Rollin’ On A River IV
Suffice to say, your suggestion has both women staring at you with similar expressions - somewhere between incredulous and questioning whether you’ve lost your mind. You merely shrug at their stares, since it isn’t like you have a whole lot of other choices to work off of right now.
“Look, we can either try that, or magically figure something else out,” you remark. You sweep your arm toward the river. “I know it isn’t the smartest, or the safest route to go with. But this whole place isn’t really… I mean, it’s ‘real,’ but it isn’t the REAL world kind of real. For all we know, it might be what we need to get out of here.”
There’s a long beat of silence.
The two women are both thinking this over, and you just wait for them to come to terms with your suggestion - if one of them comes up with something better, then you’re all ears. Otherwise, you don’t feel like waiting around to starve to death, because that frankly doesn’t sound like a very pleasant way to go.
“Bugger,” Erin says. “I can’t believe that’s the best choice we have.” She grunts and shakes her head, then turns to Maggie. “You’ve got those extra dingo muscles, can’t you just, I dunno, power through all the rubble?”
Maggie scowls. “The fuck do I look like to you, a bloody machine?”
“Well, no, but…” Erin trails off, somewhat sheepish under Maggie’s stare.
Maggie rolls her eyes. “Woman, if I had the power, I would gladly break through all that shit, and you know it. But in case you forgot, there’s still limits to these weird costumes and the powers they give us.” She gestures to one of her arms and flexes. “Dingos ain’t superhuman. Maybe if I were wearing a bear costume, or, I dunno, an elephant costume or whatever, then I could maybe see myself ripping through that rock. I ain’t, though.”
“Alright, alright,” Erin says. She turns to regard you. “I dunno, mate. I’m not sold on trusting that this river leads somewhere safe, if it even leads anywhere at all. Last thing I want is to get stuck in some stinking dead end where I drown.”
You shrug. “I don’t know what else to do, unless you feel like scouring this cave for some other option.”
Erin’s lips purse. She says nothing.
Another moment of silence passes over the three of you. You aren’t entirely sold on your own idea, but you don’t see any immediate options as you glance around. The cave doesn’t seem to have much else in terms of obvious paths to use to get out of there. For all you know, the river is literally the only option that exists.
‘It’s a risk,’ you think. ‘But it’s a risk I’m willing to take unless some other option decides to pop out at us.’
“Dammit,” Maggie says. She growls. “Bugger it all. Fine. I’ll take the damn river. I hate being trapped in this stinkin’ cave, and I honestly don’t feel like wasting my time searching for any other way of getting out.” She turns to Erin. “And if we drown, whatever. We’ll just come right back and have to pick a new costume. Sucks, but it’s the rules of this… whatever you wanna call it.”
Erin does not appear thrilled by the prospect. However, after another moment - during which you and Maggie exchange looks, then eye her, waiting - she groans and nods with obvious reluctance.
“How do you think we should proceed?” you ask.
“You’re the one that came up with the idea,” Erin says dryly. “Why don’t you tell us?”
You shrug once more. “Um. I mean. It’s a river, and there isn’t exactly a boat for us to ride safely in, so…”
“No, not a boat,” Maggie says. “But. Oi, Erin. I’m gonna help you out of the river, so hold still.”
Maggie ducks down and helps scoop Erin into her arms - she hoists Erin out of the river and gently sets her down, while Erin remains as still as she can. The two lock eyes for a short moment through this, but neither says anything. Once Maggie has helped Erin onto the ground, she the then starts to walk around, leaving you and Erin there. You watch Maggie for a few seconds - she appears like she’s on a mission now - before turning back to Erin.
“You okay?” you ask, gesturing to Erin’s bum leg.
“As okay as I can be,” Erin mutters. She winces. “Bloody ankle still hurts like hell. Doubt it’s gonna heal anytime soon so long as we’re in here.”
There’s a beat. She sighs.
“Gotta admit, having me float in the river while holding Maggie was a good idea.” She glances at you. “Saved me from having to limp my sorry arse down there. My pride isn’t thrilled by it all, but at this rate, I guess I’m more willing to suck it up.”
You chuckle. “That’s good. I just hope we can take the river and that, you know, it’ll lead us somewhere safe instead of making all this worse. At this rate, I don’t care, though. I hate being trapped like this.”
“I hear you, mate,” Erin says.
“Alright, you two,” Maggie says.
You both turn to see what Maggie is up to - she’s found and is now carrying a massive flat slab of stone, not unlike the one you used to help Erin cross the gorge from before. Except this one is thicker and larger overall, looking almost like a stone kayak in a way.
Maggie stalks toward you and sets the giant slab down onto the ground, then grunts from the exertion. You would’ve offered to help, yet you don’t know that your arms would’ve been able to offer a whole lot.
“Here,” she says, gesturing breathlessly to the big hunk of rock. “This is big enough that it’ll fit in the river and still float. If we can use this… maybe we can ride it down the river. Big enough for all three of us. Just gonna be a bit on the cramped side.”
“…seriously?” Erin asks.
Maggie snorts. “You gonna pull a kayak outta your nonexistent pouch, Erin?”
Erin says nothing to this.
You glimpse over this big slab of rock - it’s definitely not perfect, but, it’s feasible, you feel. Or something close to being feasible when you consider the situation the three of you are stuck in. The way you see it, you can definitely try to ‘ride’ the slab down the river, provided it’ll fit. And float. And support your weight.
‘Is the current strong enough?’ you wonder. Your eyes flick toward the flowing river. ‘This might just sink if we plop it in there. Or it’ll sink the instant all three of us clamor on…’
“Well, what do you say?” Maggie asks, her gaze flicking from you to Erin. “Are we gonna give this a shot, or do you want to literally float IN the river? There’s no telling what’s waiting for us down there, but if you wanna risk it, then…”
You frown and try to think. What do you want to do?
Written by Hollowpages on 15 November 2020
Rollin’ On A River V