Death By Frog

The ancient ruins of Dom Rothal! Sergei couldn't believe he was actually here, after so much time.

"Look, Ethel, these rocks are huge!"

And with such unworthy companions. While he had saved the money to come here through years of frugality, the rotund family next to him were, from what he could glean, a pharmaceutical-algae farmer and his brood.

"Shore are, Clem!"

Sergei made his escape from the bus just in time to avoid getting trampled, but unfortunately his holoimager strap snagged a box one of Clem & Ethel's offspring was carrying. It fell to the rocky ground with a crash, revealing a small green object which immediately identified itself as a frog when it started to hop away.

"Ma!" the boy wailed. "Oscar's gettin' away!"

The family immediately began to waddle off after it. Sergei sighed in relief, having ascertained that his holoimager was undamaged, and made his way into the ruins.

After so many years, it was amazing that there was so much left standing. The Rothalites had been masters at sculpting their natural surroundings, using arches, towers, and platforms of stone that blended seamlessly with the ground. But the forces of erosion, as well as the tectonic instability that had begun to plague the region, had taken its toll. Sergei was glad he had made it here before it all collapsed. He pictured himself as the final chronicler of Dom Rothal, the last to see it intact.

He made his way down into a street, really a natural gully between two crumbling stone towers. High above he could see a bridge joining the two. Once he was further down he would definitely have to get a holo of that.

"Maybe he's over here somewhere!" Clem's voice came from behind the nearer tower. Sergei grimaced and ducked around a corner under an overhand, hoping to escape from their porcine attentions.

A small noise above made him look up. The overhang was actually a slab of rock that was not supported as firmly as it once had been. A good two- thirds of the wall was crumbling away, and there were visible cracks overhead letting light through. He saw a small shape moving briefly above one of the cracks, making the wet plopping noise he had heard before.

Other noises joined the plopping--creaks and cracks. Sergei was just beginning to think that perhaps this wasn't such a...


"Here he is!" Clem said. "Sittin' over here on a big pile of rock!"

"Where's the other feller get to?" Ethel asked.

"Dunno," Clem said.

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The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey /