“Hold on, Irene,” Stagman shouted. “When it swings this way, let go and I’ll catch you.”
“It’s slowing down!” Irene screamed. Her knuckles whitened as she gripped the rope.
“Push with your body as if you’re on a swing.”
“I’m scared, what if the rope breaks?”
“Trust me Irene push, and when you get close to us be ready to let go. I’ll catch you.” Stagman stood close to the edge of the precipice with his arms outstretched. As the rope swung towards him it slowed dramatically. Oh God, please keep it coming! He could see Irene loosening her grip in preparation to let go.“Now, Irene… now!” he shouted.
With a frightened cry Irene bravely let go and threw herself at him. She landed in a heap at his feet, as she attempted to right herself she proceeded to slip over the side. Her terrified screams echoed around the cavern…desperately she clutched the rim of the ledge. A lump of rock crumbled under her hand and fell silently into the darkness below.
For a moment Stagman could only stare, his eyes wide in horror.
Ezekiel jumped up and down squeaking hysterically, but there was nothing he could do to help her.
Stagman rushed forward. “Hold on Irene!” He grabbed her by the jacket and hauled her unceremoniously into his arms. “Got you,” he said holding her tight against his chest.
Irene clung to him sobbing, her body trembled uncontrollably.
“It’s okay child, you’re safe.” He held her away by the shoulders and looked into her tear stained face. “I’m so proud of you, Irene.”