Making Frenemies III
You mull over your words for a moment, if only to decide what to ask, and how to best ask it, before you look at Maggie. She seems annoyed and upset at the same time, although her expression is a bit hard to read - she might be upset at you, but, you wonder if maybe she’s worried about her former friend.
‘Old friendships die hard sometimes,’ you think. You know from experience.
But, you push that aside, as you’ve decided.
“I don’t know anything about any hidden treasures or whatever,” you say, and that much is true, “but, I’ll help you look for them if you want a hand. But, yeah, you’re not wrong. I could use help getting this giant slab over to the gap, because I frankly don’t think I’ve got the strength to do it alone.”
Maggie folds her arms. She doesn’t speak at first.
“Would you be willing to help us?” you ask. “In exchange, I’ll help you?”
Maggie grumbles. Despite the fact she seems like she wants to decline your offer, after a moment of relative silence, her shoulders deflate. She lets out a breath and groans.
“Dammit,” she mutters. “Look. Fine.” She shakes her head. “Can’t believe this. Actually, no, I CAN believe it, given all the shite I’ve been through in this world.” She clicks her teeth. “I don’t expect you to help me in return, kangaroo, but, while I may hate admitting it, I don’t want to just abandon that daft tool to her misfortune. Where is she again? Over the waterfall?”
“Yes,” you say.
You turn and start to hop back toward it, and Maggie follows. When you get to the spot where the waterfall is billowing down, you turn back and motion.
“I, uh, had a hard time scaling this sucker, but, I managed to,” you admit. You give a shrug. “We’d have to climb it and then go up a bit. There’s a path that direction, and once you get to the top of it, that’s where Erin is.”
Maggie takes one long look at the waterfall, then back at you. She gives you the most bemused stare you think you’ve ever seen.
“Are you bloody insane?” Maggie asks.
“Do you actually expect me to jump over this sucker?” She scowls again and points to your feet. “I don’t have superhuman leg powers like you clearly do, in case you’ve forgotten the fact dingoes ain’t built for that kinda shite.”
You nod along to this, since you were aware. “I mean, yeah, that’s true.” You glance from Maggie to the waterfall, then back to her and frown. “But I don’t know how else we’d get over the waterfall. The only other path I know of that could take us to Erin is if we backtrack and basically wrap around. Even then, I don’t know how to do that safely, so…”
“So we need to figure out a plan, then,” Maggie replies.
She naturally seems irked by all this, but it isn’t your fault there’s not some easier method of getting up the waterfall. You suppose you could try to jump up again and find… something for her to climb onto or drop down for her to carry?
‘Too bad there’s no spare rope lying about,’ you muse.
For a moment, the two of you stand there in silence, looking and thinking. You’re trying your best to use your kangaroo brain to think of something that’ll get you both up to the top of the waterfall, but anything you DO think of seems either highly unlikely (you consider having Maggie get into your pouch, yet there’s no way she would fit in it given her size), or, it would probably just end up failing miserably (you also consider having Maggie climb onto your shoulders and then jumping, but you admit you don’t know how much she weighs, nor if the extra weight would allow you to jump super high again).
“I’m at a loss,” you admit. You need cheat codes or a guidebook on how to handle all this craziness, but there’s obviously none to be found.
“Well, piss,” Maggie says, and she shakes her head at the waterfall.
She grunts and turns back to you, only now, she has an odd look on her face - it’s the sort of look like she’s discovered an idea that she isn’t entirely sure of.
“What is it?” you ask.
“Might not work, but, there IS one option,” Maggie replies.
“Okay, and that is…?”
You beckon her to continue, since you aren’t exactly a mind reader.
She cracks her knuckles. Instead of answering, she turns and walks up to the rocky wall beside the waterfall, where she stops. At first, you stare in befuddlement, since you don’t know what she’s planning on doing. She suddenly takes a half step back with her left leg, assuming a sort of… combat stance?
‘What in the world?’ you think. ‘Is she going to punch it?’
You get your answer when she brings her left arm back, hand balled into tight fist, and, lo and behold, that is exactly what she does - she lets out a guttural bellow and then thrusts her fist forward and punches the stone… and the impact is so great, a large crater suddenly bursts forth from where she struck.
You gawk at the sight.
Maggie retracts her arm and wriggles her hand around a few times. But there is now a deep hole in the wall left over from where she punched. She turns back to you, smirking.
“Think you can use that as footing, roo?” she asks.
You stare at the crater as your mind races - this woman has, apparently, got superhuman strength going for her thanks to the dingo costume. She may lack leg strength, but, arm strength is obviously a separate subject entirely.
You shake your head in astonishment. “Holy hell.”
“I forgot I had arm strength to work with,” Maggie admits, confirming what you were thinking. She shrugs. “Guess I can use that to help us scale this stinking waterfall, if you want. Or I can give you a good toss up, and you can help me climb my ass up there. Or, I dunno, we can carry a rock to use.”
She gestures behind you, and you glimpse a large, loose-looking stone. It looks fairly big, but, also fairly sturdy - if Maggie has the strength to move it, then, you feel you could both climb onto it and cut the distance between yourselves and the waterfall ledge considerably.
Seeing that she’s capable of punching a hole through solid rock gives you a rush of adrenaline - you imagine it’ll be much easier to move the slab to the gap where Erin is. But, you put that thought on hold, and instead, you settle on deciding what to do next.
“Whatcha wanna do, roo?” Maggie asks. “These muscles of mine haven’t been put to good use for a while now, so I’m itching to make up for lost time. You’re the brainy one here, though. Tell me what you’d prefer we try. I’m game for anything.”
Your mind races. What now?
Written by Hollowpage on 25 September 2020
Back Up A Creek