Her breath came in ragged bursts, desperate little sobs. Bare hands and feet raw and bloodied. Branches not properly trimmed struck at her face and shoulders.
But still she climbed.
The girl glanced up as she climbed. The top of the hole was dark at the moment, but she knew it was there. She could shut her eyes and see it just as clear as day: dew-wet grass edging, emerald fern over-hanging and the brilliant circle of cerulean filling in what remained.
Her daydream was suddenly intrupted by alarum bells and shouting voices and snarling of animals, pulling her rudely back to the pole and the dark and the dirt and the cold. Panic made her suck in a lungfull of fridgid air. Unconsciously she had stopped climbing, but now began again, full force. Her shoulder muscles creaked, her hands and feet stung afresh, but she scurried as fast as her tired and bruised muscles would allow. She didn't dare look down or up only for the next hand-hold, but her terrified imagination provided plenty of motivaton: They had found the body, the dogs followed her trail to the pole and now stood snapping and snarling, the men with their torches looking up, seeing the small blob of grey on black. They would be coming for her now, she thought, climbing up behind her, to bring her back.
She reached up and her hands found the damp grass and loam of the forset floor. She pulled herslf up and out, crawling on all fours away from the hole. As she used a tree to pull herself to her feet she glanced back, squeezing tears from her eyes. As her feet pushed her onwards, into the night, she had but one thought:
It had only been an accident.