperately sought for a grip and sweat poured from
his brow as he attempted to find some kindof purchase on the unforgiving
granite. then he found it. the fingers of his left hand found a crack in the
rock deep enough to let him get a hold and he was able to steady himself.
feeling around with his feet he managed to find a couple of cracks in the rock
where he could get some footholds and he was able to start moving again. the
long slow painful battle with gravity and the unforgiving and unyielding
surface of the ascent continued for what must have been half an hour and he
was beging to wonder if it was possible at all, eeven to think of giving up
and seeing if he could descend and maybe find some other way past the obstacle,
how far did it go across the plain? he had littel idea other than that the
information he had received had lef thim with the conclusion that making the
ascent was worth the risk. the ache in his arms was almost unbearable and he
had little strenght left, his fingertips had long ago become a bloodied mess
and he wasnt sure if he even had any fingernails left. then putting his right
arm up for the next hold he felt the soft touch of grass and realised that he
had got there. he pulled himself up enough to get his other hand on the ledge
at the cliff top and leveraged himself over the brow at the edge of the
cliff.he lay on the grass breathing hard struggling to believe that the
ordeal was over and that he had made it to the top of the ascent but the soft
grass was real enough and after a few moments rest he got to his feet and
started to trudge across the open grassland at the top of the ascent. from
where he could see on the horizon the walls of the city he had to reach and
thre was no hint of planes. he knew from he ehe could make it. the mission was
from there on in if not over at least now a much more certain bet.