Anodyne sat in a hall of other deities; he leaned against the table with one arm, while with his other, he spawned a variety of insects to fight one another. His face remained still as the fights failed to raise his spirits.
“Are you even listening?” A voice called out to Anodyne.
He looked up to see the head of the table staring at him with a glare.
“What a weird way to start a conversation, Felton. You need to work on your social skills, especially if you are to lead this whole… Urgh.” Anodyne pursed his lips together and squinted as he erred to himself.
“You have no idea why we are here, do you?” Fleton asked as he looked to Anodyne with a failing patience.
“Not really.” Anodyne laughed. “I see a table of eight deities, nine including myself. But I don’t see us doing anything but talk.”
“Sometimes we need to talk; there are many plans that need to be made if we are to compete with the other gods of the Eternaverse. Why are you here if you are not going to participate?”
“You know what, good point.” Anodyne stood and started to head towards the door.
“Wait, you can’t just leave. If you want to be a part of this…”
“I don’t.” Anodyne interrupted. “I came under false pretenses; I am looking at you, Light. Sick of your lies, I am out.”
Light shrugged as they reclined in their seat, grinning as their eyes changed color rapidly.
“Then what are you going to do if not this?” Fleton asked, his anger boiling to the top.
“I don’t know, probably fuck around.” Anodyne called out as he walked from the room.
“Now.” He said to himself. “What to do?”
Anodyne wandered around the Eternaverse bored; cycling through his universes, he sighed with boredom.
“I need a new world, a new place to have some fun. But I need something more…Unique.”
Anodyne thought to himself for a long while before cracking his fingers. He dove his hands into the fabric of the universe he was in and split it, creating a new universe to play in. He strolled through many planets, creating life, then destroying the planet when he became frustrated.
“I still can’t make sentient life? This is absolute shit.”
Anodyne waited in the universe until life developed, and it started its own civilization. Towns started to form, and technology advanced, with electricity, religion, nations, and most importantly, war. Anodyne whispered into the ears of all who needed it until the wars consumed the planet; all the sentient species fell, first to the war, then the failing living conditions snuffed the life of those who survived the initial onslaught.
“Perfect, an empty planet, with ruins that scatter across the landscapes. Now it is time to have some fun. I have been wanting to use this ever since I got it.”
Anodyne imbued a nearby small cluster of asteroids with a strange powder from a vial that read.
‘From the center of Quorn.’
The green powder clung to the stone in the asteroids as soon as they made contact. Anodyne made sure his vial was empty before nudging the asteroids towards the planet; they broke up in the atmosphere and covered the planet with the strange green powder. Anodyne struggled to hide his excitement as he waited for the powder to take effect. He scoured the planet, crawling through the mud until he finally found what he was looking for.
“Yes, that is right. Come forward, new life.”
Anodyne laid on his belly as he watched a small piece of fungus had arms split from the body, legs spurted out, and eyes developed on the stem, just below the cap of the mushroom.
“Oh my gosh, this is perfect. Goodbye things I am supposed to be doing; this mushroom is now my life.” Anodyne said as he stared with awe.
He quickly shrunk himself to the same size and turned himself invisible so he could follow his newest intrigue without disturbing them.
The mushroom flexed the ends of his arms until three thick fingers and a thumb emerged. He was a pale, creamy, white with a brown cap. He coughed, and chunks of mushroom flesh fell out. He fell to his knees until he stopped vomiting; at that point, he was finally able to speak.
“Oh, I hurt; why can I move? What am I?” He asked himself as he spat the last few chunks of flesh from his mouth.
He looked up from his low position; a sea of grass surrounded him, trees towered high into the sky in the distance, and the thrum of the outside world vibrated in his new little ear holes. The sensation of sentient life overwhelmed him. He covered his ear holes and shut his eyes as he fell to the ground and rolled in the mud. He curled up into a ball and squeaked until he fell unconscious.
When he came to, it was night, and his senses had calmed down. Blinking quickly, he adjusted to the bright light of the moon. He sat up and took everything in, now no longer suffering from sensory overload.
“How strange; I have never been able to move before or speak.” His eyes locked onto the spot he used to reside; a slight divot remained from where he once stood. “Oh, I can’t feel my roots.” He touched where he once stood. “I don’t know what I am supposed to do.”
The now sentient mushroom patted the ground passively as he looked around. He spun his head to look towards every noise that emerged from his surroundings.
“I guess I could go for a walk.” He said, giggling to himself.
Jumping to his feet, he started to wander off through the tall blades of grass that curled at the top. He bumped into the blades, and small droplets of water fell over him like rain. His head bent as the heavier drops came down with force, knocking his head around. Each time he was pushed around, he would smile, shifting himself back to an upright position as quickly as he could; then, when there were no large drops, he would smack the grass so the heavier droplets would fall.
The grass blades above him would dart side to side as they were smacked, creating a path of dry blades of grass through the dew-covered morning.
His attention was pulled from the grass and falling water when a small cluster of pill bugs shuffled through the base of the grass. Nearly a full dozen of them navigated the forest of grass that housed them. A couple of the larger ones approached the mushroom man, their antenna tapping around his legs. The mushroom laughed as the antenna tickled him, but as soon as they were interested in him, they were gone. He looked down after his giggling fit with a soft sadness as he watched the tail end of them disappearing through the grass. He was going to follow them when something coming from the side they came from caught his eye. He turned his head to see another large pill bug walking much slower than the others.
This one was different; unlike the dark browns of the others, this one had a green sheen on its shiny chitin. His armor plates glinted every time the moonlight broke through the grass. He shuffled quietly; his antenna was dancing along the ground until it found a small piece of dead wood. It picked it up with its mouth and began to chew. The mushroom lowered himself onto all fours and crawled over to the bug, fascinated by it. The bug was unaware of the mushroom’s slow approach. The mushroom’s mouth opened slightly with fascination as he reached out and touched the pill bug, scaring it into a ball.
His mouth opened even wider as he audibly gasped. He ran his hand over the smooth-shelled exterior of the pill bug. He picked it up and rolled it around in his hands, twisting it to catch the moonlight, showing off the swirls of green that mixed through its carapace.
“You are so pretty; I love being able to see so much.” He said while tears started to appear in the corner of his dark eyes. “I will leave you alone now. Goodbye little ball bug.”
He pushed himself up to his feet and wandered deeper into the grass. Glancing back, he watched as the bug unrolled itself and continued his chewing on the dead wood. The mushroom grinned as he enjoyed watching the little bug snacking on the wood.
“I like being able to move and see; it has made my life so much better.”
The mushroom leaped from rocks and jumped over sticks. He grabbed a short twig and used it as a sword to smack the long grass blades out of his way, making exaggerated grunting noises as he went.
“What is that?”
He turned his head to a soft red glow that was glowing nearby, small sparks lifting high into the air before becoming dull and falling to the ground as a speck of ash. He stopped swinging his stick and walked with curiosity as he felt a warmth coming from behind a particularly thick grouping of grass. Strange noises came from beyond the wall of grass, and the mushroom man stuck his stick through the wall in front of him, parting each piece he forced his way through. When he passed out the other side, there were two mushrooms on the other side; they were talking in hushed tones and spun to face him as soon as he emerged.
“Oh, there are more of me. That is fire, isn’t it?”
The other two mushrooms looked at one another with pity.
“Hey there, my name is Ushma, and this is Moro. You must have only just woken up, I didn’t realize that was still possible.” Ushma said as he patted next to himself. “Come join us; we can answer any questions you have.”
The mushroom lit up with delight; he sat next to the other two, still with a stick in hand.
“I don’t have a name. Do I need one?”
Moro sighed lightly. “Uh, yes. Everyone needs one, so it makes talking to you easy. You can choose anything. But it is best to not change it too much, or you will confuse others.”
The mushroom hummed. “I want to be called…Penny.”
Ushma and Moro both nodded as they looked at the still-perfect form that Penny had.
“It is perfect.” Moro said
“It feels soft, just like how you look.” Ushma added.
They looked to Penny, jealous of the fact that he was still in perfect condition. Subconsciously they felt the parts of them that were missing, longing for the days when they were whole.
“Thank you, so why are we all talking and moving? What happened?”
“Well, no one knows. We started moving, some other things stopped moving, and others seem to get smarter.” Moro said as he looked to Ushma, who was still feeling at a chunk that was missing from his cap.
“Yeah, our mushrooms all started moving, some of the bigger animals seem to all be dead, and now there are insects all over; they seem to have gotten smarter and much more dangerous.”
“Strange, I picked up a little ball bug earlier; he seemed lovely.”
“That is just a small bug; they like eating dead things, so not much trouble to us. But there are others out there that are not so forgiving, some that just want to eat us. Some that hurt.”
Ushma grabbed at the large gash in his cap. “The creature didn’t even want to eat me; she was just mad.”
Penny grabbed at his cap and squished it in between his fingers, squinting at the uncomfortable sensation it created.
“I have been having a lot of fun wandering around. Are you telling me that this place is not safe to walk around in?”
“We are telling you that this isn’t a place to wander in. We are sorry, but surviving is hard out here. We are heading to the nearby town; if you want, you can come with us.”
“Wait, we have towns?”