,

“Inside out”

“We will not make it.”

“I know we can. Focus on moving forward. Don’t look down. Like you always have on so many humans. We cannot go back either. We are literally stuck in the middle.”

“Stop lecturing me. I am shitting my pants, I swear. I just peed a little. This was the last time I ever took your advice.”

“Hahaha! Stop making me laugh. It is trickier when I laugh. Let me concentrate. And you cannot pee a little. You either pee or not pee.”

“Oh, come on now. We are about to fall into what looks like an endless green carpet. They won’t even find us if we fall right?”

“Who will not find us? The real question is who exactly will be looking for us?”

“Oh ho! Rescue people, first responders.” Sia’s desperation that someone will come looking for them is almost childish.

“Huh! No one will even bother calling for us. Everyone at work was so happy to see you take a vacation after 10 years of obsessive work behavior. And I am on a leave. So, no one is calling for us for at least another week. Till then we will be a nice meal for wild dogs, foxes, tigers etc. whatever animals are down there?”

Sia’s breathing becomes slow and quiet. Almost inaudible. Her whole body is still looking like a porcelain statue. Naina was always jealous of Sia’s perfect no-blemish perpetually glowing skin. But at this moment, she looks scarily pale. Following her horrified gaze, Naina finally turns to look at what Sia is staring at.

Standing mighty and tall, the furry beast stares at the ill-prepared girls dressed in bright orange and yellow sweatshirts. It stands still focusing it’s gaze waiting for the girls to make their first move.

“What the….!”

“Do not move a muscle, Naina. Stay still. It might just walk away.” Sia, whispers without making her plump rosy lips move.

“Might????” Naina holds her breath.

“Yes, I am hopeful.”

All three of them stand still. Even bodily functions stop loitering around the organs. No one farts, burps, or yawns. The pee stays still thankful to the bladder for shelter. But the wind picks up. Like it is in mood for a fun game. Making their hair blow all over their faces. Naina is about to put them away from her eyes when Sia gives her ‘the look’. Naina makes her, ‘fine then’ face standing still begging for the bear to make the first move.

And the pleading begins.

‘Please either attack or walk away. Don’t be this way. You are better than this. You know it in your mighty heart. You know you are better than us. Walk away, we are not worth the effort. There is much healthier yummier food out there. We are scarily thin, unhealthy anxiety-driven girls. We live on black coffee and vodka. You don’t want to eat us. Save yourself. Walk away. You are better than this mind game.’

And then the strangest thing happens.

The bear shakes the bridge with its paws to see it swing from side to side. And once the entertainment is over, it walks away. Leaving the two scarily thin girls holding on to their breaths and the handrails tight. Keeping their screams inside safe. The vacation officially is over.

Sia would never again take Naina’s advice for a hike into the wild, exploring nature. In fact, Naina would not suggest another vacation for the next year and a half.

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