The Morelli Bros. (Chapter II, Part II)

Appearances can be very deceiving to the unsuspecting.  To mistake what looks like a harmless creature can have deadly consequences.  Such is fate for one small family of Mushroom people.  The Goombas marched upon their house, silently closing in from every direction as they ate their evening dinner.

Like most of the denizens in the Mushroom Kingdom, they lived in an oversized fungus for which their country was named.  The interior had been carefully carved out to accommodate their needs, and the walls had been coated with a special salve that helped keep them alive, as well as to prevent them from filling in the wounds.

Rooms were only carved per their need, usually starting with a general living area, and one bedroom.  Because they were an industrious people, not much time was spent inside, with the exceptions of eating and sleeping.  As their needs grew, so too, did the number of rooms.  Because their homes continued to live and grow around them, there was never any worry for lack of space.  Of course, this led to some very interesting natural architecture, for no two homes ever looked the same.

For centuries untold, the Mushroom folk had lived in harmony with their surroundings, integrating with, and showing the greatest respect for, the bounties of their land.  As reward for their due diligence, however intentional or unintentional that it was, their land had given their homes natural camouflage to protect them from their enemies.

Unfortunately, until this day, they had always been able to distinguish the nature of their enemy.  They were hunted as food by the carnivores, until they had learned to hide themselves.  Their homes were eaten by the herbivores, until they learned to coat them with a mixture of mud and dung.  This not only helped their homes to grow and remain healthy, but the smell repelled the creatures that would dine upon them.

Never had they known a species that attacked without provocation.  They had never faced the kind of monster that would kill creatures they deemed to be inferior. And so it was that the first casualties fell in the small community soon to be formally known as Shrooshen, which was home to forty-seven of the Mushroom people.

First came the Goombas, marching mindlessly through the underbrush.  The first fell beneath three of the bug-eyed fungi, to be simultaneously trampled beneath their feet and melted beneath a spray of thick, mucus-like acid.  The latter erupted from thin mouths which opened as they trod over the hapless creature beneath them.  Steam rose into the air from the wounds, and its dying screams soon gurgled as its lungs filled with blood.

Neighbors popped outside to find the source of distress, only to become one themselves when hammers were launched from the shadows around them.  Some hit their mark true, catching the creatures in the torso and face, caving in the point of impact.  An unfortunate young Mushroom curiously peered through a window in time to catch a hammer in the mouth, completely destroying her lower jaw and killing her instantaneously.

Two separate families sprinted through their doors with the hope of escaping into the untamed forest.  Each group drew slowly closer together, each aiming for a large opening in the trees where there appeared to be no sign of their strange attackers.  They only noticed the soft buzzing above them when it was too late.

Three airborne Lakitu swooped in from above, launching crimson orbs into the center of the group.  The first spike covered projectile caught the mother of the first family in the face, to the horror of her children, and she fell to the ground, dead.  Her oldest son, who had recently been awarded for ‘Fastest Runner’, didn’t move fast enough and caught one of the orbs in the chest.  The living weapon thrashed, clawed, and bit its way into the center of the once agile mushroom, who fell near his mother’s body and died choking on his own blood.  His eyes continued to stare into the sky long after the deaths of those around him, unbelieving and forever unknowing of the fate that had befallen him.

None survived the first attack of Bowser’s army.  No hands had been lifted in defense of their homes, or of their lives, and in less than an hour’s time, the Goombas had erased them from existence.

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