RTTH - Wrong Way

The demented product of yet another writing prompt. The idea was to describe a craggy-looking landscape with giant mushrooms in the form of a short short story. There had to be two characters, one of which was to say something stupid or witty and the other character was to react. As per logic, I used Runge and Ramy. This isn't canon, but it totally should be.


This wasn't a rest stop. In fact, this wasn't even a civilized area. The clusters of dark, quartz crystal-shaped boulders that stabbed their way up through the floor of the cliff-rimmed river basin ahead told quite the opposite story, and this was tame in comparison to the craggy and unforgiving landscape of Keyug Prime. The monumental silhouettes that stood erect in the clouded and hazy background were merely the demented older cousins of those boulders, killing the cheerful idea that a city was nearby.

So much for relief. The informant who had told the two adventurers that there was a nearby outpost with a convenience store was in for a merciless flogging; at least, that what they felt would have been appropriate for his deception. Jerk.

Runge Margavo and Ramy Dusotes merely stood in place as a crisp, chilled breeze sang through their fur and past the rocks ahead, filling their canid nostrils with a stale stench. Expressionless, they absorbed the grim scenery and marinated in their quiet anger like so many Thanksgiving turkeys. The galaxy was cruel.

What really pulled the melancholy of the scene together was the grove of building-sized mushrooms that were perched atop the cliff nearby, sitting in serenity while mocking the travelers with the fact that they weren't gigantic soft serve machines and vats of mass-produced fried wonders. Flocks of white birds fluttered about the hemispherical caps of the mushrooms, although a field guide — had one been present — would have told the travelers that these were not avians, but winged, motile spores looking for new places to take root. The enigmatic blue glow that spilled out from within the denser groups of striated, vine-like stems didn't help the mood of the hapless travelers.

Perhaps this was the informant's version of a rest stop. Perhaps there was something beneficial here, unseen by their untrained eyes. He would suffer a painful death regardless.

Runge, the taller, blue-furred traveler, gazed upon the fungal monstrosities in muted curiosity. "Ramy."

"Yes, Runge?" The shorter, brown-furred lupine woman turned her attention from a boulder to where Runge was looking, also granting her a view of the back of his head.

Runge pointed lazily at the nearest mushroom. "I am going to smoke that. Do you think I can smoke that at some point?"

A random belch would have made more sense. Of all the questions in the universe, why that one? The brows on Ramy's forehead flattened with dismay in unison with her ears, followed by a derisive, ego-melting glare that Runge would unfortunately miss. "Our ship's gravity repellers are more than enough to escape this planet's gravity. I don't need you to get so high that everything floats off with you into orbit. We still have a fugitive to catch."

"I didn't mean smoke it right NOW. Just as a cool little project later."

The sound of a hand making forceful contact with a face resounded through Runge's ears from behind, telling him that his statement had broken the Stupid Barrier. He had been warned several times not to do that, especially during a sensitive mission such as the one they were on; but the intensity of the temptation had overwhelmed the logic centers of his Sirukti brain. He couldn't help but smirk.

- Roystonn Pruitt, 2/20/14