He made a rapid shuffle down the incline and managed to hear Teyata reading from the road. Clambering on top of the pylon, he began his ascent, barely going at a fast walking pace. He shuffled quicker going down, then had to return. To his dread, Teyata turned the page halfway up.
“Start again,” she said without raising her head.
Brad looked down the arc, taking two quick breaths.
“I’m sorry I’m teaching you how to read,” he said sourly before going down.
When he alighted again, Teyata landed beside him.
“I didn’t hear you following me,” Brad said.
“I’ll teach you that when the time comes, but for now, you have to learn stamina and balance. Watch me.”
Teyata spun on her heel and slapped her hands on the pylon, vaulting into a crouch on top. She sprinted up the length of the arch, down, then returned, by Brad’s estimate, no more than 30 seconds. She bounded from the pylon and crouched on the bridge’s handrail.
“Momentum is the answer, Brad. Now try it.”
Something’s got to kill you he told himself.
Brad could never leap as high or as far as Teyata, but he knew he should emulate her movements. He ran a step, slapped his hands on the pylon, then kicked both feet from the handrail. His feet ended in a crouch just short of the pylon’s crown, where he strained with every fibre of his being to gain the top.
“Better,” said Teyata.
Brad tried running up the incline as fast as he could. It’s steepness reduced his movements to a slow jog, but he had to admit, it made for better footing.
“Good,” said Teyata running past.
She deftly ran and skipped from the angled girders inside from the edge. Even so, she moved as fast as Brad would have ran in flat ground. Taking her place at the crest, she sat cross legged again. She managed to read a few sentences before he reached her.
“When you can sprint up and down over the arch, then I’ll teach you more,” she said watching him pass her, before resuming her reading.
Lisa watched for a time, then grew bored. Brad continually ran… and failed. After a few times, Teyata allowed him time to rest at the pylons before starting again.
Days passed with the rising and the setting of the sun. It seemed Teyata hunted their food, then put Brad to work with his training, beginning with a run back to town, then laps over the bridge’s arch.
Watching in fast forward made it possible for Lisa to see Brad’s progression. He seemed to run more upright; swifter.
Curiosity got the better of her, compelling her to stop at Day twelve.
Waiting at the pylon, Brad fidgetted like a prancing horse as Teyata raced up the spine and took her usual place.
“Okay,” Teyata yelled.
Brad jumped onto the handrail in mid stride and sprang free, twisting in the air. His hands slapped down on the pylon as his bare feet stamped into the side just under the top. Legs bunched and forearms corded as he all but flung himself on top, and without pause, he broke into a sprint up the girders.