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The Valley of Humanity – Part 3

November 29, 2013

He held tight, the pain of the cogier’s sinking teeth was almost unbearable. He felt his hands slipping from the small rock he gripped, the weight of the vicious animal pulled him slowly down; his fingers loosened. His heart pumped radically in his chest. The cogier’s grip was tight, Kele kicked wildly with his free leg trying to hit the beast in the face, his body, anywhere; just as long as the jaws were out of his foot. The cogier was strong, it withheld at least three kicks to the head; Kele couldn’t give up, he kept stamping his foot down. There was a sharp yelp and finally the creature lost its grip and was sent tumbling down the wall, landing not on ground, but into one of the glowing pools of acidic liquid. The rest of the cogier pack became more determined, having witness the death of one of their own. The weight of the device in his hide backpack felt like an eager child tugging at him to seek his attention, but his focus could not be torn from his immediate goal or the seven angry monsters trying to eat him. They snapped and growled as they jumped from grip to grip on the crater wall. Kele slowly climbed and climbed, but they were closing in. He was halfway up now, the setting sun still reached this part of the crater; the bottom was completely dark, save for the glowing green patches. All he could do was climb up to the light. Cogier were night predators, adapted to hunting in the dark, if he reached the top of the crater’s wall they might not follow him further. It was his only option. The rocks and mixed shards of rubble flayed his hands as he scrambled slowly up the wall; already some of the cogier had passed him on both sides and waited for him, suspended on large protrusions, and preparing to pounce and knock him to his death. He was trapped. They surrounded him, intimidating like gargoyles perched on a cathedral; Kele became filled with fear and uncertainty. The smiling faces were menacing under the dusk red of the sky and peered at him from all around, he could do nothing to prevent them from ripping him to shreds. One of them finally jumped at him; he closed his eyes and waited to die. He waited a long time, longer than he expected considering how quick he knew these creatures were. There was silence, the growling and gnashing noises had stopped, and after a few dreadful moments he very slowly opened his eyes. The creature had gone, he looked around in sudden panic to find it; and then he looked down. A small shape disappeared into the darkness, an audible thud echoed from the deep. There came sudden yelps of confusion and fear from all around him. The cogier above him were struck, one by one, by small bolts of wood, sending them into the abyss. Kele looked down again, the vertigo struck him dreadfully, but the sight of retreating cogier lifted his heart. He searched the wall’s edge above him to find his saviour. There was movement, but he couldn’t make out a face, or a clear image of a body.
A voice suddenly called out to him. ‘Climb up Kele! Climb!’ It was a male voice.
Kele started to clamber upwards with what little strength he had left, all the while trying to be gentle with his wounded hands and leg. After what seemed like a lifetime of vertical travel, he reached just half a foot out of reach of the cliff’s edge. A hand was pushed out towards him and he grabbed it without reluctance, the strong arm lifted him out of the black crater. He laid himself down on the soft grass, not wanting to move his damaged limb, and started to retrieve his breath. He looked up at the figure standing over him. Against the darkened red sky his rescuer stood tall and proud, yet fresh and naïve; his older brother, Nelco, smiled upon him.

 

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