Without warning it detached from the ceiling and started to fall to the ground, its back on a collision course with the floor. Instinctively, the boy leaped forward, dove out and extended his arms. He caught the creature before it touched the ground. It was heavy, and very nearly slammed his hands against the floor. He rolled it back over onto its feet. Without any delay, the creature crawled over to the large lantern in the center, and pulled open its hatch. It pulled itself inside while avoiding the water collected at the bottom of the oversized lantern. It extended one of its legs, and tapped a pedestal in the center of the large lantern. The boy moved in for a closer inspection. The creature pointed towards a hole in the pedestal. “It’s missing something.”
The creature scurried out through the wooden paneling. The boy followed after it. They returned to the first room. The creature waited for him at the entrance of the temple. “If I am going to travel with you, I’ll need to call you something. Skittering Red Back?” the creature’s antennae stopped moving. He sighed, “That is terrible. Until I can think of something better, I’ll call you Scamper.” He shrugged, “Not very creative, but it will have to do for now.” He caught up to the creature. It looked at him with black eyes, antennae circulating about. He stepped out of the building, but the creature did not follow. It gazed pointedly at him. “Well I don’t know where to go.” he remarked. “I assumed you did.”
He paused. “Um, is there- are we waiting for something?” The creature’s antennae stuck out sharply now, pointing towards him. “Me?” He smiled, “Oh. Would you like my name?” The antennae pulled back, forming eased, half formed loops. “My name is Trot.” Scamper started to move. It moved rapidly, Trot had to run to keep pace with it. Trot progressed with great strides, while Scamper’s six legs moved with small but very rapid motions. Scamper led him through the large forest. Trot ducked and weaved through the branches. He crunched through sticks and stones. He ran across the ground colored in beautiful leaves, when he saw a row of low set branches, which rose up to his upper leg. He slid and leaned backward, using his momentum to swiftly undercut the row of branches. He could hear the air squeeze between the small distance that separated his head from the hard branches. He stood up after the power slide and fluidly resumed his run. After a while, the path grew straight and Trot gave a sigh of relief. He felt confident now, and started to appreciate the light wind whipping against his face. As he galloped his foot dragged against a large rock. He flung forward, surprised to feel his steps pulled up beneath him. The light wind turned into a roar as he saw himself rushing towards the hard ground. He threw out his hands, his left catching the dirt hard and keeping him up, his right pushing him forward so that he stumbled back into his run and preserved some his fluid momentum.
The air thinned as they exited the colorful plateau and started to scale the mountain. He felt the humidity increase as well. The increment of the slope expanded gradually. He felt his ligaments pull as he stretched his legs out into long strides. As he ran, little green stems peaked through the dirt. The green stems stood up, and red petals bloomed atop them in sleepy circles. The red flowers sprung up in the fertile grass near where his foot struck the earth. The wind pulled back his hood as he rolled up his sleeves. He could sense the heat increasing now, the warm rays of the sun cascaded down the side of the mountain. The slope steepened further, and Scamper slowed down for Trot, who now had to bind up the steep mountainside, compelling his feet to launch him upward. Scamper’s sharp legs allowed it to dig into most surfaces and climb at the same speed it ran. Trot felt his breath grow heavy as he pushed it past his lips. The air felt even heavier when he pulled it into his mouth. Each step made his lungs pull harder at the thinning air. The ground flattened briefly, only to reveal a large knoll. Scamper crawled atop it and waited for trot to reach him. Trot shut his eyes and felt the sweat run in drips down his forehead. His felt a fire in his legs as he ran his feet along the dirt and pushed himself forward. He ran up the curve of the knoll. His lungs could not pull the air in fast enough, and his legs started to ache. He saw the top of the knoll, and lunged forward in one massive stride. He reached the top and collapsed on all fours. Trot’s heart slowed its beat and its lungs fetched more air. He regained composure and sat down properly.
A sprawling waterfall fell into a giant pool of glistening water. He saw a couple fish leap out of the water. Their tongues extended and caught flies as they took flight then plunged back into the depths. He walked over to get a closer look. Two fish engaged in some sort of ritual. They jumped from the water and slammed into each other in the air. The display of violence startled him. He could see their glinting scales fall lose with the loud “cracks” and “whacks” that erupted from each collision. He cupped some of the water in is hands. The water slid down his throat as he sipped it slowly. After the knifing dehydration in his throat calmed, he took wide and slow gulps, and let some of the water dribble down to the tree on his chest. After a few drinks of water, he stood back up and dusted himself off. Scamper called out with a loud chattering noise, and Trot looked over to see him sitting atop a curved slope. It rose out of the ground at a very high slope. The cliff had to rise at very least fifteen feet from the ground, if not higher. He sighed, and took a couple steps backward. He placed his hands against the ground, and sprung off to an unbelievable sprint. He ran up the curve of the steep cliff side, and skyrocketed upward, just narrowly catching the very edge of the top of the cliff. He adjusted his grip. Straining his arms intensely and trying to find a use for his feet now rapidly cycling against the air, he pulled himself upward and heaved his body onto the top of the cliff.
Trot clapped his hands on his knees so he might keep himself standing, “You are killing me here.” Trot stood up fully. “Hold on just one second.” Trot gazed at the waterfall, and the lake with the long tongued fish. He drew a scroll from his bag and opened it. It was a map. He traced out the lake area, the base of the mountain, and gave particular notice to the temple at the base of the mountain. “Alright, let’s go.” He had no idea if the bug understood him, but he knew it would not proceed without him. Besides, the joy he received from the simple one-sided conversation could be heard distinctly in the outskirts of his voice.
Scamper scuttled in towards a dense forest. Large white wooded trees with green leaves arched into one another, their leaves broadcasting a nearly fluorescent purple glow. They stretched upward and formed a straight lane to pass through, their branches intertwined, fusing the trees in arched unions. Trot ran through the lane. Outside of the lane, the trees were so intensely grouped together that they grew in union, sharing branches and roots. The ground could hardly be seen in the land beyond the lane. Scamper only cautiously entered the central lane, preferring to weave through the impossibly dense system of trees, by climbing in between the trunks. Trot traveled through the lane with. He felt faster running on it. He ran for a while, then noticed that Scamper started to chirp and whistle loudly. “I…” he paused, “What? Uh I don’t know what you are saying.” Scamper kept running with Trot.
A gentle hum issued from the atmosphere, riding upon the wind into his ears. He started to focus on that purple. It swirled and danced. That purple, its patterns kept changing and shifting. He liked that purple. Giant archways of purple cascaded around him, shifting in different shades and hues. The purple issued out in waves, like a concentric circle giving him a signal. He was having a conversation, and he smiled wide. Suddenly this odd hissing pushed at him, but the hum issued from the rustling of the leaves drowned such distractions. He could not leave the conversation, and he did not want to. He felt the world fall away. He only had the lane he ran in, and the miasma. Suddenly an impact blasted through the barrier, a fiery ball of crimson penetrated the purple glow, crashing into the lane and bashing up against his right arm.