Day 3 - The Posse

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It took Jack a good half an hour with Matt's help, the cable acting as an anchor around his belt, to achieve the same feat. But once he too reached the road, the idea that they all could successfully escape was beginning to seem very, very plausible.

"So, who's next?" Matt asked again.

Brandon looked at the pile of bags. "I think those next."

"All right, send them up."

Clare and Brandon anchored the bag straps onto the hook end of the cable. With Jack's help, Matt hauled at the cable as darkness began to settle.

Jack looked at the sky for a moment as he heaved and huffed, pulling at the cable. Heavy blankets of dark clouds were gathering force. "We better hurry," he said. There was a strong chilly wind beginning to whistle across the land. "I sense a blizzard on its way."

As the last of the bags went up, Clare couldn't hold her excitement. She realized it'd be either Brandon's or her turn next. She watched the cable being lowered once more.

She took a few steps forward and confidently grabbed the cable by the hook.

"Okay, now hook it somewhere safe," Matt called down, "and come on up, honey, you're in safe hands." Clare was light enough for the boys to practically tow up, although there were moments when she had to steady herself in order to not become a human pendulum.

Matt reached out seeing her head reach the level of the road, "Come on slow poke" he said softly.

"Then, help me up" she bit back with a grin.

His hand immediately tightened around her forearm and he pulled her over the edge. "I hadn't realized you were such a wonderful climber."

Clare heaved herself to her feet, nervous about being so close to the edge.

She slid her wrist out of his hand and held his gaze a moment. "Brandon's waiting" she whispered.

"Brandon!" He nodded and turned to Jack. "Shall we get her boyfriend up?"

"Yeah, sure...he's probably wondering what's taking us so long," Jack replied, amused.

Clare watched the boys lower the cable one last time. She couldn't wait to see Brandon brought up safely to the road.

Brandon struggled during the climbed. The constant movement was beginning to cause his bruised shoulder some pain, yet he struggled on, forcing himself to extend his arm and grab hold of one rock shelf after another. He constantly looked up to see how far he had left to go. He knew he was climbing at a slow pace feeling the hook tug at his belt buckle every now and then. At one point he halted, his injured shoulder was throbbing painfully.

Feeling a sudden increase in the weight on the cable, Jack and Matt tightened their grip around the wire. They struggled with aching fingers to hold Brandon's weight. "Is something the matter, Brandon?" Matt asked through clenched teeth, "...we can't hold on like this much longer".

Startled, Brandon looked up. "No" he replied, and as uncomfortable as he was, he forced himself to continue climbing. A little while later, as he let his left arm take most of his weight so that his right could grab hold of another shelf, suddenly his hand slipped, leaving his entire body weight supported by the cable alone.

The sudden jerk on the cable sent both the boys skidding across the road. In a panic, Matt slammed his weight onto his legs and held on to the cable tighter than he had been, hoping against hope that Jack was doing the same behind him.

"Clare!" Matt screamed as he worked with Jack to push back from the edge. He could see there was only a few inches clearance between his feet and the end of the road.

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