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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2003 12:57 am 
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-=TresCom Website Manager=-
-=TresCom Website Manager=-

Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2002 4:14 pm
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Please feel free to read the Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, and Chapter 19 before reading the following chapter. :) Anyway, here's Chapter 20:

Chapter 20: The Summit

Marquez Santiago feels pricks of pain all over his body. He opens his eyes, making to sit up, but his body aches. His face aches, his back aches, his stomach aches…

He screams, seeing little, green animals the size of chickens all over his body. They chirp, hopping off of him as he does.

His clothes are torn in dozens of places, and he can feel blood running down from countless cuts. He stands up, despite the pain, and watches as the green animals disappear into the forest.

His chin is deeply bruised, and his left arm feels broken.

“Oh God…”

He looks up the mountainside, trying to remember what happened, but nothing comes back. He remembers being on the bridge as it fell, and then falling over the edge… A blinding pain in the back of his head and then waking up here.

“Anne…”

It’s alright, I can go back to the radio station…

Realization hits him.

I can’t… I disabled it…

He lets out a gurgle of fury, angry at the irony of what he did. “It’s alright… There’s got to be another radio…”

He shifts his left arm a bit, feeling the pain erupt in him, and then pulls out the map he got back at the harbor warehouse from his pocket.

He unfolds it, holding it open with one hand, and places it against a tree, squinting to read it in the encroaching darkness.

“There…”

He spots the radio symbol connected to a facility just south of the mountain, to the right of an odd, greenish field, drawn on the map.

“I’ll call for help there… It’s not too far from here…”

Marquez refolds the map with his right hand, crunching most of it up, as he jams it into his pocket. With a quick look around, he heads away from the mountain, into the forest.

-----

Anne gripped one of the standing light poles, swinging it down and smashing the plastic covering of the bulb. She shattered the top part of the bulb, watching as several sparks erupted from it. She dropped the pole, letting it fall on the ground, and then ran to another.

This time, she ripped the wires off of the base, holding it away from her as the end of the wires burst into static.

She ran around the oil slick as far as she could, since the wires ran under the large pumping machine, and only allowed it to go so far.

The oil on the slope of the tunnel had slowed the raptors down, but as Anne watched, she saw them come up over the top. They snarled, sliding on the oil as they came up.

One slid out, landing on its side in the oil.

“Perfect…”

She backed away, gripping the wires in her hand, the end buzzing with loose electricity. The raptors moved across the oil, sliding into the fallen drums and tripping.

“Come here!”

She continued to back away, toward the elevator.

There were three or four raptors coming toward her across the oil-slicked ground.

She bent down as she passed the light pole in which she had smashed the bulb. She reached down, gripping the light with her free hand, and moved it over the oil. She dropped it down, but nothing happened.

“Plan B,” she said, looking at the wires in her hands.

Something whirred behind her.

She turned around, realizing the noise was coming from the elevator tower.

“It’s working…”

She set down the wires away from the oil, running over to the control pad. She pressed the Up button, standing on the platform, but it remained where it was.

She looked back at the raptors, which were sliding toward where she had left the wires.

“Ok, then… Time for them to go.”

She ran off the elevator, running by the wires and snatching it up. She stepped to the edge of the oil, watching as one of the raptors neared. It slid, catching itself, and darted forward.

Anne threw out the wires in front of her when the raptor was only a foot away, its jaws opened. She shoved the end of the wires into the raptor’s mouth, and backed off as the raptor clamped down on them.

The raptor seemed to hover over the ground as it shook, the electricity surging through its mouth and into the rest of its body.

The elevator platform jolted, and slowly began to rise.

“No!”

Anne ran, leaving the sparking raptor behind. The other raptors watched, confused, as the dead raptor continued to shake, its skin starting to burn away. The insides of the raptor were on fire.

Anne was only a few feet from the platform, which was rising up to three feet.

The wires fell from the raptor’s mouth, swinging down to the oil. The raptor, who had now partially burst into flame, dropped down as well.

Anne jumped toward the platform as the wires and the raptor hit the oil.

-----

If Anne had been watching, she would never have been able what had sparked the fire; whether it had been the wires or the burning raptor, she would never know.

She had gripped the edge of the rising platform as the fire had erupted, racing across the oil slick and lighting the shrieking raptors.

She pulled herself up onto the elevator platform, rising past the bridge toward the ceiling. She turned in time to see several of the drums rise into the air and explode, bursting away. The wires of the other lights that had been lying in the oil were incinerated.

As Anne was taken further upward, she saw the tunnel slope burst into flame. Everything below seemed to be on fire, and the cave was lit in a deep, orange.

“I did it…”

The platform continued to rise up the structure, until it was passing between the hole in the mountain, and right up into open air.

-----

The platform rocked to a stop. She was at the top of the mountain.

The summit.

She had made it.

The trail led away from the platform and curved down a slope to the right. Following it, Anne could see that it continued to jag at the north end of the mountain, where there was a small little, fenced in, square clearing, with a connecting gate and ramp that led out to a landing pad, overhanging the mountain.

There was a remaining bit of sunlight left in the west, which was slowly diminishing.

She squinted across the landing pad, into the horizon. A tiny black speck was growing larger, moving toward the island from the north-east.

“There they are!”

She jumped excitedly, running down the trail from the platform.

The trail, as she had seen, veered right, and on the left there was a steady rise in the mountainside, blocking her view.

As she moved on, the trail jagged left, and the rise on her left was replaced by a rise on the right.

Eventually, the rises disappeared, and the trail squiggled across to the landing platform and fenced clearing in a slightly curved line.

Something to the left caught her eye as she walked. She stopped, squinting to see.

Off to the left of the trail, in a jagged rise of the mountain there were several caves, and Anne had thought she had seen something come out of one of them, before disappearing behind the peaked rocks.

“Not now…”

She started running, as the rocks to the left clattered toward her. A raptor leaped up into view, snarling. Anne ran past it down the trail, hearing it shriek into the night air.

She knew several more had joined it, as she ran down the trail, getting closer to the fenced area. The wall facing her was enclosed, except for a large gap in the center she could run through.

The clearing was home to three small buildings, and a series of stacked crates, which had probably once been waiting to be flown off the island.

On the opposite side of the clearing, behind the buildings, was a set of stairs leading over the wall to the ramp which ran out to the landing pad.

A raptor appeared on the rocks to her right, which leaped out in front of her. She ran right, off the trail, away from it but making her way to the clearing at an arc.

There were small boulders here and there, and she had no time to run around them. Doing the only thing she could do, she kicked off the ground, leaping onto the boulders and then jumping off to the other side.

Behind her, some of the raptors did the same, climbing over the different boulders towards her.

She found herself back on the trail, and she was near to the clearing entrance.

Getting closer.

She passed between the walls of the clearing, running around one of the buildings to see where she was going.

She stopped, skidding to a halt, and started to turn on her heels, but it was too late. The raptor pack behind her moved in slowly, pushing her backward as the large green-brown one she had seen earlier moved to the front.

Anne looked back, shooting glances at the second, smaller group of raptors that had been waiting in the clearing when she got there.

The purplish one with the feather-hairs had moved to the front of the second group, and it snarled, as Anne was pushed into the center of the two groups.

Anne looked around, unable to see the chopper, because it was blocked out by another of the small, concrete buildings.

The two groups both stopped, behind their leaders: the green-brown raptor, and the feather-haired raptor.

I was so close…

The green-brown raptor cawed, and the feather-haired raptor answered.

Both of the raptor groups began to back away, hearing a faint, yet distinct, thumping. The two leaders remained holding their ground.

The green-brown raptor moved in toward Anne, but the feather-hair raptor snarled, and it stopped. It made a snapping motion at Anne, pushing out its head.

The thumping was now growing louder, and Anne watched as the raptor groups looked around, before fleeing from the clearing, leaving their two leaders behind, standing on either side of Anne.

They kept cawing, snapping, hissing, snarling at each other, making moves toward Anne only to be verbally forced away by the other.

They’re fighting over me… Why would they? How would they have been able to find me all the way up here?

The green-brown raptor snarled, snapping. The second raptor did the same, and neither was looking at Anne. They were creeping forward, and Anne slowly backed off.

Anne watched as the raptors circled each other, snarling, hissing, and raising their claws, baring their teeth. The thumping was growing louder, but they were ignoring it.

She had her chance to go for the pad now, and she took it.

As she started to run, the purplish raptor veered from the other, blocking her path. She jumped back, screaming, as it snarled, beginning to pounce.

The second raptor smashed into it, toppling it over, and Anne started to run around them. The second raptor—the green-brown one—turned away, snapping at her as she tried.

“They’re not going to let me go by.”

She turned, running between two of the buildings, and taking the other way around. She was going for the steps to the pad, when the first raptor lunged out from her left, behind the building, cutting off her path once more.

She stopped, flailing her arms, as it moved toward her. She felt the wall of the building push against her back, and she knew she was stuck.

The raptor began to run forward, when she heard a thud from above. She turned, backing from the wall, as the green-brown raptor leaped from the rooftop over her, crashing in front of the first.

Anne ran around the building, losing sight of the two raptors.

That was when the green-brown raptor had leaped back onto the roof, jumping off toward her.

She started to head back around the building, when the purple raptor cut her off. She started to turn around, but the second raptor was there.

The brown-green raptor brushed past her, snapping once before colliding with the purple raptor. They fell, rolling backward, once again blocking the stairs to the landing pad.

Anne could see that the chopper was getting close, and the thumping had grown pretty loud.

You’re so close Anne… Two raptors can’t stop me from getting off this island…

She ran, full speed at the raptors. They rolled toward her, a writing tangle of hisses, snaps, and shrieks. She arced closely around them, right up the stairs.

The raptors were oblivious that she had gone by.

They got up, snapping, backing away. Anne ran to the edge of the landing pad, where the ramp ended. Below she could see the ocean crashing into the rocks, and the trail she had followed far to the right, on the back of the mountain.

The chopper was now larger, getting closer. It would be there within moments.

She turned around, looking back at the raptors, who were locked in battle.

The purple raptor lunged, flying into the air, claws raised. It slashed down at its opponent, who spun away, snapping. The purple raptor hit the ground, crunching up before springing off as the second raptor darted forward to attack.

The green-brown raptor doubled back, lowering its head as it collided with the purple raptor. The purple raptor snarled, hissing, as it was pushed into the wall of the small building.

It swung its head down, snapping at the second raptor’s neck.

The chopper pulled up overhead, and Anne felt her hair and clothes rippling in the wind. She turned to look up, as the chopper began descending onto the pad.

Behind her, the raptors continued to fight, ignoring all else. They leaped up onto the small building’s roof, the green-brown raptor trying to flee.

Anne could tell it was wounded.

As the chopper landed, the green-brown raptor gave one last shriek.


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