Wordcount: 470 words
Rolling Down the River
Since the folks at Riverside had apparently never developed an interest in white water rafting Wendy and Gray were forced to swim as opposed to paddle. Not that she’d ever been kayaking, or canoeing, or even rafting for that matter. There was short discussion over whether or not they should bring logs for buoyancy, but it was finally decided that the logs would be more dangerous if they lost their grip. They’d have enough trouble just staying afloat without having to dodge arboreal missiles.
Which left them standing at the riverbank and looking at the sedately flowing water with less than enthusiasm.
“So.” Wendy looked up from the pile of belongings at her feet, having discarded them in the hopes of improving her chances “You ready?”
Gray looked as nervous as she felt, which was some small comfort. “Aye.”
“Good luck.” Moonstar was doing his best not to look concerned, but Wendy could tell that the unicorn had some serious doubts about the safety of the river.
But there was a story that needed telling, and standing here on the bank wasn’t helping. So Wendy took a deep breath, which really wasn’t as calming as she would have expected, and stepped into the river.
The water was cool, but not cold, and the river bottom sloped predictably so she was able to keep her footing as she waded in. In a few steps she was swimming and she could feel the tug of the current starting to pull her downstream. She turned slightly, just in time to see Gray making his transition into the deeper water with a look akin to panic on his face.
He must want this flute pretty badly, she thought. I wonder how well he can swim.. It occurred to her that the rockdogs probably weren’t fond of water and that Gray might actually not know how to do much more than float. Great.
With a sigh she turned and started heading downstream, aiming for the offshoot that would take her down into the canyon. Either Gray would follow or he wouldn’t, but that didn’t change the fact that she had to go. That was the problem with most stories, the hero would hit a point where all common sense said to turn back… and they kept going instead. The old joke about evil always winning because good was dumb seemed rather appropriate as she caught sight of the first hints of the rapids ahead.
In those few seconds before she was pulled along into the fast moving water she wondered at what point she’d started caring more about the story than real life. It was all so surrealistically absurd, the gate, the quest, because none of it really mattered, did it?
And then she was in the rapids and her mind focused on staying afloat.