You take a breath and reflect on what you can do, weighing down each option in your head. None of them stand out over the other given the fact you’re unsure of where you are or where to go - all you know is that your main goal right now is finding Erin, the person who did help you out, even if you know little about her as a person beyond what Maggie’s told you.
You know she could be hurt. She could be lost. She could be totally fine. But, you don’t know WHICH of those she is, and you want to see this through.
‘Fine,’ you think, and you have made your decision.
You decide for the time being that you’re going to follow the river and see where it leads, to get a better understanding of how large this cave interior is. It might give you a lead on where Erin is, too, or at least it might help you figure out what that weird voice-like noise was, and where that was coming from.
You follow the river by hopping along next to it, keeping your eyes peeled for anything of importance or of interest while you do. The area is large enough where you feel like you could easily see Erin, or any other person or creature since it’s surprisingly well-lit for being a dark, dingy cave.
‘This river looks pretty intense,’ you think, sparing a few glances at it.
It’s not running at a speed where you think you’d be in utter danger if you somehow got swept up into it, that much you can tell from a few glimpses. But, that aside, you also can tell the river is strong enough that it wouldn’t be easy to swim out of. Swimming in it would be hard, and you don’t know if there are jagged rocks waiting at any given point, nor how deep the river is.
‘Best not to test my luck with that,’ you muse. ‘I don’t know if kangaroos can swim well in running water like that. I mean, I guess they could do fine if it wasn’t rushing super fast, but, could I manage it?’
You don’t want to find out.
For a while, hopping toward the direction the river is coming from doesn’t give you any clues or any ideas as to where your missing kangaroo companion is.
Beyond the ledge and the tunnel you decided not to take, you don’t see any other pathways to check, and for a time, it’s just you hopping forward, with an open cave room and the river. But, you gradually see in the distance that there is some sort of larger ‘maw’ in the cave wall that the river is coming from, and as you near it - you don’t speed up, either, oh no, you stay at the same even pace of movement the entire time for your own safety - you soon see that that river is coming from a waterfall.
Within the ‘maw,’ the opening of the cave wall is another room in the cave, and a few feet into this is a massive ledge that the river is spewing down from into a waterfall. You get as far into it as you can until you come to a halt, and you take a moment to see that… you don’t know if you can get UP there, however.
‘Oh no,’ you think. You furrow your furry brow and grumble. ‘You mean I came all this way and there’s no method for me to get up? Did I seriously just waste my time going down this path for nothing? No, no, come on. That can’t be it.’
You refuse to accept defeat like this, not when you’ve gone through all this.
‘What was it she said to me about jumping?’ you think.
You recall her advice, and, since you have little other choice right now - besides going back, and you don’t feel like doing that right now - you decide to give it a shot. You turn and hop back a few feet, then spin back so you’re facing the direction of the waterfall. Despite the fact there’s enough room for you to leap upward toward the top of the waterfall, you remind yourself it might be steep, or maybe it’ll have no room for you to stand on, and so on.
You sigh. ‘Doesn’t matter. I’ve got to try.’
And so you brace yourself internally, take in a few slow breaths that you exhale as slowly, and then you shoot forward, jumping quick and bringing your legs down more and more with each leap, until you get to the spot where you know you have to jump if you want to make it high enough.
You bring your weight down to the fullest and bend your knees, pulling all your strength into your legs and lower back, and with one, massive burst of energy, you leap upwards, jumping as high as you can as strong as you can.
Your jump height proves to be impressively high - you rocket upward, high enough and swift enough that you leap almost to the full height and above of the waterfall. Almost. Unfortunately, while you manage to leap extremely high up with your jump, you end up not quite reaching the top of the waterfall, in that, your upper chest collides with the rock surface the waterfall is cascading down from and your hands end up grabbing onto a portion of the upper ground.
You grunt as the wind escapes your lips, and though the collision wasn’t TOO bad, you have to work to keep your hands where they are. And then they start to slip - you don’t have a great enough grip to pull yourself upright with upper body strength alone, and you start to panic.
‘Shit, shit, shit,’ you think.
You end up pressing your large feet onto the side of the rocky surface and you press in as hard as you can do use it as a footing. It takes a moment, by which point your hands have slid almost off the top entirely, but, thankfully, you’re able to pin yourself in place just barely.
‘Okay, bad idea, bad idea!’ you think. Your mind is racing.
Your heart is pounding like crazy. You feel warm, definitely warm enough that you’d probably be sweating a little if you weren’t covered in fur, but you exhale a sharp breath and use your legs to push yourself up. The shove gives you an extended boost in height, and you start to clamor forward with your bare hands.
It’s then you notice that - or rather, remember that - you’re a kangaroo. That means you have claws.
You suddenly think about this fact and wonder how you can tap into this since you weren’t even aware you would have claws. Somehow, it’s like flipping a switch, and you feel your fingertips extend just enough into points. Claws.
‘Oh hell yes,’ you think.
You promptly use your claws to pierce through the softer part of the ground, and with your hands now pressing into the ground for a better anchoring, you use your upper body and lower body in tandem to climb up and over the ledge. You roll onto your side and let yourself flop there, your chest heaving.
You take a moment to collect yourself, and then, you start sit upright. Your vision adjusts to the dimmer lack of light where you are, and you turn toward the direction you’d been going - it’s a darker path, yet it looks much like the one you’d been following the whole time. Except, however, you spot something in the distance - something that looks like an odd shape, though it’s dark and hard to see.
Then, you hear a noise coming from the same direction - a loud, almost groaning noise that echoes down to where you are. It sounds like a person.
You stand up and start to hop onward, following the same path until you get to the opening where you saw the weird shape - and there, when you reach it, you finally see Erin. She’s on a ledge a few feet ahead and above you, lying down. She seems awake, but, she’s not doing much beyond lying there.
You feel relief at finding her. Yet alongside the relief, you also glance around and start to think of how to proceed. Now you need to decide what to do - call out to her? Jump to her? Or find a way around to where she’s at?
Written by Hollowpage on 16 September 2020
Abysmal Abyss II