"God damn it," swore Jessica. "Now we're done for."
Marcus was so cold, now, that he was close to tears - and Marcus wasn't the type to cry from pain. "We've got to get down," he told her. "The fall'll kill us, if the wolves don't."
"Really?" Jessica turned to him with a rather dumb look on her face. It disappeared, and she shouted to Jules: "How bad is it?"
"Not too bad," said Jules, and Marcus could hear his fear. "Maybe it'll hold for...I don't know...couple of hours maybe..."
It was now dreadfully cold, and the wind was whipping up the snow from the trees and throwing it in their faces. Jessica shook her head. "It won't hold with us on it," she said. "We've got to get to the pylon."
"Are you suggesting we crawl along the cable?" snorted Marcus.
"I'm not joking," said Jessica. "We can't stay on here, Marcus."
"Well, if it's all the same to you," Marcus retorted, "I'd rather get out of this one alive."
Jessica looked at him. "Do you like action films, Marcus?" she asked, tossing her hair back. Marcus, who had no idea where this was going, nodded. "Then you'l know how to use a scarf to climb up a cable wire, won't you?"
"Course I do," said Marcus arrogantly, being one of the school's sportiest young people.
Jessica untied her scarf and handed it to him. "Then I suggest you get on with it," she said.
Marcus didn't have the guts to counter her - she was worse than death when scorned. Shakily, he pulled off his skis from the footrest, and undid them. Each frozen ski fell to the ground. He watched as the wolves attacked each one, and gulped.
Next to go were the sticks. Then, Jessica lifted the safety bar up, and, shaking from exhaustion and cold, he pulled himself up the seat and, taking Jessica's scarf in both hands, wound his legs around the cable.
Inch by terrifying inch, Marcus heaved himself up the cable. He had endured conditioning, extreme assault courses and football training in the cold, but this was completely new. Perhaps it was because Death was right by him this time, not in the form of hypothermia or bruises, but in the form of falling - there would be no instructor to save him. He could hear shouting. His arms were shaking. Gradually, he reached the next seat, and for one terrifying moment, he almost fell straight down to the wolves - he could hear screaming and snarling, and his tiny mind had gone completely blank from terror -
But from his position, suspended from the cable by his legs, he pulled himself up. Slowly, through the hardest grit and perseverance, and though the cable shook and his muscles burned, he eventually reached the tall green pylon, and pulled himself up onto it at last.