Chapter 6:

Chapter 06 The Monster Among Us

Hermit's Diary

We froze, our large ears twitching in unison as the quiet chirps and clicks turned to nervous clicks and anxious squeaks. Something was approaching, something much larger than us, and our little hearts pounded with both curiosity and trepidation.

Tiny goblin hatchling Farty was the first to speak up, his voice trembling with fear.

"Wh-what's that noise? Clickety-clacks and squeaky-squeaks, I don't like it!"

Spindlytoe, who had been playfully attempting to mimic a mushroom dance, stopped abruptly.

"Me neither, Farty! Me neither! Clickety-clacks are scary!"

Slippinfeet, who was attempting to climb the wall but kept sliding down, added, "I never heard clickety-clacks like these before! What if it's a big, scary monster?"

I, Hermit, who had been observing the others, chimed in, "I don't know, gobbie friends. Maybe it's just another goblin, like us?"

Daddy, the newest member of our group, let out a frightened chirp and clung to Spindlytoe's ear for comfort.

Gruk, who had been the most confident among us, began to shake.

"Clickety-clacks are getting louder! Louder means scarier!"

Gunk, seemingly unfazed by the noxious surroundings, continued to snore with a disconcerting sense of peace. He lay nestled within the repulsive embrace of crusty dung, oblivious to the grotesque reality of his slumber.

As the noise drew nearer, our collective anxiety intensified. We huddled together, our big ears pressed against one another, seeking solace in our unity. The clicks and squeaks continued to echo through the cave, growing louder and more frenzied with each passing moment.

I gulped audibly, "Okay, everyone, let's be brave! Whatever it is, we're stronger together!"

Farty, who had recovered a bit of his usual spirit, nodded in agreement.

"Right, it is! We're tiny but mighty! Clickety-clacks won't scare us!"

With renewed determination, we goblin hatchlings faced the approaching sound, chirping and clicking nervously but ready to confront whatever unknown entity lay ahead.

Emerging from the darkness, like a malevolent nightmare made flesh, was a wolf spider. It was a monstrous arachnid, its hairy legs as thick as tree branches, and its cold, beady eyes gleamed with predatory hunger. To us, no larger than a small apple, it was a colossal and grotesque beast.

The other goblin hatchlings let out panicked clicks and chirps, their tiny voices filled with fear. We scrambled in all directions, seeking shelter from the looming threat. But the cavern offered little refuge, and our feeble attempts at escape only seemed to amuse the monstrous spider.

In this chaos I found myself scuttling alongside Bumblebelly, who was scuttling for his dear life. We clicked and chirped in goblin language, occasionally emitting high-pitched squeals.

The dim light of the shiny mushrooms cast eerie shadows on the filth-covered ground. A movement caught my eye. My tiny heart raced, and I let out a series of frantic chirps, alerting Bumblebelly to the looming danger. He froze, his round belly quivering, as we both stared at the creature behind us.

It was a wolf spider that caught up with us, the size of a goblin hatchling with hairy legs that seemed as thick as tree branches. Its multifaceted eyes glistened with a predatory glint as it advanced slowly, its fangs dripping with venom.

Klutzfingers slipped and tumbled directly into the path of the approaching arachnid. He let out a terrified squeak, struggling to regain his footing as he desperately tried to flee. His ears flapped wildly as he squeaked and shrieked in terror. The rest of us goblin hatchlings immediately joined in with our own anxious clicking and chirping.

"Klutzy! Klutzy in trouble!"

"Run, Klutzfingers, run! Hide!"

"Spider! Big, scary spider!"

Klutzfingers, still trying to get back on his feet, stammered, "I-I'm stuck! Help! Gob! Gobbies! Help! Spiders!"

Gruk clicked urgently, "Run! Run! Unstuck!"

But our tiny legs were too short, and our bodies too weak to offer any real assistance. We watched in horror as the enormous arachnid drew closer to Klutzfingers, its hairy legs twitching with anticipation.

"Gruk, what we do? Klutzy in danger!"

"Dizzyhead scared! Scared!"

Gruk tried to form a plan.

"Dizzy! I do not know! We need something, something to help Klutzy! A plan! Anyone throw a plan!"

Spindlytoe shouted, "Moss! Throw moss at the spider! Moss damp and yucky! Spider don't like yucky?"

We immediately grabbed handfuls of the nearby slimy moss and flung them desperately at the spider. Our aim was terrible, and most of the moss landed on Klutzfingers, but some did hit the spider, causing it to pause momentarily.

Klutzfingers, now covered in a disgusting mixture of moss and filth, continued his frantic struggle to escape. His clumsy attempts at fleeing were almost comical, and we couldn't help but click and chirp in worry.

"Klutzy, hurry! Run!"

"Spiders don't like moss!"

While the spider was confused, for a moment, one goblin hatchling ran up to Klutzfingers and helped him up. As they scuttled away from the menacing arachnid, Klutzfingers was finally back on his feet, thanks to the quick thinking of another goblin hatchling. But the danger was far from over.

Just as we thought they had escaped the spider's clutches, it leaped forward with great speed, its enormous hairy leg striking like a bolt of doom. The unfortunate goblin who had come to Klutzfingers' aid was smacked on the back and sent sprawling across the filthy ground with a heart-wrenching scream.

Klutzfingers, who had barely escaped a similar fate moments ago, cried out in despair, "No! Goblin friend! Spiders got the gobbie!"

The goblin who had been knocked down let out a pitiful yelp as it crashed into the muck, its tiny body covered in filth and feces. The rest of us goblins, fear-stricken and helpless, could only watch in horror as the spider descended upon our fallen friend.

Gruk tried to muster the courage to help but could only chirp, "We can't! The spider is too big! We weak and scrawny!"

Dizzyhead, his typical curiosity overwhelmed by dread, could only stammer, "S-Spider... bad spider... danger!"

Bumblebelly sobbed openly, "Goblin hurt! Spider mean! Gobby friend hurt!"

The unfortunate goblin hatchling, still reeling from the spider's blow, tried to crawl away from the approaching arachnid, his tiny body leaving a smeared trail in the filth. But the spider was relentless, its many eyes fixated on its injured prey.

Our tiny hearts raced as we watched in helpless horror. The spider, its eyes glinting with malevolent hunger, wasted no time. With swift brutality, it tore into the goblin's back, rendering him defenseless and limp. Then, in a horrifying display of nature's cruelty, the arachnid lifted the hapless goblin and flung him high into the air. His small body arced through the cavern before landing with a sickening splat.

But the spider's gruesome intentions didn't end there. It descended upon the fallen goblin, its egg-laying fang elongating menacingly. With merciless precision, it punctured the poor goblin's belly, and we were forced to listen to the squelching sound of eggs being laid inside the living vessel. Our fellow goblin's body twitched and convulsed in agony as this gruesome process unfolded.

The traumatic sight of our fellow gobbie brutal demise left us in a state of shock, and we huddled together, trembling and bewildered. The cavern, once a place of wonder and discovery, now felt like a sinister abyss filled with unseen horrors.

Gruk, who had been our chatty leader until now, was as dumbfounded as the rest of us. His usual confident demeanor had evaporated in the face of this nightmarish encounter. He glanced around at our fearful faces, his large ears drooping in sorrow.

"We need to get out of here," Spindlytoe stammered, his tiny voice quivering.

 "There are monsters in this cave, and we're not safe."

"But how?" Slippinfeet asked, his eyes darting around nervously, "Those doors are too big for us to open, and there's nowhere else to go."

We were trapped in this foul cavern with no apparent means of escape. The looming doors at the far end seemed like an insurmountable obstacle.

Klutzfingers, who had narrowly escaped the spider's clutches, seemed to have regained some of his wits. He pointed a shaky finger at the colossal doors and yelped, "Maybe... maybe if we all work together, we can open those doors! If we can just squeeze through a crack or something, we might find safety on the other side."

The spider, a grotesque creature with long, hairy legs and a voracious appetite, mercilessly tormented the unfortunate goblin hatchling. This poor soul, named Gooey due to being almost entirely covered in a viscous, sticky goo, had become the spider's latest victim.

As the spider completed its gruesome task of laying eggs inside Gooey's belly, the cavern seemed to darken with despair. The tiny goblin lay there, trembling and gasping for breath, his body violated and his spirit shattered. It was a grim scene, one that filled us with horror and revulsion.

 To our astonishment, he was still alive, though he looked terribly weak and battered. He slowly pushed himself back onto his feet, clutching his pierced belly as he limped away from the scene of the spider's attack.

The wounded goblin hatchling chirped and clicked in distress, his voice weak and shaky. 

"Hurts... big ouchie... scared. Belly hurt! Tummy feels funny."

Farty scuttled closer and said, "Don't be scared! We're here to help! Ouchies go away."

Gruk, who had been particularly frightened by the spider encounter, chimed in, his voice trembling.

 "That spider was so scary! I thought it would gobble you up, Gooey!"

Gooey responded with a weak but thankful chirp, "Gooey grateful! Kind gobbies!"

Spindlytoe asked, "Can you walk, Gooey? Need help?"

Gooey tried to rise to his feet, and although he still moved gingerly, he managed to chirp, "Gooey try! Help good."

Farty, with his signature joviality, added, "We gobbies help each other! No gobble by spiders!"

Slippinfeet embarked on a quest to find something that might alleviate Gooey's pain.

 "I think I saw some mushrooms that look different from the shiny ones, maybe they're fixing mushrooms" he chirped.

I was worried about Slippinfeet's safety and said, "We must be careful. Many clickety-clacks in the dark."

Gooey's horrific encounter with the spider had left a lasting impression on us. As we huddled together in the cave, our voices filled with somber chirps and clicks, and a sense of fear lingered in the air.

Gruk, who was usually so confident, stammered, "I... I had never seen anything like that before. Spider was so big, and Gooey... he was all gooey..."

Farty, who was known for his antics, spoke with a quiver in his voice, "I thought spiders just wanted to play, not make us into egg pouches!"

Spindlytoe, the voice of reason, chimed in, "We have to be careful. Spiders are scary. We have to watch out for each other."

I added, "We need to find a safe place in this cave, away from spiders. And more fixing mushrooms for Gooey."

 Despite our best intentions and efforts, our attempts to help Gooey proved to be in vain. We frantically tried to cover the wound on his belly, stuffing it with feces and slimy moss, all the while feeding him the various mushrooms we had discovered in the cave. We squshed maggots and poured their juices on his pulsating wound and washed it with urine but it only made it worse. We hoped that something, anything, would alleviate his suffering.

However, with each well-intentioned effort, it seemed that Gooey's condition only grew worse. The mixture of feces and moss only elevated his pain, and the mushrooms had no positive effect. His eyes bulged and his pupils dilated, his mouth started to bubble with foam as he shivered on the ground.  

In a moment of desperation, Farty pushed his fingers into the hole in Gooey's belly. With an almost childlike innocence, he wiggled his fingers while chanting, "Pain, pain, go away. Pain, pain, go away."

Rather than offering relief, this action only deepened Gooey's suffering. His agonized cries pierced the air, and it was clear that we had unwittingly inflicted more pain upon our unfortunate friend.

Gooey, despite the excruciating pain he was enduring, mustered every ounce of strength he had left to push Farty's probing fingers away. His voice grew hoarse from the relentless torment, and his skeletal frame trembled uncontrollably.

Time had not been kind to poor Gooey. His condition had worsened, and his once hopeful chirps and clicks were replaced by anguished screams of pain. He clutched his distended belly, his tiny hands shaking with fear.

"Tummy! My tummy is hurting!" Gooey wailed, his voice tinged with desperation as he cried, "Something... something is moving inside!"