Febuhump day 16 – Broken bones
She closed her eyes as she stepped out on the ridge.
Icy wind whipped around her face, her hair flying wildly but Ashley barely noticed when she turned her head down to keep looking at her feet. The gaping abyss below was too dark to make out many details, at least thirty feet of nothing until the snow-covered rocks below. It made a shiver run down her spine.
Nice and slow, Ash. Nice and slow.
"Can you hurry the fuck up?!" Emily's voice snapped her out of it. Ashely made a soft, scared noise but started moving her feet, shuffling them with meticulous care. She was so scared of slipping.
"You can make it," Jess said encouragingly, probably to offset Em's frantic yelling. Ashley focussed on the sound of her words, trying to push down her own nervous energy. If she froze in the middle of crossing – too frightened to continue – none of them would make it.
Emily yelped when the Wendigo bashed against the door again, trying to get into the room. The wood splintered inward but refused to give for the moment. They were running out of time. "Please just hurry!" Desperation was creeping into Em's tone too.
Suddenly Ashley was thinking of when they were kids, running around the playground of elementary school. Emily had been tough back then too, scary even to somebody like Ashley, who was startled by something as silly as a sudden noise. And Jess the complete opposite, a real softie who would cry when you killed a big.
But Emily would stand up for Ashley when the older kids bullied her, always told her that she would kick their ass if they ever messed with her again. Jess would hold her as she cried.
"Almost there!" Jess called, holding out her hand. Ashley barely dared to look up but forced herself to do so anyway, trying to not hold her breath for those last few inches.
Then her foot slipped.
Pitching forward, it was pure instinct that made Ashley throw out both hands, a desperate attempt to grab the ledge with both hands and stop herself from falling. Even if it was in vain, Ashley had realized something when coming up the mountain a second time.
She could not allow herself to die up there.
The angle was off and instead of grabbing the ledge with both hands, only one managed to make it. Her other arm slammed into the stone's edges, and Ashley heard her wrist snap. Pain shot through her arm, making her cry out but by some miracle, she managed to not let go.
Jess was grabbing her a moment later, putting all her feeble strength into hauling Ashley up to safety. She couldn't be ten stone but somehow managed to pull Ashley's full weight, putting all those cheerleading days to good use.
"Ashley!" Emily screamed out her name when she first fell and did so again as Jess managed to get her on solid ground. "Guys, please answer already?"
"We're good!" Jess answered. Her fingers were still pressed against Ashley's back, almost as if she couldn't let go. "Ash, you're good?"
Ashley couldn't answer – not with her whole body shaking. She nodded, burrowing her face in the thick fur on Jessica's coat.
"I'm coming over." Ashley looked back just in time to see Emily climb onto the ledge. The Wendigo banged into the door again, but had no luck getting through. It wouldn't take long though. They all let out a sigh of relief when Emily made it over.
"Now let's going before the freak bashes its way through." Emily tried getting Ashley to stand up but she winced in pain when it aggravated her wrist. Emily let go immediately.
"Fuck did you-"
"I think it's broken," Ashley said. She could flex her fingers, but not move her wrist. The pain was fading already, but so was all feeling in her hand. That was probably a bad sign.
"Okay... okay." Emily nodded at Jess. "It's fine, we'll be fine. I won't let that thing kill us tonight. Stick close to me, Ash."
The playground was a distant memory, but somehow it made Ashley feel a little better to have it.