The rain lashed down, Keeley sobbed and moaned in a semi-conscious manner as she lay in the shallow muddy water. Katie grimaced and grunted trying to pull her body weight up and out of the huge hole, even now with both hands clinging to thick tree roots, Katie could not muster the strength to get out. She paused for a brief moment staring up beyond the leafy trees and into the rain-filled sky, the cries of Keeley sounded more agonising as the seconds passed by, Katie took a deep breath and let go of the roots. She dropped the remaining seven-foot and into the shallow puddles below.
The ground was uneven and the sides of this hole were nothing but sodden dirt, there were no footholds or roots to grab hold of and the ten-foot diameter hole had no real direct route out, apart from straight up.
Katie slid through the mud alongside her injured cousin, "Let me see," she cradled her cousins head prompting Keeley to remove her own hands from the area of pain. Katie instantly saw the blood trickle through her soaking wet brown hair, she applied pressure to the side of Keeley's head and tried to keep her calm, "It's gonna be okay Keel's, just breathe slowly, I'm here now."
Keeley continued to sob and rested her head on Katie's outstretched legs, the blonde running her free hand through Keeley's hair, calming and comforting her poor cousin. Katie looked around and then turned back to Keeley, "Where is your backpack? There is a first-aid kit in there."
Keeley gently sobbed and tried to fight past the pain so that she could reply, "It snagged on a tree back up there, I turned to pull it free but I lost my hold on it when I lost my footing in the mud."
Katie moved Keeley to one side and used her own smaller backpack as a pillow for the injured girl.
As she looked up and out of the hole all she could see was leaves and tall trees, the rain made her squint but then she saw it, the dark blue larger backpack that Keeley had been lugging along for days now. It was teetering in the edge of the drop, one of the straps snagged on a thin-looking tree root. "If we could get that down I can bandage your wound,"
Keeley responded but through clenched teeth, "I think, there's a long rope in there too, maybe we could get out of this hole?"
Katie smiled and quickly tried to devise a way to get the bag to fall into the hole.
The odd stone here and there did nothing to budge the backpack, luckily some of them would bounce back giving Katie a second sometimes even a third and fourth attempt with the same stone. But, nothing budged it.
The rain had ceased a little, but now it was getting darker, and a desperate situation was only getting worse, they would be trapped down this hole indefinitely unless they found a way out.
"Katie," Keeley spoke in a low tone as they sat in silence, "Why do you think the plants removed the shoes before, well- you know, before they-"
"Ate our friends?" Katie chimed in a sombre tone.
"Yea," Keeley shivered and replied softly.
"I'm not sure, maybe the plants can’t- you know, digest the boots? It's the only reason I can think of."
Keeley felt sorrow for her friends, "Do you think they suffered?"
Katie's eyes sunk, she stared at the ground, "I think we both know the answer to that question," her right foot gliding skimming the shallow puddles as she drew patterns in the water with her tiptoe.
"Plants can't eat people, it just doesn't add up," Keeley pondered and couldn’t make sense of it all.
Suddenly Katie jolted and sprung her head upwards towards the backpack, "That's it," she shouted.
"Give me the laces from your boots,"
"Say what now?"
Katie was already unlacing her left boot and sliding it off, she quickly began to thread the laces out through the eyelets.
Keeley was baffled but was soon prompted by Katie to hand over her own shoelaces, she slowly undid each of the boots and proceeded to unloop each one out of its individual eyelet. Meanwhile, Katie had slipped off her second boot and was unthreading the laces at speed.
"Here let me help," Katie knelt to help her cousin, without removing her boots she was able to unlace and remove each of the extra-long laces from Keeley's long black boots.
"What are you going to do?" The youngster pleaded for Katie to tell her what was going on. "Keep that pressure on your head," Katie gave instructions but didn't give away her plan.
Soon enough Katie had looped together with the long strands from Keeley's boots, along with the medium length laces of her boots.
"Why have you taken my laces?"
Katie smiled and responded, "I'm gonna get that backpack,"
Katie held her right boot out in front of her, "With this," she gleefully held out the boot like a trophy. "If I can snag the strap I can get it to fall down to us."
Katie had now fashioned Keeley's extra long boot laces together, along with two of her own, this produced a long length to be attached to one of her boots. The light brown Timberland style hiking boot would be used as a hook, swung like a lasso and flipped up towards the backpack. Katie did just that and swung it around gentl...