He was starting to wonder if Pinkie actually knew where she was going, if they were ever going to find the mysterious Mr. Morggison, and if he really had food for them. Because now, his stomach was starting to rumble. He felt around for his pack of gum, but he only had two pieces left, and he didn't particularly want to share. So he kept them to himself. Pinkie must be starving, too, but she didn't let on.
Pepper decided to try his luck. "So..." he said cautiously, "How far until we get to Mr. Morggison?"
Pinkie shook her head. "Not far now," she said. "I think we should be there within the hour."
"The hour?" Pepper groaned. "We've been walking for hours already!"
"Well, once we get there, Mr. Morggison will be able to help us out with food for the rest of our lives," Pinkie declared. "It will never be a bother again. We can hermit as desired without having to worry about our next meal. Nothing worth having ever came without effort."
Pepper considered this. So far in his hermitting career, he had found that practically everything had come without effort. He didn't try to do much of anything, because his Lucky Thing tended to take care of everything for him. He just existed, and the world seemed to provide what he needed. Pinkie seemed the type of person who didn't believe in luck, and so far, he had not brought up his Lucky Thing to her.
"Pinkie," Pepper said, in an effort to change the subject and also quell something that had been bugging him, "Why did we stop back there?"
He knew it was a risky question, but she seemed to have recovered enough to begin talking again. So it was worth it to ask.
Pinkie fell silent, but she didn't stop moving.
"I don't mean to pry, I really don't, but I am curious to know why we're going out of our way."
Her face revealed nothing. They walked in silence for a few moments, and Pepper feared he would have to suffer another twenty minutes without exchanging a single word. But then, without warning, Pinkie said, "I'm beginning to wonder if you've ever really been through The Dune."
Pepper stopped, but only for a moment, and then continued full stride behind her. He knew this moment would have to come sooner or later, he just hoped it would be later rather than...well, now.
"Honesty, I've found, is often better than the alternative," she prompted, when Pepper failed to reply.
She sounded like his father. He would have said something similar. "You're right," he admitted. It was easier, he found, admitting a murffle was right than admitting a girl was right. "I have never been through The Dune. I've never even heard of The Dune until today. In fact, I've been around this neighborhood several times on my bike and before today I'd never even seen it."
Pinkie nodded. The news didn't seem to surprise her, but it didn't seem to please her, either. "No more lies," she said firmly. It wasn't a question. It wasn't a statement, either. It was a fact.
"The Dune," she said, "Is nowhere you would want to visit for very long. But it is full of very useful things. Very useful things, and very frightening things, as well. IT is one of those things. What I saw... and what I hope we don't see again... was one of IT'S victims. An animal. With its insides ripped out."
Pepper, being a boy, was not easily stirred by things like disemboweled animals. But the way Pinkie said it, the heaviness in her voice, made him shiver.
"And that is all we will speak of on the topic of IT."
"What about Mr. Morggison?"
"Mr. Morggison lives in a hut at the very center of The Dune. He collects things."
"What kind of things does he collect?" Pepper asked.
"All kinds. But his favorite is the written word. The hand-written word, actually. Any lost piece of mail usually ends up with Mr. Morggison. So, he knows a little bit about everything, and everyone, even if you have never met him in your life. He knows something about you."
Pepper snorted. "I'm pretty sure no one has ever written anything about me in a letter."
Pinkie looked at him disapprovingly. "Were you born?"
"Of course I was born!" Pepper scoffed.
"Your mother probably wrote to all of her relatives about you. There is an excellent chance Mr. Morggison has something on you. Maybe more than you think."
"You said he only has lost mail. I bet none of my mail was ever lost."
"It doesn't have to be lost for him to see it. It just means he probably has the original," Pinkie said. "His favorite are postcards. He likes the pictures."
"How many times have you met Mr. Morggison?" Pepper asked.
"Once. Just once. A few years ago. I had something I needed his help with."
"Did he help you?"
Pinkie nodded. "Yes."
Pepper was burning to ask what it was she needed help with, Pinkie had a very stern personality that let him know she would only reveal as much as she wanted to reveal. He squelched the desire to ask, shoved it into the pit of his stomach or somewhere equally inaccessible, and continued walking.
His feet were starting to ache. He had never walked so much in his entire life. He remembered, once or twice, when he had gone on walks around the neighborhood with his parents, but they had always gone home when he started to complain. He had a feeling that complaining to Pinkie would not get them to Mr. Morggison's any faster.
Chapter 1: Pepper
Chapter 2: Pinkie
Chapter 3: Dune
Chapter 4: Mugget
Full Story at pepperadventure