You’d think as many times as I’ve done this, I’d start tripping over a different rock. Maybe my brain is starting to rot? Or maybe I’m just an idiot!

There has to be a way in.

* * *

Back at camp, I do the rounds, make sure all of the Old Ones are taken care of, then I sit down with Arthur and we review today’s trip. It’s a quick review. Nothing new. Just like yesterday. And the day before.

There’s one gate. Heavily guarded. None of us can even walk toward it.

The rest of the city? Walls of stone rising ten men high.

I might be able to climb if my left hand wasn’t rotting away.

I might be able to climb anyway. So what if I fell? Rot sets in wherever I get hurt, sure. But it’s inevitable anyway, so why not make it worth something?

“There’s the spot where the wall is shorter over on the other side…”

“But you said that was a newer section, boy. The walls are smooth there. Nothing for your rotting fingers to hold on to. Next?”

“The woods?”

“High wall there. Don’t you remember anything you tell me?”

“Oh, yeah.” He’s right. I do sometimes forget things.

“What about the old section you told me about where you can see the shelters rising beyond the edge of the wall?”

“You’re a genius, Arthur!”

* * *

A quick wave to Arthur, and I slip off to make a final check of the area we’ve chosen for the climb.

I haven’t really thought much further than that, not so sure what i’ll do once I make it in, but hey, what’s the use of thinking too hard about that until I’m in, right?

I grin and acknowledge that Arthur really is a genius. This looks like an ideal spot. The stones of the wall are rough, offering plenty of handholds.

One of the storytellers likes to talk about The Days When There Was Night, and weaves tales of people that used to climb things like this for fun. Crazy…but now I’m thinking maybe I should have paid a little more attention. Never know what you’ll need to know, eh?

I reach up high and grab a corner jutting out from the wall; I step my left foot onto the ledge of the first tall stone and heave myself up. I climb another couple of stones, and gaze out across the tops of the trees.

This might actually work.


What should Zach know about rock climbing? Leave a comment…
(Hey, Dean…This one’s for you!)


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