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.
Part 5: Thrill finally finds himself on the outside, but Sistig is exiled, as well. His griping threatens to undo all of Thrill’s well-laid plans.
“Look,” Thrill finally snapped. “If you don’t want to do what I’m doing, go back. If you plead hard enough, they just might let you in. But since I’m out here, I’m going to actually see what’s out here.”
He waved his arm for emphasis, and the gesture caused his sunburned skin to sting. He gasped and instinctively clasped his hand to the tender area, causing his shoulder to explode in pain. He was so taken aback that he shouted, kicked out, and rammed his toe against his suitcase.
Sistig watched with satisfaction. “What’s to see? Green trees? Brown dirt? Blue sky? What good will all of these things do us? Red meat, now that’s another thing.”
Sistig’s description of things and their colors caused Thrill to calm down and look around himself once again. So the tree leaves were green. He had always figured them for brown, at best. Green was a surprise, but not as much as the blue of the sky. Why was it blue when that great, fiery ball was so whitish-yellow? Shouldn’t the whole sky be yellow, too?
Horse hooves clopped in the distance.
“Humans!” Sistig cried.
“Horses,” Thrill corrected even as his heart leapt.
“Horses always come with humans,” Sistig returned as he tugged at Thrill’s arm. “We have to get out of sight.”
Thrill did not move. Or rather, the movements he made were not what Sistig wanted. He brushed the dust off of his shirt, looked in dismay at his dirty feet, and squared his shoulders.
“How do I look?”
“Like a goblin!” Sistig shouted as he yanked at Thrill again.
Thrill pulled his arm free. “Get away! You’re going to tear my clothes.”
Sistig responded by trying to shove him into the shelter of the trees. Thrill responded by shoving back, then whacking Sisitg with his suitcase for extra emphasis. It was during this scuffle that the horsemen came upon them.
“Goblins!” announced a strong male voice. A second later, an arrow nearly pinned Thrill’s feet to the ground.
“Hey! What was that for?”
“Halt! Or the next one will be in your throat.”
That was enough incentive for Thrill and Sistig to stop their fighting. It was obvious that Sistig had lost anyway, since the humans had seen them as plain as day. But Thrill would have preferred a better introduction.
“Sorry, sir,” he began, hands held up in surrender. “We were just having a disagreement.”
Two men looked down hard upon him. They were immensely displeased to see goblins on the open road, as if they had forgotten their proper place and were trying to make themselves like humans.
“What are you doing out here?” asked the man on the brown horse.
Thrill knew he should have expected suspicion, but he still disliked it. “Travelling. To see things.” The headache from the blazing sun and the pain in his battered feet had made him less than eloquent.
“Goblins don’t travel,” said the man on the second brown horse.
“Beg pardon, but that is what we are doing.” Thrill picked up his suitcase to prove his point.
The man looked unconvinced. Ordering Thrill to stay where he was, he began to converse with is colleague as if the two goblins were not there.
“Should we arrest them?”
“Just for being goblins? They weren’t actually doing anything illegal.”
“They have probably already done several things that are illegal. They’re goblins.”
“But we’re hunters, Fitz. Not soldiers. We don’t have the authority to arrest anything.”
“We can’t just let them go!”
“Excuse me,” Thrill interrupted. Sistig stood behind him, hands clapped over his ears in despair.
“I think I can help. We would be happy to go with you, if you like.”
Never had he seen such looks of distaste. Humans were even uglier when they were rude than when they were frightened.
“You could tie us up,” he offered to soften the blow. “Just for a while. If you’ll help me carry my suitcase, that is.”
Fitz looked at the other man, who shrugged. “Seems good to me.”
And so, in a matter of moments, Thrill and Sistig were laid over the backs of each horse like a sack of potatoes, Thrill painfully stretched over his suitcase. Its hard edges pressed into his stomach. Yet he was grateful that his head faced the woods so he could look at the trees instead of Sistig glaring at him from the other horse. His feet welcomed the break from walking, though the sun that was warming them would undoubtedly burn them as badly as it had his shoulders. Sistig would never forgive him, but since Thrill had no concept of forgiveness, his most sophisticated thought on the subject was that Sistig would stay perpetually mad at him. And that did not bother him very much.
They traveled in such a manner for the better part of an hour. Thrill tried to focus on the men’s conversation, but the clopping of the horses’ hooves and the banging of his head against the horse’s flank made coherent listening almost impossible. They took a few turns on the road, one that led further into the woods and one that led them out again. Then they crossed a bridge. Thrill tried not to think of the rippling water he could see between the railings. He was desperately thirsty so the water beckoned him. But he was also desperately fearful of drowning, so the beckoning was mixed with morbid fascination.
As soon as he spied the dirt of the road again, the rushing of the water was replaced by the traffic of wagons, horses, and humans. They had entered a town. Thrill caught one exciting glimpse of it before a cloth was flung over his entire body.
“Wouldn’t do to scare the children,” he heard Fitz say.
With a bouncing head, swollen feet, and sunburnt ears, Thrill was not about to contradict him. Yet he did not feel scary so much as miserable and humiliated, but somehow victorious.
Part 7: Thrill discovers how a human town operates. But that is not his only discovery.