The wall was flawlessly smooth. Not a single crack or even a stray leaf on the straight surface. It was beautiful to look at, terrible to climb up.
Well, if this pit wouldn’t give her footholds, then she would just have to make her own.
There were no tools she could use, but she had rocks and her own stubbornness. She smashed the wall until both skin and stone broke, leaving her own mark on the previously unmarred surface. And when the pain was too much to bear, all she needed to do was look back.
If she was alone, she might have sat back and accepted her fate, be it a lucky rescue or a premature end. But she wasn’t alone.
With her was her baby brother, whose small body had taken their fall harder than she had. He lay curled on the ground, closer to unconsciousness than sleep. She couldn’t let him die here, not when the smart spark had such a bright future ahead of him.
By the time she carved enough bloodstained footholds to climb out, hunger and pain had leeched the strength out of her body. She pressed on. She didn’t spend all that effort to make a path she wouldn’t use.
Her brother roused only enough to cling to her like a koala. Wearing him like a backpack, she scaled the wall, not stopping until they climbed out to the open air.
Out here, their mobiles finally connected to a network. She hung on to consciousness just long enough to make a call.
She’d done her part. The rest was up to the rescue team.