The Three Little Pings
Once upon a time, in a far away land, three little Pings lived peacefully, in a small sphagnum bog. The three pings used to hang out a lot together. The first little ping was named Maury, the moranensis. The second was Lauri, the Laueana. And last but certainly not least, was Crystal, the crystalina.
Maury was a real good looking guy and always had a lot of attention from the girls, but he wasn't the 'stickiest of the group.' You see, he wasn't all that smart; he roamed around, without a worry in the world. Where he lived was in an open, unprotected, grassy bog. When it would rain, he'd get wet, when it would be windy, he and his flowers would sway, but he was strong and he wasn't worried about getting wet and having his flowers blow in the wind.
Lauri was Maury's next door neighbour, she was smarter than Maury because she always though ahead, always planning things out she was! She was very pretty too, her red flower was unique and everyone complimented her on it. She, on the other hand, lived not in the open, but in a peat palace, with walls of pure Canadian sphagnum peat moss. There were Biblis chandeliers, and a Utricularia carpet. She did have walls, so she was sheltered from the wind, but there was no roof, which caused her to get wet when it rained.
Crystal was the coolest of the gang, she, just about a year ago, won the jackpot of the lottery! She would flash her bling around, winking at the boys, attracting even more attention than Maury, wherever she went. She was the one who bought Lauri the chandelier on carnivorous day, the day we celebrate the all mighty Audrey2’s birthday. Which just so happens was just about 1 year ago. Crystal lived in the west side of the bog, where the other, wealthier plants lived. She didn’t live on the cold muddy floor of the bog, she was privileged. With her newly won money, she went out and bought the biggest and most spectacular terrarium money could buy. It had a thermostat, humidistat, and automatic watering features that could be used from any room of the glass terrarium. It even had an electric folding canopy for the real hot days.
One day on an early spring morning, the skies were real ugly, they were dark grey, and the sun had not been out for quite some time. Crystal didn’t have a care in the world for the weather lately; she was enjoying the company of friends in her weather-proof home. Lauri was getting to be cranky, she was able to get by without the winds, but the rain was tiresome and she was starting to feel weak. She doesn’t invite people over when the weather is not nice, so she was beginning to feel lonely. Maury was just plain beat. He was cold, wet, and had a case of the sniffles. He tried to hide it. He was a very proud fellow and did not like to show weakness, but his good friends could see he wasn’t doing well. He had weak coloration; his flowers would only last 3 days, and lately, he just couldn’t catch anything!
Out of the corner of the bog, someone noticed a shadow on the ground, but no one was able to see what was making this shadow! At first, no one really took notice to it, and they kept living their lives, ignoring the danger that was lying just beyond where they could see. As days went by, the weather worsened and things were not so great, even for Crystal, who was having a hard time with the timer of her artificial lighting she just installed due to the recent bad weather.
A week goes by, and Maury hears someone, it doesn’t sound like anyone he knows, this person had a deep and scratchy voice, and had a slight lisp. This voice could be heard when the winds were quiet, but not when they were strong. But Maury is too sick to get out of his bed of LFS, and decides to call Lauri, his neighbour if she hears anything.
‘Hey there Lauri. How are you holding out with this bad weather?’ Maury says. ‘I’m doing ok, but I am more worried about you. The rains and winds are cold this spring and you have no protection!’ Lauri replies. ‘You need not worry about me,’ he says confidently, ‘I am strong and can come back from even the worst of weather.’
‘Have you heard any weird voices recently?’ he asks Lauri, she just shrugs her shoulders and says ‘Nope, are you sure you’re feeling ok, you don’t seem yourself these days.’ Maury replies without hesitation, ‘don’t you worry about me, I though I heard someone talking in the bog the other day, it must have been the frogs.’ They would go on their way, doing what they were doing, and forget about this conversation, until…
3 days later…
So the weather started to let up, and it stopped raining. The sun was in the clouds, it was still quite windy, but those who were feeling the brunt of it were happy it was easing off. Not too far west from where Maury and Lauri lived, a small group of tall grasses were whispering to each other, saying that ‘he who we do not mention’ is coming. This is heard by the shrubs, who passed on the message to the mosses and the word is passed on some more. Eventually, the pings and droseras all around the bog are chatting and gossiping about ‘he who we do not mention,’ and they all rallied together to avoid scaring the young and worrying the elder.
‘I remember back in the day, HE came, HE terrorised us, like a silent breeze, and OVERNIGHT’ said an elder in a jumpy and fearful voice, ‘took over the whole east side of the bog, covering it with a shadow that would not go away!’
The mommy pings didn’t like to hear such awful things and took their young home to get some rest. The others stayed and listened to what the elder had to say.
‘It was the worst of times, we were helpless to his demise. We tried everything, but anything we tried only made us weaker. We lost a lot of great friends, pings that were around since the turn of the century. Their knowledge and wisdom can never be replaced. We could only hope that the sun would finally come out.’ said the elder. ‘DAMN YOU MOLDEMORT!!!!’ he screamed, kids screamed, and others shuddered at the sound of his name. Even a little young ping came up to him and said, ‘you’re not supposed to say his name, you’re NOT to say his name!’ The elder looks at him and says, ‘don’t you worry little one, you’ll be safe here with the others.’
The sun didn’t come back out, not for a day, not for a week. The local plants were starting to worry more and more about their fate with ‘he who we do not mention.’ Some were flowering prolifically, others made hoards of brood bodies, sending gemmae flying around in all directions, hundreds of millimetres away. It was evident to most that what was coming was inevitable, and to prepare for the worst.
The air was stagnant, and it was VERY humid. The rains had stopped, but it was very hard to breathe the dense foggy air. The day had come! A shadow could be seen in the distance, yet there was no sun! Creeping along, you could almost hear it coming. And you could! A deep and evil sound, almost like chanting, and sounding like faint drums. It was getting louder and louder. Hisses and squeals came from the menacing shadows. Everyone in the area fled and found shelter in their respective homes. Maury however, was without a home and was so weakened, that he was not able to make it to Lauri’s place in time. But it was too late, Moldemort had made his way through the bog, leaving everything in his wake under a layer of shadows, nothing stood in his way.
Maury, being the brave fellow he was, stood in front of Moldemort and said with a loud yet terrified voice, ‘YOU WON’T BE GETTING BY ME! I WILL NOT ALLOW IT.’
I don’t think any of the elders of Terraforumland ever saw such bravery from a ping before. Most would quiver and wilt away in the presence of Moldemort, but Maury got up, ruffled his leaves, and charged straight for him. It was a brave, but VERY stupid move. Maury hit the ground, but he had charged so hard after him, that Maury lost a good number of leaves when he hit the ground, and Moldemort just kept on going forward, covering the helpless body of Maury in his wake of evil shadows.
Lauri, watching all of this from her home, screamed in disbelief that Maury, the bravest and strongest ping she ever knew, had fallen to Moldemort. She would shut the door, and hide inside, hoping she would avoid being covered by this unstoppable force. She heard the sounds, getting closer and closer. Until finally, she noticed at the entrance of her house, it suddenly got real dark. He spoke in a hushed, snake-like voice and said ‘Lauri, sss-sweet Lauri, these wallsss will not protect you.’ Lauri was helpless and succumbed to her demise.
People were lining up in front of Crystals house, but none were able to get in, she would not allow it! ‘I live here, not you, find your own homes!’ she said through the glass. ‘Young lady,’ said an elder, ‘please let us in and share your walls with us, MOLDEMORT is coming, and we have no where else to go!’
She just ignored them and went back to worrying about the finer things like what soil additive to use, ‘vermiculite or perlite… hmm I can’t choose at a time like this with all that noise outside.’ She said in vain. She would walk to the glass wall and look outside, but it had suddenly gone silent, not a sound could be heard. She looked all around and all was bleak and colorless, a grey fuzz had covered all of the land where she lived, but she was protected by the walls of her glass terrarium. All alone, she cried, having everything she ever wanted, but with no one to share it with. She spent days alone, wondering when times would change. And they did!
The sun FINALLY came out, the humidity and fog cleared. But Crystal was trapped inside her home; a thick layer of slime was keeping her front door tightly shut. As the sun warmed the area, the slime on her walls and doors sealed her in, and the canopy would not work. The sun baked on her home and dried up the inside of her terra, taking away the very thing that was keeping her alive. She would shrivel up and that would be the end of Crystal’s short-lived life.
The sun however, for the rest of terraforumland, almost instantly made the shadows completely disappear. After a couple days, grasses started to sprout, seeds would germinate, and the gemmae would spring to life. And then an AMAZING thing happened. And like a phoenix from the ashes, little buds came from the broken pieces of Maury, and within weeks, he and his many twins would become stronger and bigger!
Even Laurie came back from her roots! It was a glorious day, plants were starting to gather again, cheering and chanting! Seedlings were playing in the sands, and elders were reminiscing about stories of the past. Moldemort was no longer a worry to anyone, but the people of terraforumland were sad at the loss of their friend Crystal. Nothing could be done to open the doors to her glass home, so it was turned into a monument in remembrance to the lost souls during the hard times of Moldemort.
Laurie and Maury would get pollinated by a passing hummingbird and they would have many many small hybrids together! They all had the intelligence of Laurie (thankfully!) and the bravery of Maury, all to their advantage.
Terraforumland would never be the same, but all would live happy lives and thrive in the next 5 years of spectacular weather. Moldemort would not return for a long time, and some say he never will, hopefully they are right!
Maury got a medal of bravery for his heroic acts, but was not able to keep the medal, as it was made of copper...
Steven Rembacz aka Blokeman
january 20th 2009
hope you guys liked this!