The claws latched onto the stone surface. His limbs didn’t strain from the suspension, nor did they deprive him of movement. He swiftly climbed up the rock face at fast jogging pace, without the least apprehension of falling. If not for the danger below, he would have grinned broadly, as he climbed faster than Teyata.
At about 50 metres above the ground, he peered down at the ground. He did smile. As he’d hoped, he climbed well above the stampede. They had almost reached the base of the cliff wall.
From his vantage point, he could watch in safety as they congregated around the base, then disperse. Brad gaped as they uninterrupted, flowed from the ground and up the sandstone wall. He lashed at the sandstone above his head, hooking on and climbing at the same pace as he started. Not pausing to check on his progress either above or below he climbed on. No matter how rapidly he climbed, he couldn’t climb fast enough.
A new fear gripped his heart like a frosted vice; what would happen once he reached the top?
Help me he prayed.
Minutes later, his hand slipped over the top. To his chagrin, he had only reached an overhang. It’s rear wall arced gracefully into a sweeping curve, creating a ceiling seven metres above. Craning of his neck, Brad took in the top of the cliff, just a little over a hundred metres above his present position.
He spun at a sound somewhere between a squeal and a chatter and stabbed at a blur headed at him. His claws pierced the torso of one of the creatures. He flung it into the swiftly climbing bodies, dislodging a few of them on its plummet to earth. Running at the overhang wall, he latched onto its surface, barely beginning to climb when he sensed a distortion in the air to his right. He snapped out his right hand, slashing across the torso of the little beast as the first of the horde curled over the overhang’s lip.
Creatures soon closed with him, leaping. He slashed left and right, barely able to make any further progress upward. Once he climbed above the overhang he’d acquire a measure of safety, affording him the opportunity to out climb them to the top of the cliff. The overhang ceiling would hinder him further, spelling his doom as he’d need his hands to climb.
An idea came to him.
“Oh, Lord, help me,” he muttered.
Another slash sent a small beast tumbling aside. He tensed all four limbs and leapt up, curling over. Kicking his feet up in mid turn, he hoped he had the reach. His feet claws, activated, gripping into the ceiling. Walking upside down a few awkward steps, he slashed left and right into the frenzied swarm now launching themselves at him. He needed the briefest lull in the fighting as he reached the top lip; he got one.
His right foot claw skewered a beast that too close as he climbed over and resumed his desperate bid for the top.