Something something milestone. (previous)
Mitchell jumped up, grabbing as high onto the rope as he could. It swung out and suspended him over the edge of the water. He took another look at his goal and started climbing.
It was an uphill struggle from there.
He slipped down short distances multiple times, and though the energy he pulled from the gemite helped, it was his solid determination that kept him going. By the halfway point, some people had already left, assuming he wasn’t going to make it at this rate. But he didn’t know, and wouldn’t care if he did.
‘Almost there!’ Someone in the crowd hollered. Mitchell looked up, the edge almost within reach. He would’ve smiled if it didn’t take him out of his concentration. His last few pulls upward were swift and in quick succession, in contrast with his progress during the last five minutes.
One final stretch of the arm. One final contraction of the muscles.
And there he was.
He popped his head out over the edge. His enthusiasm disappeared when he saw there was nothing to see. A bunch of sand, that’s all. The sun illuminated the scene, but could not be seen itself because the atmosphere was full of dust. Silhouettes of what appeared to be broken remains of a city briefly showed up on the horizon.
Mitchell noticed he had trouble breathing. And not because of the exercise he got. A gust of wind blew some sand in his face. It stung. No. It burned. He wanted to wipe the sand off his skin, but instead wiped the skin off his face. The pain increased in intensity, almost paralyzing him. He needed to back down quickly, lower himself below the edge. But he was unable to hold on any longer.