Apr 5, 2012

The Halfling

Jack crossed the cellar and grabbed a Lacrosse stick. He came back, and gently prodded the prone form.
The man swiped a hand where Jack had poked him, but didn't wake. Jack prodded him again, a bit harder. This time he sputtered, and woke up. 
He didn't appear pleased. Eleanor moved Flora farther back.
“I say! No need to wake a fellow. Best be a fire, mate,” he said, and pulled himself to an upright position.  Shaggy, uneven bangs fell in his eyes. 
He fumbled around in the sofa until he found a cap, which he promptly stuffed on his head. “Not proper, catching a man undressed and all,” he muttered, keeping his hand on his hat defiantly.  He pulled a flask from the waistband of his grubby pants and took a long haul. A bit dribbled down his chin, which he wiped away with the back of his hand and scowled. “Who’re you?”
“We live here. I think the better question is, who are you?” Jack leaned on the lacrosse stick. 
The odd fellow looked around the cellar. “Here? Funny we ain’t never met afore. Well, you git yer own sofa. This here’s mine.”
Jack rolled his eyes. “Not here, here.” He pointed up to the house above them. “Up there. This is our house.”
“Ahhh. Well, good ‘nuff. Plenty room fer us all.” The small man made to lie back down.
“Wait! You can’t stay here,” Rob said.
“Don’t see why not. I was here first, right?”
“But we live here,” Rob said.
“Greedy one, ain’t ya? W’all, I ain’t leaving,” the small man said, crossing his arms over his chest. 
Jack tried a different tact. “How long have you been here?”
The scruffy little man frowned and thought for a moment. “Oh, must be nigh on 30 years, now. The little lady gave me the boot, good and proper, right? Been here ever since.”
 “But our parents aren’t aware,” Eleanor pointed out.
“Oh, that ain’t no problem. Humans can’t see us halflings unless they have the knowledge, right? Don’t you worry none. They won’t bother me a bit.”
Jack snorted. Eleanor and Rob exchanged glances. The problem wasn’t their parents bothering this being.
“What's your name? And what are you, anyway?” asked Jack.
“My name is Ralph, right? I’m a GOBLIN. Not to be confused with them uppity Hobs. I tend the gardens ‘round here.” His eyes narrowed. “Who wants to know?”
“I’m Rob, and these are my sisters Eleanor and Flora, and my brother Jack,” Rob said.
“You stay outa my gardens, and off’n my sofa, an' we’ll git on jes fine,” Ralph said. “Now, if you’ll ‘scuse me, I was havin' my nap.” He lay down, and rolled his back to them. The pointed toe of his worn shoe caught a hole in the cushion, and he thrashed for a moment before he freed it. A few pieces of batting wafted into the air. 

Art by Jean-Baptiste Monge 
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