The crowd of aborigines looked gleeful and it reminded me of my family back at home at a Thanksgiving Day feast. This was lovely. Just lovely. Shia and I were dragged to the center of the aboriginal circle and forced to sit down, all of them staring at us like hungry vultures. All was silent except for the roar of the humongous waterfall that looked pretty enticing compared to the tens of aborigines waiting to eat me.
Suddenly, an aborigine came out of the circle with what looked to be a small drum. Great, a traditional ceremony before they eat us—me actually. Shia was gonna get to go home. Really, that’s all I wanted for him. He had his whole career ahead of him. Nobody really needed me that bad. As I sat there, feeling sorry for myself—I couldn’t help it! —Shia was staring wildly at the aborigines.
“I’m going to get you out of here, I promise!” Shia whispered urgently to me. He whispered his plan in my ear and I nodded. I was still feeling sorry for myself as the aborigines started to dance, all of them dancing as one to the drumbeat. It was beautiful, but also like a nightmare. Shia kept trying to reassure me, and I was still thinking thoughts of suicide so he could just go home. But who ever reassured his safety? Nobody. I wasn’t about to leave him, as he wasn’t about to leave me.
“Now!” Shia yelled.
We both sprang up, freed from our binding due to his intense cutting with his switchblade all the while we waited for the right moment. The aborigines stopped dancing, alarmed. Shia and I were back to back, him holding the switchblade, me holding the knapsack. It was heavy enough to cause damage if it had to come into contact with aboriginal heads. Adrenaline rushed through my veins as ten or so aborigines charged us. I could feel Shia slashing away behind me. I was knocking them down left and right with the brown bag full of rocks. Shia had stuffed it once he was free. I had to admit he was pretty smart!
“To the hang-gliders!” Shia yelled to me although he was right behind me.
Once I had cleared the row of fighters in front of me, I dashed through a whole in the wall of human bodies and got to the hang-gliders. They both had our names stitched onto the handles. Shia had told me to get harnessed up while he kept their attention on him.
I harnessed myself to the lightweight, six-foot wide hang-glider. I turned to see Shia running for all he was worth to his hang-glider and he strapped himself in almost three times quicker than I had.
“Shia, I can’t do this,” I moaned as we walked ourselves over to the water’s edge, aborigines seemingly coming after us in slow motion.
“You have no choice! Jump!” Shia yelled and he jumped off the edge into the unknown.
I could faintly hear the yelling of foreign Spanish behind me as I took the leap of faith that I would never forget.
“Woohoo!” Shia cried from where he was, feet below me. He had perfect form as he glided down to the water. The waterfall was huge! It was at least a 200-foot drop. I let myself fall, putting my body into the same position that I had briefly seen Shia in. But something was wrong! The left side of my hang-glider felt odd, not like it had when I had first started gliding. I pulled at the rope attached to it. It didn’t respond. I looked at it and screamed when I saw the eight-inch rip in it! I looked down to see that I was still 150 feet up!
Suddenly I started to spiral, down, down, down. The water was rushing up to meet me, boiling and frothing in apparent watery happiness. I screamed one last time before I was plunged into the warm waters at the bottom of the waterfall.
The hang-glider was literally torn off of my body as I somersaulted in the washing-machine tumult. Water was everywhere, in my eyes, my mouth, my throat and my lungs. I fought to stay conscious. I wasn’t going out this time! Suddenly, the assault of water stopped and I was floating to the surface. When my head broke through the water to air, I gulped in air thankfully and coughed, water spraying out of my mouth and nose. “Ew, gross!” I moaned.
“Jen! Jen! I’m coming, hold on a minute. ARGH! I can’t get this stupid thing off,” he seemed to say to himself. I looked at my surroundings and saw that Shia was off to my left on the banks, tangled in his hang-glider. I dog-paddled weakly, going with the current, right past him and into a miniature peninsula. I gasped and coughed, as I lay there, thankful for the dirt beneath my wet body.
“Are you ok?” Shia ran up to me and helped me sit up.
“Yeah,” cough, “I’m cool,” I said, coughing still.
“You did amazing! We make quite the team!” Shia said, chuckling to himself. “Oh wow, that was a fucking huge waterfall! Hey, look, they’re waving at us!” Shia said, laughing harder.
I turned to look and saw the specks on top of the waterfall. I didn’t think they were waving though.
“I don’t think we have much time before they make it down here. Let’s find that boat,” Shia said, helping me stand.