When you hate something, sometimes it’s hard to keep from kicking it too hard. Jack stood next to the man asleep, kicking him. "Wake up."
Paul reacted violently, jumping back onto his hands with a look of dire fear on his face. "Finally caught up to you," George said.
Marina shook her head. "I actually hoped you had died back there."
"Well," he brushed himself off, trying to regain composure. He wanted to kill them. He didn't know why, but the feeling was there in the back of his head, knocking. "Well, I figured I'd scout ahead for you guys."
"Yeah, sure," Jack said walking away from the scared man. "Mendy, what do we got here?"
Mendy had just made her way around the room. "No doors, just that thing." her finger pointed towards the only thing in the room, and everyone had hoped that there was something else. But it hung there, and traveled deep into the shadows above. The light came from the sides of the room, glowing slabs of granite.
"No way," Steve said touching the rope with his finger.
"Looks like we go up," Jack said.
"Wait, I know I should have said something in the last room," Mendy said as she followed Jack to the center of the room. His heart sank, thinking of the many things she could be talking about. "We need a better plan for these rooms."
George approached the group shaking his head with agreement. "Good idea Mendy. We need teams, that can split up, access the room, the situation."
"Right," Mendy said.
Jack waited for someone else, anyone to take charge of the situation but they stood quite waiting for him to speak.
George was the first to break the silence, "Jack, you're in charge."
"Really, I thought you were."
"Well, now it's you."
"Yeah." Marina joined him, putting her hand between his arm and hip.
"Fine." Jack raised his voice and swung his arms in the air signaling everyone to meet around the rope. And they listened, without hesitation. Jack was amazed by how this had happened, he didn't think of himself as a leader, just someone trying to survive. And now they needed him and somehow he needed them.
Paul gathered around as well, his arms in defiance but hidden behind it was a man who was desperate.
"Maybe we should have discussed this back there; but we were tired, we were . . ." He looked at Mendy and she looked back. There was no smile on her face or any form of lust or even love for him; but it didn't matter.
"We need to work as a group. From now on we need a team accessing the room for traps, triggers, anything like those blades." The group listened, Jack knew he had all their attention; he was already their leader.
"Another team, will access the situation along with myself. And the rest will care and figure what to do with the hurt. This one seems simple, we climb the rope."
Paul interjected, "I can't climb that."
"And you want to know why? Because you weren't even suppose to be here."
The room filled with gasp. It wasn't a surprise that he was the only one who seemed older and out of shape then them.
"There was someone else our age and when you had the chance, pushed him out of the way. I saw you enter . . . I saw the doors closed. I saw . . ."
Marina rushed up to Jack as he pushed against his temples. "Jack!"
"I can't remember, but there was something else, something in the darkness."
Mendy looked around quickly realizing that everyone waited for Jack; but she didn't. She grabbed the rope and shuffled up.
"But . . ." Paul stammered.
Single file they climbed. Jack talked as they all cinched the rope with ease as if they had done this many times before and they did, all but Paul.
Jack was the last on the rope. "Paul, I have no clue how you managed to get this far. But I think it's time for your journey to end." The others continued up, pulling and shuffling. Cinching with their feet they climbed away, leaving Jack Jack and Paul alone.
Jack grabbed the rope, about to make his journey upward into the darkness that was the monolith, but Paul had other plans. Paul screamed loudly like an injured elephant as he punched Jack on the back of his head, knocking him out cold.
The floor began to burn Jack's hands. "Shit!" he said as he awoke on the floor.
"You're going to die with me."
"You son of a bitch," Jack yelled staring up at the rope that swung lightly yet seemed to hold none of the others.
Paul smiled leaning against the now orange wall. "Ahh," Paul yelled burning a hole on his back. Jack turned grabbed the rope and pulled hard but before he got another handful of rope, Paul tackled him hard. His back rubbed against the hot floor as fist after fist dropped from above, pummeling into his arms that shielded his face. Jack wondered how this came to be, how the others had moved on without him. Didn't they check for him? Didn't they see Paul knock him out? There was no time for questions. He rolled to his side and slide between's paul legs. It was enough to lean up and push him and the first thing he did was launch his foot into Paul's lower region.
Now pain is a thing that changes from person to person. The kick was like being swatted with a bat directly into your stomach. Or pain itself being born and flying around in ones testicles. Paul felt it and couldn’t think of anything to describe the pain, instead he held on and fell to the ground. And the elephant fell.
"My . . . arms," someone complained
"Use your legs!" A voice from above rained down.
"Mendy! How much higher?" but she couldn't hear as she had already climbed into the next room. The room was large, and the colors had overloaded her sensory. She blinked and then rubbed her eyes in amazement. Slowly a hand reached her shoulder.
"Marina? You scared me."
"Didn't think you scare easily," she said letting her arms fall to the floor. "What's this about?"
"I don't know yet."
Slowly they came out of the tiny hole in the middle of room like tiny kittens. They were tired and had blisters riddling their hands.
When George climbed over everyone just stared at him.
"You weren't even supposed to be here." And with one final kick, Jack caused blood to run down Paul's nose. He climbed for about twenty feet when he looked down and saw Paul burst into flames. They heat was unforgivable and the sweat in his fingers caused him to slip and blister faster then the others had. Soon the room was an oven, cooking him on the string like a Kabob. He spun, trying to fight the heat that meet him at every side and when he thought he couldn't climb anymore, a hand pulled him up.