A Vital Journey

Marcus looked at Jessica. She was staring into the ink-black sky, after the helicopter.

Jules looked almost in tears. "We're doomed!" he cried. "We're practically dead! Now we'll never get home!"

"Stop being pathetic!" Jessica reprimanded. Jules shut his mouth. "All right, so we're stuck on this pylon for now."

"Jessica," said Amy nervously, "There's no foreseeable way of getting off this pylon. Jules is right; we are doomed."

"No, we're not!" Marcus had to admire Jessica's fervent belief that they were not finished, as hopeless as it seemed. "We have to get to the top. We have to find out why the lift is jammed."

"But everyone will have left by now," observed Lucien. "The ski lift stops at five o'clock - it's long past. And the cafe will have shut by now as well."

All remembered the cafe at the summit, where, before this Hell had taken over, they had drank hot chocolate and enjoyed the camaderie of the class.

"There is one way," said Jessica, taking charge, "but it'll be done the way I want it done."

"Explain it, genius," retorted Jules, who was an emotional wreck at the whole affair.

"What four of us are going to do," explained Jessica decisively, "is take the cable up - shut up!" she roared, at the rising complaints, which ceased. "We're going to take the cable, all the way up - it can only be three or four pylons. We're going to get to the top, and then we're going to make sure the rest of you get up as well."

"This is madness!" thungdered Big Ifram.

"What's gotten into you?" cried Jules.

"That's impossible, Jessica!" rejoined Amy.

"I know you might think so," retorted Jessica, and the entire group silenced - including the wolves. Marcus admired her - the way she could call for silence whenever she wanted it. "But help has made it pretty clear that it isn't going to come to us. Nobody knows we're here. We can't just sit - " Something caught in her voice, but she continued. "We can't just sit like princesses in the tower, or whatever - we've been abandoned. If you can't get to grips with that, then I suggest you do so now." Marcus himself felt something switch inside of him - she was right; hope was pointless. "You've all got to remember: the world will let you sink if you let it. In life, and especially now, you can't afford to be apathetic. We've all only got so much time before Death takes us out of this Hell, so we might as well make something of it before we leave."

She turned to Mr. Gallin. "Lucien. I want you to keep everyone else here while I take myself, Marcus, Jules and Amy up the cable."

In the ensuing silence, Marcus thought to himself, if she doesn't become a power-crazed dictator when she's older, the girl's life will be wasted.

The End

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