Chapter 38:

Chapter 38 Tasty Pumpkin

Hermit's Diary

As a few more hours drifted by in my muddy slumber, I finally roused from my nap, awakening to the realization that I resembled a colossal clump of dirt. The damp earth clung to me, creating a goblin-shaped masterpiece of mud and confusion.

With my goblin brain struggling to wake up I mumbled, "Where goblin? What this? Goblin does not remember. Muddy goblin. Like a big, messy bug. Bug goblin? Mud on goblin. Sticky and icky. How goblin clean? Water, where do you hide? Goblin needs a plan."

Surveying the surroundings, my eyes fixated on a small puddle of water. Determined to shed my dirt disguise, I clumsily washed myself, the mud oozing off in globs. The cool water sent shivers down my spine, and I couldn't help but yell, "Brrrrrrr! Brrr! Cold! C-cold! Brrrrrrr! Cold! C-cold! Shiny in the sky! Come warm goblin! Gobby needs warmth, not cold water. Shiny, help! Brrrrrrr!"

 I dipped my head into the water, gulping down a few greedy, squelching swallows, the refreshing liquid revitalizing my goblin senses. The refreshing sensation was a welcome reprieve.

"Glub! Glub! Tasty water! Gobbie thirsty. Water is good for gobbie. No more dry mouth!" I mumbled while wiping water from my chin.

Glancing at the sky through the towering trees, I noted the fading sunlight. Nightfall was imminent, and the realization hit me like a slap in the face - I was lost, far from the safety of our tunnel and the company of my fellow gobbies. 

I fretted with a shaky goblin voice, "Sky going dark! No like dark. Dark bad. Gobbies are not here. Where gobbies? Goblin alone!"

However, survival took priority, and I knew I had more immediate concerns than reuniting with my fellow gobbies.

 "Survive first. Find gobbies later. Dark dangerous. No like dark. Scary things in the dark! Big trees whispering. Not like whispers. Bad whispers. Maybe hungry whispers. Goblins are not food for trees! Gobbies, where are you? Goblin scared. Need friends. The night is too dark. Maybe hide in a leafy bush? Leafy bush is good. Hide from hungry whispers. Stay quiet. Survive night. Find gobbies tomorrow."

With a timid resolve, I adopted a clever disguise - a leaf on my back, imagining myself a master of stealth in my feeble mind. But In reality, I resembled a big frog crawling through the ground with a giant leaf stuck on the back.

By a stroke of good fortune, my stumbling journey led me to what seemed like a wild vegetable haven. My eyes widened with amazement as I discovered carrots emerging from the earth, their dark orange hues tempting me to indulge in a nibble. Nearby, a riot of tomatoes, in various hues of green, yellow, and red, teased my senses. Yet, amidst this bounty, it was a colossal pumpkin that captured my attention. Its orange shell shines in the dark like a beacon of nourishment, enticing me to take a big, juicy bite. The prospect of a feast in the wilderness momentarily eclipsed the worry of being lost, and my goblin instincts kicked in with fervor.

While rubbing hands together in glee I mumbled to myself, "Whoa! Look at all these num-nums! Carrots, tomatoes, big pumpkin! Carrots look crunchy, tomatoes look squishy, and pumpkin looks juicy. Yum, yum! Goblin feast time! Hello, carrots! Meet goblin teeth. Squishy tomatoes, prepare for goblin munch. Big Pumpkin, you're the king of the feast! Eat all the things! Hermit, gobble, and chomp! No room for worry when your belly is full of tasty treats!"

Coming closer, I extended a trembling goblin hand and tentatively touched the pumpkin shell. Its surface was cool and firm beneath my tiny fingertips. I took a few good sniffs, inhaling the earthy aroma that emanated from the peculiar object.

"Cool and firm. Pumpkin hard. Smells... smells like dirt. Good dirt smell. Goblin likes! Sniff, sniff! Earthy! Smells good. Maybe eat? Eat pumpkin? Grrr!"

 Finally, summoning all the courage within my goblin soul, I tentatively licked the pumpkin shell. To my surprise, a tiny speck of knowledge from my previous life as a Shota kicked in, and I recognized these vegetables despite encountering them for the first time. I knew that the pumpkin had tasty stuff inside.

"Ew, slimy! Gobbos eat slimy? Bleh! But wait, maybe tasty inside. Tasty stuff inside, brain knowledge says. Trust brain knowledge. Goblin eat, not starve! Gobbos need a taste. More lick, more eat! Yum, yum!"

However, the pumpkin shell proved to be formidable. It resisted my feeble attempts to penetrate its tough exterior. My minuscule claws were no match for its hardness, leaving barely a scratch in my futile efforts. Frustration mounting, I resorted to nibbling at it with my meager chompers, but the progress was painful and slow. 

"Stupid pumpkin! Too tough! Goblin claws are not strong enough. Why are you so hard, huh?! Keep biting, goblin! Break pumpkin's spirit! Goblin's teeth hurt. Pumpkin is too strong. Grrrr!"

In my distress, my goblin brain, offered questionable advice, "Use head, not teeth! Headbutt pumpkin! Like goblin battering ram! Headbutt! Goblin smash! Here goes nothing!"

Thud! Thud! Thud!

I fell to the ground, clutching my brused forehead while whining, "Ow! Stupid pumpkin! The headbutt does not work. Goblin's head hurts now. Pumpkin still laughing. Goblin needs a better plan. Think, think! Goblin does not give up. Must best the pumpkin. Victory will be sweet, and mushy!"

Undeterred, I cast my gaze around the ground, desperately searching for a solution. Sharp thorns and pointy splinters beckoned to me, and with newfound tools in hand, I embarked on a makeshift excavation.

"Thorns good tools. Sharp, pointy. Smart goblin finds a way. Scraping time!"

Night descended stealthily, casting shadows around me, but I pressed on. With each scrape, the hole I carved grew, bit by bit, until it reached the size of my head.

"Dark come, shadows dance. No matter! Goblin does not stop. Pumpkin, you open! Goblin wants insides!"

 I thrust my head through the cramped hole, the slimy walls yielding to my entrance with an unsettling squelch.

"Head through the hole! Slimy walls yield. Victory for goblin! Feast time, tasty innards for goblin belly!"

 As I slithered inside the pumpkin, the mushy and wet innards greeted me like a grotesque embrace, and mountains of oversized seeds lay scattered in the murky depths. 

"Slimy pumpkin! Good pumpkin! Gobby is hungry and needs num-nums. Time to clean, make tasty!"

Without wasting a moment, I plunged into my task. With nimble goblin fingers, I scraped all the mushy, slimy entrails to one side of the pumpkin and meticulously piled the seeds on the other. 

"Mushy stuff, squishy stuff! Seeds, big seeds! Gobby fingers fast, work hard! A pumpkin feast coming! Squashy, squashy! Mushy to one side, seeds to the other. Goblin master cleaner, yes!"

The laborious cleaning process took hours, the squishy sensations and the pungent aroma filling the confined space, but the promise of a pumpkin feast drove me relentlessly.

 "Clean, clean, messy pumpkin scene! Gobby feast, best in between! Slimy, grimy, tasty cuisine! Smelly pumpkin, but worth it! Mountain of food, gobby paradise!"

With a mountain of slimy sustenance before me, I embarked on a feast fit for a goblin monarch. The slimy mush entered my goblin belly in abundance, each mouthful accompanied by audible squishes and slurps. I devoured until my belly swelled to the brim, and then some. Orange, slimy strings hung from my mouth like grotesque decorations as my gluttonous hunger knew no bounds.

Satiated but succumbing to exhaustion, I collapsed onto the slimy ground within the pumpkin, rolling in the viscous innards in a display of post-feast euphoria. The once-cramped confines now embraced me in a putrid, yet warm cocoon of goblin delight.

 "Belly happy but sleepy. Slimy dreams await... Zzzz... Zzzz... mushy dreams. Goblin king of the feast. Zzzz..."

The next morning, I stirred from my pumpkin-induced slumber, only to be met with a bone-chilling howl that echoed through my slimy shelter. The air turned tense as the ominous sound rumbled, raising the tiny hairs on my goblin skin. The pumpkin, once a refuge of gluttonous bliss, now seemed like a potential shelter from unseen horrors.

I muttered while rubbing my eyes, "Ugh! Goblin is sleepy. Pumpkin cozy. But what is that noise? Strange noise. Bad noise. Maybe a big howl from the big thing. Pig wolf? Goblin remembers the Pig Wolf. Bad Pig Wolf!"

Fear seized me like an unrelenting vice, but with a trembling form, I pushed my head through the hole, cautiously peering outside my slimy pumpkin shelter. Surveying the eerie landscape of the forest and the tiny veggie garden, I convinced myself that the coast was clear.

 "Goblin careful. Look around. No big things. Only veggies. Veggies friends. No friends with Pig Wolf. Bad Pig-wolf."

 Summoning all the courage I could muster, I crawled out of my slimy refuge, taking timid steps forward. My posture slouched, my hands pressed against my chest, and my ears drooping - every movement screamed vulnerability.

With my eyes darting nervously I muttered to myself, "Plan, yes. Find a good place. Hide from big pig wolf. Maybe in bushes? Or behind a tree. Goblins are good at hiding. Bushes good. Tree good. Hide well. Pig wolf no see goblin. Maybe smells, but Hermit is stinky anyway. Yes, yes. Hide in bushes. Wait for the pig wolf to go away. Then sneak back to slimy pumpkin. Safe goblin."