Abysmal Abyss II
“Erin!” you say.
She stirs and turns so she’s looking toward you. She seems genuinely startled to see you there, although she recovers from that quick enough.
“Bloody hell,” Erin says. “Am I ever glad to see you, mate.”
You can tell that getting up to her isn’t going to be too big of an issue, since she’s not as high up as you just got done jumping to climb over the waterfall. However, you then look down, and realize the problem with that idea: there’s a chasm between the two of you that you didn’t even notice until now.
The chasm seems to dip down into blackness, another abyss, and you peer at the river you saw to find it’s coming at you from the left, leading up and up and up more into the innards of the cave. You don’t know how far up it goes, but you decide not to dwell on that for the time being. You turn back to Erin.
“How the hell did you get over there?” you ask. In fact, you frown and realize the other problem. “How did you even GET down here in the first place?!”
Erin smiles sheepishly at you. “Well, erm, funny story, that…”
You stare at her blankly.
She sighs. “Look, I’d love for you to chew my arse out, but I’m in a bit of a nasty predicament right now. I took a bad fall and twisted my right ankle. Hurts like a damn bitch, lemme tell you, mate, and I don’t think I can put much weight on it right now. Otherwise, I’d be moving and not chilling up here on this ledge.”
“And… how did you get on the ledge?” you ask.
“I was running from the bloody dingo, as you were,” Erin says, and she sits up very slowly, grimacing as she does. She doesn’t move her legs. “I ended up at that spot you saw above, yeah? The one where it had a weird dip that went down?”
You blink a few times. “Tell me you didn’t try to go down that…”
“Oh, hell no,” Erin says. She scoffs. “I ain’t the smartest sheila around, that’s for bloody sure, but I ain’t a fuckwit, either.” She shakes her head. “I took the path that winded down, at least until I got out, and then… well.” Her features fall, as do her shoulders. “I guess I got cocky. Thought since I was lower that I could see how deep it went, since, y’know, I figured I’d just find a way out of the cave until things were safe. Well. Turns out, I misjudged my jump.”
She grumbled. “Took a right tumble down the incline, fell through the hole, and ended up wedged in this really cramped space. Managed to get out, without any injury, but then I slipped on a wet rock and tumbled AGAIN. Smacked my poor ankle on my way crashing down the little path there,” she points to her right, “and came to a halt here. Been here ever since, resting.”
You blink again, and you can imagine yourself meeting with that same fate had you been careless in your choices. Fortunately, you weren’t, but now…
“Okay, well, how am I supposed to get to you?” you ask, gesturing from yourself to Erin. “You’re a little too far and there’s a chasm I don’t want to test right between us, which I’m sure you can see…”
She chuckles. “Aye, and I’d rather you not die saving my sorry ass, thanks.”
You look to your right. There’s no ledges, no trails, nothing but cave wall.
Meaning, you either chance a leap across the chasm to get to Erin, or, you go to the left and follow the river. Then again, you consider that maybe there’s something below… you lean forward a tad and look down, and though it’s primarily a massive chasm with nothing beyond blackness, you DO see something to your left, up a ways: a ledge jutting out that you think you could land on, and then use to climb up.
‘Oof,’ you think. ‘Do I really want to try climbing, though…? Not… not really.’
“Look, honestly, I should be fine in a few hours,” Erin says. She shakes her head. “I don’t know HOW you managed to come…” Then she pauses, and her eyes go wide. “Wait a damn minute. How the hell did you escape the dingo? I knew that bugger was right on my tail, so how did you even avoid them?”
“Oh, um, I didn’t,” you say.
“I ran into her when I was on my way to try and find you,” you admit, and you rub the back of your furry neck. “Turns out it’s a person like us, and, well, she did try to eat me. A few times.” You shrug. “I don’t want to make myself out to be some kind of badass, because I know I’m not. I just used these big feet of ours to kick her a few times until she stopped trying to eat me.”
“Holy shit,” Erin says. She’s astonished. “And then… then what? Did you…?”
“I talked with her,” you say. You mull over how much you want to reveal, then decide there’s no point in hiding anything. “Turns out she’s an old friend of yours. Someone named Maggie?”
Erin’s eyes go even wider. “Maggie…?”
Erin seems taken aback and there’s a look of pain that flashes across her face. She mutters something under her breath you don’t catch and runs a hand through the mix of fur and hair on the top of her head.
“I convinced her I didn’t want to be enemies with her,” you say. “She ended up going off on her own, but, I did offer for her to tag along with us when I found you. She wasn’t sure about it, so, here I am now. Definitely…” You swallow the lump in your throat. “Definitely not my idea of a fun adventure, getting lost in a dark, deep cave. Glad I managed to find you, at least.”
“I just… can’t believe it,” Erin says. She lets out a quiet breath. “I can’t believe Maggie was the one chasing us, let alone that you talked to her and all that shite. I mean, piss, I’d be GLAD to see her at this rate given my ankle.”
She goes silent for a moment, then looks back at you.
“I dunno what she told you,” Erin says. “But that’s not important right now. I don’t want you getting yourself hurt or worse for my sake, mate. Just turn and go back the way you came from, okay? I’ll find a way outta here when my ankle has finished not being sprained. Frankly, it’s the least I deserve for being a dinkum dumbass.”
“I kind of… can’t go back that way,” you say. “If I did, I’d probably hurt myself.”
She stares at you, clearly wondering what that means.
“I’ll find a way to get over to you so I can help,” you say. “There’s a ledge down there that I can maybe get to if I time my jumps right. Might be able to land on it and then climb up to get to where you are.” You glance left. “Or I can follow the river and see where it leads. I’m sure it’ll open up at some point if there’s a path that goes to your ledge.”
“Don’t jump,” Erin says. “And don’t try anything stupid, please.”
You nod, and start to think. Stupid or not, one may be fast enough to getting to her - it just falls down to how much you’re willing to risk. You ponder your choices… where will you go next to get to where Erin is?
Written by Hollowpage on 17 September 2020
Up A Creek…