The bridge is suspended between two mountains that loom like gods on either side. There is a great swath of clouds hiding the horizon. Even the sun is shrouded in clouds.
Mei takes a deep breath before stepping onto the bridge, aware that with this first step she will be moving forward into a future that must be forever divorced from her past. There can be no second thoughts now. She begins by walking but then her pace begins to pick up and before she knows it, she’s running.
She is wearing long skirts that slow down her steps and make her progress difficult. Mei keeps pushing her long braids out of her face, eager to be across the bridge, to get this first part of her escape over and done with. Tight lines of worry run like wayward rivers across her forehead, and she brushes a hand across it now, brushing away a bead of sweat despite the cold wind.
Mei is alone, alone on this bridge that swings between two mountains, and she can hear the sound of her heartbeat in her ears. It sounds like waves crashing, like horses’ hooves pounding on pavement. They echo her footsteps, resounding in her head.
She keeps thinking she hears somebody calling her name, but every time she looks over her shoulder, there’s nobody there but the wind.
“Who’s there?” she cries out, but only her mocking echo answers.