Part 1 was yesterday
A week later and Roland walked ahead of the cart to where no 25’s bins awaited. All week he’d tried to convince himself that he’d imagined the hairy thing that spoke immaculate English. It couldn’t have happened and Percy hadn’t seen anything, had he? Even so, he felt nervous and…
Roland sucked in a breath and looked around. The thing sat on the front wall, its legs swinging slowly. Roland swallowed and managed a thin smile. He was going mad. He stopped and stood to one side of the thing as the cart slowly drew level and stopped. Percy leant out of the window. ‘Yeah?’
‘He can’t see me. Most of you lot can’t. You’re the first. Come on,’ it hopped off the wall and walked upto the bins, ‘you’d better empty this or he’ll make your life hell.’
Feeling sure he was being filmed by some TV film crew who’d got Percy to play along, he ignored the creature and tugged at the bin. The thing, which despite himself Roland noticed wore no clothes moved to one side. Roland attached the bin, watched it empty into the cart and wheeled it back to the edge of the drive. He began walking to the next house.
‘We need to talk.’
The thing matched his stride even though it was a third his height. Roland glanced across at it; it had very human eyes, though its irises had a sort of purple tint. Its nose was flat to its face and its ears folded down like a Jack Russell. While its cheeks had tufts of hair, its face was mostly free though the top, sides and back of its head had green brown hair – it didn’t look like fur – which extended over its body. Its hands and feet seemed to be bare.
‘What are you?’
‘More to the point, what are you?’
‘Me? I’m a man. I mean a human. I…’
The thing shook his head. ‘I mean how come you can see me? None of you lot see me. Not ever. Sure there are stories of being seen but they’re mostly to scare the young’uns.’ It lifted its arms. ‘Oh, you’d better be good or the scary man thing will come and put you in a cage!’ It shrugged. ‘Never works.’ It smiled.
Roland stopped and laughed, not happy exactly but more from relief. The cart meanwhile slowly moved ahead. Percy hadn’t noticed. ‘Where’s the camera?’
‘This is a wind up. Percy’s in on it, obviously but who else? The whole depot?’
‘There is no camera.’ The thing shook its head.
‘Oh sure. What are you? A dwarf? Sorry, person of restricted stature. Or a robot? Yeah, you’re a clever robot. Who’s working you?’
Roland turned round and looked through 360 degrees trying to see who was watching. No one. Feeling slightly sick, he knew he had to be right. ‘They must be somewhere.’
The thing waited until Roland looked at it again. ‘You’ve no idea, have you? I’m a Northern European goblin. Goblonicus Sapiens. We’re related, not that I like the idea any more than I guess you do.’
Roland laughed. ‘Oh sure you are. And I’m a pixie.’ He turned away. This was just a stupid stunt.