The Rope, by Sophie Todd

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A girl must overcome a challenge of a lifetime. But can she cross the canyon in time to save her friend Ander?
I wrote this in 7th grade so it's not exactly my greatest writing piece ever, but it's pretty decent. I hope you enjoy reading my work :)

Submitted: January 01, 2012

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Submitted: January 01, 2012

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"No."

"You can do it Aura!  Come on!  We have to get to the peak!"

"No!  I can't do it!"  I was ten feet away from the edge of the monstrous canyon and the piece of old rope.  It was all that was left of the mighty bridge that had once stood there, allowing passage to the distant mountain.  But now it was gone, replaced by a rotting, old piece of rope.  The bridge had been the only thing that had connected the two sides of the canyon for miles.  I could walk to the end of the canyon, but that would take days.  And days was time.  And time was something I did not have.

"Come on!  We have to get to the peak!"  The Crystal.  My eyes snapped away from the rope and towards the faint bump in the brightening horizon.  It was Mount Fotnao.  It looked even darker and more depressing than it had the day before, as though every day it's life was being slowly drawn out of it.  With the rising sun as it's backsplash, the mountain cast shadows upon the ground.  That was where the Crystal was.

"Ander," I whispered.  He was dying, and only the Crystal could save him.  Oralai had said that it was on the highest peak.  Of course it's on the highest peak, I thought bitterly as I studied Mount Fotnao.  Why should anything ever be easy for me?  I averted my green cat eyes back onto the rope, and studied it.  It was gray and worn by the weather, rotting towards the middle and at the ends.  The rope looked as though it would disintigrate at even the slightest movement.  I sighed.  There was no way I could get across it, unless I metamorphosed, which only happened when I got... scared.  A thought flickered through my mind as I pondered my magical abilities.  I dropped my chin onto my collarbone, almost wishing the plan I had created wouldn't work.  But I had no choice.  I had to try.

"This better work," I muttered.  I lifted my head, glanced at John, who was staring at me intensely from across the canyon.  I turned my eyes away, and ran at the edge of the canyon.  I dug my toes into the dirt, my heels never touching the ground, trying to go as fast as I could.  My heart climbed into my throat as I gained speed, but the feeling was not accompanied by the familiar tingling of the metamorphosis.  I caught myself at the last minute and almost burst into tears as rocks broke off the edge and tumbled down the ravine, falling until they were out of sight and lost in the darkness.  I bit my lip to dam up the tears, and it began to bleed from the pressure.  

"What the hell are you doing?!" John screamed.  I looked up at him.  He had gotten so close to the edge, he could fall right off if he wasn't careful.  

"John!  Get back!"  I waved frantically at him to back up.  "Get away from the edge!"

"Not until you cross the rope!"

"You idiot! You're going to get us both killed!"  I screamed.  I wanted to tell him to get away because I had a plan, a plan that I was consciously aware of but couldn't acknowledge.  Because if I admitted to myself that I had a plan, then it would not work.  Taking a long, shuddery breath, I silently prayed that John wouldn't fall into the treacherous canyon and stood up.

As I walked slowly away from the edge, I realized that I was going to have to take my fear of heights to the extreme.  As I turned around, I squeezed my eyes shut, as though not seeing what I was going to do would give me comfort.  Which it didn't.

I swallowed.  I was doing it for Ander.  I had to be strong and brave like him.  I had to do it no matter how much I just wanted to curl up in a tree at home in the orchard and get lost in a book, John sitting next to me.  I loved books.  They were full of adventure and excitement, but unlike in real life, danger could not reach me from behind the bars of the sentences.  

I let my fingernails dig into my hands as I got into a sprinting position.  I'll count to three... I mean five... I mean... I'll do three.  I have to be brave!

Taking a big breath, attempting to calm my nerves, I put one foot forward.  Then another.  Then another.  Step after step, I gained speed, eventually sprinting towards the side of the cliff.  When I reached the edge, however, my nerves got the best of me.  I dug my heels in the ground, trying to stop myself, but I wasn't quick enough.  My foot slipped on the edge of the ravine and I landed on my back.  Grunting, I tried to get up, but I was sliding down towards the canyon.  Without thinking, I turned onto my stomach and grabbed a fistful of grass.  The grass could not support my weight, and it ripped.  Screaming, I grabbed handfuls of grass, trying to find a handhold or loose root or something, anything, so I wouldn't fall. My fingers dragged along the dirt, trying to get a grip on it.

Tears streamed down my face, and I distantly heard John yelling.  My feet were swinging wildly, trying to find a foothold, but the canyon walls were smooth.  I squeezed my eyes shut and listened to my labored breathing, the blood pulsing through my head, and the sounds of John screaming at me to hold on.  I had managed to stop myself with a tight grip on the dirt. but I could feel the soil slowly loosening.

"Don't come after me!" I screamed.  "Just go get the Crystal!"  As I heard myself say this, I realized how much I wanted him to say that he wouldn't leave me for anything, and that everything was going to be alright.  I didn't want to be a hero.  I didn't want to be on this mission.  I didn't want to be brave, but the words were already gone.  And even though I was scared, I knew in the back of my mind that they were the right thing for John to do.  John hesitated before he spoke.

"I'll come back for you, I promise!" I squeezed my eyes tighter, trying not to sob.  He shouldn't have said that, he wasn't supposed to say that... As my heart sunk, I could feel my grip getting looser and looser.  John and I both knew that we would never see each other again.  My arms were getting weaker.  The man I loved had just left me. 

And then I was slipping, falling, into a black nothingness, the orange sky above me becoming smaller and smaller.  But I felt no heroic acceptance.  I only felt scared.  Terrified.  It took me a few moments to comprehend that I was about to die.  And my terrible fate overwhelmed me, and I screamed.  My heart leapt into my throat, making my cry sound strangled.  My stomach was flying, and the rest of me was falling.  Sudden;y, a tingling sensation came from the bottoms of my feet and spread upwards through the rest of my body.  I felt as though I were being stuck with a million pins and needles, and I went almost numb with pain.   I screamed even louder as the pain engulfed my body.  My scream became a cry, which became a crow, which became a shriek.

Instinctively, I opened my wings and flapped until the light of the sky came back into sight.  when I saw it, I flapped even harder.  But it was still miles up, and my strength was quickly waning.  I gathered all the remaining bits of energy from my feathery wings, and after what seemed like decades, pulled out of the chasm and into the open air.  I stretched out my wings and rode a current of wind towards the directions John had gone.  I immediately spotted him with my raptor vision, but I didn't have the strength to go after him.  The muscles in my wings seized up, and I began to plunge towards the earth.  The terrifying feeling of falling transformed into the tingling sensation of metamorphosis.  At the last moment, I morphed into a large jungle cat and landed on all four feet.  Exhausted, I flopped down on my side, and the ground, chilly from the night before, cooled my pelt.  

I lay there, and passed out from exhaustion.  The universe was lost to me for a whole, precious hour as I escaped into my own fantasy world.  When I woke back up, I dragged myself to my feet and began sprinting alongside John's footprints with new confidence and energy.  We would get the Crystal.  We would save Ander. And I would see John again.


© Copyright 2017 Sophie Todd. All rights reserved.

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