February 1, 2018 | Posted in The Mermaid & The WolF Adventures

The stob-goblin leads the way.

It darts from one part of the wall to the other. At points, it clambers up unto the ceiling, hissing, growling, and singing – always, always singing. The words sear themselves into the back of MeaZea’s mind, and she knows that she will never be able to forget the sound of the stob-goblin.

She doesn’t know how long they have been walking when the stob-goblin comes to a sudden stop. The creature races backwards, away from the path which they’re taking.

MeaZea says, “I guess we’re here.”

WooFZee counters, “I don’t hear any bells.”

The mermaid pets WooFZee’s head, soothingly. “Let’s see if we can find them, WooFZee.”

They walk onwards without the stob-goblin.

Much like the stob-goblin had, the path itself comes to a sudden stop, for the miners were never able to finish the tunnel. There’s a ragged crack at the end of it, which goes deep into the stone. MeaZea frowns. “Do you think we can fit through it?”

WooFZee whines. “I hate spaces like that.”

“I know. I’m sorry.” MeaZea reaches out, sticking her hand into the crack. “I think it’s where we’re supposed to go, though.”

Tail tucked between his legs, WooFZee starts forcing his way through the gap in the wall. It’s a tight fit. The stone brushes over his sides and pinches at MeaZea’s tail. They struggle – grunting – growling – fear heavy in the air – and then they burst through to the other side!

It’s clear that no miner has been inside of the gap. Panting, MeaZea says, “this cavern looks naturally made.”

Glowing white fungus lines the walls, giving them some semblance of light. WooFZee’s tongue is lolling out of his maw. “Those bells had better be in here.”

The duo doesn’t have to go very far into the tunnel to come across what surely must be the bells.

Massive clusters of dark red fungus hang from the ceiling. The clusters are shaped vaguely like bells, with golden vines dropping down from the center in place of the dinger. Some of them are dripping a strange red liquid. Others appear to be covered in a fine red fuzz.

“The bells,” gasps MeaZea.

WooFZee grumbles, “no wonder we couldn’t hear them. They aren’t bells at all!”

MeaZea asks, “why do you think the stob-goblins were so afraid of these things? They look harmless to me.”

“Fungus,” spits WooFZee. “Mushrooms! There’s a reason wolves don’t touch things like this. Plants can be even more dangerous than living creatures, MeaZea. I don’t like the look of that fuzz. It reminds me of spores.”

MeaZea frowns. She asks, “what are we supposed to do with them?”

“Destroy them,” offers WooFZee. And then, growling, “I just don’t know how.”

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author