Deep in the forest, And even deeper than that.
So deep in the forest, in fact, that it isn’t until noon-time that light breaks through the trees. About a mile deeper than that he lies on his stomach, face to the ground. All seven feet tall and six inches, though he’ll often argue eight inches, of him. His hair is thick and brown, covering a grotesquely fat body. His hair covers all but the top of his head, which is bald from birth. He will often cover the bald spot with mud, or feces or grass. He has a square-ish face and has thick, boulder like cheek bones. His nose is round and hangs past his fat upper lip. He has huge brown eyes that are always looking ‘surprised’. He is considered male, though he technically has no genitalia, because of his deep voice and speech which consists of constant sighing.
For about a fifty yard radius nothing is living. His flatulence kills off the lesser wildlife and anything else it surrounds. This creature is the forest-dwelling Grump. The Grump is all alone in nature, he thinks, though Grumps are unknowingly communal creatures that live approximately fifty one yards away from each other.
Grumps share the same watering holes, eat each other’s leftovers, and annually bathe each other; but, because of their terribly short memory, they often forget there are others around them.
A normal day in the life of a Grump consists of waking up at 12:15 pm and sighing. As they rise up from their nose-to-ground position, they sloft their body over to the nearest stump and mope. After an hour of head-down-hand-to-chin-back arched-arm-to-knee action, the Grump will sigh and shlope over to a dead tree and eat at its bark. The Grump will loudly complain about the splinters on his tongue as he eats the bark. After his once-a-day meal, the Grump will speedily trudge down to the watering hole to stare at his face. After a long sigh, and ten minutes of staring, he will trope his way back to his face-to-the-ground-nose-supporting-head position where he will sleep until the next afternoon.
This rinse and repeat lifestyle often perplexes the Grump, especially one in particular, Aristotle. Aristotle often bathes his mind in thoughts about his existence and the world outside of his own. During his daily sip-of-water-stare-at-face ritual he questions why he never moves past the stream of water and why he’s never seen another one like himself. As he sips the water, movement to his right startles him. A creature he had never seen before stands before him. It is a short, 6 foot 5 inches, but slim and sleek like a snake standing on two legs. The creature’s fur is white and has patches of green sprinkled around. The face is fox-like and symmetrical, with long whiskers that fall past its dagger-sharp, tooth filled mouth.
“How peculiar,” Aristotle thinks as his eyes grace this new creature, “how did a being of such beauty stumble upon my world of lonesomeness?”
The creature cocks its head to the side, its black eyes peering unwaveringly into the bigger Grumps eyes, it speaks.
“My name is Uluv, a Sliye from a neighboring forest. You are a Grump. You are a disgusting foul creature and must destroy yourself so the forest can breathe again.” It barks in a foreign tongue.
Aristotle couldn’t understand a word of Uluv’s, but he was thoroughly intrigued by its presence.
“I am Aristotle. Your being here has totally changed my perception of life in general. I will not accept being alone anymore! I will accompany you until I cannot walk anymore!” Aristotle sighs enthusiastically.
The foreigner Uluv scowls confused and retches its head back. Uluv takes a step back as Aristotle opens his arms and reaches for it. Aristotle grins and sighs excitedly again as he steps toward Uluv for a hug. Uluv yelps and runs down the riverbed with Aristotle in pursuit. The Sliye quickly evades the cumbersome Grump and disappears further up river. As Uluv slowly fades out of sight Aristotle begins to whimper. His soul mate, the only person left in the world had left him without any reason. As he comes to a slow halt, his bulbous nose picks up an interestingly familiar scent of methane gas. He breathes it in and feels refreshed. He turns to inspect his new surroundings and an odd creature standing behind a skinny tree catches his attention.
A Grump, about half an inch shorter than Aristotle, tries to hide his mass unsuccessfully behind a tree. When he realizes he has been spotted he jumps out and sighs loudly. He opens his arms wide exposes a jagged-toothed mouth.
“My name is Einstein and I want to do not feel like living in this world alone being! You are my soul mate!” He sighs proudly.
“No, I have a soul mate already stranger.” Aristotle explains with a sigh, “you also occupy my world of pain and loneliness, but I do not know why. You may accompany me stranger. My name is Aristotle. I wish to find my soul mate friend who ran away.”
Einstein scratches at his groin and shakes his head wildly, which exposes his once grass laden bald spot. Aristotle grimaces at the sight and looses a methane laced wind from his insides. The awkwardness of the bald spot ends when Einstein hides it with mud.
“Why, new soul mate, did your ‘soul mate’ flee from you? Quite a disheartening response, if you were to inquire with a source as myself.” Einstein sighs questioningly.
Aristotle slaps his stomach loudly and schlumps lazily to a tree on his right side. He bangs his nose against the tree and then turns back to Einstein.
“Do not call me soul mate, stranger, but that is quite disheartening, indeed… Very interesting behavior. Follow me. We will find you your soul mate. I am sure that whatever God put us here had no mind to create multiple soul mates for one being.”
Einstein sneezes loudly in confirmation and follows Aristotle.
The two Grumps walk for nearly fifteen minutes before they are exhausted and fall to their knees. Einstein quickly goes from knee-to-ground to the face-to ground sleeping position and snores loudly. Aristotle begins to follow suit until his mind begins to spin its cogs.
“Your soul mate will be gone forever and you will be stuck with this ignorant what-ever-his-name-is. Get up and go!” Aristotle thinks.
This motivational thought picks Aristotle up to his feet. He jumps straight up and gags with excitement, which disturbs Einstein enough to wake him. He turns from face-to-ground and stands up looking bewildered at Aristotle. He opens his mouth wide and locks his jaw, waiting for the ‘stranger’ to identify himself.
“Stranger, we must continue our journey to find our soul mates. If we wait forever we will be stuck in this vapid world of alone time.” Aristotle sighs enthusiastically as he shakes a balled up fist at Einstein.
The confused Einstein nods in disagreement, mouth still open, baring the Grump’s fork like teeth.
“You are my soul mate. I saw you first! You entered my pain domain and have now made me feel like I can live life without moping around my sad spot!”
Aristotle pulls his ear in disbelief and begins walking back up river. Einstein proceeds behind him as they slowly kill more wildlife with their gas leaking insides. About a mile up the river they rest again, next to a grove of dead trees. Aristotle sits with his legs around one tree and begins to gnaw loudly on it. Einstein does the same a few trees down.
“It hurts so bad!” Aristotle sighs as tears stream from his widened eyes. “I hate everything about this process of life!” He chomps down hard on the tree exposing his tongue to a myriad of splinters.
“I can attest to that, soul mate. My pain water flows freely from my sight sockets” Einstein sighs in retort.
The two continue to eat for hours until they hear an unfamiliar sigh. Both turn to see a huge Grump sitting in the head-down-hand-to-chin-back arched-arm-to-knee pose, staring intensely at them. They both immediately turn back to their tree and eat.
“I’ve been watching you strangers for hours. Neither of you have paid mind to my constant attempts at making you my soul mate.” The huge Grump sighs deeply as tears drip onto a puddle on his stomach, and stream down into an even bigger puddle his feet are wading in. “My stoop of strife can now turn into happiness if one of you will accept my request at being soul mates. I just don’t want to be alone anymore.”
“You will never find a soul mate. You are a disgusting creature and your grotesque bald spot is showing. He is my soul mate, but we will let you accompany us until you find yourself a someone who can bare your wretched sight.” Einstein sighs with his mouth full of wood chips.
“I am not your soul mate, stranger” Aristotle sighs angrily. “But yes, Grotesque One, follow us up the river to find my soul mate. You both will surely find your own mates. Except you, grotesque one, it might be harder. Let us now make haste, for my soul mate won’t wait forever!”
The three Grumps get up and sh-callop through the dead trees, lined up one behind the other. The three Grumps hadn’t ever traveled beyond their 51 yard radius in their entire lifetime, but this journey to find a soul mate made leaving home worthwhile. Though the three would never talk, until they had to figure out who was whose soul mate, they felt a strange camaraderie between each other. After another mile of walking from the huge Grump’s stoop, they reach a clearing and are amazed by the sight of green luscious plant life and birds flying freely through the air. The busyness of the forest overwhelmed the three Grumps.
“This… This place… Is disgustingly colorful. Don’t you think so, Grotesque One?” Aristotle asks in a sigh.
The huge Grump sneezes loudly and doesn’t cover his mouth, snotting up the area around him.
Einstein grabs a clump of leaves from a tree and eats it. The lack of splinters pleases him slowly, but he vomits. He passes leaves to the other two Grumps and they follow suit. After vomiting each Grump walks to a different corner and relieves himself, leaving a large stench emitting, boulder-like cackleberry behind.
“I made a… Thing. A thing I don’t usually make.” The huge Grump sighs embarrassed.
“I hate to have to admit that I have anything in common with you, Grotesque One, but I have also left some sort of perfume stone behind. Same with you, soul mate?” Einstein sighs.
“I am not your soul mate, stranger. But yes. My smell area left a greater stench.” Aristotle responds in a sigh.
As they return from their respective corners, a shadow flickers past Aristotle and he turns to his right to see a surprised Uluv staring at the group of Grumps.
“These smelly shits followed me home!? No!” It barks as it dodges an excited Aristotle.
Uluv runs away from the open armed Grump and it scurries up a tree.
“This is my soul mate! My soul mate!” sighs a grinning Aristotle.
Uluv jumps from a branch into a clearing past the three Grumps. It sprints quickly up a path with Aristotle and the others in pursuit. Uluv comes to a spot by the river that moves furiously with white rapids. It decides to dash up a tree and hide again.
Aristotle lumbers to the area next to the white rapids first and goes from two-feet-standing to face-to-ground, a painful triumph to say the least. Einstein and the huge Grump trollygag in behind and look at their fallen brethren. Aristotle turns over and stares at the two Grumps and burps loudly.
“My happiness place is so near! My soul mate jumped into the fury waters below,” Aristotle sighs tiredly as he points to the rushing river. “We may all find our soul mates if we proceed!”
“Though I wanted you both to be my soul mates, I understand your refusal. I am disgusting. I will be the first one to traverse the fury water and find my soul mate.” The huge Grump sighs happily with a burp. “My name is Ashtar, by the way, it was a pleasure meeting you. If you weren’t already taken, I’d gladly have taken either one of you!”
“Your name will be promptly forgotten, Grotesque One.” Einstein sighs back quickly. “I do not have room in my thought space to remember such a foul creature as yourself. Neither does my soul mate. Good day to you.”
Ashtar yawns goodbye and dives haphazardly into the icy blue death. He is never thought of again.
Aristotle, now in the back-on-ground-eyes-staring-at-the-sun position, waves for Einstein to come forth. Einstein happily obliges by screaming loudly and flailing his arms, frightening the still hidden Uluv.
“Stranger, it was a pleasure finding my soul mate. That is all.” Aristotle sighs as he waves Einstein away.
Einstein growls sadly and wipes the mud from his head, exposing his bald spot again. Aristotle breathes heavily in disgust and turns away from Einstein.
“Soul mate,” Einstein starts with a low sigh, “I wish there was a way in which God made it so that we could have a being that is more than a shadow and less than a soul mate. I enjoyed every minute of our wacky adventure and loved that I made it miles away from my sickening pain domain. I have never been happier in my pitiful existence and I’m not sure I ever will be again” He rubs his bald spot slowly as Aristotle turns to listen.
“I will proceed into the fury waters to find my real soul mate, soul mate.” Einstein’s sigh continues, “Though I cannot swim and will surely parish alongside the Grotesque One, the off chance that I will survive and meet someone like your white soul mate drives my heart to take this chance. I will surely miss you, first soul mate. Thank you for everything.”
With that, Einstein walks to the edge of the rocky river bed and dives in legs first. He is carried a ways down the river, screaming in excitement, until water travels down his throat causing him to choke. He disappears under the white rapids not to be seen again.
As Aristotle watches calmly as both his comrades perish a thought dawns on him.
“What if the stranger and the Grotesque One were right? They both could have been more than my shadows. Our journey together was an experience I’ve never had before. They filled my time and, though it was my journey, they helped to take me away from my Void of Disappointment. I think… I think I may miss them. Not the Grotesque One so much, but definitely Einstein with his incessantly, ignorant ramblings.”
A tear falls from Aristotle’s eye as he stands and walks to the river’s edge. He takes a look back towards the green, lively forest and shudders.
“Such a disgusting place” he sighs.
He takes a step forward and immediately disappears into the water. He is thrilled, to death, of seeing his soul mate again. The yearning of another being in his life is enough to drive Aristotle to accept the fate of the other two Grump’s he watched helplessly die.
A jaw-dropped Uluv finally climbs down from the tree.
“What in the hell did I just watch?” It thinks to itself.
It stares at the river for a while longer in disbelief. Once it finally composes itself, Uluv walks back down the path it came from and sits next to a huge rock. The rock, which seems to move peculiarly, has a disgusting smell emanating from it. The tree it sits next to has all but died and the grass it sits on has also perished. Uluv begins to cough and moves away from the now vibrating rock. The thick smell of noxious gas begins to make Uluv dizzy and discombobulated. It tries to run away but the gas seemingly paralyzes Uluv. The rock bursts open, sending goopy clumps of cackleberry into the air and all around Uluv. Uluv, dying from the lack of oxygen, can barely make out the image of a bald disgusting looking creature. As Uluv finally breathes its last breath a sigh comes from the new creature who lays next to the face-to-ground Uluv.
“Born into this world alone, to die alone. I am forsaken” the creature sighs.