Dropping the three bandit bows she carried on the mahogany planks, Sabit dashed for the writhing green serpent. Her powerful legs carried her across the bridge with a speed like the wind.
The donkey’s turn of head was faster. Seeing the thin, green form it its path, the animal reared up, legs flailing in the air. The merchant lurched forward, sprawling onto the wooden planks less than a cubit from the angry serpent. It held its head high and its body curved, ready to strike.
Sabit dove, arm outstretched. In one smooth motion, she seized the snake’s head from behind, hurled it off the bridge, and tumbled into a shoulder roll. She came to a stop at the very edge of the narrow bridge, her feet hanging over the churning water.
The donkey let out a high-pitched scream of fear. Its backward steps had pushed one of the cart’s wheels off the edge of the bridge. The fully-laden cart leaned precariously over the river, pulling the beast slowly backward, hooves sliding on the mist-slicked planks.
Diving beneath the cart, Sabit seized the wheel that hung suspended over the raging water. Bracing her feet wide against the wooden planks, the spear woman pulled with all her might. Her fingers held two spokes in a grip of iron. Powerful thews rippled in her arms and shoulders. Her legs strained against the weight. Every muscle screamed with the effort. Sabit’s vision dimmed until all she could see was the space between the wheel and the edge of the bridge. A cubit’s gap became a handspan. Sabit’s legs burned like acid. The handspan became two fingerwidths. She felt dizzy. Two fingerwidths became one. Sabit let out an ugly, guttural shriek.
The wheel edged onto a wooden plank. Sabit collapsed, her back sprawled on the bridge. As the merchant led the donkey forward carefully, the spear woman gasped for air like an caught fish.
Above her came the deep voice of a man, “It’s a good thing your cart didn’t topple, old man. I hate to steal soggy goods.”
Wayfarings of Sabit: Bandit Queen is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon, https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller, or at http://ipressgames.com/fiction/.