Parts 1 and 2 were over the last two days; last part, part 4, tomorrow
Another week passed and Roland found himself approaching no 25 again. This time he smiled, remembering how he’d put that wind up merchant in his place. He’d just put No 25’s bins back by their drive when the hairy thing emerged from some bushes. ‘I wondered if I’d see you, Mr Goblin.’
‘You wanted proof I’m a goblin.’
‘You’re not a goblin. There’s no such thing…’ Roland took an involuntary step back as the thing, the self-identifying goblin jumped into the tree that grew just inside the front wall of no 27.
It shinnied up the branches though none of them shook or moved at all. It disappeared and then reappeared hanging away from the top with its left hand, its right held aloft as if it held something.
Moments later it stood next to Roland, who glanced to where the cart had stopped. Percy leant out of the window waving at him. He’s going to be annoyed again, thought Roland but he knew he couldn’t move.
The goblin walked up close and held its right fist in front of Roland. ‘Okay, I get it. You’ve not seen a goblin so you don’t believe in me. And I look a bit like you so you think this is a trick. But this,’ it cracked open the fist. Inside something fluttered and flapped, clearly trying to get away.
‘A moth? Or a butterfly?’ Roland knew he didn’t sound confident.
The goblin snorted out a laugh. It used its left forefinger and thumb to reach inside the fist and carefully extract the struggling creature. There was a blur of fast moving rainbows and millions of crystal particles swirled in the sunlight and then…
‘Oh my heavens.’ Roland staggered backwards; his calves bumped into a low front wall and he sat on the brickwork with a thump. A multi-coloured and clearly furious two-inch high, winged person struggled to get out of a green jacket, the collar of which was being held by the goblin.
The goblin let the small flying thing go, muttered something that sounded like a teeth rattle when you’re cold and waved at the thing as it flew off, tugging its jacket in place. Its wings were bright red, though gradually, as Roland watched, they faded to a pink. ‘A pixie. Not seen one of those have you? Not much like you, is it?’
Roland shook his head.
‘You’d better move. Your mate looks worried.’
Indeed Percy had climbed down from the cart and was hurrying to where Roland sat. Roland stood hurriedly. ‘Christ, mate, I thought you must be having a heart attack.’
Roland shook his head again. ‘No, just a funny turn.’ He managed a smile. ‘Weird day dream actually.’
‘I thought you were talking to someone. Talking to yourself, eh?’ Percy looked relieved, probably that he didn’t have to take his colleague to A&E and be late again. ‘You Ok to carry on?’
Roland looked at the goblin, who’d stood to one side, picking at its nails. It looked up. ‘Don’t mind me. You need to finish your shift. But we do need to talk.’
Roland turned away, hurrying to the next bin. The goblin easily moved in step with him. ‘You can’t not see me, nor pretend you didn’t. It’s not going to work, just running away. We need to agree a strategy.’
Roland moved onto to no 29, steeling himself against what had to be nonsense. ‘Why? Why don’t you just go back to no 25 and we’ll agree this hadn’t happened.’ Roland cast a nervous glance about him.
The goblin sighed. ‘You still worried we’re being filmed? There’s a visiting troll collective in the back garden of no 17 if you want more proof. Believe me, once you’ve seen a talking rockery you’ll even believe in elves and fairies.’
‘There are elves and fairies?’
‘Oh, come off it. Even you can’t think they’re a thing. My kids are only a click and a clock and they know what’s a myth and what’s not. No elves and no fairies, okay? When can we talk?’
The goblin smiled. ‘You believe me?’
Roland shook his head and then nodded.
‘Next week.’ It walked off.