Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Eating.


 

In a place where everything is much more likely to eat me, the concept is daunting. As a living creature, I'm going to have to eat something. This makes sense.

The question is what?

Frogs? No, that would result in [Certain Death]

Bats? No, that would result in [Certain Death]

Centipedes? No.

Well, the idea is repetitive and straight forward. I'm at the bottom of the foodchain here. I'm small. All I have going for me is that I leveled up and inherited some kind of abilities.

Healing and fire. I think I chose well. In nature, fire is something that scares most animals. If I can't fight something, making myself seem unappetizing is of utmost importance.

Human memories of late-night television watched while being half-awake: Nature documentaries, British accents. Peaceful nature background music.

Very helpful now. A strange consideration all but entirely overlooked previously has come through.

So fire. That was a good choice.

But healing is just self explanatory. Anyone who has ever played a video game knows that healing is also of the utmost importance. Taking injuries and never healing? I feel that the chances of survival might drop dramatically.

But this is all irrelevant if I starve to death.

And really I might starve to death.

I've explored more than the tiny hole in the ground now. With the bats gone I've taken the liberty of ignoring instinct and slithering around. I've seen and learned quite a bit through this experience.

There is nothing I can possibly eat.

Bats, Frogs, Centipedes: I already considered these impossible prey, but even the smaller things lurking around the cavern look horrifically dangerous.

Spiders for example. There are many kinds of bugs and insects, as one might expect in a cave, but I also saw several spiders. Each of them happened to be larger than myself, and each of them happened to be munching on something with scales.

Instinct didn't like them much. Neither did human-side.

"Kill it with fire." Both were in agreement.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to kill anything with fire. I practiced one with high hopes after the bats left thinking optimistically: "If there's a magic that might make a tiny snake think better of themselves, it would be this."

Hiss... I was wrong.

[Fire Breath] for example. That was the spell I tried. The one that might not attract attention.

In theory, it sounds like it would turn me into a wingless, limbless dragon.

No. No, it's pitiful.

If I had to give it a power rating, I would say maybe on the scale of a match with some hair-spray behind it. One single puff of bright fire, and then it's used up. Maybe I could scorch something, but it probably wouldn't die.

At best it might run. At worst it might eat me.

With that, I believe I've confirmed the terrifying reality. I am the bottom of this food chain.

But I also confirmed something else. Something potentially life-saving through careful study and observation.

There is one level below me on this food chain. Or perhaps, there is one level entirely removed. The metaphorical bed-rock of the great cave circle of life.

The glowing mushrooms.

Nothing seemed to be eating these when I slithered my reconnaissance. Neither did anything seem to be getting eaten by them.

Human-side looks at this with hope and hunger. Instinct remains silent.

Snakes probably don't eat mushrooms.

That's a thought to consider, but then again: Some food is better than no food. Right?

Hisss...

Beside my hole in the ground, there is a rising pillar. A pillar once belonging to the recently deceased frog. There are many mushrooms on this. Dozens of them, in fact. Enough to remind me of a spooky looking Christmas decoration.

With great caution, I have pried the smallest and most accessible of their number free, and returned to my hole in the ground. It glows with a peaceful blue light, possessing a texture both smooth and domed.

Human-side is deeply considering the reprocussions of eating unknown mushrooms. Bear Grylls would advise against this.

Instinct is still silent. Like I thought, snakes probably don't eat mushrooms.

But starving... That's an awful way to die.

The longer I stare at it, the longer my hunger gnaws at me.

I am going to eat this.