Jumping Spelunking II
You bounce nervously in place while you muse over this. You’re a kangaroo, which means you’re not exactly equipped to be spelunking into some unknown depth of a cave you’ve never been in prior to this day. Even worse, you feel that you could trip, or scrape something, or worse if you decide to go down there.
Then again, you also don’t know if continuing down the path will be of any use to you, and if the voice is indeed Erin, and not you hearing things, she might be hurt, or stuck, or in some dangerous position.
You have little beyond these two choices, so, you end up going with the smarter one. You start to hop down the same path you were already taking and hope that it’ll lead you toward where Erin is, wherever the hell that may be.
‘I mean, she doesn’t seem like the type to go down a rocky, slippery path,’ you think as you go down the tunnel the straight pathway leads you into, a tunnel that curves and seems to start going downwards. ‘I would imagine someone with experience would be smart about where they go, not reckless… right?’
You remind yourself you don’t exactly know Erin personally. You did just meet her not long ago, brief as that meeting was, so for all you’re aware, she could be the reckless or careless sort. You guess you’ll discover that soon enough.
You hop at a steady pace down the tunnel, and you indeed notice the tunnel is gradually dipping down slow enough where you feel as though it is leading you toward your goal. You hear, once more, the sound of a distant voice, but it’s too faint and echoey for you to understand what’s being said. It could be Erin. It could be your imagination. It could be someone or something else.
‘Why did we go into this cave,’ you think, honestly a little more than done with being in here. You never liked caves in the first place, and this one is clearly not at all out of the real world if it’s like this. ‘I don’t think Australia has caves this insane.’
Hop, hop, hop, deeper down and deeper into the tunnel you go.
The tunnel doesn’t wind as much as it did previously, although it does have a few faint turns here and there. Fortunately, it never closes in or around you, and thus, you’re able to move comfortably despite the fact your heart is ramming against your chest walls. You aren’t thrilled about this, and if this doesn’t get you killed, you might have to give this woman a chewing out for all this madness.
After around five minutes of following the tunnel, it opens up again, and you hop out to inspect your surroundings. You find that, though it’s difficult to tell at first, you are now much lower than where you started - and above you, to the right and up a ways, you can see the outline of the ledge where you came from.
You take note of this and see the rather slippery-looking ‘paths’ you could’ve taken, yet those run past where you are now, and still you can’t see any sort of bottom to where they lead. Yet you hear… something. Not a voice this time, no, but actual sound that is faint and echoing from somewhere deeper into the cave.
Your ears perk, and you listen, trying to make heads or tails of the noise.
‘Is that… water?’ you think.
You aren’t entirely sure, but, you THINK it could be the sound of running water - perhaps a river or some other body of water located somewhere in the cave. It’s not loud enough for you to be certain, but you sincerely don’t think anything else could be making a similar noise to it. It has to be a river or something.
‘Okay, that’s great,’ you think. ‘There’s running water somewhere in this cave. But how does that help me find Erin? Why the heck would she go down this path, this deep into a cave, anyways? I mean, surely she wouldn’t have come this far in to escape one dingo, right…?’
You again remind yourself logic isn’t exactly useful in this whole ordeal.
You sigh and shove this away, and, you continue moving, trekking across the path and deeper into the darkness - the path you took continues to spiral downwards, and as you follow it, you become increasingly aware that there are no longer walls that separate you from the depths surrounding you.
In other words, you realize that you are a hop, skip, and a jump away from accidentally falling to your possible demise - you can’t see into the darkness, so, you have no clue even now how far down the chasm is. You just know it’s on your right and your left, and you try your best not to look down.
‘Just keep hopping,’ you think. Silly movie quote, yes, but, it’s something.
The path keeps dipping down more and more as the seconds slog by, until it comes to another tunnel, which thankfully has walls to it. You enter it and hop further and further in, and as you do, the sound of what you assumed to be running water grows louder. It takes a few minutes of this for the sound to grow loud enough to where, yes, you can confirm it’s water, which you’re glad for.
‘How on earth does this go down so deep?’ you wonder, though.
You doubt you’ll get an answer to that, but, you push along regardless.
And then, after about fifteen minutes of trekking into this cave, you come to yet another opening from the tunnel, a massive open area that from a rough glance appears to be the size of two or three football stadiums shoved together. And here you find the water you expected you’d find, a river that is rushing on before you - it goes to the right, disappearing into the darkness of the cave.
From the left is where the river seems to be coming. A cursory glance tells you that there’s a good bit of room for you to navigate about the open area safely.
‘Plenty of flat ground for me,’ you note, and you hop forward and glance around further, hoping to see some sign of Erin. ‘But I don’t see Erin. Don’t hear her, either. The river’s a little too loud. Weird. Was it her I was hearing those two times? Or was I hearing something else entirely?’
It doesn’t make sense. You’re not a genius, but you don’t NOT think over these kinds of things, either, so this whole situation has you flustered and confused. If anything, the lack of any sign of Erin leaves you feeling puzzled and concerned since there’s obviously something going on, and you don’t know - or like - not knowing what that something may be.
‘No sense getting upset, though,’ you tell yourself.
You suck in a few breaths to calm your nerves, and then you move toward the direction of the river. After passing under a rocky ledge, you halt and see that you have more options on where you can go from here.
First, you can keep following the river and see where it leads you. Second, you spot a ledge that you can hop up to if you do as you did outside when Erin was showing you how to jump - you don’t know where the ledge leads, but you can tell from below that it goes somewhere. Or third, you see to your other side that there’s another tunnel, one that disappears into some blackness.
Three options for three different routes you can take. At this rate, you have a one in three shot at picking the right one, so now what do you do?
Written by Hollowpage on 15 September 2020