Year of the Broken Crescent- A Serial Short Story Part #3
Monja Demone never really attached himself, or considered himself akin to the community. He has claimed to have fallen in love with another Calian, but never chose to pursue her. He lived without a life partner, and grew more distant from his family as he became a young man. Even in his youth, he would seek isolation from the main events of Caliland. His mother and father had always had great things planned for Monja, and he was allocated countless hours each day of his youth for intellectual and spiritual growth, whether it be memorizing various volumes of climatology, biology, and agriculture, or seeking the religious ideologies of the various books of God. His mother and father planted this seed of individuality in him, and put him on track to make a great change. They thought that Monja was going to bring a new era to Caliland, and were intent on giving him a proper upbringing for the good of the cause. Many Calians look back on his past, and think that his own parents may have caused him to break the Code. Due to his excessive studying and meditations, Monja grew more intelligent with the years, but likewise all the more introspective. It may have been the intense pressure of becoming a scholar that caused Monja Demone to rebel from his parents’ wishes and become a leveler, seeking to live in the body and dismiss all the shrouds of information which clouded his mind. So he worked on the west shore, using the various ropes, pulleys, and crushing tools to level the land and move the debris off into the Pacific. No one can say why, but one day he wandered off from work at the time of high sun, not telling his work guide, or any of his fellow levelers, that he was leaving.
Monja Demone stepped up to the edge of Amarist. He looked miniature next to the ancient trees that encircled the mysterious garden. Above him the steam rose in giant drifts into the crisp blue sky. The rustling sound of creeks came from the distance within the forbidden wood of Amarist.
Monja unbuttoned a small pouch on the hip of his traveler’s vest and took out a few cranberries. He stripped the stems, spit shined them, and threw them in his mouth, wincing at the tartness of the juice. Monja was one of the more rugged Calians. He wore heavy duty brown leather pants that were laced on the sides, which protected his skin at work from the sharp textures of debris. His wavy unkempt beard grew six inches down. His hazel eyes had the young aggression of any 23 year old, and his legs and arms were hard as tree bark from all the vigor of leveling. His light brown curls bobbed from his head down onto his shoulders, and shifted in the swirling, soft wind.
Monja took one last look around, to assure that no one else was in sight, and proceeded to walk past the ancient trees. He walked through and was under a canopy of deep tree cover. Moss encrusted the ground, trees, and rocks in all directions. A dank mist enveloped the entire area. This mist was regular in Amarist, for the hot springs and steam beds emitted moisture into the air and the canopy trapped most of it, which allowed such dense and aromatic foliage.
Monja continued to survey the hallowed ground. He climbed up tall slabs of mossy stone and stepped through giant, strange looking flora. He maneuvered in this manner for about a quarter mile, and then came to a small opening, with some hot springs and strange colorful sprouts coming up through mossy soils. He stepped in closer to examine the sprouts, and discovered that they were mushrooms. But they weren’t the portabellas or the small grey mushrooms that the Calians raised for salad and spaghetti.
The mushrooms stood about three or four inches tall. They were a dingy yellowish brown, and had reddish speckles on their caps. Monja stooped down and began to pluck the mushrooms. He was surprised at their toughness, which suggested that they were quite old; most mushrooms, when young, will crumble when touched. He began to fill his small hip satchel with the firm mushrooms until it was full, and popped one in his mouth.