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.
Part 8: Thrill makes the rounds in the town. No one knows about the Declaration, but he does get some free food.
Thrill’s first thought was that he was back under the mountain. The moonlight soon dispelled that notion, to be replaced by the joyful reminder that he had left the mountain and was now in the land of ducks, color, and sunlight.
Bounding to his feet, he was out the door before he knew what he was doing. He stopped in the middle of the street, reared his head back and stared at the moon full in the face. She gazed back at him: cool, benevolent, refreshing. To go back inside was impossible. The moon beckoned him to walk in her light, and so he did: down the street, towards the far end of the town, and ultimately out of town.
He wound up in a meadow. The moon was being very kind. She showed him the shadow a stalk of wheat can make, the silhouette of a horned owl, and how the breeze might bend the edges of a tree but not its bulk. He felt as if he could see the entire world – and do so while avoiding the burning eye of the sun.
So taken was he was he with the sights and sounds of the night that he heard the footsteps long before they drew near to him. It was Guy.
“I heard you leave. Are you looking for more goblins?”
Thrill did not want to admit to gazing in the moonlight, so he agreed. “Always. As long as they are not going under the mountain.”
Guy was quiet. It seemed as if he, too, had come out just to look at the moon. Then he spoke some surprising words.
“I have a secret to tell you. I’ve never told it Fitz or Heloise, because I didn’t figure they would understand. But since you are a goblin, you might have a right to know.”
Thrill’s heart skipped. What did this human know? He tried to sound not too excited and yet urge Guy on. It turned out that Guy did not need much urging.
“I found it a little ways from here. At first I thought it was a joke. If so, I can’t imagine who would take the time to do a joke like that. Seems like a lot of effort.”
“What was the joke?”
“Do you know any goblins who can read or write?”
Did Thrill know any goblins! The thought! His curiosity was stronger than his indignation, however, so he settled for saying, “Yes. Many. I am one of them.”
“Do they carve, too?”
“Yes, absolutely. We all do.”
Guy was infuriatingly silent, so Thrill added, “Why do you ask?”
“Because I think I have seen part of this Declaration that you’ve mentioned.”
“You have? Where? Can you take me to it?”
Guy went on as if Thrill had not spoken. “I haven’t told anybody else. It seems like such a strange piece of writing, as if it’s a joke. But you don’t act like it’s a joke.”
“No, I don’t think it’s a joke at all. Could you show it to me?”
“I mean, goblins don’t think about things like rights, do they? All they do is fight each other and steal things from us.”
Thrill felt a twist of shame as he thought about the massive library under the mountain, as well as the thousands of personalities that maintained, use, or ignored it. Had goblins been so horrible to the outside world that humans thought of them as ignorant thugs?
“Guy, can you show me the Declaration? Can you take me to it?”
“It’s too dark now. But I can show to easily enough. It’s under my bed.”
Thrill would have pressed the issue, but Guy declared himself tired and returned home. What followed for Thrill were the most exciting, impatient hours he had experienced since he had first discovered the Declaration. Sleep was out of the question. Part of him wanted to stay outside with the moon and see everything he could by her light. The other part of him was desperate to be as close to the Declaration as possible. What if there was a fire before dawn? He would need to be there to save it. What if the boy was mistaken and he spent hours of anxiety for nothing? He could see in the dark very well. He could go back to the house, sneak up to the bed where Guy had returned to his slumber, and find the Declaration himself.
This last part was very tempting, and his goblin nature told him it was the only sensible thing to do. But he hesitated to do it. Something about it seemed rude. So he paced the meadow for a few hours, reciting the words he knew by heart: “Declaration of Goblin Rights, drafted by the Goblin Senatorial Committee (hereafter named GSC) and approved by the International Goblin Congress. Steve Jensen, Ambassador to Human-kind, currently under Goblin mind-lock. Werva, Lead Advocate of the Goblin Rights Committee, co-chair of World Domination Board.”
He said these words over and over in an attempt to give them meaning. Soon, though, he would know the meaning! He would know what those old goblins considered to be rights. He might even learn a little more about Steve Jensen and Werva! His mind began to entangle itself with visions of what he would see. Would it be a small carving, with a tiny inscription? Would it be the entire Declaration or just a few tantalizing words of it? He couldn’t bear that thought. Surely it would be the majority of the document, and the rest he would be able to figure out for himself through his own learning.
If it had been a large slab, Guy must have had a difficult time getting it under his bed. How could Fitz have not noticed?
“Of course it is. Get him.”
Only at “get” did Thrill realize he was not alone in the meadow. Hands had begun to clutch at him, pinning his arm painfully behind him. They were goblin hands.
“Got you now, traitor!”
It was Sistig who had uttered the dreadful words in his ear, and Sistig who had wrenched his arms behind his back. But he was not alone. Thrill recognized Owlich, the junior librarian who had signed his permission slip to reorganize the library. There were two others: large brutes who had each laid a meaty hand on his shoulders.
“Sistig, what are you doing? Why are you here?”
“You should know the answer to that question, you lying human lover! Thought you could hide behind children? Thought they wouldn’t betray you? Thought you knew humans so well!”
These words put a new kind of fear into his heart. Had Sistig talked to children? He knew very well that angry goblins never “talked.” They raged. They attacked. They burned. If they had burned the house, then what had become of the Declaration?
“Sistig, you don’t understand. I’m not a traitor. I was exiled, remember? Owlich, you should know. Surely you don’t want me to go back?”
Owlich sneered. He had endured a great deal of mocking for signing Thrill’s form, and he intended to make Thrill pay for it. “No, I don’t want you back. But I’m awfully curious as to what you’re looking for out here. You can’t be the human lover Sistig says you are, otherwise you wouldn’t have led us to them.”
Compassion for Fitz, Guy, and Heloise had been far from Thrill’s heart. They were so much less important than the Declaration. Still, the thought of Heloise’s kind face now scared—or worse—was uncomfortable. She had done nothing to merit Owlich or Sistig’s wrath. She had, in fact, been as kind as any human had ever been to a goblin.
“If you hurt those children or their house, I—”
“You’ll what? You’re going back to the mountain to stand trial for treason. Sistig here says you sought out the humans and told them all our secrets. There’s no forgiveness for that.”
Thrill turned an accusing eye toward Sistig. “That’s a lie! I never told the humans anything.” Well, he had told Guy that goblins could read. But surely that did not count. And Sistig had not been there for that. And of course, he had also been asking all over about the Declaration of Goblin Rights. But surely that didn’t count, either.
“Listen, I didn’t tell them anything important! What did you do to them?”
“Never mind that,” Owlich said, ordering the brutes to tie him up. “I would worry about yourself, if I were you.”
Thrill resisted, but of course he was a weak little goblin. Soon he was completely in their power. But they could not stop him from looking at the moon, from whom he had the audacity to request help.
To be continued in Part 10, which is too exciting to say anything about right now.