Rollin’ On A River II
You stand there near the river for a long few moments of relative silence, beyond the sound of your heart beating and the river itself, of course. You admit, you don’t know what to expect when they come falling down from the waterfall - your mind is ablaze with different questions, most of which are centered on whether or not this was REALLY a good idea to suggest.
‘I mean, I’ve never fallen down rapids before,’ you muse. You rub the back of your neck with one hand. ‘I’ve seen it in movies, but, this isn’t a movie.’
You inspect the river itself, and you don’t SEE any jagged rocks, nor do you get the sense that it’s super shallow. You even go so far as to crouch down and stick your hands into the river, to feel the coolness of the water, but also to see if you can reach the bottom of the river from where you’re crouched.
You can’t. Your hands extend as far as your kangaroo body will allow them to, and you don’t touch the ground, not even at the tips of your claws.
‘Well, that’s good, I think,’ you muse, and you stand back up, wriggling your hands about to get the moisture off them. ‘That means they’ll sink into it before they reemerge, right? So then they don’t hit any hard surfaces… I think.’
This tells you that the river isn’t shallow, and, it gives you some hope that should the pair come crashing down from the waterfall that they’ll not get too injured from the impact. Of course, you still consider the whole ‘Erin has a bum ankle’ part, and, you admit you fear she might land wrong, which worries you.
You swallow the lump that forms in your throat and try to settle your nerves.
‘I hope this works out without a hitch,’ you think, sighing.
Thinking too much isn’t going to help, not right now. You have to just accept the fact this is the path chosen by you and Maggie, if not Erin, although you imagine she’s going to go through with it either way. You simply let these thoughts wash over you - pun not intended - and remain alert, listening for any sign that the two are on their way down the river…
Eventually, although it seems to take a while, you hear noise coming from toward the waterfall - from above it, in fact. Despite the distance you are standing at, you can hear the obvious sound of voices, and you consider inching closer to the maw of the cave where the waterfall is resting, if only because they may end up needing your help the instant they land.
‘Worth a shot,’ you think.
You hop a few times toward the waterfall as the sounds of voices grows louder. It’s Maggie and Erin, of course, and it sounds like they’re bickering about something.
“Oh my shit, we’re gonna FALL, Maggie!” Erin snaps. “This is insane! Get us out of the river before we reach it!”
“Would you relax?!” Maggie snaps back. “Christ, just stop squirming like a goddamn sissy! Hold on tight and trust that I won’t let you hurt yourself!”
“It’s not ME I’m worried about, it’s--”
You stop a few feet away in time to see the two women right at the waterfall, and before Erin can finish her sentence, she lets out a scream. The two plummet from the top of the waterfall and splash into the river below, kicking up water all over the place. You’re too far to get hit by it, but, you watch with alertness to make sure they’re okay when they pop up.
The two seem unharmed, although they’re drenched and clearly reeling from the sensation of falling. Erin looks freaked out in particular, but Maggie seems more calm. They start to float down the river at a relatively brisk speed, but you intercept them - you stick your hand out and Maggie grabs onto it.
“See?” Maggie says to Erin. “We survived. How’s the ankle?”
Erin lets out a shaky breath. “Fine…”
You can tell from the look of their bodies that Maggie was basically holding Erin in her lap the entire time - it creates a rather entertaining image to witness, either way, especially since it brings to mind the picture of a kangaroo sitting on a dingo’s lap. You shake off the humor and offer your other hand out to Erin, and, very slowly, you help Erin stand and crawl out from the river.
She grunts and half-falls down onto her side, yet she keeps her wounded ankle up, preventing any unfortunate falls on it. She groans aloud, though.
“Fuck, that hurts,” she mutters.
Maggie helps herself out and stands, shaking the water off. She seems decent despite taking the brunt of the impact from the fall - drenched, yes, yet she’s standing and moving without any pain you can tell. She goes to sit down on the ground next to Erin. You watch, mostly checking the two women to be certain there isn’t any lasting damage you can’t see from a rough glance.
“Everyone alright?” you ask.
“Dazed, yes, but alive,” Maggie says.
She pauses to check herself over to be certain. She’s alert and awake, moving fine, however, and after a minute or so of inspecting herself, she shrugs.
“Yeah, nothing feels broken,” Maggie says. “Might be sore in a bit, but, the impact wasn’t too bad. I’ve definitely landed rougher on water before.”
You both turn to Erin. Erin has shifted her position to be on her back, keeping her injured leg hovering up in the air. She gives a rather drained thumbs up, but otherwise, offers nothing else. You feel relief at seeing this, since it means your random idea wasn’t the cause of any severe injuries.
“Well, that’s good, I guess,” you remark. You look from the pair toward the direction you and Maggie came from prior. “I guess now all that means is going up the way we came, and then getting out of the cave.” You wave a hand. “And voila. We’re home free, so to speak.”
Maggie snorts. “So you say, mate. But who knows what else could end up happening in this shithole of a cave. Let’s not count our chickens until they’ve hatched, yeah?”
You shrug, but concede the point.
The three of you wait for a few minutes for Erin and Maggie to recover from the burst of adrenaline thanks to falling down a waterfall. All things considered, it didn’t seem as horrid as you’d feared, which you’re thrilled by. At least now, you have a relatively simple path to follow to trek back the way you came.
When the two seem to have rested enough, Maggie gets up, and you both help Erin back to her feet. Erin, of course, still seems a bit reluctant about accepting the help - but she thanks you both when she’s upright, still putting her weight entirely on her left leg while the right dangles a little over the ground.
“Frankly, I’ll just be glad to get the hell outta this stinking cave,” Erin mutters.
“You and me both,” Maggie says.
You nod in agreement, only to start thinking. With Erin limping, your movement speed won’t be all that great - and since there’s no telling what other dangers this cave may hold, you begin to consider maybe helping her out some way could speed the process up. That, and, it would be good to help alleviate the strain on her legs. But what could you do?
You begin to muse this over, and, you consider there’s the obvious method of you and Maggie both helping her walk by carrying her weight together.
Or, you think that using the river could also work, since there’s a good ten or so minutes between where you are now and where you need to be. The river would cut down time for Erin and for all three of you as a whole, and it would make it easier for her since she wouldn’t need to limp.
You ponder your options…
Written by Hollowpages on 06 November 2020
Rollin’ On A River III