That night, after dinner, the two peas roasted marshmallows with Cocoa.
“It’s important to be patient.” Penelope instructed her companions. “Otherwise the marshmallow will burn or be too raw. You have to get all the marshmallow molecules toasted evenly.”
onezero could hardly wait for her marshmallow to finish. “Oooh, I wander if it’ll taste like a fluffy crisp or a crispy fluff.”
“Whichever it is, it will be delicious.” Cocoa said around his own s’more. “Oooh!” he fanned his mouth. “But they’re hot. Be careful girls.”
“Father, how did you find this place?” Penelope asked once she’d finished her marshmallow. This spot seemed perfect for camping. It had plenty of open space for a tent or maybe even two tents. Plus it already had a fire pit and the nearby rock benches looked perfect for sitting on.
“Actually, it’s a designated camping spot – see that sign?” He pointed back to the sign near the tent.
“Campground Rules,” Penelope read the first line a little surprised she hadn’t seen it before.
“Yup. I have to admit, I did come here before today. One of the locals helped me find this place. It seems that Granite Falls isn’t the only place suitable for camping.”
“It’s perfect.” onezero said. But she was speaking about her marshmallow. “And it’s more of a stinging crisp taste with a touch of poof!” She grinned.
The girls slept well. The strange sounds of Sixam that kept Cocoa awake, seemed to lull the two girls to sleep. There was the soft ‘peep’ of the wind in the leaves, the gentle ‘foosh’ of the nearby stream flowing through the slender reeds and the faint “zprt” of what must pass for crickets on this planet.
Penelope woke well rested and emerged from the tent the next morning. “Although can you really call it morning when the light never changes?” Penelope asked herself. “Since time is relative I suppose it must be morning since I am awake. If I were asleep it would be night.”
“Let’s go exploring!” onezero said coming up behind Penelope. Once again the girls had coordinated without trying. Yesterday they’d both worn their space suits, and now they both wore their inspiration hats that they’d gotten at summer camp.
“We need extra inspiration today.” Penelope grinned. “Should we wait for Father to wake up?”
“We’ll be safe here.” onezero said. “Can you feel the buzzing? It coming from over that hill. I can feel the vibrations through my toes. It’s calling us.”
The two girls topped the hill and rounded the corner and found themselves surrounded by large glowing mushrooms. Some of them were even taller than they were. The mushrooms sparkled and pulsed in the blue light.
“Do you suppose they will grow back home?” Penelope asked. She would love to add them to her garden.
“They require the moonlight to grow.” onezero said sadly. “They would wither away in Oasis Springs since it’s night only half the time.”
Penelope nodded. “I think you’re right.” Penelope sighed. “Maybe there’s other plants we can take back home. We could crossbreed them with the plants from home and they would be hybrid plants. Kind of like we are hybrid sims. Surely if we can live in Oasis Springs other creatures and plants from here can too.”
The girls explored the area. They found some spiky blue plants that onezero dubbed ‘spikeweed’ and together they decided it was proabably safe to take home. Only the glowing plants seemed to have the moonlight requirement. There were also thin stalks that seemed to move on their own as they watched. Were they plants or animals? The girls didn’t dare experiment too much in case they weren’t plants.
All the while they explored there was a background thrumming that wasn’t audible so much as internal.
“Do you think my mommies are here?” onezero asked. “I can feel the vibrations and buzzing very close. It’s like a second heartbeat to my own. Can you feel it?”
“Yes, it kind of tickles. But, we are on another hard drive. Although I feel the same sensations as you. I don’t think your mommies would be here. Unless Sixam is a place that links hard drives…” They thought about that for a few moments. It almost felt right, but it didn’t ring quite true. Maybe only half true.
Suddenly they heard a strange sound from back near their campground, it was stranger than the sounds of Sixam which were already familiar to them.
Neither girl recognized the voice. They raced towards the sound.