'Shrums!'

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Bowl full of 'em right here! All sliced and ready to eat! Come and get 'em if you're hungry," came the shouting direct from this mushroom vendor.

"Well, if you're willing to take the hallucinations with the food," I thought to myself, as I walked by the stand displaying a hundred different types, some cooking in the specially prepared pots, some hanging to dry from threads attached to the rafters.

"It's mushroom heaven here!" shouted the cook again. The delicious smell of buttery fried mushrooms permeated everywhere. I was strongly tempted to try some.

"What do you say we have a quick bite of these here lovely fried mushrooms, with our butter-bread and red wine?" I asked of the companion walking silently by my side. Her head nodded affirmatively but just as noiselessly, from within her covering hood.

We sat at the crude wooden tables, on stools made from tree stumps, and devoured our steaming mushrooms. The wine canteen was half empty when we arose from table, and the heavy rye bread sandwiches liberally spread with butter were diminished by a third. There was enough food to last another day or two if we were careful.

As we wandered through the rest of the fresh food market, the mushroom's effects began. We saw things in the dim corners that could not be named or recognized as being from this dimension. So far they were staying fairly inactive in their monstrous little corners. But neither of us were willing to guess how long they would stay that way.

I pulled my grey hood over my head and down over my eyes. Since my hair was usually a bright red, there was no sense in attracting unnecessary attention.

We circled around to the gate where we had entered, and slipped outside the market. Here, there should be none of these creatures of the dim.

I estimated another 24 hours before the mushrooms were out of our systems, and no longer impairing our vision. The market would last for another 4 days. We crawled under the first covered horse wagon we could find, to sleep. Given that it was laden with potatoes, it probably wouldn't be going anywhere before the next 4 days were up.

As I drifted off to sleep, I thought dreamily of the fresh smelling straw under my head, and hoped it wouldn't rain. Otherwise, the straw would be soggy, and my clothes would be soaked through with mud.

Writing by Regina Stemberger

Photo "shrooms" by psyberartist

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