Kris felt her pulse racing. She really hated being stuck in this sort of predicament when time wasn’t exactly on her side. Yet, she forced her brain to work, and when it kicked into gear, she opted to take the path that was smarter in her opinion - she kept going at a slow pace, moving as calmly and as lightly as she humanly could to avoid putting too much weight into the bridge.
“I’m just going to take my time still,” Kris called back to Shayla. She didn’t dare turn around or stop, either, not at this rate.
“Only if you’re sure about that,” Shayla replied. “Remember - if this bridge starts to fall apart--”
“Yes, yes, I know,” Kris said. She didn’t want to hear that right now.
Each step she took, she felt herself sink, however, and the wood cracked and snapped like it might shatter. It didn’t, though - somehow, despite the fact she was trembling and oozing sweat from her own terror, Kris was able to gradually close the distance from where she’d been to the other side.
“You doing o-okay back there?” Kris asked.
Shayla laughed. “You ask a lot of questions for someone who looks like they’re about to have a heart attack right off the bridge, you know that? I’m sore as hell, and I reek, but otherwise, yeah, I’m just peachy. Busy watching you. Kinda fun to focus on while I’m trying to avoid the usual pratfalls.”
Kris groaned. “Please don’t talk about falls…”
Despite saying this more to herself, she heard Shayla snort at her remark.
‘At least she can find this funny,’ Kris thought. She was scared to death.
Once she was close enough, Kris took a leap of faith and lunged over the final few steps. She flopped onto the grass, rolling a few times until she stopped. She looked ridiculous, and it wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, but she made it safe, and she hadn’t risked it too much for Shayla.
Kris picked herself up, dusting off some of the bits of grass clinging to her sweaty skin, and turned to see Shayla still further back. The woman was limping at a much, much slower pace than Kris was able to, and being taller and far bulkier given her muscled frame, Kris could hear the bridge groaning even louder in protest under her weight.
Shayla couldn’t do much else, however. She was keeping her gaze forward, looking like a wounded fantasy creature come to life. Kris grimaced. She didn’t understand much of this, of how Shayla could be what she claimed, but she shelved all her questions for the time being and instead remained on alert, listening to the bridge and keeping her eyes peeled in case she noticed something that could help. Or, if something bad was going to happen.
“You’re almost there,” Kris said. She could at least attempt to be encouraging, even if she felt worn out and wanted to go back home pretty much now.
Shayla snickered. “You know, you sweating so crazily on the bridge isn’t making walking across it any easier.”
Kris’ cheeks flushed. “Um. S-sorry about that.”
“I’m kidding,” Shayla said. “Mostly trying to keep my mind off the gaping jaws of death beneath me.” She took a step and the bridge jolted, and Shayla gave out a yowl of pain. “Son of a…” She gritted her teeth. “Guess I’m going to have to be stupid again to survive this. Move out of the way, please.”
Kris furrowed her brow, yet did so, stepping to the side. “What are you gonna do?”
Shayla sucked in a sharp breath. Without a word, she began to walk across the bridge rather than limp - Kris could tell that this wasn’t exactly pleasant, because Shayla continued to favor her wounded right leg. Her expression was one of pain, too, yet she kept onward anyways. And with each step, the bridge continued to jolt and buckle, clearly agitated and close to breaking.
Kris could feel her heart racing as she watched Shayla make it across the middle portion, at which point she stopped. She had her teeth gnashed together, yet, she slowed her pace back to an almost limp. She looked out of breath - probably from the injury hurting so much from walking on it like that.
“A-are you okay?” Kris asked.
“Been better,” was Shayla’s response. She let out a hiss and stopped moving altogether.
Shayla sucked in another deep breath, and for a moment, Kris thought she was going to break into a legit sprint across the remainder of the bridge. Unfortunately, the instant Shayla took a step forward, her foot snapped right through the wooden board - and her leg shot through it, too. She fell to one knee - right on her injured knee, at that - and yowled again in pain.
Kris gawked at the sight. Her heart started pounding even faster now, and she looked around for something, anything, to try and help. But there was nothing - it was just her. And as she frenzied about, Kris heard more snapping - her eyes zeroed in on the ropes holding the bridge upright and saw they were starting to break.
The bridge was going to collapse with Shayla on it if she didn’t get across.
Kris’ pulse sped. She didn’t know if she ought to try and help the cat woman, or, if she should let Shayla do it herself. Her extra weight could make things worse, after all. She swallowed her nerves and tried to wrack her brain for the better choice. Wait or help?
Written by Hollowpages on 14 February 2020