The Strange Green Glow

The Strange Green Glow

It was a clear starry night when Robert set out with his backpack. He was on a mission! He had promised his friends he would get some wild mushrooms for them. These mushrooms were not just any wild thing, he remembered. They grew only in the bushery across the lake. He knew his mother would never approve during the day. So he had crept out in the silence of the night while his mother slept. His father had left long ago and never came back. People said he had been lost in the woods, probably devoured by wild beings.

As he trod softly over broken twigs he wondered what his mother would say in the morning. The moonlight filtered through the tree tops. He could hear the rustling of the dried leaves under his feet. A squirrel scampered nearby. It caught his attention. Its feet were glowing with a faint green fluorescence which was beckoning him towards it.

Robert was taken back at first but then curiosity overtook his fear. He began following the green trail. The footmarks ended near a huge tree trunk beside the lake. Robert realized the squirrel must have climbed up the tree. He was disappointed and fear started running up his spine as if something ominous was going to happen. His mother had taught him to be brave and never lose heart. He looked around. He noticed something strange about the tree. There were small slits in it just similar to a vending machine in the mall. This was rather amusing. He looked around for loose change in his pants. He often had a quarter or two hidden in the seams of his pockets. He dug deep into his left pocket and retrieved a twenty-five cent coin.  He flipped it over and caught it in his hand. The silver gleamed brightly in the moonshine. He took it and inserted it into one of the slots. Suddenly, there was a loud whirring sound followed by a cling and clang of gears and the tree trunk stood open. 

The same green light was coming out from deep within. Robert hesitated for a moment. But the green glow was inviting him! Very slowly he crawled into the tree trunk. He climbed down a flight of stairs to reach a small cellar. Further ahead was a wooden door and music could be heard coming from beyond. He pulled at the door and peered inside to a sight he had never imagined. It looked like a tavern and there were dwarf men and women drinking and dancing to the music. 

Baffled at the site, Robert stood rooted to the stop. One of the dwarfs carrying a tray walked towards him. Robert looked at the tray and was astonished to see mushrooms very similar to the ones he had come looking for. Robert picked one mushroom and put it in his mouth. His hands began tingling and glowing with a green spark. He could feel his tongue go prickly and become sticky as if he had eaten sparkly gum. His whole body felt strange and shaky. His torso gave a somersault and he realized he had shrunken. He could see his shorts touching the ground. He had turned into a dwarf!! He was one of them now. 

A dwarf wearing red robes pulled at his arm and brought him to a table where more dwarfs were playing roulette. Every winner was made to dance on the table. They were all laughing and making merry. Robert offered to play and he won in the second round. The dwarfs merrily caught him by his arms and legs and began passing him over among themselves. Initially, Robert couldn’t stop laughing but soon realized that he was still being tossed around. He started shouting to be put on the ground. Looking around, he found the red robed dwarf grinning at him with a wicked smirk. No one paid heed to his shrieks. They carried him outside to the edge of the lake. At the next moment he was lifted up and tossed into the lake. He fell with a loud thud. His head banged on the ground. He cried out loud and thrashed his arms up and down, as he did not know swimming. Suddenly he felt a sharp smack on his cheek and he opened his eyes. His mother was trying to wake him up and he had fallen off his bed……
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