Seconds felt like minutes, but, Kris opted to run out and risk it. She sped toward the cheetah-looking woman, who was halfway through getting her leg unstuck from the hole she’d created. Kris could feel the bridge beginning to undo even quicker now, and she heard Shayla make a noise of protest.
Yet Kris could only see what was ahead of her, and she used what strength she could muster to help pull Shayla free all the way. The bridge jolted again, and Kris could feel her heart about ready to burst out of her chest.
Shayla’s eyes - her pupils almost slits now - stared back at her. She gritted her teeth, and, without a word, used her free arm to yank Kris close to her. Then, she surprised Kris by bolting at full speed across the bridge.
Everything blurred together. Kris could hardly see or think straight until she was resting on the grass. She gasped as she heard the sound of the bridge falling, only for her attention to focus on the sound of Shayla collapsing beside her.
It took a minute for her to regain her composure. She was drenched in sweat, and trembling, but, she managed to pick herself up. She turned to see Shayla beside her - conscious, yet breathing heavily. Shayla was holding her her injured leg as she somehow managed to shift her posture and sit upright.
For a moment, there was only silence.
Then, Shayla eyed Kris. “You are either the dumbest Good Samaritan I’ve ever encountered, or you are really good at making bad decisions.” She shook her head in disbelief. “I mean, thank you, but, seriously.”
“What was I supposed to do?” Kris asked. “J-just leave you there if the bridge fell with you on it?”
Shayla stared her down, looking genuinely flummoxed. “I would’ve expected a normal person to do that, yes. If there was no hope for saving me, then why risk it? Why risk your own life and potentially die for nothing in the end? You’ve done enough for my hide today, I didn’t expect you to throw your life away for it.”
Kris hugged herself. “W-well, that didn’t happen, though, did it?”
“No.” Shayla snorted. “Guess it didn’t.”
Silence fell once more. It was a tense silence, sure, but, Kris flopped onto her back and caught her breath. She was alive and well, and in one piece, and the living version of Cheetara was alive, too. Today had been one hell of a ride, and she swore if she made it back to her apartment in one piece, she’d never complain about having a boring day for the rest of her existence. She vowed that much.
“So,” Kris said. “Now what?”
Shayla gave a dry laugh. “I didn’t expect you to stick with me since you’re a normal person with a normal life. But, since you’ve saved me twice over now, I got no room to shove you away or bitch about it.”
Kris turned to see Shayla nursing her leg.
Shayla met her gaze. “Tell you what, Kris. You can be the one to decide since your decisions have been a lot smarter overall between the two of us. My home - and yeah, I have a home - is deeper into the forest that way.”
She pointed, and Kris actually bothered to see that there was yet another, even larger and more clustered forest looming before them.
“Thing is, it’ll take a while to get there,” Shayla said. “Probably a couple hours, maybe longer, depending. So.” She grimaced, and checked her right arm. “Here’s how we can do this. We can either try to trek through the forest to my little safe haven, and it’ll be nighttime when we get there, I’m sure of that much. Or, we can try to find some other form of shelter and wait it out. I’ll probably be better tomorrow. I just can’t guarantee it’ll be a smooth night.”
Kris’ shoulders sagged. “Why do I have to be the one to decide?”
“You opted to come with me,” Shayla replied. “It’s only fair you choose since you’re the one who is getting yourself dragged into my world, I’m afraid. Whatever happens will happen - but in the end, what do you feel you’d rather do? Chance finding a place to hide and rest during the night? Or keep pushing on and get to where I live, regardless of how long it’ll take?”
Kris groaned and made herself sit upright. She mulled over her choices…
Written by Hollowpages on 15 February 2020