Original fiction by Dr. Lindsey Scholl, Logic School Academic Director
Links to previous installments:
Part 1: We meet Thrill the goblin. He is fascinated by the Declaration of Goblin Rights, which stands as a monument to goblin pride, though no one can read all the words carved into the high, dark cavern wall.
Part 2: Thrill admits to his co-worker, Sistig, that he reads books only reserved for the librarians. Before Sistig can work the situation to his advantage, the goblins are called out to attack some wealthy humans travelling through the woods.
Part 3: Thrill is caught in a very un-goblinlike activity by Sistig. He has been watching ducks on a pond while his fellow goblins are having a riotously successful time attacking humans. The incident convinces Thrill that he must leave the inside of the mountain, which means getting himself exiled.
Part 4: In an attempt to get himself exiled, Thrill offers to alphabetize the books in the goblin library. His activity creates quite a stir.
One day, as Thrill was puzzling about how to finish out a shelf of L’s and where to place the first M’s, Owlich stopped by.
He scowled at the mess.
“If I had known, son of Werva, what a fuss you would be causing, I would never have given you permission to do it.”
Thrill was happy to sound repentant. “Oh I know, sir. I know. I am truly sorry for all of this, but I am working as fast as I can. I hope you will soon be happy with the state of things.”
“I doubt it. You haven’t happened to see Out from under the Moon, have you?”
Luckily, Thrill had just filed “Lydo, Burtrand.” He dug out the book and handed it over.
“Late night reading, sir?”
Owlich scowled again. “Never you mind. Just get this chaos cleaned up as soon as you can.”
“Yes, sir.” Thrill welcomed the hostility. Disgruntlement was necessary to his plan. Otherwise he might be tagged as useful rather than the pest he was trying to be. Difficult though it was, he decided to take a little longer to finish. There had been no time limit on the request, so whatever power finally judged his case could not say he had violated orders.
Weeks later, he was on the T’s. Even Sistig was getting tired.
“Really, Thrill, do we have to make sure there are an equal number of books on each shelf? Can’t we just fill the spaces up?”
Thrill was growing irritable, as well. His delaying tactics had become onerous even to himself. He had not been to see the Declaration in seventeen days, and he was beginning to wonder how this had seemed like such a good idea.
“It makes counting the books easier,” he snapped. “Now hand me the next TAW.”
Protests reached a crescendo during the W’s. A small mob of angry librarians and lawyers had gathered in front of the checkout desk. They could go no further because the displaced Y’s and Z’s blocked their path.
“Enough!” shouted the head librarian over the grumblings and complaints. “Thrill, son of Werva, present yourself!”
Thrill appeared from behind a shelf.
“Thrill, you have made yourself into a nuisance and this library into a catastrophe. Nobody can find what they need, not even the lawyers and the businessmen, since the pamphlets are walled in by everything else.”
The librarian pulled out an official document and Thrill caught his breath. Was this it? Did his gamble pay off?
“Thrill, son of Werva,” the goblin began.
“But sir, I was told that I could do this project.” Thrill did not have to fake his trepidation. It was always possible that the goblins may have decided to do something worse to than exile him.
“Thrill, son of Werva, the Senatorial Committee, which has authority over this library branch and all branches throughout the commonwealth—”
“Sir, I had orders. I must finish my task. I am so close!”
“Silence! The Committee has taken it upon itself to discuss the matter. Seeing that a) the task that has been assigned to you has become odious to the community at large, b) that this task was given you, a son of Werva and not a librarian, extensive knowledge unsuitable to your rank, c) you will likely feel compelled to finish this task as long as you remain among us, d) we do not want you among these hallowed shelves one second longer, and e) it seems egregious to execute you for a task that we ourselves assigned to you,” he paused to glare at Owlich, who had foolishly attended the proceedings. “The Committee hereby declares you exiled until further notice. Please pack your things and leave immediately.”
Thrill dropped the book in his hand. It had worked. He had exiled himself. Giddiness combined with shock to produce an expression that he hoped looked like horror.
“Thrill, son of Werva,” the librarian repeated, “pack your things. You must be gone within the hour.”
Goblin justice was swift. Before he had time to process what he had lost and what he had gained, he was standing outside the mountain clutching his suitcase and watching the sunrise over the horizon.
There is no word for beauty in the goblin tongue. The best Thrill could describe it was that the slanting rays of red and gold were effective, in the deepest and most comprehensive way imaginable. He shielded his eyes and sniffed. He was free.
There was a clatter of stones behind him and out came Sistig.
“Ugh,” he groaned. “That light hurts my eyes. Let’s find some shade to wait this thing out.”
Thrill willed him to go back inside. “You find some shade,” he said, welcoming the feel of warm light on his skin. “I’m going to see what’s out here.”
Hours later, Thrill had encountered several new concepts for which he had no words. He needed a term for the burn of the light on his skin. And for the ache in his forehead from having to squint his eyes. Not to mention the chafing of the red welts caused by those delicate flying insects. Indeed, if he had been charmed by the fearlessness of the ducks, he was now wishing that members of the outside world would learn to show a little more respect. He had squashed several of the flying insects already, but news spread slowly among their kind. They continued to assault him in suicidal defiance.
“Where are we going?” Sistig asked, not for the first time.
Thrill had no answer. How could he? He would not divulge it to Sistig, but his current plan was to find some humans, let them see him, assure them he was not going to steal or eat anything, and ask if they knew of any goblin settlements in the area. It was a horrible plan, he knew, but they had already succeeded in its first step: they had found the road on which the humans would be traveling.
“Do we really want to be out here? Exposed? What if we see some humans?”
Thrill gave Sistig an evaluating look. How much of his plan was he willing to share with this hanger-on? He did feel a touch of pity for the pest. After all, Sistig had just lost everything he had ever known or cared about. He did not share Thrill’s hope of finding goblins on the outside. He was not even aware that Thrill had that hope. His life had suddenly become dark and threatened and valueless. The fact that he expressed this grief through whining and griping only made him a goblin.
Thrill opted for a middle path. “Perhaps it’s better to be ‘exposed,’ as you say. It’s difficult to live in the woods. Maybe we can find some help.”
“Help? Who would help two goblins? Humans hate us. Animals fear us or eat us. What’s left? Helpful plants?”
“Perhaps we are not the only goblins out here.”
“The best plan,” Sistig continued, ignoring Thrill, “is to sleep during the day and hunt at night. Or maybe we could scare some food out of the humans. And money. Then we could bribe the Committee to let us back in.”
Thrill growled low in his throat. He had expected Sistig to be a nuisance. He had not expected him to ruin the whole experiment.
To be continued…
Part 6: Thrill is found by humans, and the only thing that could happen does happen: he gets arrested.