"Pepper, do you know how to cook?" Pinkie asked.
Pepper shook his head.
"No? Well, I'd say if we are going to be hermits together, one of us should know how to cook a decent meal."
"I think that you should," Pepper declared, "Since you're the girl."
Pinkie waggled a finger at him. "Listen, just because I'm a girl, it doesn't mean I do nothing but girlie things. I don't happen to know a lot about cooking myself, but I'd say it's getting towards lunch time, and I could do with a sandwich. How about you?" Without Pepper having a chance to respond, Pinkie began looking around the house for supplies. "I know when my mom cooks, she starts by boiling water, but I don't really have any pots in here. I think we'll need to go out and gather supplies, what do you think?"
Pepper, it turned out, was somewhat alarmed by Pinkie's damn-the-torpedoes attitude to hermitting. "Well, to tell the truth, I never really thought about supplies. I just sort of go along where the wind takes me."
Pinkie snorted. "Hmm, well, the wind will take you straight to an early grave if you don't eat right. What have you been eating?"
Pepper reached into his pockets and felt around at the contents. He had half a pack of gum and some crackers left. Now that he thought about it, it would probably be a good idea to get some supplies together. He was a bit flustered at how this girl had taken so quickly to hermitting, and how she already seemed better at it than he did. Maybe taking on a fellow hermit had not been the best of ideas.
"If you're so smart, where are we going to get these supplies?" Pepper asked condescendingly.
"I know a place," Pinkie said, crossing her arms in front of her and poking her nose in the air. "It's far away, though, a long journey." She glanced over Pepper quickly, from head to toe. "YOU might not be able to make it."
"Hey, what makes you say that?" Pepper brought himself up to full height and puffed out his chest and stamped over to her. "I've made plenty of long journeys in my day."
"But those shoes...they look pretty worn out..." Pinkie shifted her gaze to Pepper's feet.
The boy turned his shoes side to side to take a good look at them. He never really paid attention to his shoes because he found tying them to be too difficult to be worth his time. So he never took them off. He slept in them, too, to save time. He had never considered that perhaps they could get old and worn out, but again, Pinkie turned out to be right. There was a quarter-sized hole in the side of his left. He quickly shifted the sneaker out of Pinkie's line of sight, but it was too late, she'd caught sight of the hole. A smirk was spreading across her face.
"It doesn't matter what condition my shoes are in, because my spirit is ready for adventure!" Pepper barked, thrusting his fist into the air.
"Well," Pinkie said with a snobby sniff, "I suppose we'll see how far you can make it, anyway." She turned and marched out the door, leaving Pepper to follow if he so desired.
"Hey! Wait! Shouldn't you tell your parents where you're going?" he asked.
"Why? Did you ask your parents before becoming a hermit?" She asked, turning to face him without breaking stride.
"Well, no, but you're..." He didn't bother to finish his sentence. Pepper could tell that knowing Pinkie meant he was going to have to do a lot of mental rearranging of his beliefs about girls. Maybe if he tried thinking of her as something else? A burl? No. A goy? No. That didn't work, either.
His thoughts continued to swirl in his brain as he trundled along after Pinkie, doing his best to keep up with her. She was very fast for a girl!
No. Not a girl. A... a... Murffle. The word slid into his head and got stuck there, and so it seemed the right one. Pinkie was not a boy, and she was not a girl, she was a murffle. And Pepper could live with that.
Suddenly, he had to stop, because Pinkie had stopped walking and if Pepper had kept moving, he would have run into her. "What did you stop for?" He asked.
She pointed. Up ahead was a huge, barren expanse. Pepper couldn't see where it ended. It stretched into the horizon and then disappeared, as if giving up and diving over the edge of the earth.
"We have to cross it," Pinkie the murffle said, as if daring Pepper to be frightened. He refused to give her the satisfaction.
"That? That's nothing. I cross fields like that every day."
"That's not a field," Pinkie said. "That's The Dune."
Pepper nodded as if he knew what Pinkie was talking about, but to be completely honest about it, he had no idea what a dune was, or what was special about The Dune. He looked at Pinkie, who was staring, arms crossed, into The Dune with the sort of look someone might give an old challenger. A challenger that, while you may not like them, you respected them, and appreciated the fact that there was someone who you could continually not best. And at the same time, could not best you. That kind of look.
"You, of course, know all about The Dune," she said, suddenly remembering her feet could move and plunging into The Dune without any more preamble.
Pepper dared not appear foolish, so he nodded vigorously and said, "Yes, of course, I've been here many times myself."
"Then you know all about Mr. Morggison," Pinkie said matter-of-factly.
Even though he had never heard of Mr. Morggison in his life, Pepper refused to let that slip and nodded again. "Yes. Mr. Morggison."
"He'll know exactly what supplies we need," Pinkie said, still not breaking stride. Pepper felt like a bumbling fool following behind her, occasionally slipping on rocks and damp patches of grass. Pinkie, it appeared, had tread this way many times and was used to the peculiar way you had to place your feet so as not to slide butt first into the mud. Pepper, however, was learning very slowly, and was grateful that he hadn't tripped and fell thus far.
"Yes," he said again, for lack of anything else to talk about. "Mr. Morggison."
Chapter 1: Pepper
Chapter 2: Pinkie
Full Story at pepperadventure