Annie licked her lips, a dangerous smile on her face, “You ready for this?” she said, turning to Andy, who stood about 3 feet away from her, looking nervously excited.

“Of course I’m ready,” he said, a slight tremor ringing out in his voice. He moved closer to Annie, who checked his ropes were tied properly, before checking her own belaying device and ropes.

“It looks like everything’s okay,” she said, looking up at the rock face, “whenever you’re ready, And,” she smiled at him.

Andy took a deep breath, “If I die,” he said, pausing and turning to face Annie, “This was your idea,” he said.

Annie laughed, “Just climb it,” she faked annoyance, even throwing in an eye-roll, at which Andy chuckled.

He moved his hand to the first place he could see that looked like a suitable handhold and pulled himself up onto the rock face, sliding his feet into a gap between two rocks. He felt the rope attached to his harness tighten, causing an uncomfortable tightness of the harness around his thighs. He reached for the next rock and stretched his body out, sticking his right arm half a metre to the left of his other arm. His hand slipped and fell back to his side, and he gently cussed under his breath.

Again, he reached for the rock and this time his reach was successful. He pulled his leg up and continued on up the wall. He was nearing the top when the next difficulty arose. He was holding onto a rock, both hands firmly gripping the wall. He looked down at his feet, looking for a gap in the rock that he could put them into. He eventually noticed a gap a little to his left. He slid his left foot over and into the gap, successfully, but as he moved his right leg, it slipped and both of his legs fell from their spots. His hands, sweaty from fear, slipped from the rock they were gripped onto and he fell away from the wall, dangling about 20 metres above the ground. He gulped as he looked down, feeling sweat beading on the skin on his forehead.

“You’ve got to swing yourself back onto the rock,” he heard Annie shout from the ground, “you can do it, I know you can,”

Andy turned his gaze to the ground, to Annie. He focused on her, rather than the height. He gulped, remembering why he was here. He turned his attention back to the wall. If you can do this, you can tell her, he thought, silently willing himself. He swung on the rope, reaching his arms for the wall as he did so. On his first swing he came close to the wall, but not enough to touch it.

“Swing again!” he heard from the ground. This time he grabbed onto the rock, but, having not held on tight enough, he swung away from the wall once more.

“You can do it, Andy!” this time he had it. He slipped his feet back into a safer gap in the rocks and gripped onto a ledge with his hands, holding on for dear life. He moved his hand further up the wall and pulled his legs into the gap where his hands had previously been. The top of the wall was less than a metre away now, and he refused to be beaten. I will do this and I will tell her, he urged himself on, silently. He moved his left hand up to a ledge and wedged his right foot between two rocks, leaving his left foot free to move. He pulled it up to where his knee had previously been and moved his hands even further up the rock, straightening his body out. His hand was inches away from the top and he refused to fail now. He moved his legs up to where his hands had previously been and stretched his body out, touching the ceiling of the climbing centre.

“Are you at the top?” he heard Annie call from below him.

“Yes!” he yelled back, excitedly. He felt accomplished and exhausted and, while he was being lowered down the climb, he wiped his sweaty hands on his trousers. He grinned to himself as he reached the ground.

“You did it,” Annie said, beaming at him.

“I…” Andy faltered, “I did it,” he said, awestruck at his own accomplishment. “I actually did it,” he looked up at the wall in front of him as it finally set in. I’ve climbed this wall. I’ve overcome it. I am not afraid. If I could do that, I can do anything, he thought.

“So,” Annie said, “Can I climb now?”

The End

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