Pasha was thinking about her family back on her home island. She imagined they had noticed her disappearance, and Buck would probably be the one who was worrying the most.
She also remembered what her sister had said to her when they had last seen each other.
“Do you think Buck likes me?” Dosi really liked Buck, but was unsure of how he felt about her. Pasha laughed at the thought, Dosi and Buck would make such a cute couple.
She was so busy concentrating on her thoughts that she didn’t see the large hole in the ground until it was too late.
It was covered with leaves and probably an old man-made trap.
She placed her paw in front of her and, not feeling the ground beneath her paws, leant forward. She toppled over and plummeted at least ten metres down until she hit the rocky bottom with a sickening thud.
“Pasha!” Buster bellowed as he saw the young pup disappear.
He took Princess off of him and rushed towards the hole, careful not to fall in himself.
All he saw was the jagged rocks that formed the floor and a small white shape lying motionless between two of the rocks.
Buster’s keen eyesight helped him see that Pasha’s chest was rising and falling faintly.
Her breathing was uneven; quick then slow, quick then slow.
There was a pool of blood spreading quickly by her head and her hind legs looked pretty bashed up.
Even though she was healthy and in the midst of her playful youth, she was only just clinging on to life, and she was losing the battle.
“Why don’t you use the vines again?” Princess asked urgently.
“If she is too badly hurt, it might kill her if I try to move her” Buster sobbed.
“What about plants. May some of them heal her?”
“No. That’s just on the movies and whatnot. She needs water” Buster insisted.
“Will this do?” Princess said triumphantly, picking up a hollow wooden bowl-like piece of wood and gesturing in the direction of a small, but supposedly clean puddle of water.
“Princess, I could kiss you” Buster shouted, hope coming back.
“Well don’t” Princess backed away warily.
Buster took the bowl in his jaws, raced over to the puddle and scooped up a considerable amount of the water.
He put the bowl down next to Princess, gathered up some vines, chewed through them and prepared himself for the descent.
He tied the longest vine around his flank and knotted the other end around a pine trunk.
“If this starts to come undone, do this” Buster instructed Princess. He hurriedly showed her how to tie a quick knot then edged cautiously towards the hole. One wrong move could either see the water spilling, or Buster falling down to his death.
He sunk his teeth into the now-weak, water soaked wood and lowered himself down.
As he went down, he let go of more and more of the vines he was holding, to allow himself to go further down.
From a distance, Buster looked like a human abseiling; the way he placed his legs on the rock face and the way he swung down were almost-humanlike.
His jaws were aching with the effort of holding onto to Pasha’s potential life-saver.
He finally touched the bottom and, with a heavy yowl of relief, he untied himself and went to find Pasha.
He weaved in and out of the rocks that pointed upwards like stalagmites.
The hole was too big and too deep to be man-made. This particular rock must have been weaker than the rest; the weather and the many feet which had walked upon it before the Great Disaster must have slowly eroded it away.
Three times Buster came across a skeleton. The first was a recently eaten Muntjac. The second was an old human skeleton. The third looked like a dog. All three of them must have been victims to the hole.
Pasha would be one of those bare bones if Buster did not hurry.
Even if Pasha did die in this hole, Buster decided he would take her body out of here and give it a proper burial. He hoped that would not be the case.
He soon found her lifeless form and, for a moment, he thought she had died during his climb down.
He saw the faint rise of her chest and huffed deeply.
Her breathing became a fast paced pant.
He quickly poured the liquid down her throat and her breathing recovered.
Now he had no water.
He gently rolled her over and examined her head wound. Luckily, the dried blood that caked her fur seemed to have stopped the blood flow.
Not wanting to reopen the wound and possibly make her bleed to death, he licked away the blood around the wound, but left the red liquid on her injury.
Her leg, miraculously, wasn’t broken, but it was ripped and skinned in many places.
“Princess” Buster called “Leaves”.
Princess obeyed without hesitation and started collecting the leaves around her.
She took some of the vines that Buster had set out for her and tied a pebble to her bundle.
She dropped it over the edge of the hole and, with the help of the stone; the leaves fell quickly and landed quietly next to Pasha.
“Nice, I like the idea of the rock” Buster muttered.
He untied the vines and selected a few green leaves. The bundle was a whole selection of leaves, but the ones that Buster needed the most were the dock leaves.
He took two large ones and placed them over Pasha’s skinned knee.
Although dock leaves only really worked on stinging nettle stings, Buster hoped it would relieve some of the pain.
He placed some more leaves on a large gash down her side and put some smaller ones on her muzzle, which was riddled with bruises and small cuts.
Pasha opened her eyes momentarily but, caused by the pain, was driven into unconsciousness once more.
Buster put a reassuring paw on an uninjured patch on her chest.
He suddenly came up with an idea of how to move her; he would tie the vines around her chest and put leaves on any injured patches that would rub on the vines and worsen.
Pasha twitched violently and rolled over. It was then that Buster realised just how much blood she had lost; too much.
The cut on her head had opened and the blood had begun to spill out. The leaves on her chest had become too blood soaked and the blood had been able to flow freely.
“Vines!” Buster yelled.
Princess threw a load of vines heavier than herself down into the hole. The landed on top of Buster and he clambered out.
He chewed a small length of the green rope, placed plenty of leaves on Pasha’s chest wound and tied the vine around her.
The vines held the leaves in place so Buster repeated this with her head and leg.
He then wrapped the long vine that would get them up around her and then around himself.
He then realised he couldn’t get back up; the vine was hanging limply down the length of the rock face. Princess couldn’t pull them up.
There was only one thing for it; climb.
He guessed the rock was soft to his claws would be able to hook into the wall.
Halfway up the wall was a small cave; Buster could rest there.
He began the painful process of dragging himself and his unconscious friend up the rock face and too safety.
If I’m risking my life to save her, why am I leading her into mortal danger? He pushed his front paws into the soft wall in front of him, pulled the paw out, put it into the rock above and lifted himself.
It was a painfully slow process, and Buster managed to reach the cave half an hour later.
He clambered in and carefully lifted Pasha in. By now, she was awake and moaning of the pain.
The cave was dark; the shadows seemed threateningly close.
Buster wasn’t sure how far the cave went, or how big it was, but one thing was for certain; he no longer had the strength to lift both of them up the half of the cave wall that still needed to be tackled.
“Princess!” Buster shouted, his voice echoing throughout both the small and the big cave “I need you to check the area around the hole. See if there are any hidden tunnels. Check in the bushes”.
“It’s scary up here on my own. I think there’s something in the bushes” Princess replied, her voice shaky and quiet.
“Climb down, carefully. Like I did” Buster instructed “and do it quickly”.
Buster untied himself and Pasha, edged towards the cave entrance, readying himself to catch Princess if need be.
He spotted the pet scaling the wall, her face twisted in a nervous frown.
She slipped twice, but made it to the cave unscathed.
Buster aided her in making her way into the cave and hastily untied the vines.
“I have no idea how far the tunnel goes. We will just have to find out” Buster ordered.
He and Princess steadied Pasha by walking closely either side of her.
At one point, the gap between the cave walls became so small; the trio had to crawl through in single file. This was a major problem for Pasha, who had to be pulled by the scruff through the gap.
The cave went on for ages; it went so far down that the trio came by a small freezing river.
As they progressed, the river became deeper and wider.
It was a worrying problem that seemed to become more and more dangerous; Pasha could barely walk on her hind legs, let alone swim. If it did end in them having to swim, Pasha would have difficulty.
Buster’s worst fears were realised when the river started to take up the whole cave floor.
It filled up the cave so much that the water had risen to nearly the top of the cave.
Lumps of rock formed on the cave roof, and to pass these, the three dogs would need to swim underwater.
It started off by walking through the water, when the water became deeper, the trio started to doggy-paddle.
By the time they had reached the clumps of rocks they would need to swim under, they were exhausted.
Buster went first.
He easily swam under the rocks and came out the other side.
Princess came next. It was harder for her because she was smaller, but luckily Buster was there to pull her through.
When it came to Pasha’s turn, she dived under professionally and kicked her legs only slightly.
She misjudged how far the rock came down and smashed her already aching head.
Her vision blurred and her limbs went stiff. She started to panic because she didn’t know where the rock stopped and where she could rise.
She could barley move, her whole body gripped in a panic attack. She opened her mouth in desperation, but it was soon filled with cold cave water.
She closed her eyes, too tired to struggle and gave in to her screaming lungs. She let herself drift backwards, away from Buster and Princess, away from life.
Although she was scared of dying, it was peaceful and a calm way to die. Once you got over the panic, it wasn’t so bad.
Her ruff was suddenly grabbed by a strong force and she was pulled back towards her friends and life.
She was yanked upwards and out of the water, coughing and spluttering.
“Pasha!” Buster cried as he set her down and touched her nose with his own.
He licked her back to try to get some warmth back into her and patted her with his paws.
Unable to help herself and overjoyed to be alive, Pasha started licking Buster’s dripping pelt.
Feeling left out, Princess climbed on top of Pasha’s back and started licking her as well.
Buster licked the water out of the terrier’s eyes and got the water out of her ears.
Pasha felt safe in Buster’s presence. He was a mysterious character whom Pasha barely knew, but he was like a guardian angel.
If only her assumptions were correct.