Chapter 30:

Chapter 30 A New Friend Froggy

Hermit's Diary

The following day arrived with a slight easing of the rain, the storm now reduced to a gentle drizzle. Slowly, with jaw cracking yawn, I emerged from my earthen nest, my stiff limbs hurt as they adjusted to the movement. I was not in full recovery yet but I managed to sit up and finally stand up, unfortunately, it was too painful to embark on a long walk.

 Addressing the desolation around me, I mumbled, "Rain less now. Good, good for gobs. Gob can stand, sit, and maybe walk. Hurt, though. Legs no like."

Turning my gaze to the soggy earth beneath my feet, I poked at it with a gnarled finger and added with a nod, "Mud soft, mushy. It's not good for walking. But maybe it's good for sitting. I like to sit. Sit and look at... uh... wet stuff."

 I surveyed the tall grass, my eyes widening with understanding.

 "Rain makes things wet. Wet things... different. I need to dry. But the rain stopped. Maybe find... not wet stuff. The rain is wet, but I need food! Belly is empty! But feet hurt! Walking is hard. Feet hurts, but hunger hurts more! Must find food, yes! But where is the food? Everything soggy and icky."

The clawing hunger urged me to find sustenance so I ventured out, my spindly, wobbly feet testing the damp ground. My weakened state persisted, but with each pained step, I felt a gradual resurgence of feeble strength.

 The air was heavy with the scent of wet earth, a reminder of the relentless storm that had battered me. The world around me was transformed - the once drenched landscape now glistened with raindrops clinging to leaves and blades of grass.

As I stumbled through the squelching mud amidst towering grass, my beady eyes lit up at the sight of a glimmering puddle. The relentless thirst clawed at my throat, urging me to approach the watery haven. With the enthusiasm of a goblin parched for days, I dipped my gnarled hands into the muddy pool, cupping the liquid to my mouth and gulping down its cool relief.

Gurgling with delight, I couldn't help but mutter to myself, "Look, look! Water, good water!" I splashed some on my face, mimicking a waterfall, "I drink, drink! No more thirsty, yes yes!"

The cool water did nothing to satisfy the insatiable hunger clawing at my belly, a relentless reminder of my vulnerable state. As a rapidly growing goblin hatchling, my voracious appetite demanded constant nourishment. Despite the dampness clinging to my tattered skin, my keen goblin senses detected the scent of decay nearby.

Driven by desperation, I scuttled painfully and slowly toward the tantalizing aroma. There, I discovered a mound of wet leaves, a sanctuary for insects seeking refuge from the relentless storm.

With a series of guttural grunts and excited clicks, I locked onto the wriggling critters beneath the wet foliage. With an eager gleam in my eye, I looked at a particularly plump worm and yelped, "Gobbie see! Yummy bug! Eat, eat!"

Emboldened by the promise of sustenance, I dug into the pile of wet leaves with my gnarled hands. The insects, startled by my intrusion, wriggled and squirmed. 

I rejoyced with a blissful yelp, "Look, look! It's a yummy bit! Wormy wiggles! So juicy and wiggly! Just the right amount of wriggle!"

"Silly wormy, where ya goin'? No running from Hermit! You my morsel now!" I yelped with childish delight as I seized this unexpected bounty and devoured it with a ravenous hunger.

"More, more bugs! Hermit eat and feel better!" I mumbled with my mouth half-full, bits of wet leaves and insects sticking out of my mouth.

I snatched the last of the insects, my eyes still wide with hunger, "Mmm, little crunchy bites! Yummy bugs, you're gonna be my dinner!" I giggled. My voice was a blend of excitement as the insects squirmed in protest, my goblin stomach singing with joy.

As I stuffed a handful of insects into my mouth, I couldn't resist the urge to talk with my mouth full, "Crunchy goodness! You guys taste like a wet adventure! More bugs, please!" I licked my lips and even sucked my fingers clean as I finished the feast.

The throbbing pain in my battered body pulsated like a relentless drumbeat, urging me to retreat to the familiar comfort of my feeble shelter. My gnarled hands, still caked with the remnants of my earlier feast, clutched at the moist dirt as I staggered toward the stump. Every step sent tremors through my frail form, the consequences of pushing myself too hard.

 A chorus of whimpers and groans escaped my cracked lips, "Owwie, hurtsy-wurtsy. Stupid pain, why must it hurt so much? Owie, walking hurt me. Too much movy-movy. Gobbie needs resty-nesty," I mumbled to myself, my spindly feet doing a little dance of discomfort.

With each step, my frail limbs quivered under the burden of my tortured existence. The biting cold gnawed at my sensitive exposed skin, and every movement sent jolts of pain through my broken body. The world seemed to spin around me, a chaotic dance of shadows and misery. My half-closed eyes strained to focus on the familiar stump that promised a fleeting respite from this unrelenting nightmare.

I managed to mumble, my words a pitiful attempt at coherence, "Stump... rest. Rest good. Me tired. Tired and cold." 

My feeble refuge awaited me - a mound of moist earth encased in the protective embrace of my big, meaty ears. The temptation to retreat to its meager comfort beckoned, yet, just as I inched toward this sanctuary, a sudden burst of movement in the nearby tall grass interrupted my retreat. A flash of green, a creature not much larger than myself, emerged from the foliage. Panic once again tightened its grip on my tiny goblin heart, freezing me in a place like a frightened rabbit in the presence of an unknown predator.

The creature, a frog with bulging eyes and slimy, green skin, hopped closer, and its webbed feet suctioned to the damp ground. My feeble mind raced, and my heart thumped louder in my chest as the frog emitted a croak that sounded both alien and menacing.

"Uggh... Hello, froggy thing! Gobbie says, uh, hi! Me your friend, maybe? Gheghe!"

Despite my initial fear, the frog's green, slimy skin triggered a sense of nostalgia for my fellow hatchlings. A hesitant calm washed over me, and I dared to believe that this peculiar being might offer friendship in this lonely realm.

Driven by a desperate need for a friend, with my big, meaty ears twitching nervously, I took a cautious step closer to the creature, extending my trembling hand in a gesture of hesitant friendship. The frog, seemingly indifferent to my approach, continued its rhythmic croaking. As my fingers brushed its damp skin, a small smile crept onto my face. For a fleeting moment, the thought of befriending this being sparked a glimmer of hope within me.

As my fingers lightly grazed its slimy skin, a silly grin spread across my face, a goofy expression that only a goblin could truly master.

I mumbled in my goblin tongue, "Hello, croaky friend! Do you like mud too? I like mud! Reeee!"

The frog, being a frog and not fluent in goblin dialects, croaked on, indifferent to my awkward attempt at friendship.

Undeterred, I continued my one-sided conversation, "You have a good croak. Maybe we are friends? You share flies, I share mud? Gheghe! We are friends, yes? Me lonely goblin, you froggy, we buddies!"

As I kept on petting the frog I attracted its attention and the frog blinked its bulbous eyes at me. I took its silence as a resounding 'yes' to our budding friendship.

 "Great! We are best pals, croaky! I will call you Croaky! Now, where's the nearest mud puddle?" I babbled, my goofy goblin excitement growing.

But my momentary relief shattered as the frog's demeanor shifted. Its bulging eyes widened, revealing a voracious hunger.

"Uh-oh, what's up, froggy pal?"

 In an instant, its sticky tongue shot out with lightning speed, wrapping around my wrist. Panic surged through me as the frog pulled me towards its gaping maw.

 In a panic, as I got dragged toward its mouth-hole of doom, I yelped, "Nooo, froggy, bad touch! Bad touch! Wreeeee! Croaky, not friend! Let go, let go!" 

Panic surged as I flailed, my desperate struggles proving futile against the frog's unexpected strength. The moist, sticky grip tightened, and I was helplessly pulled toward the gaping maw of the monstrous frog. Fear-laden gibberish escaped my lips in a cacophony of nonsensical sounds.

"Gah! Froggie no eat goblin! Bad froggie! Help! Someone, help!" I squealed in terror as the enormous mouth of the frog loomed closer. My mangled attempts to reason with the creature only seemed to amuse it further.

The frog's jaw unhinged, revealing a nightmarish array of tiny needle-like teeth. My earlier assumption that it might be a friendly frog was now shattered, and I found myself facing the grim reality of becoming a snack for this monstrous frog.

 I continued to babble incoherent pleas, "Wait, froggie! I taste bad! Like, really bad! You don't want to eat me! I'm all bones and skin!" My goblin logic failed spectacularly as the frog's voracious appetite seemed impervious to my desperate attempts at negotiation.

As the realization struck me like a lightning bolt, I squirmed in the frog's slippery grasp, my goblin heart pounding in my chest like a drum at a goblin party. The croaking, once as innocent as a baby goblin's giggle, now transformed into a chorus of impending doom, echoing through the desolation like a terrible goblin death scream.

With a sudden and forceful snap, the frog's jaws clamped down on my tender forearm. The pain surged through me like a river in flood season, and I couldn't help but let out a high-pitched wail that sounded more like a distressed chicken than a goblin. The scene turned gruesome, the frog's sticky mouth chomped on my scrawny arm, like some goblin-sized snack.

In my pitiful attempt to resist the inevitable, my tiny form wriggled and writhed in agony. The once-moist ground beneath us now resembled a mud wrestling pit, mixing with blood and rain to create a grotesque spectacle that would make any goblin squirm.

"Ouchie! Let me go, froggy friend! We can be pals, right? No no! Bad frog! Let go! Gobbie not food! Let go, you slimy lump! Why do frogs do this? Gobbie is not tasty! Slimy tongue! Ouchie ouchie! Bad frog! Bad touch! Bad touch! Wreeeeee!" I yelped, my goblin brain desperately clinging to the hope that maybe this was all just a big misunderstanding.