Glad you could join us for the next visionary episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
The first spongy bite tasted, not like chicken, but bitter like betrayal. Spinning back to face the creature in the tree, Elliot saw no one.
“Show yourself!” he demanded, but no one answered. “I knew this was a mistake. It’s probably poison, and now I’m going to die right here among these singing weeds.” What was it they were singing?
The hum in his head clearly told him to take another bite.
So he did.
Like anger, it roared to flame in his mouth, burning the song to ash, pouring steam from his eyes, clouding the sky with mosquitos.
He needed water to put out the fire on his tongue. There it was, dripping from the mushroom. Waving the whining away, leaning forward to lick the sparkling golden dew, he heard a fuzzy voice.
“Elliot? Elliot, I’m in here. I can’t get out. Help me, Elliot. Find me. Get me out, Elliot!”
“It knows me. It must be Cassandra.” He chewed at the rippling surface, each mouthful saturating his tastebuds with fear or doubt or suspicion or grief until he fell back in defeat and tears while the fungus showed no damage at all.
“I can’t save you, Cassandra. I don’t know how.” Every sound dripped with despair.
Bendy words floated before his eyes, mocking him. He could hear them in his heart, “Elliot the adventurer, Elliot the protector, Elliot the hero.”
Elliot the Insufficient.
Daylight blinked out; night wrapped itself around his soul. “I’m never going to see her again. Never see her smile that shames the sun. Never hear her laughter that sings the most joyful love songs. Never feel her hold me or taste her sweet kiss.” He lay on the undulating ground and cried.
Slipping into his brain, the mild scent of cranberries whispered, “It always turns dark before the glory comes again.”
Raising his head to see who spoke, everything he had done since he moved into this shell flashed before his eyes. The darkness faded, and he remembered who he was.
“I am Elliot the Adventurer. Elliot the Protector. Elliot the Hero. I will always be enough.”
The voice within the mushroom called, “Come find me, my love. Follow your heart.”
As he ripped a chunk from the center of the fan, a spark of gold shot from the hole and wove a strand through the rainbow trees. Squaring his shoulders, Elliot stuffed the chunk into his mouth. Before he even began to chew, it dissolved into an elixir spreading strength throughout his body.
It tasted like hope.
He would follow the golden string of light, and find his beloved Cassandra.
To be continued. . .