Chapter 17:

Chapter 17 The Peaceful Night

Hermit's Diary

But fate had a different plan in store. Kaka, our adult goblin protector, awoke with a jolt, his eyes filled with worry. In a swift and brutal motion, he squashed the spider with his giant hand, ending its life in an instant.

Then, with an insatiable hunger burning in his eyes, Kaka wasted no time. He grabbed the remains of the spider and gobbled it up as if he had been starving for months. 

The chilling sight of our guardian consuming the monstrous spider's corpse sent shivers down our spines, a grim reminder that even in the supposed safety of our goblin family, the line between survival and savagery was thin and ever-shifting.

Kaka said while munching on the spider, "Do not fear the spiders, little gobs, soon they will be your tasty snacks. Every bug and worm is a morsel to savor. A precious munchy!"

After finishing his gruesome meal, Kaka turned his attention to the injured hatchling, gently scooping him up from the ground. With great care, he began to remove the sticky spider silk that clung to the tiny goblin's form. The hatchling was in a state of panic, still crying and yelping.

"Oooof oooof oooof! Me no move! Me no use hands, me walking sticks not move, me no scuttle! Clackety-clack got me! Tiny spiders will burst from me, they will. They will! Just like with Gooey! Help! Help!" The hatchling's head twitched frantically from side to side, his eyes darting around in sheer terror as he searched for salvation.

With a calm and observing eye, Kaka carefully inspected the injured hatchling's body. He spoke soothingly, "No fret, little gob! Only spider bites, no clackety-clack eggs in you. In a short while, numbness goes away, and you scuttle like normal."

Kaka's words brought a glimmer of hope to the hatchling's panicked eyes. The rest of us watched, a mix of relief and dread filling our goblin hearts, knowing that in this brutal world of goblins, danger lurked at every turn, and salvation was never guaranteed.

Kaka rustled in his makeshift nest, making it a bit deeper and softer. He curled up into a tight ball, gathering us goblin hatchlings and placing us in the middle. With tender care, he hugged our pile of goblin hatchlings, wrapping his arms around us protectively. Then, he enveloped us with his meaty ear cocoon, covering us completely from the outside dangers and shielding us with his own body.

His meaty ears closed around us, forming a tight and secure barrier, leaving only a tiny sliver of air to come in. We all huddled together, our bodies pressed closely and wrapped in our ears, creating a bit more warmth to endure the chilly night.

We were well aware that Kaka was suffering too. His trembling and shivering body betrayed the harsh cold, his lips darkening and quivering as he breathed out misty sighs. Yet, he sacrificed his comfort to protect us, and in his embrace, we found a fragile sense of security.

As we nestled together in the protective cocoon of Kaka's meaty ears, the night grew colder, and the world outside seemed to teem with unseen terrors. The camp's unsettling noises and the occasional distant cries of other goblins only added to our unease.

The hours passed slowly, each one filled with the constant struggle to stay warm and silent. We dared not make a sound, for fear of attracting the attention of the goblin guards or other lurking dangers. We only dared to let out whispers, not louder than a covering mouse.

In the hushed darkness of Kaka's meaty ear cocoon, we goblin hatchlings found solace in each other's company. We whispered our names and exchanged tentative greetings, the sound barely louder than a scuttling mouse as we introduced ourselves, one by one.

"I'm Squabble, I like fun things..." one goblin muttered, his voice barely audible.

Another piped in, "I'm Snipper... spider got me... but I'm fine now."

"I'm Goober, I'm scared of big goblins..." came a shy voice from the corner.

A small goblin pulling his elongated tongue added, "I'm Squeak, my licking thing very long..."

"I'm Scratcher. I love eating maggots, even the squishy ones."

A smaller hatchling, with a voice as soft as a breeze, whispered, "I'm Tumble. I tripped and fell when they got me and brought me here."

And finally, one more voice chimed in, "I'm Sludge. I can't talk too good, but I'm good at hiding."

I introduced myself to my new goblin friends as well, "Nice to meet, gobbie friends. I am Hermit. I like warm hugs, holding hands, and goodnight kisses."

As the night wore on, the whispers in Kaka's meaty ear cocoon grew softer and more infrequent. Exhaustion weighed heavily on our tiny goblin bodies, and one by one, we succumbed to the embrace of sleep.

The morning light filtered through the thin hide of our makeshift tent, casting soft, ethereal beams onto the pile of slumbering goblin hatchlings. Each of us lay in a tangled mess of limbs, tiny bodies intertwined in a display of goblin friendship. 

Some had thumbs firmly planted in their mouths, their slurping sounds echoing in the dim space. Others seemed to have developed a peculiar habit of nibbling on their fellow hatchlings' puffy feet, muttering praises about their imagined deliciousness in dream-filled murmurs.

One goblin, with his legs entwined around another's elbow, sleepily mumbled, "Mmm, elbow-flavored, the best!"

Another, lost in his dream world, chuckled softly as he sucked, licked, and nibbled on his neighbor's thumb, blissfully unaware of the curious breakfast choices he had made.

During this morning scene, one hatchling muttered in his sleep, "Mmm... tastes like mushrooms." His sleepy, half-smile suggested he was relishing the imagined feast in his dreams.

Some of the hatchlings, lost in the world of dreams, were caught in bizarre acts. A few were noisily sucking on their thumbs, their lips making wet, slurping sounds. Others, apparently under the influence of their dreams, were nibbling on the appendages of their neighbors, causing an occasional yelp or a muffled yell.

Squabble, with a thumb firmly in his mouth, lay sprawled on his back, his tiny legs kicking in the air as if he were dreaming of some distant adventure. Snipper was nearby, blissfully chewing on Squabble's puffy foot, lost in a dream world where goblin toes were delectable treats.

Goober had nestled between Scratcher and Tumble, their plump cheeks providing him with a cozy pillow. His soft snores harmonized with their quiet mumblings, creating a strange lullaby of goblin sleep sounds.

Squeak, true to his name, was making soft, contented squeaking noises as he nibbled on Sludge's elbow, while Sludge himself had rolled over in his sleep and ended up with his face in a small puddle of leftover dung from the previous night's meal. He snored away, unaware of the muck on his face.

As the morning light continued to filter through the thin hide of our makeshift tent, the goblin hatchlings slowly began to stir from their slumber. Yawns and stretches rippled through our tangled pile of limbs as we woke to another day in our unforgiving goblin world.

Squabble groggily sat up and yawned, his thumb falling from his mouth with a wet pop. Snipper, still half-asleep, blinked blearily as he let go of Squabble's foot, which he had been munching on just moments before.

Squabble, rubbing his eyes, mumbled, "Is it time for waking already? Can't we sleep in here a bit longer?"

Snipper, still half-asleep, replied with a yawn, "Yeep, sleepy Snipper wants more sleep."

Goober, Scratcher, and Tumble, who had formed an unintentional cuddle pile during the night, disentangled themselves with sleepy grumbles and mumbled greetings.

Goober stretched and groaned, "Sleepy Goober too."

Scratcher, trying to shake off the drowsiness, muttered, "Guess we have to wake up."

Tumble, who had been tangled up in the cuddle pile, mumbled, "Waking time, everyone."

Squeak, reluctantly releasing his hold on Sludge's elbow, gave a drowsy squeak of protest, clearly not ready to start the day.

Meanwhile, Sludge, still oblivious to the muck on his face, snored on, his dreams seemingly undisturbed by his less-than-appetizing pillow.

Outside the tent, the sounds of the goblin camp came to life as the adult goblins began their day, their guttural voices and clattering footsteps serving as a stark reminder of the world we hatchlings had been thrust into.

In our sleepy stupor, we, goblin hatchlings were in no rush to start the day, content to linger a little longer in the safety of our makeshift nest.

With the first light of day illuminating our shabby little tent, Kaka stirred from his slumber, his giant frame shifting ever so slightly. His meaty ears, which had served as our shelter throughout the chilly night, slowly unfolded, revealing the pile of goblin hatchlings nestled beneath.

We hatchlings awakened and brimming with newfound energy welcomed Kaka with a heartwarming chorus of squeaky hellos, our voices a sweet symphony of gratitude. We scuttled toward him, our tiny forms radiating warmth, and embraced him in a flurry of goblin hugs. Our gratitude poured forth as we peppered his body with countless, delicate kisses, our endearing goblin way of expressing our profound appreciation.

Kaka, his heart as big as his meaty ears, responded with a grin that could melt the coldest of hearts. His toothy smile shone with the genuine affection he felt for us, the little goblins who had nestled their way into his heart. Tears of joy glistened in his eyes as he basked in the tender passion of his goblin hatchlings, their cute gestures tugging at his heartstrings.

Gobber asked in his childlike goblin tongue, "Dada Kaka, what we do today? What lesson do you teach?"

Kaka, still trembling and shivering from night's biting cold stuttered, "T-today, we learn 'bout f-food, little gobbos. F-find food, no s-starve. Tiny gobbos grow fast and need lots of food."

Squeak, his stomach rumbling, chimed in, "Yes, Mumma Kaka, we hungry! Tell us where to find nummy things!"

Kaka chuckled, his heartwarming laughter filling the tent.

 "Alright, my little gobs, we go f-find nummy things. But remember, goblins must be quiet and sneaky, like mice. We s-sneak around, look for bugs, mushrooms, and tasty roots. But we mustn't be seen by bad goblins. If they catch us, it's trouble."

We nodded eagerly in agreement, "Yes! Mumma Kaka, we will! No trouble!" 

Kaka gathered us in a pitiful bunch, our hunched and slouching forms creating a pathetic group. Our ears drooped like wilted leaves, and our eyes darted nervously, wide with fear. As Kaka led us outside the tent, we were greeted by the sights and sounds of the bustling goblin camp. The intimidating adult goblins moved about their tasks, completely unaware of our tiny presence.