Cliff-hanger

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Prompt: Write a flash fiction of exactly 500 words, with an original character from your fandom being in a life-or-death situation, and which ends on a cliffhanger. The catch: it must have only narration, no dialogue.

***

Maybe they should've stayed in one of the towns they had come through, Galen thought as he urged the horses over the rain-soaked mountain road; rent some rooms in an inn over the winter, and wait out the storms. If a part of that road broke off after tons of rain had softened it up, they wouldn't even have enough space to turn their wagon around. And even if they managed that feat, they'd probably skid all the way to the valley, pushed from behind by their own wagon.

As if on cue, he felt the wagon lurch under him; it was as if it had stumbled and lost its footing, and Galen slapped the reins onto the horses' backs to hurry them across the treacherous ground. The horses jerked their heads and strained into their harness, but Galen could feel the wagon slide back now, back and to the right, and down-

Panic shot up hot and prickling in his chest, numbing his fingers. Galen prided himself to be a rational and scientifically-thinking ape, but he couldn't shake the feeling that his ruminations had somehow jinxed their luck.

They would all die here!

The wagon was gaining momentum now, skidding to the right,as the road under it crumbled and fell into the abyss below. There was a river on the bottom of the gorge, but Galen doubted that any of them would survive that fall - not with the wagon crashing down with them and exploding into a million wooden stakes around them.

Another jolt - Galen threw a hasty glance over his shoulder. The humans had climbed into the wagon from behind and were now hastily crawling up to him, while the whole interior was already sliding down, pelting them with tea canisters, their tea pot, bed rolls, their backpacks-

The forbidden book! And his doctor's bag!

Galen threw away the reins and jumped back into the wagon, ignoring the humans' shouts of alarm. He managed to grab his backpack with the forbidden book and his doctor's bag before they were catapulted out of the back of the wagon, but now the steep angle of the tilting wagon pressed him against the tailboard - the only thing between him and a whole lot of air.

Far, far below, he could see the white foam of the churning river, swollen from weeks of torrential winter rains. If he jumped out the back, that river would hurl him against its boulders like a piece of deadwood, smash him to pieces, and carry his remains to the ocean.

The wagon slipped off the edge with a sudden jerk, then stopped; Galen heard the panicked yell of a horse. The back wheels were hanging over the abyss now, and the whole thing shuddered as the horses fought to drag it back on the road. Galen strapped on his backpack to get his hands free and prepared to climb up to the driver's seat. He had to get out of this trap before it-

The wagon began to slip again.

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