And here is chapter 5!
Chapter 5: Meeting Fungus
Charlie took the book from George, flipping to the fifth chapter.
"I'll read this time. Chapter 5: Meeting Fungus.
This memory is more of a bittersweet one than most. It was after school. My parents, who normally picked me up from school, couldn't make it. So I had to wait for my Uncle Rhoul to pick me up. I frowned worriedly when I didn't see him pull up. I looked between all the other kids and saw that they had all been picked up. I was alone. I frowned worriedly when I didn't see him. He should be here by now. Where was I? After a couple of minutes I sighed. He wasn't coming. I started walking home. I never walked home before, but I'm sure it wasn't too far away. It was always a couple of minutes' drive from my house. It should be the same if I walked there, I figured. After all I knew my address and phone number, how hard could it be to find my house?
As I started walking I ended up running into Bruno, Rico and Skeeter. I gulped in fear when I saw them. I whimpered in fear. Oh no. I couldn't fight them, and there was no adult to take care of them for me. I was in huge trouble.
"Well look what we have here boys." Bruno smirked. "If it isn't the baby."
"Don't you know it's dangers for babies to go walking in the city by themselves?" Skeeter jeered, poking me roughly."
I squeaked in pain as the force of the push sent me hitting the pavement. Tears started to cloud my vision.
"I think it's time that we put the baby down for a nap." Bruno replied, punching a fist into his palm.
My eyes widen. I instantly took off running, knowing their intentions were to beat me to a pulp. I slithered as fast as I could, trying to get away. Where I was going, I had no idea. I just wanted to go home. I did a zigzag patterned of climbing over, under and onto trash cans, fences and side of buildings to get away from them. Ever since I met them all they did was beat me up. I turned into an alley way. As I maneuvered myself onto one of the brick walls, Rico suddenly swooped out in front of me. I yelped in surprise, causing me to stumble and crash into several trash cans. He grabbed a hold of my tail. He tossed me onto the ground, slamming his foot on my back. I cried out in pain. Bruno cracked his knuckles, a mean smirk on his face.
"Time for baby's daily dose of butt whooping."
I gulped in fear. I tried to bet away, but Skeeter held me back, pinning all four my arms back.
"Don't worry runt, it won't much… it'll only hurt a lot!" he cackled.
I cried out in pain as they started to pummel me over and over again. Bruno grabbed a hold of my fronds, jerking my head back. He punched me in the jaw, gave me a black and and there was multiple bruises all over my body. I fell to my knees, then fully onto the ground, curling up into a defensive position, covering my head with my arms. As I waited for a final blow to knock me out, my beating was suddenly interrupted.
We all looked up to see a small red monster with chicken legs, thick three eyed black glasses, and wearing a blue baseball cap. He was tossing a rock in his hand. He looked a little nervous, but I couldn't blame him. My three assaulters just laughed at him.
"Well if it isn't six-eyes! Whatcha doing Funk? You're not going to defend this wimp, are you?" Bruno chuckled.
"L-leave him alone!" This…Funk demanded.
Bruno, Rico and Skeeter continue to laugh. Then a rock suddenly hit the side of Bruno's head.
"I-I'm not warning you a-again! I'll give you till th-the count of three o-or I'll start throwing!"
"Yea right!" Skeeter snorted.
Bruno elbowed Skeeter and the two laughed.
"He couldn't hit the broadside of a barn."
He immediately started pelting them with rocks.
"Ow! Ow! Ow! Stop it! Ow!" Bruno demanded.
"Not until you leave him alone!"
"O-ow! Fine! Y-you're just lucky that we're go- ow!"
The three took off running. I sighed in relief. The kid ran over to me and helped me up.
"A-Are you okay?"
I didn't get the chance to answer him, because the moment I stood up, I passed out. I don't know how long I was out. I woke up later to see I was in a strange room. I sat up, looking around in panic. I turned to see the kid was sitting next to me, a wet washcloth in his hand. He smiled at me.
"Oh good, you're awake! I know I should've taken you home but I didn't know where you lived, so I brought you to my house. I took care of most of your cutes. I hope you don't mind. I also brought you some lemonade. Do you like lemonade? Are you allergic to lemons, or can't have sugar? Because if that's the case, then I'm really sorry, I can take it back and get you something else."
He just kept rambling on and on. I never met someone who was always this chatty. It was giving me a headache. Normally when I woke up from a nap, my parents gave me twenty minutes of quiet time so that my brain could transition easier to being awake, this kid wasn't doing that and just jumped in to talking away. I placed my hands over his mouth to quiet him. When I was sure he wasn't going to ramble on again, I removed my hands. I was practically shaking from the confusion.
I can't believe this. My parents told me to never to anywhere with a stranger and here I was with his strange kid and he took me to his house! How would I know if he was dangerous I hugged myself in worry. My parents were going to be so upset. He pat my head.
"I'm sorry. I tend to ramble a bit."
I just sat there. I didn't know this kid, yet he was playing nursemaid with me. He fluffed the pillow behind me and lay me down.
"Do you know your phone number? Your parents must be really worried about you."
I slowly nodded my head. He smiled.
"Great! Oh uh, my name is Jeffery Fungus Oz! But everyone calls me Fungus. What's your name?"
I looked at him worriedly. I never spoke before. I don't think I could. And most people didn't know sign language. Maybe… maybe I could try.
"Are you mute? Because I'm really-"
"I-I-I'm…R-R-R-Ra-Ran-d-dy…" I replied my voice hoarse and weak. I had a pretty bad stuttering problem, probably from never speaking before.
My eyes widen in surprise. I could talk. I could talk! I didn't think I could even speak!
"I-I can t-t-talk…" I spoke again.
"Here drink this." He handed me the glass of lemonade. "It's nice to meet you Randy. Can you tell me your parents' phone number so I can call them?"
I nodded my head.
He wrote my parents' number on a piece of paper.
"You stay here and rest while I contact your parents."
I sighed as I curled up. My entire body ached. A thought instantly came to my mind.
"W-wait a m-minute! Wh-wh-what about y-your p-parents!?" I squeaked, not yet used to hearing or even using my voice.
He gave me a gentle smile and shook his head.
"Of course not! My parents won't mind at all. They're at work."
"Y-y-you're here b-b-b-b-by y-yours-self!?"
Being as young as I was, my parents never let me stay home alone, especially after my Uncle Rhou had been watching these cop shows. He would sit me on the couch next to him to watch. And the stuff they did on there had given me nightmares.
"I've been able to stay home myself since the beginning of the school year. But I'm not really alone. My older sister and brothers are here with me sometimes. You'll understand when you're older Ran."
My fronds rose at the shortened version of my name. Only Uncle Rhoul had called me Ran.
"I'll be back in a minute." He told me and left.
I sighed as I curled underneath his blanket. I reached up to remove my hate when I stoped. My hat wasn't there. My hate was gone! I sat up, feeling the top of my head. Where could it be? Where it be!? I never take off my hat! Well… except for when I'm sleeping and when I made to take a bath. I started rampaging through his things. I didn't mean to, but if I didn't find my hat, my Uncle was going to kill me!
"M-My hat… wh-wh-where's my hat?" I muttered to myself, checking underneath his bed.
I heard footsteps and turned to see Fungus walking back in. I ran over to him.
"Wh-Where's my hat?" I asked, maybe with a little more force than I meant.
"Y-Your hat?" he stammered.
"Y-Yes!" My h-h-hat! Where i-i-is i-it?"
He gave me a gentle smile and pulled my hat out from behind him and sat it on my head.
"I was washing it while you were resting. I-it got dirty from Bruno and his friends picking on you. I thought I would be nice and wash it for you. I-I didn't think you'd get upset over it being gone. I'm sorry if I worried you like that."
I looked at his room that I had torn apart. My fronds flattened in shame underneath my hat.
"I-I'm s-s-sorry th-that I d-des-destroyed y-y-y-your ro-room. I-I'll help cl-cle-clean it u-u-up."
His eyes widen at the mess I made. He looked at me but my head lowered in shame.
"I-I-I'm r-really s-s-sorry…."
"It's alright. Let's just clean this up. I'll tell you were everuthing used to be."
After cleaning up his room, he led me towards his living room and onto the couch.
"You can wait here. Your parents should be here any moment. You should rest."
I nodded in agreement, laying down. I sighed as I curled up.
"I can't believe those guys! Beating up a little kid like you! What is wrong with them? Don't they know how wrong it is to beat up a four year old like you?"
I instantly sat up.
"I-I-I'm not f-f-four! I-I'm six!"
His eyes widen.
"I'm so sorry! You're just so tiny, I-I just thought…I'm so sorry!"
I was about to continue, when a knock on the door inturrepted us. Fungus went over and opened it.
"Yes, we're Randall's parents. You said our son was here. Is he okay?"
"Oh yes, he's right in here. Please come in."
Once I saw my parents I ran over to them. Cheryal picked me and held me close. I wrapped my arms around her in a hug. They started kissing me. Emilia cupped my face.
"Oh baby look at you, you're hurt!" Emilia exclaimed, seeing the band-aids.
"What happened to you? Did you fall down? Did one of the teachers hurt you? Or did some big kids do that to you?"
"B-b-big kids." I told them.
They gasped in surprise.
"You talked!" Cheryal exclaimed. She held me closer. "Our baby can talk! Six years and he can finally speak!"
"Y-You're not a-a-angry at me…a-are y-you?"
They laughed at my question. It was the kind of laugh that was out of amusement when I said something funny. It still surprises me when they do that. Emilia kissed my forehead.
"No, no honeysuckle! Why would you think of a silly thing like that?"
Honeysuckle is one of the nicknames I have been given, but that was only Mama's. She called me Honeysuckle because, despite how bad it smells, it was her favorite flower, even though she can't really smell. And… I can't either for that matter. How sense of smell is messed up. So instead of hating flowers like daffodils, roses and other flowers like that, me and Mama enjoys them.
Before I could answer her, Cheryal interrupted me.
"Thank you young man, for watching over our son. We were so worried about him, when we arrived home and his Uncle didn't have him there. You're always welcome to our house if you want to come over."
"I would like that Mrs. Boggs." He waved at me. "See you later Randy!"
I waved good-bye to him as they carried me out.
"When we get home, I'm strangling your brother." Emilia told Cheryal.
"You and me both."
Emilia took me out of Cheryal's tentacles and placed me in my car-seat, strapping me in. She told me how proud she was that I finally made a friend. I tried to look past her. I… guess he was. I didn't really know what friends do for each other, and I never really interacted with people very well before so… maybe I did have one. As Emilia shut the car door, I looked to see Fungus waving at me. I waved back. Maybe I did have a friend. At last."
"So that's how Fungus and Randall met." Smitty replied.
"I always thought it was here on in the Scaring Factory." Lankey replied as he took the book.
I guess there's more to Randall than we thought. Sulley thought.