Rollin’ On A River
You mull over this for a moment, thinking about which of the two options would work the best. One is obviously more risky than the other, yet, at the same time, there is a workaround to ensure there’s more leeway… in that you feel one of you could remain out of the water and meet them down the waterfall, just in case the rushing waters proved to be too strong. But then, you also feel that Maggie carrying Erin could also work out safely, and with less danger.
You nod to yourself. ‘I’ll see what they think and go from there.’
You hop back to the two bickering still, and, when you do, they actually pause.
“What was that all about?” Erin asks.
“I’ve got an idea,” you say.
Maggie folds her arms. “If it has anything to do with carrying water in your belly pouch, ‘roo, I doubt it’ll end up helping out very much.”
“Shut up, Maggie,” Erin says. “They were trying, at least!”
“Oh, I know,” Maggie says. “But I’m the one who used muscle to get that stinking rock over so you could limp across it. In fact, I haven’t even gotten a ‘thank you’ for nearly throwing my back out to save your sorry arse.”
Erin stares at her for a moment. Her eyes meet yours, then return to Maggie. Despite the obvious annoyance written all over Erin’s face, her features soften, and she nods in agreement.
“Thank you, Maggie,” Erin says. Her voice is gentler, sincere. “I really do appreciate the help. While our friend here,” she gestures to you, “was doing their best, you came through in a pinch.” Erin then looks at you. “And thank you for trying, and for sticking around despite things. You could’ve scampered off and I frankly wouldn’t have blamed you for it. I appreciate it all the same.”
You smile and nod to her.
Maggie grunts. “…so what’s this idea of yours?”
So you tell them.
“First off, no way in hell am I being carried,” Erin says. “And second of all, are you bloody mental? How the fuck are we gonna go down the river without crashing? Ten to one, I’d just end up aggravating this damn ankle problem.”
You shrug. “I don’t think waiting around for your ankle to mend is going to help anything, Erin. We could also try to see where the river leads, though.”
Erin’s shoulders sag. “Gonna be honest with you, I… don’t think I can keep limping about on some long trek to find a way to get back up, mate. My ankle’s killing me as it is, and I’m afraid if I keep trying to push my body, well, it ain’t gonna keep at it for too long.”
“Then stop being stubborn, and let’s work together,” you say pointedly. “I’m sure we can make something work out if we stop bickering and actually put our heads together.”
“Maggie, what do you think?” you ask.
She’s been oddly silent since you told them the ideas you feel they have. She seems to be thinking, and, at first she doesn’t answer you. Then, after a moment of silence, Maggie closes her eyes, lets out a quiet breath, and reopens her eyes.
“Alright, here’s what I think,” Maggie says. She points at you. “Your ideas are bloody wank, mate, but you’re at least using your noggin, so I can appreciate that.” She points at Erin. “You, bitchface, are being a bitchface, and you need to knock it the hell off, or I’ll drag your sorry ass if I have to. Don’t give me any guff, just shut your trap and let someone HELP you for a change.”
Erin scowls at this, but, she holds her tongue for a change.
“So you think riding the river is a good idea?” you ask. “Or do you think--”
“I think both ideas together is our best bet,” Maggie says.
You’re surprised. “Both?”
“Aye.” She nods to Erin. “I’ll carry Miss Pissy here, but I’ll do it IN the river. My strength is enough that I can probably keep a better control over how fast we move, and I’ll be honest… I tested the river already. Was one of the first things I did when I followed you two halfwits down here. Current isn’t that bad.” She smirks. “I can keep myself afloat and steer where I move, so, we’re fine.”
You stare at her for a moment. ‘So she followed us, huh? What happened to the treasure?’ But you don’t ask this, at least not right now. “Okay, that’s fine and all, but, we still need to worry about the waterfall part. The drop isn’t the worst thing ever, sure, yet I don’t know if--”
“Water’s deep enough that it’ll be an impact,” Maggie says. “I can handle it, though. Trust me, mate. Got the stones and the endurance for a tiny drop. Besides, I’ve gone off diving boards higher than that stupid waterfall. Ask her.”
She points to Erin.
“I mean, true, but…” Erin trails off. She seems hesitant, yet it doesn’t seem to be for her own sake - you can tell from the look of worry in her eyes. “Maggie, you could get hurt if we land wrong. Me, I’ll be fine, but you--”
“Oi, shut up,” Maggie says. She glares at Erin. “Don’t be giving me that garbage, Erin. Stop being a damn yobbo, and let me do what we all know is best in this case.” She eyes you. “All I ask, mate, is that you wait down there for us, ‘cause that way, on the off chance something happens…”
“I can help you,” you finish.
She grunts and nods. “Exactly.”
You mull this over. Your mind races, and you flick your attention between the two women and the river. You imagine the drop from the waterfall might be scary, and, you hope that this isn’t a stupid suggestion - if it is, you’ll blame yourself, because you’re the one who thought it up in the first place.
“Alright,” you say. You know you can’t prolong it forever, otherwise you might get second thoughts. “If you’re sure about this, then…”
“I’m sure,” Maggie says.
Erin, however, doesn’t seem so sure. “I… I don’t know, this sounds way too risky.”
“No risk, no reward,” Maggie says simply. She seems dead set on this.
“And you call ME the stubborn one, you arrogant twat,” Erin mutters.
“Please be careful,” you say. “I’ll go and make my way down to the waterfall so I can be there to help.”
You look at them for a moment, then, when no one says anything more, you start to hop back down the path toward the waterfall, hopefully for the last time. You don’t know if this idea will work out, but you don’t feel like there are any other options.
When you reach the waterfall, you start to climb down the makeshift ‘path’ that Maggie punched for you. You still feel in awe at how much strength she possesses, and seeing her act so certain… well, when you combine the two details together, it fills you with some confidence. Not enough to prevent you from worrying, but, enough to make you feel hopeful.
When you reach the ground, you hop away from the immediate area, exit the little maw that leads to the waterfall, and then you stop. You stop and wait, and listen, too. Now is the waiting game, where you can do nothing else but hope.
Written by Hollowpage on 02 October 2020
The end (for now)