Greetings! So I have not made a post on this blog in quite some time. Since February, in fact! I have been busy with other things, like The Witcher 3 and eating food, often at the same time, but I have decided it’s been far long since I’ve written something. So here is my first piece of writing in months: a short story called Why Goblins Make Terrible Pets.
A few things. This story is one of my more experimental, mainly because I don’t think I’ve ever written a ‘short’ story that was under 20 pages long in Word. This is not even five pages. I guess you could say this is my first truly short story.
Another thing I’d like to mention is that I intend on keeping more active on this blog because life is too short for me to not be writing. I need to keep it up and hopefully I can come up with a weekly blog post, even if it’s something stupid like where I rank the best farts I had in my lifetime (though that would probably be more appropriate for my first novel). If you enjoyed this story, let me know and continue to keep your eyes peeled on this blog! It will hopefully have a lot more regular content in the near future.
So without further adieu, here it is.
Why Goblins Make Terrible Pets
I knew something was amiss when I saw the broken glass and the blood. Particularly the combination of the two.
I mean if it was one or the other, it’d be strange but not panic inducing. A little broken glass? Sure, maybe one of the neighbor kids hit a ball through the window, or maybe Charlene dropped one of her Coke bottles (she insists on only buying the glass bottles, she says it tastes better).
A little blood? Meh. I’m sure Charlene just had a bad nose bleed or something and didn’t get to the tissues on time. I mean, her dad gets bad nosebleeds, and that’s probably something that’s hereditary, right? Everything seems to be hereditary.
But broken glass and blood together? A bit more concerning. Okay, sure, maybe a neighbor kid hit a ball through the window which clocked Charlene in the nose which caused a non-hereditary nosebleed to occur. Reasonable, I’m sure.
But my mind didn’t jump to that conclusion. No, when I walked in that evening and saw a fresh puddle of blood splattered across the floor with a pile of broken glass peppered through it, like the world’s most painful pizza topping, my brain instantly said, Bert.
I even said out loud, “Bert!” the moment I walked in.
I felt and heard the broken glass before I saw it, a soft prickle and a muffled crunch from underneath my sneakers after my first step across the threshold. It raised my hairs and instantly drew my eyes to the bloody, broken glass-y mess in front of me. I cautiously crept over to the blood, and examined it. Then I realized I wasn’t a blood splatter expert or a forensic scientist or anyone who knows anything besides Doritos, really, so I simply stepped back and muttered, “Huh.”
I gave a quick scan of the rest of the room and saw some more splotches of blood, some on the floor near the puddle, a couple on the wall, and one even on the ceiling because sure, why not, let’s get a ton of blood on a hard to clean spot.
I shook my head, examining the messy surroundings. My eye caught something on the far wall, next to the empty doorway that led to the main hallway. I slowly walked towards it, hoping my initial impression of it was wrong. A few feet away I experienced one of the few times in life where I was sad to realize I was right. Like the time I had a gut feeling that Niko’s Pizza, the pizzeria down the street, was going to forget my garlic knots on my delivery order and, sure enough, there were no garlic knots when they came. It’s such an awful feeling to be vindicated in that kind of way.
I felt that same exact pit in my stomach feeling as I did the day I discovered I didn’t have garlic knots as I looked at the wall and saw what I feared most: claw marks.
Definitely Bert, then.
“Shit,” I breathed, fingering at the claw marks on the wall. There were four distinct slashes made in the wall, splinters of wood jutting out of the jagged grooves. I looked past the doorway and saw the slashes continued around it and on the wall in a zig zagging line, as if the claws were being dragged down the whole way.
“Bert?” I called down the hallway uneasily. There was no reply, just the silence of a seemingly empty house. “Charlene? Any of you guys here?”
Still no reply. I took a deep breath and set one foot in the hallway before stopping. No, this is stupid, I thought.
I backed away and turned to the stairs next to the doorway. I cautiously began to inch up them, making sure to avoid the creaky 3rd and 5th steps. I got to the top of the steps and looked around the upstairs hallway. No signs of struggle up here. No broken glass, no claw marks, no blood. I felt more comfortable moving at a pace that wasn’t a frightened-out-of-my-mind tip toe.
I went past the bathroom and guest room and entered the bedroom, happy to see it was clean and orderly and not covered in blood. I went to the dresser and pulled out the bottom drawer. I pulled out a few T-shirts, adult videos, and the construction worker costume that Charlene sometimes makes me wear to bed and found what I was looking for: my .44 snub nose revolver.
I took out the gun, holding it gingerly like it was a newborn baby with a capsule of nitroglycerin in its hands. Truth be told, I had never fired the gun before, with the exception of that one manly dream where I was storming a castle held by Adolf Hitler and Genghis Khan. But in that dream, the pistol had infinite ammo and I had a ten inch dick that shot lasers as well. Here, in the boring real world, I was stuck with a mere six bullets in the chamber and a below average four inch, non laser shooting dick.
Wanting to make sure I even had those aforementioned six bullets, I thumbed out the six holed chamber from its slot and counted.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
I gave a slight nod of approval and flicked my wrist to set the chamber back in place in cool, cinematic fashion. Truth be told, being able to do that was the only reason I bought a revolver type pistol.
Feeling slightly cool holding the revolver in my hand, like I was a fucking Wild West bounty hunter or something like that, I made my way back out of the bedroom to head downstairs.
I came back downstairs to the disheveled, bloody living room and turned towards the hallway that had the streaking claw marks running down it. Taking a deep breath, I brought up my revolver and held it in the way that I see most characters in action movies do. Two hands over the handle, or whatever the fuck its called, my arms raised up in front of me, elbows slightly cocked. I wished I had a mirror to see how badass I looked, but alas, none were installed in the living room at the time.
Going down the hallway, I passed by the kitchen. I peered inside and saw whatever struggle happened in the living room and continued in there. Or perhaps it had started in there? It’s tough to create a cohesive timeline of events when all blood splatters look the same. Like I said earlier, I could match the color of each Doritos bag with its flavor in under five seconds, but throw me into a blood filled crime scene and I’m slightly more helpless.
The kitchen looked torn apart, cabinets thrashed open, boxes of cereal ripped into bits with all manner of Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes and Cap’n Crunch strewn about, like some sort of breakfast tornado had carved its way through the room. Among all the cereal carnage was, yep, you guessed it, more blood.
The revolver feeling slick against my now very sweaty palms, I gulped and let out a sheepish, “Bert?”. I cautiously took one step into the kitchen, cereal crunching underneath my shoe.
“Bert, if you’re here,” I continued, taking on the tone of a loving, caring parent addressing their toddler, “I’m not angry. I promise. Am I a little disappointed that I now have to go out and buy more cereal, even though the buy one, get one free sale is done at Target? Sure, a little.”
A few more steps into the kitchen. I surveyed the room, revolver outward, aiming at anything that might jump out and surprise me.
“But you know what really upsets me? The fact that you don’t trust me. The fact that you feel the need to hide.”
I was creeping around the kitchen, seeing utensils had also been thrown about. My foot kicked a jar of Charlene’s crunchy peanut butter that was on the floor, causing it to roll away.
“I don’t want you to be afraid, Bert,” I continued, “I love you. I would never do anything to hurt you.”
I clicked back the hammer on the revolver.
“So, whenever you’re ready to come out, and apologize for this mess, and maybe help me sponge up some of this blood…I’m here, Bert. I always have been, always will.”
I had taken a lap around the kitchen, peeking into the cabinets to see if I could see a pair of glowing, yellow eyes, staring back at me. There were none, so I surmised he wasn’t hiding in the kitchen.
I stepped out of the kitchen and back into the hallway, still aiming my revolver in front of me. I followed the trail of claw marks, and saw they were getting deeper into the wall. I didn’t know if that was good or bad.
The trail curled around with the hallway to the left, where it stopped in front of the basement doorway.
The basement door was open.
I stepped up to the threshold and looked down the stairwell, which led down to the dim basement. I could have sworn I heard some noises coming from down there. Muffled and not very distinct, yes, but noises nonetheless.
My heart began to beat like a bongo in the hands of a trained monkey who had just been told, “Beat this bongo very quickly.” I fidgeted my fingers on the revolver, trying to adjust so that it didn’t squirt out of my hands. Then, deciding I couldn’t wait any longer, I began my descent.
One step at a time, I creaked my way down. “Bert?” I called down into the semi darkness.
No reply. Just the muffled sounds becoming much less muffled with each step I took down.
I had made it down to the ground and saw the dank basement in front of me. There were blood and claw marks down here as well, and lots. Like, this made the upstairs look like a Disney movie amounts of blood.
My ass cheeks clenched so hard and so quickly, I felt my back spasm a bit.
“Bert!” I repeated, louder this time, trying to sound authoritative. “I know you’re down here! I just want to talk!”
The large swath of blood led to the laundry room, where I heard muttering and soft thumping sounds. The door was closed, but the light was on and shadows were playing through the crack underneath it.
Steeling myself, I walked towards the laundry room. My finger subconsciously gently stroked the trigger of the revolver, as if readying itself. I was fifty feet away from the laundry room.
I was in front of the laundry room door. Daring to break my action movie pose, I took one of my hands off the revolver and put it on the doorknob. Then, in one swift motion, I twisted the knob and kicked open the door, bringing my hand back up to the revolver which led me into the room and-
Charlene stood at the washing machine, in nothing but her bra and underwear. She held a bundle of clothes which were drenched in blood, clothes that I guessed she had been wearing moments before. She was cursing to herself, applying stain remover to a blood-soaked blouse and scrubbing furiously with a toothbrush, even though the bloodstains literally covered everything.
Charlene broke her cleaning trance when I had entered, and swiftly turned around, a crazed look in her eyes. The look softened when she was it was me.
“Oh, Henry,” she said, cheerfully, “good to see you’re home.” She turned back to her clothing and went back to mumbling curse words to herself. She pounded the shirt a bit, trying to straighten it out.
“Charlene,” I began, “what the hell-”
Then, my eyes noticed it. In the corner, on the ironing board, lay Bert. There he was, our two foot tall, little pet goblin, body torn open and gutted like a fish. His yellow eyes bulged out like he was wearing a face of perpetual surprise as his entrails seeped out of a ragged tear in his chest, draping over the ironing board like the world’s most grotesque party streamers.
“Charlene!” I cried.
Charlene turned and saw me looking and Bert and gave a humorless laugh.
“Oh,” she said, shaking her head, “don’t even get me started on that one.”
“But Charlene,” I said, my arms finally falling down to my sides, the revolver clattering to the floor as I released it, “what…I don’t…how…”
Charlene gave a disapproving click of her tongue.
“Bert was a bad goblin,” she merely stated, like she was commenting on her day at work.
“Charlene,” I repeated, helplessly, “this is the third one in less than a year. You have to stop-”
Charlene tossed her toothbrush down and raised her hands up in defeat.
“Ohh, so I guess you don’t want to hear my side, huh?” she snapped.
I didn’t answer. I merely gave a nod, giving her the floor to speak her piece.
“Well,” she began, putting her hands on her hips, “I came down to the kitchen to make myself some lunch. As you know, it’s Tuesday, so it’s-”
“Peanut butter and jelly day,” I answered for her.
“Right. Exactly, PB&J day. Every Tuesday. I even have it marked on the calendar so that little shit wouldn’t forget.”
She pointed a bloody finger at Bert’s disemboweled corpse.
“Oh no,” I said, knowing where this was going.
“Yep,” Charlene replied, shaking her head, “I probably don’t even have to say what I found in the kitchen. That little goblin fuck, elbows deep in MY crunchy peanut butter.”
“The crunchy!?” I yelled in surprise.
“The crunchy,” Charlene repeated.
Everything had come together. The blood. The obvious fighting. The jar of peanut butter on the kitchen floor, which I had absentmindedly kicked. Bert had angered Charlene, and for good reason. I don’t care if you are a human, a dog, a potted plant, or a house trained pet goblin, you do not just help yourself into someone’s crunchy peanut butter.
“I’m sorry, Charlene,” I weakly apologized, “I thought Bert was different from the other two. I thought I really-”
Charlene held up a hand to silence me.
“Henry. It’s fine. Let’s just chalk it up to goblins being goblins and move on from it, okay?”
I nodded, hearing truth in her words.
This was just another showcase of why goblins make terrible pets.