It was the middle of the night and Reuben had been watching the lightning for hours now. At first it had been an exciting spectacle. Now he really just wanted it to stop. He knew that surviving should be keeping him occupied but, quite frankly, he was bored. Bored and lonely. He hadn't realized it before but until this training regiment he had never gone this long without speaking to a single creature. He had always taken light pleasantries for granted. Now he would give just about anything to be able to say a simple "hi" to someone in passing.
The loneliness and boredom gnawed at Reuben, amplifying how featureless the cave walls were and how hungry he was. He was by no means starving. But intensive rationing did not allow for him to eat until his belly was full. If he had been in the thick of action he probably would not have even noticed. But sitting in this cave...
The rain abruptly stopped making the silence that followed almost eerie. Reuben knew he had no time to waste. Grabbing his pack he sprinted out of the cave and straight back to the large mushroom he had tried to start work on before. Fortunately, the rain had made the ground soft. The lack of snow also made digging much faster.
It didn't take long to find the roots. The mushroom was large enough that even the shallower growths were nearly as thick as Reuben's arm. He touched the root and held his finger there for a few seconds. No burning sensation, no allergic reaction... so far, good good.
He pulled his knife out and sliced off a chunk. Nothing oozed out, also a good sign. He bit off a tiny piece and held it in his mouth, his heart hammering in anticipation as he waited for any possible toxic side effects to take place. The root was bitter but not completely revolting. More importantly, it was food.
Aside from leaving a dry taste in his mouth, nothing seemed to be happening. His tongue still felt like its normal size, there was no itching or swelling on his body and, after checking his reflection on the blade of his knife, no strange spots. It may not be gourmet dining but food was food.
Reuben began to hastily slice off more root sections. Time seemed to be his greatest enemy on this planet. Not enough time to gather and far too much time doing nothing but twirl his thumbs in the cave.
A deep rumble shook the ground.
Vert! Not another storm!
Another rumble. It occurred to Reuben that it didn't sound the same as the storm he had heard before. This noise wasn't coming from the sky. It was almost as if...
The ground started to move. Yelping in surprise, Reuben managed to grab an armful of the roots before a huge dome shaped something began to push its way up right where he had been standing. Reuben watched in awe as a huge mushroom sprung from the soil and grew right in front of him at an incredible rate.
So that's how those things survive.
The soil beneath his boots began to shift again. Reuben shifted the weight of his bundle and started to sprint back to his cave but it was too late. This time the mushroom was faster than he was. It was all he could do to hang on for dear life as the newly formed fungus stretched itself toward the sky.