Donna appeared calm but from the opposite side of the river she watched, alert and ready, for anything could happen; the risks were real.
Duane had pointedly not fallen for any of this wilderness bullshit as he called it; he hadn’t sniveled in the dark with it’s unfamiliar calls and whistles, hadn’t whined at the muggy mosquito miles, the knee scraping granite mountain trails, the nasty iodine flavored drinking water; hadn’t blubbered and confessed around the sterno cook fire. So he knew the others expected him to go first now, to just cross that swirling current as sure footedly as Donna had, to leap stone to stone until he was on the other side, high and dry, safe and sound, as angry and unassailable as ever.
Donna’s posture was neutral, patient, even as she silently assessed the situation on the other shore, as she read Duane’s body language, read the composure of the rest of the group, already drifting away from their nucleus, already beginning to reorganize. Duane must have read the group too, for suddenly he was three rocks into the torrent before he paused and Donna saw that he was wild-eyed, afraid, and she held his gaze and willed him on, put her eyes on the right rock, nodded imperceptibly when he committed and reached and stepped and leapt, teetered, but caught his balance and continued, until he grasped her hand and let her help him with the last step up the bank to solid ground.
Grateful Donna hadn’t said a word as he crossed, Duane knew that she had seen his fear, but that didn’t make him mad this time, and anyway he didn’t have time to think about that because Rashon was up next and he knew Rashon needed words of encouragement so Duane focused on Rashon and told him how to go —easy does it, one boulder at a time— while Donna stood behind him, beaming.
The prompt word for Denise’s Six Sentence Stories is “bridge“. After writing my six sentences I realized there’s no tangible bridge in the story. Thank goodness for titles and intangibles. The link up is open through GirlieOntheEdge for you to read other Six Sentence Stories or to leave one of your own.