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Skipping Stone Slipping Stone II emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar

You watch Maggie - who is still looking thoroughly amused at what you’ve told her, thus, she’s in the midst of trying to quell her laughter - for a long pause, mulling over the next decision to make in all this. That, and, you’re waiting for her to finish her snickering. That takes about two minutes or so.


When she finally relaxes, you decide to speak.


“That was the only thing I could think of doing,” you say. “There wasn’t really anything else for me to use, besides maybe if I’d tried to push that over the gap directly, but, I ran the risk of it just falling through.” You give her a pointed look. “So you can laugh all you want, that’s fine. Just save it for later if you’re actually planning to help us out.”


Maggie sobers up and looks at you, mirth still in her eyes. “Hey, don’t get all pissy about it. I just think it’s a hilarious ‘plan’ of action. I’m just imagining this exasperated kangaroo hopping back and forth to dump water onto a giant, friggin stone slab like it’s going out of style.”


You roll your eyes. “Yeah, yeah. Look, are you going to help?”


She snorts. “Said I wouldn’t, didn’t I?”


“Thank you,” you say.


She waves a hand off. “Whatever.”


“I can go back to what I was doing with the water,” you remark, and you look toward the river. “It’s got plenty of water at its disposal, so, I doubt that would be a huge problem, it’ll just be time consuming since--”


Maggie doesn’t wait for you to finish before she squats down and pushes her hands underneath the giant stone slab. You halt your sentence and gawk as she lets out a low grunt, and, within moments, she is lifting the damn stone slab up. And not lifting it like it was the heaviest thing on the planet, either! She hoists it up and, although clearly struggling, is able to turn her body around toward the gap with it in her arms.


You gawk.


“Holy shit,” Erin says from where she’s perched.


Maggie plods over to the gap with big, heavy steps, grunting and groaning the whole time. Yet she doesn’t drop the slab, nor does she seem to be hurting too much - she carries it across the rest of the distance you would’ve needed ages to get across, and, she comes to a stop in front of the big gap.


With a heavy huff of air escaping her lungs, Maggie drops the giant slab down, perfectly angled the way you knew it needed to go. It lands with a loud, echoing clatter that fills the whole cavern, yet it stays firmly in place.


Maggie grunts and stands upright slowly. She cracks her back, then cracks her neck and her arms. She lets out a few slow breaths and then gestures to it.


“There,” Maggie says. “Your stupid slab is where it needs to be.”


You just keep gawking.


When you snap out of it, you trek over to where she is. She looks haggard, but besides that, she seems fine. Not in any pain, not overly exhausted. She grunts again when you make eye contact, and then she goes to walk it off.


You shake this off. Then, you stop to test the giant slab with one foot. A little pressure does nothing. You move to stand on it fully and hop a few brisk times, to make sure it’ll hold. The slab doesn’t budge at all. It’s unmoving as it teeters over the giant chasm.


You suck in a quiet breath. ‘I can’t believe she did that so easily… jeez.’


With that done, you hop across the stone slab, across to where Erin is. She is still staring in genuine astonishment with her mouth hanging open. It takes until you stop in front of her for her mouth to shut, and she even has to rub her eyes a few times.


“That…” Erin says. “That’s not something you see every day.”


You look over to where Maggie is hovering, then back to Erin, and nod. “I mean, you don’t usually see people wearing animal costumes that turns them into a hybrid of that animal, too, do you?”


Erin chuckles. “Fair enough, mate. Fair enough.”


“Do you want help getting across?” you ask.


“Nah, but thanks,” Erin says. “Go on. I’ll hobble after you like before.”


You shake your head at her stubbornness, but you aren’t really in the mood to argue - you really just want to get this over with so you can all be free from the cave.


You hop back across the slab at the same speed, then stop near where Maggie currently is. She turns her attention toward Erin, and you both watch Erin pick herself up from where she’s resting. Like before, Erin begins to slowly hobble forward, wincing and grimacing the entire time. It’s clear her ankle is going to need more time to heal, but, she’s too stubborn to accept any help.


She staggers across the flat stone - and you watch with baited breath, more so out of nerves than anything - until she makes it over fully. You let out the breath you’d been holding, and Erin limps over to where you’re standing.


She winces, but, smiles at the same time. “See? I made it.”


“You’re something else,” you say.


She shrugs.


“Yeah, a raging moron,” Maggie says dryly.


Erin’s eyes flick to her. “Piss off back to the bush, you twat.”


“Nah, I’d rather watch your feeble arse limp for a while longer,” Maggie replies. She smirks. “How do you plan to get back to the top of the cave, Erin? Can’t exactly limp down a waterfall, now can ya? Maybe you’ll have to, gasp, ask for help to do it?”


Erin grumbles, but doesn’t respond.


You, however, realize that… Maggie has a point. Now that you’ve gotten Erin across, the next hurdle is indeed how to get back to the top of the cave - unfortunately, you have no idea.


“She has a point,” you say. “We, uh, kind of need to figure a way down, and, I’m not entirely sure how to do that when you can’t move all that well.”


“I’m sure I can wait it out for a bit,” Erin says. “Once my ankle heals, then--”


“Oh, will you shut the fuck up?” Maggie says. “God, you’re so STUPID.” She growls at Erin. “There’s no ‘waiting’ around, you dipshit. Your ankle might take a goddamn week to mend proper, and by then, you’ll starve to death. Stop being a moron, and have the decency to swallow your pride, woman.”


Erin huffs. “It’s not a question of pride, you asshat. But we ain’t exactly got many options to get outta here otherwise, now do we?”


The two of them continue to bicker and glare at one another, while you tune them out. You turn your attention back to the river, and your mind begins to race. While the two women make their displeasure with one another known, you hop over to where the river is coming from, then follow it back down with your eyes. An idea is forming in your head… a few of them, in fact.


You feel they could do one of two things. They could follow the river to see where it may lead them, or, maybe, just maybe, they could figure out a way to ride the river down the waterfall. Or, conversely, with Maggie’s obvious strength, she could possibly even carry Erin down… if they agreed to it.


It wouldn’t be easy, true. Yet it might work to their advantage…

Written by Hollowpage on 30 September 2020

Both Rollin’ On A River

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