“ETHAN! STOP BEING STUBBORN AND JUMP YOU IDIOT!” Nainika calls over the sound of the roaring water in the chasm below. I look down nervously, seriously contemplating my existence.
“C’mon man! I know you’re scared but you gotta do it!” Aniyah yells.
“I’m not scared!” I shout back, “I’m just concerned about the stability of this random vine you guys threw at me!”. The truth is I am a bit scared, heights have never been my strong suit. But I’m not definitely admitting that to the others, especially not Aniyah and Nanika. As soon as I got across they would never let that go.
“Ethan, don’t worry! I trust that the vine will get you across ok? You’ll be fine!” Celeste calls. I sigh, I’ve been stalling for too long. If the vine snaps, it’s just an inevitable casualty of adventure I guess. I take a deep breath, hang on to the vine for dear life, and swing.
A few hours earlier…
“How. Many. Hours. Have. We. Been. Walking?” Aniyah asks while panting heavily. I look over at the rest of the group. Celeste and Astrid also look pretty tired. On the other hand, Ethan, Imana, Mara, and I are doing great. Mara taps Aniyah’s shoulders and holds up three fingers.
“THREE HOURS?! It’s only been three hours! It feels like it’s been a month!” Aniyah wines. Ethan rolls his eyes and smirks. Aniyah notices and glares.
“Hey! Don’t look at me! I bet you’re just as tired as I am but you won’t admit it."
“No, not really. Unlike you, I have good stamina and don’t get tired from a few hours of exercise.” Ethan explains. Aniyah opens her mouth, but Celeste interrupts.
“I mean...maybe we should take a break? We’ve been walking for a while now. And we do wanna conserve energy right?” she suggests. I roll my eyes, I have a slight suspicion she’s only saying that because she’s also tired.
“No, I think we should keep moving. We should move as much as we can before it gets dark.” I say sternly. Ethan and Imana nod but Astrid looks less sure.
“Some of us are tired and need to rest, but some of us want to keep going. I think this calls for an old-fashioned coin flip,” she says. We all look at her skeptically, but Astrid’s face says she’s dead serious about it.
“Well then, I guess that’s what we’re doing.” I sigh and take out a penny from my pocket.
“Heads is rest, and tails is keep going!” Aniyah announces. Everyone shrugs to show that they don’t have a problem with it. I take a deep breath and launch the penny into the air. It lands right in my palm and I quickly cover it with my hand so I can’t see. Then I slap my palm against the back of my hand and uncover the coin. To my surprise, it lands on heads.
“WOOHOOO!” Aniyah yells and spins around. Celeste breathes a sigh of relief and slides to the ground along with Astrid. The rest of us sit down even though it feels a bit weird.
“I don’t like this...” I murmur while sitting down and poking at the ground, “My mother always said that ‘the fewer breaks, the better’, and she’s right.”
“Meh, let’s just enjoy this opportunity. Not like there’s anything we can do about it.” Imana says while sounding extremely bored. I’ve noticed that about her, she has this presence that makes it seem like she couldn’t be bothered.
“Yeah, I think I’m ready to go,” I say, stretching and getting up.
“Same here. It’s been a solid 45 minutes, and we’ve eaten a few snacks and drunk some water. We should be good to go.” Celeste adds.
“Great, now someone has to wake up Mara and Aniyah,” Nainika says while wiping dust from her pants. We all stare at each other for a few moments, none of us want to be the one to wake up Aniyah. She gets scary when people wake her up.
“I’ll go ahead and wake up Mara,” I say and walk away before anyone can protest. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Astrid reluctantly walk over to where Aniyah laying. I do my best to stifle a laugh; Aniyah’s gonna be so mad when she wakes up.
“Yo Mara, wake up we’re leaving,” I say and shake her shoulder. Mara sits up, yawns, and gives me a thumbs up. I nod and walk away to join the others. As I expected, Aniyah is yelling at Astrid for waking her up.
“I need my beauty sleep y’know! It hasn’t even been that long since we settled down right?” she cries.
“Aniyah we’ve been here for 45 minutes. It’s time to go.” I enunciate like she’s a 2-year-old to get the point across. Aniyah sticks her tongue at me but gets up and packs up her stuff anyway. Mara joins us a moment later, and soon we’re all following the arrow again.
After another hour of walking, complaining, and talking, we reach a roadblock. A wide ravine with a raging river at the bottom of it. We all stare at the ravine for a few moments trying to figure out what to do.
“Maybe we could walk around it?” Astrid suggests.
“No, you dummy! This ravine stretches for like...miles. It would be easier to just find a way to cross.” Aniyah retorts.
“Yeah, but then the question is how do we cross?” Nainika asks.
We all stand there for a moment, stumped, but suddenly a grappling hook is fired across the ravine. I turn around and look at Celeste, who’s holding the grappling hook and grinning.
“We can use this to cross!” she explains.
“How?” I ask.
“Simple” Celeste holds onto the grappling hook as the line wraps itself tightly around a boulder on the other side. She takes a deep breath and jumps off the edge of the ravine.
“Celeste!” we all shout (except Mara) unanimously. I hold my breath in fear, but exhale when I realize what’s happening. Celeste swings across the chasm and onto the other side of the ravine. She climbs up and stands on the other side, waving happily at us.
“Whoa Celeste, you scared us for a second!” Aniyah calls from our side of the ravine.
“It’s fine! I’ll toss you guys the grapple and someone else can cross!” she says and throws it over. Nainika grabs it and quickly swings to the other side. Aniyah goes next, yelling in excitement on her way down. When it’s Mara’s turn, Astrid helps her find the grappling hook and swing across safely. Astrid and Imana go next, and soon I’m the only one on this side of the ravine.
“Ok Ethan, here you go!” Imana yells and throws it at me. The grapple swings towards me, but falls a few feet short and starts to fall back down. I quickly lean forward to try and grab it, but it’s no use. The hook falls to the ground, and I stumble off the edge.
“Whooa!” I say as I fall over and down the chasm. I quickly grab hold of a ledge and hang on for dear life.
“ETHAN!” Celeste calls.
“Don’t worry! I’m fine!” I call back. I pull myself onto the thin ledge and press myself against the rock wall.
“What should I do now?” I ask. Celeste turns to the others and it looks like they’re discussing what to do. Mara walks a few feet away from the group and points down the ravine. She bends down and pulls a vine from the ledge and shows it to everyone else. Almost everyone looks surprised, but Mara manages to walk around and do things with a blindfold on for months. I don’t think this should be surprising anymore.
Mara tugs at the vine as if to show that it’s already solid and sturdy. Everyone turns to each other in silent conversation before nodding.
“Could you guys hurry it up!” I shout, feeling my feet slowly slipping from the ledge. Nainika nods and throws the vine over at me and this time I manage to catch it. I grip the vine anxiously, but everyone’s already waiting for me. Oh god, how did I get into this situation?
End of Part 3! And dw, Ethan’s alive and made it across fine. No new characters were introduced in this part, but that’s because I’m introducing someone new in the next one. Now, this is where I need your help. Think of this as a poll. For the next part, should the gang head to the abandoned city (where they meet 1 new character) or the forest (where they meet 2 new characters)? Everyone will be introduced at some point, this just determines who gets introduced first. I think that’s all, later!