Steampunk Family

Mushroom Trip

June 12, 2010
This entry is part of a series, Voyage to Antafrica»

“This narrow cave will open into an enormous cavern,” Claire said. “I don’t know how big, I couldn’t see very far because I only have one of Mother’s algae lamps.”

“So that’s where that went,” Adolphus muttered.

“Shhh! Go on, Claire,” Mirabelle said.

“But there was light there! I think there were cracks in the cave ceiling, or vertical tunnels, because there were patches of light beaming down. That’s where these mushrooms are growing. This is one of the biggest. I chopped it down at the base, then made the pole and oars out of the stem.”

“That was clever and brave of you!” Annabelle said.

“It is nice to have a boat that doesn’t leak,” Gerhardt added.

“But next time, please tell us,” Annabelle said. “We were worried.”

Adolphus opened his mouth to speak. There was the muffled thump of a sharp kick to the shins, so all he said was “Ow!”

“I’m sorry,” Claire said. “I get an idea and …”

“And you forget about anyone else!” Adolphus burst out.

“Be fair, Adolphus,” Mirabelle said. “She forgets everything else, not just people.”

“The point is,” Claire insisted, “if there’s light coming into the cave, we must be close to the surface.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t luminescent fungus like in Journey to the Center of the Earth?”

“No, Gerhardt,” Claire said. “It was brighter than a bioluminescent source.” She held up an algae lamp. “And it was directional, coming from specific points, not all over the ceiling. I think we’re just in a normal cave.”

“But where? It’s been days and days and miles and miles.” Adolphus said. “When we come to the surface where on earth will we be?”

They let the river carry them along, employing their oars only to keep away from the cave walls, and keep the mushroom from spinning. When they got to the mushroom forest they disembarked to stretch their legs and explore. Gerhardt measured and made sketches of mushrooms. After a while Claire realized that each of the children had found a faint patch of light and was just standing in it.

“Let’s go find some real sunlight before we turn into mushrooms ourselves!” She gathered everyone back into the boat and off they spun.

Mirabelle was still concerned that the river would end in a waterfall and they would plunge to their deaths, so she listened intently to the water.  Gerhardt gave up on his mushroom sketches for lack of light, and used his pencil to carve their names into the sides of the mushroom boat. They spoke in hushed voices or not at all, not only because Mirabelle shushed any conversation, but because a sense of the unknown weighed upon them.

Fate loomed.



This story began with On Grandmothers. The previous episode is Boat! and the next is Ambush.

Photo credit Bourrichon.
Entries in this series:
  1. On Grandmothers
  2. With A Bang!
  3. In Search of Ancient Angiosperms
  4. Assault on the Galley
  5. The Sorrows of Chef
  6. Faeries, Helpful Siblings, and other Mythological Creatures
  7. Meanwhile, Back in the Lab
  8. A Day of Discovery
  9. The Children’s Hypothesis
  10. A Research Date
  11. Aboard the Schmetterling
  12. The Cave
  13. The Cage
  14. Knee of the Yeti
  15. Kidnapped!
  16. A Clue
  17. The Yeti and the Comb
  18. Fighting the Count
  19. Fighting the Yeti
  20. Falling
  21. Breadcrumbs
  22. The Search is On
  23. Flight to Saigon
  24. On the Streets of Saigon
  25. The Sad Man
  26. At the Grandiere Club Aeronautique
  27. If you Give a Count a Cookie
  28. Out of Cookies
  29. Stuck!
  30. Airships Float?
  31. Where is Claire?
  32. Drowning
  33. Into the Drink!
  34. Boat!
  35. Mushroom Trip
  36. Ambush
  37. The Variegated Strangler
  38. In a Strange Land
  39. Hand over Hand
  40. The Last of the Gouda
  41. An Unusual Breakfast
  42. Downstream
  43. What's for Dinner?
  44. Axe and Fire
  45. Meanwhile, Back at the Airship
  46. Over the Gobi
  47. Return of the Grandmothers
  48. Warning from Huang
  49. Anxious Hours
  50. Ulrik Prepares
  51. Destruction by Dawn
  52. Finding Philomena
  53. No Luck in Pekin
  54. The Children Rescue...Something
  55. Corndog Liberation
  56. The Fate of Corndogs
  57. Have you Tea?
  58. Antafrican Hosptitality
  59. Onion Porridge
  60. Homesick
  61. On the Hunt
  62. Farm Living
  63. Singing for Supper
  64. You Say Potato...
  65. Curiosity is the Foundation of Discovery
  66. An Awkward Position
  67. Trouble Comes Riding
  68. Capsicum Capture
  69. To the Palace
  70. The Death of the Lincoln
  71. War Wings
  72. A Long Way Down
  73. Enter the Lightning
  74. Before the Queen
  75. You are a Tomato!
  76. A Sunken Ship
  77. Eglantine Aubergine
  78. Children of the Soil
  79. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  80. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  81. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  82. The Price of Popcorn
  83. Ulrik and Chef
  84. Fire!
  85. Claire's Bluff
  86. Tomato Queen and Aubergine
  87. It's Going to Blow!
  88. Rhodri in the Gardens
  89. The Servant's Fountain
  90. History Revealed
  91. Fight at the Fountain
  92. Repercussions
  93. Father Discovers the Yeti
  94. Aboard the Lucy Stone
  95. Summoned
  96. The Queen's Accusation
  97. The Queen's Rage
  98. The Khan
  99. The Last War Wing
  100. Eglantine Departs
  101. Thumping Rhodri
  102. Bad News from the Boys
  103. Where's the Count?
  104. In Search of the Count
  105. Spying on the Queen
  106. Confronting the Count
  107. Orphaned?
  108. Orphaned?
  109. Montesanto's Experiments
  110. Montesanto's Experiments
  111. The Queen's Tantrum
  112. Bettina's Tantrum
  113. The Flaming Queen
  114. Uprising!
  115. Uprising!
  116. Escape
  117. On the Run
  118. The Mysterious Coach
  119. Red Racer!
  120. Revolution Reset
  121. By the Acid Sea
  122. Farewell Antafrica
  123. Home Again!
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