Robert Whiting In search of awesome

Holes in the map


After a breakfast of Honey Nut Cheerios and apple juice, the group set out from the tiny castle with Muffin the Landlord leading the way.

The tiny turbaned man led them into a forest, following a brick path that weaved back and forth around the trees. The path almost overlapped with itself several times where it almost entirely circled a large tree.

At one such juncture, Jimmy mentioned it to Muffin, “Can’t we just cut through right here? The path goes around the tree to right there.”

Muffin stopped–which stopped the whole group–twirled around and glared at Jimmy. He glanced at the path and around the tree, huffing as if the tree had lied to him. He pursed his lips and said, “If you want to die.” Then twirled around again and continued on his way.

Jimmy tossed a stick across the gap as Muffin rounded the tree. The stick landed safely on the path and Muffin sniffed as he stepped over the stick and continued going. Everyone in the party walked on the path around the tree except for Jimmy. He Jumped the gap just after Benny passed it and landed safely on the path.

Odd things grew in the forest. At first the colors seemed a little off on the tree bark, but then they started to notice more obvious things. A clump of mushrooms grew in a patch of sunlight, but instead of normal mushrooms, the tops looked like old boots–tiny mushroom sized boots and detailed down to shoe laces and cracked leather. A small stream trickled over the path, but it smelled like isopropyl alcohol.

Then they went around a tree and the path dropped off into a dark pit. Thirty feet across, the path continued into the forest.

“Here’s the hole!” Muffin pulled a box from his coat.

Jenny pulled out her laptop and started typing away on it.

Jimmy pulled open his backpack and started rummaging around.

Benny walked up to the edge to peer into the abyss.

Candy pulled out her phone.

Danny walked over to Muffin the Landlord to get some answers.

“So,” Danny began, “do you know what’s causing it?”

“Nope.” Muffin pulled a pen out of the box and tossed it into the pit. When it crossed the boundary to the abyss, it turned to black ash and swirled into the hole. It reminded Danny of a toilet flush.

“You said they’re growing, have you been able to correlate the growth with anything?”

“Nope.” Muffin pulled a mouse out of the box and tossed it into the pit. The mouse vaporized and the black ash disappeared into the darkness below.

“Woah, wait, what are you doing?” Danny didn’t register that it was a live mouse until it was in the air.

“Throwing stuff into the pit.” Muffin looked at Danny inquisitively, then his expression changed to understanding. He pulled a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle out of the box and handed it to Danny. “Go ahead, toss it in, it’s fun!”

“What? No.” Danny was confused and frustrated. This wasn’t how this was supposed to go.

He looked back at the group.

Wait, he thought, what is Candy doing here? Didn’t we leave her back at

But as soon as he thought it, Candy burst into black ash and streamed directly for the pit–toward Danny and Muffin. Danny jumped out of the way, but Muffin was rummaging in his box and facing the other direction. The black cloud of ash enveloped the odd landlord and pushed him over the threshold. A yelp echoed in the forest before an abrupt stop when Muffin turned to black ash too–Candy and Muffin’s ash spun and mixed as it flushed down into the abyss.

Danny got up and everyone remaining took a few steps back from the pit in horror.

They walked back down the winding path slowly and silently until they arrived at the tiny castle. All their options seemed spent. Where else could they go to get answers?

As they sat around the fire pit in the castle courtyard staring despairingly into the flames, an owl arrived with a note.

“Meet me at the the library of Austin, Texas. -{seer person from earlier in the story}”

Danny looked up at Benny, Jimmy, and Jenny and said, “Something is seriously wrong.”

Muffin the landlord <= Danny Rocket =>