((Rene Wolfe continued from Lone Wolfe))
After escaping the claustrophobic, poorly-lit, and generally quite unsanitary halls of the asylum, the world outside was a literal breath of fresh air. For the first time since Rene had woken up, she felt like she could breathe in without taking in a noseful of dust as an unwelcome souvenir. It felt surprisingly nice, and she mused on how sad it was that she had reached a point in her life where air that didn't smell like stale dirt could be considered a refreshing change of pace.
Leaving the area to avoid being in the path of any other enthusiastic asylum escapees, she unzipped her bag for the first time to get a good look at what she had on hand. First thing to appear: a map. Considering that she was currently in the process of trying to get as far away from the mysterious bells as she could, she accepted this stroke of luck and opened it up immediately.
It didn't take too long to pinpoint the probable source of the bells: The aptly-named bell tower. She looked up from the map to survey her surroundings, and could clearly see it in the distance. With that knowledge in mind, she set about finding a way to put a significant amount of distance between herself and whatever was going on in there as soon as she could.
One option she had was to just go south, since the bell tower's location was pretty far north. On the other hand, she could cross a nearby bridge to reach the west side of the island. Weighing the two options, Rene took a liking to the latter choice. Sure, she could put a lot of land between herself and the tower by going south, but crossing the bridge would put a body of water between them. Aside from the bridge, there would be no quick way to reach it, either. Satisfied with her idea, she set out for the bridge.
The bridge was a short walk away, but she immediately noticed something about it that made her second-guess herself. It was sturdy-looking, which dissuaded her fears that she would have to cross a rickety rope bridge like some stereotypical adventure movie where the bridge is the only way across a cliff, and it always breaks at a vital moment that the hero just barely survives thanks to some quick thinking and impressive athleticism. However, Rene was not an action hero. If a bridge broke with her on it, she wouldn't pull off some incredible ploy to save herself. She would just die.
But as previously stated, it was not the construction of the bridge that concerned her. Rather, it was how long it was. Now, it was no secret that Rene was not exactly the most physically fit member of Cochise High's student body, and she had never really had much of a problem with that. However, when she was faced with the task of crossing a big bridge over a large body of water with nothing else between her and the other side? That was quite a daunting prospect. It wasn't that she didn't think she could do it, mind you. She just thought that the idea of doing it was absolutely miserable. Unfortunately, her current situation didn't exactly provide her with excuses to avoid it.
Rene stood at the edge of the bridge and took a swig of water. She wasn't sure how much that would do for her hydration, but she knew that she definitely needed to make her supplies last, so only a swig was permitted. Once the water bottle was safely returned to her bag, she reached for the railing... only to retract her hand once she saw how unbelievably rusty it was. She made an oath to herself to avoid touching the railing under any circumstances. No need to add Tetanus to the list of problems she was already dealing with.
The beginning of the trek was easy enough. The bridge felt pretty sturdy despite how old it was and the unsettling metallic noises that came with each step she saw as she walked. The sun was as hot as expected, but she could deal with it, at least for the time being. Her legs felt fine, and she was starting to get the feeling that this wouldn't be so bad.
A few minutes later, she was starting to realize that her initial assessment may not have been completely correct. She was about halfway across the bridge, but all of the little issues she had noticed earlier were starting to build up into much more annoying problems. Her feet were starting to hurt, the temperature seemed to be rising the longer she went on, and she had nearly tripped over a clump of rocks that had seemingly been left there as a trap for anyone not paying close enough attention. She momentarily held out a hand to rest against one of the railings, but one look at the built-up rust on the discolored iron reminded her why she had decided against that idea. Still, she had already made it this far, so she might as well finish the job.
The latter half of Rene's walk mostly consisted of her becoming increasingly worried by the sounds that the bridge made as she walked. Most of the time there was only the sound of foot hitting metal, but sometimes there would be a little something else. Sometimes it would sound a little hollower than usual. Sometimes she would hear noises coming from parts of the bridge that she wasn't stepping on. The scariest one of all was the time she heard something that sounded an awful lot like something underneath where she was walking dropping into the water below. She didn't know where it came from or if it had just been her imagination playing tricks on her, but she didn't particularly care to find out. She just wanted to get off the bridge as soon as possible. She quickened her pace after that little incident.
The feeling of her feet hitting the grass again at the end of the bridge felt incredibly rewarding, probably far more that it should have. Rene was just happy to finally be on solid ground again. She didn't know if the bridge really was as bad as she thought, or if it was just an indicator that she needed to work out more, but either way, the ordeal was over. She sat under a tree to cool off and ate a couple of crackers with a sip of water. Fuck it, she earned that.
She rested under the tree for a few minutes before getting up and moving on. There was still more awful shit to deal with, after all.
((Rene Wolfe continued in Why Y'all Gagging?))
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