Her screams echoed as the canoe plummeted over the jagged edge.
The screams continued.
Thelma waited. She was tired of screaming, but the story wasn’t continuing. Her furrowed brow was bathed with the never-ending icy spray.
The voice spoke, soft and contrite. “Um, sorry.”
“For what?” Thelma snapped. “I’m freezing.”
“Sorry, sorry, sorry!” The apologies spouted out in rapid succession.
“Then do something about it!”
“I can’t.” The voice whined.
“You’re the author!” Thelma griped, crossing her arms across her chest. “Think of some other brilliant thing to do to me!”
“You don’t like falling off a waterfall?”
“Ever ever fall off a cliff in a canoe while being perpetually half-drowned midway in this disaster for over two weeks?”
“I got stuck on the Mega-plunge slide at Aquaria.”
Thelma scowled. “And that’s bad?”
“Get me down from the stupid waterfall, then we’ll discuss my future.” Thelma stuck her nose in the air. “Until then, I’m busy.”
There was a pause. “Thelma…you don’t really want me to rush this part.”
“Why not? Am I going to break another leg? An arm? My neck!” Thelma forced herself to take a few deep breaths, pitching a fit with a frozen rush of adrenaline could only cause future problems.
Thelma choked. “Complicated? Switch places Miss High-and-mighty-authoress, then we’ll deal with the complications!”
“Well, after the fall you’re going to get spearheaded by this giant crystal rock, which means you’ll end up with a crystal powered heart and some weird super-powers. You’ll be rescued by this village kid who is a former runaway apprentice from-”
“I’m going to have a crystal-WHAT?!” A warm fuzzy feeling spattered over her. Thelma grimaced. “Stop laughing!”
“A crystal heart.” The authoress cheerfully announced. “It’s good.”
“GOOD?” Thelma roared. “That’s bad. Awful! Horrible!”
“Without a crystal heart, you never meet Thowra.”
“And I care because ‘Thowra’ is who?”
“The cutest fellow this side of the Kelton Sphere.” There was an exasperated sigh. “If you don’t meet him when your defenses are down, how will he fall in love with the real you?”
“This is the real me!” Thelma protested. “And I don’t want to fall in love!”
“No…I don’t. In fact, I don’t want to be falling off of this waterfall either. I think I’m going to find a mysterious sticky coil of rope in the bottom of my boat and since time froze, I’ll use it to lasso a branch of that giant tree. When I’m safely in the tree, I’ll meet this jungle dude and he’ll offer me some non-poisonous berries in exchange for my expertise in helping rid his village of evil poachers who kidnapped his sweetheart. I take the villains back to my homeworld, collect a gigantic reward and spend it on frivolous things for the rest of my life, with no more crazy adventures and I happily die a spinster.”
There was a giant sigh. “My version is better.”
“Is not. It’s bad. Mine’s good. Strong heroine, handsome fellow and a happily ever after that has nothing to do with said heroine falling in love.”
“Falling in love expands your heart.”
“My heart’s fine.”
“Uncross your arms.”
“You want broken arms too?”
“Too?” Thelma’s arms fell to her sides.
And the waterfall continued. Thelma’s fingers scrabbled frantically in the bottom of the boat for the non-existent sticky rope. The jagged rocks rushed to meet her as she squeezed her eyes shut.
Firm ground was inserted beneath her feet. Thelma peeked through her eyelashes to see a snickering Salma gleefully rejoicing at the canoe wreckage below. “What’s so funny?” Thelma inched closer to get a better look.
Salma whirled around, her features turning to the whiteness of refined sugar. “You! B-but how?” She glanced at the waterfall, launching herself forward in the same movement.
Thelma jerked backwards a few seconds too late as the crystal knife flashed before her face and plunged into her chest. The excruciating pain enveloped her along with an abnormal warm, fuzzy feeling. She groaned, newly frozen in time. “Stop laughing.”
“I can’t help it.” The author gasped. “Sticking with the canoe would’ve been practically painless.”
“And that’s good?” Thelma felt her eyelids lapsing shut.
“Yes. This is bad. Salma’s a lady warrior…she won’t stab you once.” There was the sound of something shuffling above.
“You can’t leave me like this!”
“I’ll see you next chapter, Thelma.” The voice was patient. “It’s three-thirty in the morning-I need chocolate.”
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