The Crate - part 2


          Somewhere beyond Skull Pass, but before Blind Drop, Cramp lost a toe. He didn't make much noise about it, and Fidget was grateful for that. It was shorn off in a rockslide, and considering how badly that might have turned out, a toe wasn't such a terrible loss. At least that's what Cramp told Fidget as that little piggy got seared shut with the red-hot side of a Butchers knife they'd been using as a machete since the plane went down.
    "I suppose I should have pulled the crate over instead of pushing it that way," say Fidget once Cramp stopped screaming from the cauterization.
    "Might of still slid," replied Cramp.
“...or I could have tried a lever, I don’t know.”
   The fact was that Fidget had taken his own share of minor beatings on he trip as well. He had torn one ear almost fully off, and he’d split the flesh and tore tendons between his index finger and his thumb on his left hand; both injuries occurred while hefting the crate from one spot to another.
    Cramp pointed weakly through the dark bramble. "Looks like Blind Drop up ahead there. After that, if we got it right, we're home free."
    "Fidget sat on the crate and held his chin up with one club of a bandaged hand and said, "Would have been nice... you know, for some of the others to have gotten off with us. Even just to see it happen."
    And in the darkness it looked like tears in his eyes to Cramp, but Cramp never saw tears leaking from Fidget, not once, not during the worst of it, the kind of worst that makes a maiming seem like a scratch.
    "The only reason we're here now is exactly cause there's no one left. Right? Dead and dying for how long? I don't remember..."
    "Don't want to," said Fidget. "don't ever want to."
   They risked their lives on blind drop, letting the crate down on a pulley they devised that used their own dead weight as a counterbalance. In their worst moment, dangling, sick with exhaustion from the effort, they'd both laughed into the force of the howling wind. death had them again, but there was no fear, no care, just being, just that and nothing more.

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