Back Up A Creek
You muse over the newfound knowledge that Maggie has upper body strength at her disposal, and, you weigh the options presented. While they all seem to have their own merits, you figure that it might be wisest to go with one that seems the least… troublesome for the both of you.
“Maybe we should go with just climbing up,” you offer. “I don’t know how strong you are, but, I imagine it’ll be less strain on your body than hoisting a big rock up and bringing it over here, don’t you think?”
She snorts. “Probably.”
“And I guess the same can be said for, well, you throwing me up there,” you add.
Maggie makes a face. “I could probably lift you and chuck you without much trouble, you know. Not that I’m dying to have your stinky feet in my face while I do.” She smirks for a moment, then, snorts again. “Eh, whatever. Let me punch some holes into this stupid rock and then we can get up the damn thing.”
“Does it hurt?” you ask.
She pauses. “Eh? Oh, nah. Stings for a moment, but then it feels fine.” She clenches and unclenches her hand a few times. “Honestly, before all this insanity ever started, I took Martial Arts for a few years. Got into plenty of scraps when I was a kid, too, so I’m kind of used to punching shite.”
She then resumes her previous stance. You watch on as she does the same thing, lashing her fist out and slamming it into the rocky surface a few inches above the first hole. The same sized crater is the end result, and Maggie, after reeling her arm back to wave her hand a few times, looks quite pleased.
“Gimme a few, I’ll make this work,” Maggie says.
You aren’t going to argue or disagree, so, you stand back and let her do her thing.
Maggie proceeds to gradually climb and punch holes into the rock wall, each time with the same level of immense strength. Every strike leaves behind an impressive crater more than big enough for her - and by extension, your own - feet to slide into, and she started to hoist herself up as she keeps at it.
‘Jeez,’ you think. You’re a little in awe at the sight.
Seeing someone repeatedly punch their way up a waterfall is by far the strangest, and yet, also the coolest, method you’ve ever witnessed a person scale something this big. Maggie doesn’t bat an eye or seem to break a sweat from any of this, because as the minutes tick by, she gradually gets all the way up to the top of the ledge. At that point, she hoists herself up, and then she sits there.
She rubs the knuckles of her left hand and beams down at you. “Holy shit, that was FUN. Goddamn, I haven’t had this much fun in fucking years!”
You shake your head in astonishment, then glimpse over her handiwork. She’s managed to pummel a good chunk of the rocky wall, leaving behind twelve or so different fist-sized craters.
“Nicely done,” you say.
You hop over to the wall and test it out by sticking one foot into the lowest hole. Your foot doesn’t go in all the way despite your initial thought, but, you can stick it into the crater enough to give you a minor footing. Thus, you start to use the fist craters to climb instead of trying to jump the waterfall like before.
A kangaroo climbing up a vertical surface isn’t the easiest thing, but, you manage it - the only downside is that some of the holes are a little smaller, namely on your right hand side. You have to work at it when you notice this.
“Oh, sorry,” Maggie remarks. “My right hand is weaker, so, you know.”
You say nothing and climb, until you get to the top. Maggie startles you by reaching out a hand to help pull you up fully, but, you are grateful for the assistance.
You dust yourself off and nod to her. “Thanks.”
“No sweat,” Maggie says. She’s grinning proudly. “Man, I can’t believe my stupid arse forgot I could do that.” She pauses for a moment to eye you quizzically, then shrugs. “Anyways. Where the hell is that dumb twat?”
“This way,” you reply.
And so you lead Maggie back up the same path as before, trailing up the steepening incline alongside the river. Maggie simply walks behind you normally instead of hopping, but you both get to the top all the same.
Once you do, you hop back to where you last were, and Erin is still there. She’s resting, and by the looks of it, trying to rub her injured ankle. Trying being the operative word; you watch her wince from the pain after a few seconds of gingerly rubbing it, so she ends up stopping her attempt.
“Well ain’t you a sight for sore eyes?” Maggie says loudly. She struts past you and stops near the edge, crossing her arms. “How the hell did you get yourself injured at a time like this, Erin? You were never this reckless before, although I guess you’ve always been kind of a dumbass.”
Erin snaps to attention the instant Maggie speaks. She looks stunned to see Maggie. Her shock lasts for a long moment, until she shakes it off, and instead, she fixes a glare at Maggie.
“Who the fuck do you think you are, talking that trash to me, woman?” Erin asks. She looks angrier than you’ve seen her before. “Don’t act all high and mighty with me, Maggie. You’re the last person that should be strutting about like they’re the queen of the bloody universe, that’s for damn sure!”
Maggie snorts. “Oh, sure, sure, I’m the one acting all queenly and shite. Says the twat who took a little tumble and now, boo hoo, she can’t walk right. Or hop right in your case, since you ‘roos can’t fricking walk.” She waves her hand at Erin. “Honestly, seeing you over there, I’m thinking maybe I’ll just leave you to hang the way YOU did to me in the past. How’s that sound, Erin?”
“I sure as shite didn’t ask for your help,” Erin says. “Piss off, would you? I’d rather wait for my ankle to heal than have to rely on you for anything!”
You watch this little spat in silence. You are… torn.
On the one hand, the two are acting rather petty for grown women - which is made all the more hilarious to your eyes given their appearances. It almost makes you crack a smile, because you’ve seen these sorts of arguments before, and it never fails to entertain you, especially when they’re this colorful.
On the other hand, you admit, you can tell there’s still some bad blood between them. There’s an air of disdain and bitterness among both women’s tone of voice, and, you can tell that getting them to resolve their differences isn’t going to be easy, if it’s even possible at all.
‘Not that I’m the one to do that,’ you muse. ‘I’m no mediator…’
Nor do you really like to get embroiled in drama when it doesn’t involve you. Heck, even when it does. But now isn’t the time for this, nor is it the time to go about letting these two growl and snarl at one another.
“Maggie, will you help me?” you ask. “You said you would.”
Maggie grunts and turns back to you. “You said something about a slab?”
You gesture to the large flat rock you were gradually pushing over to the gap.
Maggie walks up to it and stares at it. Her expression is unreadable, although she puts her hands on her hips as the seconds pass. She seems… amused.
Maggie’s eyes flick to you. “You mean you were literally hopping back and forth with water in your pouch… and you dumped it on the this big rock and the ground… just so you can shove it over to that gap easily?”
“More or less,” you admit.
She starts to laugh. “Ho-lee shit, that is fucking hilarious!”
You don’t respond, and let her have her laugh. You know it isn’t the brightest idea to ever exist, but right now, you’re more focused on getting it to where Erin is so you can get OUT of this damned cave. You turn your attention from Maggie to the gap, then back to her, since you know you figure it’s time to decide how to proceed… with or without her help, for that matter.
Written by Hollowpage on 27 September 2020
Skipping Stone Slipping Stone II