The woman slowly exhales to prevent further humiliation from the panting breath already fogging her clunky, but necessary, glasses. Wiping the rainwater dripping down her chin see looks up to see how far she was from her goal.
Still way far up. Freakin’ inclines and weak-ass bodies.
Using the instrument’s metal pole as a walking stick, please don’t do this at work, protocol is there for a reason, she stabs the pointed end into the soil and hauls herself forward. Just...maybe an hour. Just an hour more and she’d be on top of the hill and she can sit down as she waits for the instrument in all its slow-calibrating glory.
Energized by the thought of sitting still while the old-ass satellite receiver does its thing, she ignores her body’s condition. She’s achy and it’s raining hard and she’s muddy and it’s so unfair her teammates get to stay dry as they interview the natives. And she hurried up.
In her haste, her foot slips on a muddy root and she tries to regain balance by grabbing a nearby sapling. Except said sapling has thorny rattan hugging the bejangles out of it and things got worse, it freakin’ hurts.
She immediately releases her hold on the thorn-studded trunk and flails—which is, one has to say, a very bad idea for a person with below average balancing abilities. She leans out and steps back into...nothing. Her foot slides back and the angle took her tumbling back. And rolling.
And rolling some more.
At some point, she felt the heavy metal pole hit her leg with a bone-echoing slam and she spares a thought to the money that’s gonna get docked from her pay with the instrument getting battered to the ground in this weather. But mostly she’s worried.
Because she keeps rolling and hitting things and then... she might have blacked out for a bit before the rain chilled her back awake.
Still rolling, hurting, falling. Ouch.
Everything is hurting. And her legs felt cold, did my pants got torn off?
Do I still have legs?
The pain is too real though. Calm. Must steady breathing. No use getting an asthma attack right now. Okay. Stop tensing, let it roll. Me, rolling. Flop, flop, flop. Ouch.
Rainfall and water splashing and foliage breaking. She can finally hear something other than her own heartbeat. Unfortunately she landed face down which meant watery mud to her face. And like any young-ish, introverted woman with little to no life outside her house and for work, she can’t swim or drive or ride a bike, but that’s beside the point. So, hello drowning panic.
She flailed to get her face out of the puddle she’s landed on and had to whimper, scream at the pain each twitch brought. As any respectable clumsy lady have, she’d had broken and sprained body parts before. But never this many all at once! Who knew rolling down a staircase and rolling down what felt like a cliff has such a vast difference.
She splayed out in what she imagines to be a starfish shape, trying to breathe through the pain of protesting ribs and whatever else is broken somewhere. She blinked as she let the rain wash chilly water down her face.
Of course, a quick thought told her that she’s not at the base of the hill she was climbing just minutes ago. And from the feel of the humidity in the air and the type of flora that surrounded her spot on the ground, she’s faaaar from that hill. Like a whole different latitude away. More temperate, not tropical. Foliage more western than eastern. Hmmmm...
The water sluicing around her helped her get her thoughts running. Not logical. Did I die and moved elsewhere? Heaven? Hell? Rebirth? Not a newborn. What...
Noooo...? Can’t be?
She weakly raised a hand enough to let her turned head get her palm in sight. Small, soft, muddy. Like really small. Like kid-sized small.
She rolled her eyes down and tried to raise a chilled leg to see. Short, barely covered by a skirt tattered from her tumbling and a soft boot that seemed like leather. Never had soft leather boots before. But still. My long legs, my suitably thick thighs. My kinda boat-big feet! Ah. Okay, they get points for making the feet small. Also...
Patting herself and sighing. No use thinking about things that stayed small and flat. Bummer. But hope, maybe?
She grinned at the thought of further growth, proud of the way she easily accepted her heavenly horsecrap of a situation, but spluttered and closed her mouth at the dirty water that tried to drown her again. She forced herself to sit up and gritted her teeth at the pain of bracing her maybe broken arms on her thighs, looking around.
Forest floor, wooded trees on one side, more trees and a towering cliff on the other. Water level increasing as it flowed around her from the cliff-side and elsewhere.
It took a lot of careful, snail-slow moving to get unto a standing position, sorta. She tried to take a step and had to muffle a squeaky scream. It hurts! Okaaaay. Calm. One step at a time. Keep to the cliff face, there should be an overhang somewhere. Maybe a cave. No jinx, no jinx, no jinx. Sincere requests must be repeated. No jinx, find shelter. Don’t die.
The sky had already been dark when she started walking around, though she relegated her passable vision to the lightning that sometimes struck high up and her own adjustment. The (now) young girl did not realize that a dark stormy day is exaggerated with the thick canopy that covered everything in the forest she’s in.
She followed the foot of the cliff, detouring around steep portions as her aching legs can’t seem to carry any more strain if she even tried any more incline-walking. She’s a rational person who wouldn’t seek more pain when she’s already dealing with so much. This extra walking on flatter parts is okay versus sharper, further pain just to stay on-course. Trust her, she’s a geographer, she knows mapping and stuff.
“Hoooh? Is it a score? Haha. That’s a score for me~” she mumbled under her breath in mocking joy as she found a sufficiently large crevice she can walk into. If she wasn’t following the cliff wall she couldn’t have seen it as it was sort of hidden among the thick growth.
She estimated the entrance to be about man-wide and tall enough for one too. She hobbled inside and found that it was a little bigger than the crevice she thought it was.
She squinted to look at what should be have been the back wall. Complete black nothingness. Okay, way bigger than a crevice.
But dark is dark and she’s a coward, usually. So the girl sat herself down near the cave wall and cupped her hand to a steady drip of water to catch some rainwater. She sniffed at it and it seemed clean enough so she sipped at it, belatedly realizing that she’s limped for hours and was thirsty.
This is why I don’t go to wild places for fun. Everything makes me forget I should be doing things. Like hydrating and stuff.
She shook her head at her own silliness. Usually her younger brother or her mother or a teammate would remind her of the things she needed to do to stay alive or something. Nah...should be thinking about what to do now.
One can only use one’s injuries as an excuse for so long. She’s stuck until either she can find a way back to civilization without killing herself via her current injuries or she was found, Which, honestly, looking at the surroundings, the chances are low. Ooooor she wakes up and realize that she got pulled away from her slow crawl uphill for a dang satellite signal and into a highly-detailed, highly-realistic, and sense-rich nightmare.
Fortunately she didn’t feel scared. Oh? She feels a resigned awareness, a cold feeling just under her own thoughts. She thought inward and tried to catalog what she knew. As recommended by numerous MCs from the transmigration novels she’s read...
And she knew a bit more than she formerly did?! Who?
Memories and feelings, sharp and invading, flooded her self-inquiry. As a person who lived in her own mind more often than not, the new things are disorienting. She slapped a small muddy hand to her aching head. Tapping hard a few times, in her usual attempt to distract from pain, she mentally stomped on the burgeoning panic.
Calm. Must calm.
She slowly digested the new information the same way she arranges timelines in her mind when reading novels. Okay. That’s sufficient. Can organize more at a later time.
Now... what a poor child?! But also yay? I’m the youngest of a family!
As an elder sister as well as the eldest of her friend group and yes, internet friends count thank you, she rarely—never—experienced being the youngest anywhere.
Hoooh—Until I can get home if possible that’s still possible, this is a good enough place... I think. Just gotta get back to that house.
She ignored the issues that caused her situation of rolling butt over feetsies down a cliff in favor of getting to her apparently caring brothers. Whatever those issues mean, she can deal with it later. Not that the former owner of her body understood much to offer insight of those memories after all. One thing at a time.
The little girl raised bruised hands to her body and started kneading aching muscles. Taking stock of her injuries, she rolls through the original soul’s memories so she could make sense of her new and maybe temporary identity.
Morwenna. Her name is now Morwenna Malcolm.
“I am Mora.”