The creature yanked on her ankle so hard she was forced to let go of Theo and felt herself falling – again. She reached out and held onto the chain for dear life. She was on the opposite side of the chain to the creature and it hissed at her through the link she was holding onto.
The creature snarled and stabbed its knife at her through the hole but she swung out of the way. She pulled her katana from its sheath and planted her feet firmly on the chain.
The creature lunged at her once again but she blocked the assault with her sword. She dived down in an attempt to catch the creature by surprise but it anticipated her move and swung its knife. Her sword fell from her hand, she watched helplessly as it hurtled towards the ground.
She cursed under her breath as she struggled to hold onto the chain. The creature swung at her again and this time its knife met its target. She felt the steel bite into her flesh. There was a slash across her chest from shoulder blade to shoulder blade. She felt sick as she watched blood swell from the gash.
She hugged the chain tightly, feeling weak. The creature grinned at her menacingly before raising its weapon for the kill. Alex braced herself for the blow that would end her life. But the blow never came.
Theo leapt down from the link above and blocked the blow that was meant to end Alex’s’ life. In synchronicity he swiped down with both his swords, slicing the creature into three pieces. The parts of creature fell into the gloom below.
“That was close.” Theo said.
“What took you so long?” Alex gasped; the pain from the gash was growing by the second.
Before Theo could continue and hand grabbed hold of Theo’s shoe. It was another creature, and with it were at least four more. Theo chopped at the creature’s arm and it fell away. The creature roared with anger.
“I think it’s time to get moving, climb on!”
With Theo’s help, Alex scrambled onto his back and they continued up the chain. Alex could feel the blood soaking her clothes, she felt more exhausted than she ever had before.
There was a piercing scream from just below them. Alex didn’t look to see what it was. She knew it was one of the creatures, she’d know that cry anywhere. Her whole body was shaking, her heart throbbing, trying to break out of her ribcage.
She looked up. The opening was just a few metres away, they’d made it.
But that was no to be.
Suddenly the chain, with a mighty groan, began to move. They were moving slowly downwards, the rusty chain clunking as each link reached the bottom.
“They’re getting closer!” She bellowed.
“Hold on tight!” Theo replied.
He bent his legs and sprung up onto the next link, almost losing his balance when he landed. Then he swung up and onto the next one. Springing up and up, fighting against the grinding chain, until they were just below the opening.
With one final leap, they reached the opening. Theo clung onto the edge with the tips of his fingers, his muscles flexed as he struggled to pull himself up.
“Hurry!” Alex shouted.
The creatures were gaining on them fast.
“Climb up!” Theo answered.
She pulled herself up and rested her knees on his shoulders. Then, pushed herself forwards, flinging herself through the opening and into the chain room.
She immediately turned and grabbed Theo’s wrists, pulling with all her strength. Eventually, after much huffing and hauling, he flopped into the room beside her. They were both panting, collapsed in a heap, thousands of metres above the ground below.
There was a horrifying scream from below.
Alex peered over the edge.
There was no sign of the creatures. All was quiet apart from the grating of the chain.
She screamed as one of the creatures came into view and grabbed her shoulders, pulling her out through the opening. She was falling fast, surging through the air; everything went past in a blur. She lost all sense of direction, not knowing what was up and what was down.
The creature was still clinging onto her, digging its claws into her shoulders and hissing with triumph. Its breath was like the rotting flesh of a thousand dead bodies packed together for hundreds of years without being disturbed.
She kicked out at it, slamming her booted foot into its head, causing it loose its grip on her shoulders. She was still falling, but at least the creature no longer had a hold on her.
Then, as if acting by instinct, barely aware of what she was doing, she raised her hand and held it so her palm was facing the scowling, howling creature.
A roaring red fireball exploded from her hand, slamming into the chest of the creature. It caught alight immediately, wailing with pain, its whole body engulfed in flame. And then there was a flash of light as the creature imploded.
Alex held up her hands to her face to shield her eyes from the blinding light. She took her hands away from her face. She was still alive. But for how long?
She fumbled with her belt and finally found what she was looking for. She pulled the magnetic end of the grapple from her belt and flung it up towards the ceiling. The wire zipped out of the grapple-holder.
There was a jolt as the mechanism stopped turning, the grapple had attached itself to something. The sudden jolt sent her swinging around in a circle, around the massive chain.
Her head felt dizzy, she was sure she was going to be sick. She pressed the red button on the grapple mechanism and she shot upwards towards the ceiling at incredible speed. She barely had enough time to release her finger from the red button before she reached the opening and was launched inside. The grapple chain was sucked back into its small mechanism and she landed with a thump next to Theo on the hard metal surface.
“Ouch, that hurt.” She said as she rolled off her back and into a sitting position.
“How did you do that?” Theo asked. It was dark in the chain room and his face was in shadow.
“You threw a fireball at one of those creatures!”
“I-it just came to me.” She stammered. She really had no idea how she had done it. She’d never heard of anyone else ever being able to throw fireballs!
He looked at her sceptically before dragging her to her feet. “We’d better get going, before something else tries to kill us.”