Journey to Armillaria

This writing was prompted by Sonia G Medeiros and her fabulous August writing challenge. She has us thinking about alternate worlds this month which happens to be one of my favourite things to ponder. She wanted 500 words out of us but as usual I was unable to stick to that so here is my 1,000 word entry.


Ellen’s bladder was telling her she needed to act soon. She stood up and pushed her feet into her fluffy pink slippers. There was no light filtering in between her blinds. She shuffled through the doorway stepping into the hall but her feet never made contact with the floor.

Ellen was falling at an alarmingly fast rate down through the darkness. Her heart raced, she flailed about and tried to grasp anything within her reach. She heard a scream before finally realising it was her own. Her eyes were shut tight. It wouldn’t have mattered if they were open. The blackness consumed her.

Her body finally came to a complete stop. The impact of the fall from such a height should have killed her instantly. Surprisingly she was in one piece. Her fall was cushioned by a moist earthy smelling object. She opened her eyes and looked up. The sky above her was illuminated by thousands of spectacular twinkling stars.

She looked to see where she was only to reveal a field of giant mushrooms sprawled out before her. She pinched herself to make sure she was not still sleeping. The pain made her flinch.

She slid down the mushroom and landed in the forest of grass below her. Walking just a few paces she bumped into the side of another mushroom. Unexpectedly, a light switched on inside of the mushroom, she could see the shadow of a figure lit up through a window. Swiftly a door swung open to reveal the beautiful figure of a male elf. She rubbed her eyes at the sight of him.

“What sort of fool are you making noise at this time of night? Get in here now before something comes and eats you.”

Before she could speak she was pulled inside the mushroom which was surprisingly cosy. Rustic furniture had been lovingly crafted and furnished the entire living space.

“Who are you and where am I?” She demanded.

“Hush, don’t speak so loud, they will hear you.” The elf swiftly blew out the lamp leaving them in darkness, then introduced himself as Herion and said she was somewhere called Armillaria.

“Who will hear us?” She whispered but then she felt the ground rumbling beneath her.

“Too late for explanations, arm yourself,” the elf ordered as he threw her a sword. He then muttered under his breath, “humans have no sense, never have and never will.”

She stood with the sword gripped tightly in her hand as the vibrations worsened to the point that the furniture began to jostle about. She tried to maintain her balance.

The elf shouted towards her, “follow close behind and when I count to three we will go out the door and prepare to fight.” He crept towards the door and she remained just inches behind. Then he slowly counted.

On three he burst through the door with her close in pursuit just as it appeared hundreds of other mushroom dwelling elves did. Their timing was so precise she couldn’t help but wonder if they had done it before. From between the other mushrooms an onslaught of giant rats was upon them. The elves quickly jabbed and at the pack of horrible creatures, loud screeches could be heard before the vile creatures rolled to their death. Unfortunately, the rats were victorious as well, several elves were swallowed whole. The crushing sound made by the revolting creature’s jaws as they took the elves lives made the Ellen’s stomach betray her and she was sick.

She put her back against a nearby mushroom in an attempt to protect herself. She had never hoisted a sword in her life and doubted her ability to do so. Herion was nowhere in sight. She saw two glowing red eyes fixate on her, then rush at her, she was helpless. She lifted the sword high above her head, as the rat pounced. She closed her eyes and brought the sword down swiftly, the rat squealed. She waited for it to land upon her but when it didn’t she opened her eyes, her sword was stuck in the ground in front of her and Herion stood on the dead body.

She wore a look of gratitude and he wore one of honour. The battle ensued with her tucked up against the mushroom house for the better part of an hour. Then as the light came up in the sky above her, she was able to get a better look at the world around her. The bodies of the deceased elves and rats slowly turned to dust and filtered into the soil beneath them.

Many of the elves that remained alive gave her a look of disgust before returning to their mushroom dwellings. She waited for an eternity for Herion to return and began to wonder if he was amongst the victims. Then a shadow grew across the grass in front of her. She looked up to the sky and there he was on the back of a hawk. As the bird swooped down low enough he reached his hand out for her and she grabbed hold. He effortlessly hoisted her on in front of him and the bird soared up high into the sky.

“Where are you taking me?” She asked.

“Home, where you belong.”

“How do you know how to do that?”

“Let’s just say someone falls from your world into ours regularly.”

“So how do I get home?”

With that he pushed her off the bird and shouted after her, “the same way you came.”

She looked down as the ground beneath her appeared to grow closer quite quickly and she shut her eyes fearing the impact once again. Then she landed with a thump. Opening her eyes revealed she was finally home.

She shook her head and continued towards the bathroom. What a dream, she thought to herself but as she went to flick on the light she realised she was still gripping something tightly in her right hand. At first she thought it was a toothpick but after closer inspection it was a tiny sword.


About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three who doesn’t really know what she wants to be when she grows up.
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13 Responses to Journey to Armillaria

  1. Selena says:

    So sweet! Great job, Billie Jo!

  2. Wow. What an adventure. Such a fun story. I’d love to visit Armillaria…except for the rats maybe. 😀

  3. Thanks everyone! It is fun to write new worlds every once in a while especially since I have been spending so much time in the real world lately!

  4. This is a wonderfully fun story to read. Herion is very well described for such a short story. I’m with Sonia. I’d love to visit Armillaria when the rats aren’t around. *shudder* I hate rats.

    You also did a great job in giving just a taste of the world that allowed the reader to flesh it out. I feel I know a ton about Armillaria and would fit right in there.

    • It is lovely to visit during the day but just don’t go at night that is when you have to deal with the rats. Now that the door has opened so to speak, I think fate may bring us back there again sometime.

  5. I really like the image of the field of mushrooms under the stars. The earthy smell is so realistic, too. Nice job.

    And wow, was she ever able to “hold it” for a long time!

  6. BabylonMike says:

    Great story!
    I cannot help but wonder if the elf’s name being an ever-so-slight anagram of “Heroin” was on purpose. That would make the tiny sword… no, probably not.
    I fell asleep listening to Hotel California last night. I blame that.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting! Not an intentional near anagram but appropriate, I suppose, depending on how you interpret the story. Listening to Hotel California can entice amazing dreams.

  7. T. K. Guthat says:

    Fun story. You pack a lot in a short space. I particularly liked the start; the reader as well as Ellen are dropped right into the action. And I liked the ending, her bringing back a little proof of her adventure.

  8. Pingback: September Writing Challenge – A Fairy Tale | Sonia G Medeiros

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