The Goblin King
I have been alive too long. I’ve seen too much. I still remember when it was warm, and children laughed and played. I remember when trains ran down these tracks. Now I follow them, one step at a time, hoping that they will lead me back to her. That is my only thought now…just keep following the tracks.
My mother used to tell me stories about the trains. She used to warn me. There were goblins on the trains that would weave their glamour and beguile young girls. The goblin king himself would ride the trains, looking for some young girl to charm, and then he’d tear out her heart and eat it. Fairy tales, I used to think, but now I walk the tracks and I can see the bodies, cold and heartless.
Footstep after painful footstep I follow the tracks, hoping that it’s not too late. Hoping that she’s still alive. It’s been so long, it’s taken me years to get here. Gone are the days when one could simply drive to the airport and fly across the sea on a plane. No, I had to walk, the long way round. I have crossed a world to find her, but I made her a promise, and so, finally, I’m almost there.
The cold bites at my bones, my skin is cracked and my joints ache with fatigue and age, but I cannot give in. I keep following the tracks, they led me to her once before, they’ll lead me to her again. And then I see him.
Standing in the middle of the tracks up ahead, sword in his hand, and a wicked grin on his scarred face. The goblin king.
Now is not the time to be broken and old, and so all the years melt away from me. My back straightens and I stand tall, as I reach into my coat and find cold, hard steel. I draw my sword and begin to run towards him.
He simply stands there, waiting, that grin fixed on his face, but as our swords meet, I see a flicker of doubt flash in his eyes. Our battle is a dance along the railway tracks, the outcome is never in doubt. As my sword plunges deep within his chest, his life leaves him. He sinks to his knees, black bile spilling from what a man would call his heart, but this creature has no heart.
I leave him there, and set off once again along the tracks. I must find her, I know she’s waiting for me.
We still have so much life to live, and there is so much we have yet to see.