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What’s Under the Stream

What’s Under the Stream?
John Tidmarsh


As I shut the back door to the house and breathed in the fresh, cold air of the
morning, I realised that I could see some stars still shining brightly. I set off through
the field, dew leaking into my boots as I walked. I soon arrived at the cold metal
cattle grid. I carefully stepped over the foot wide gaps. My parents always say you
can break your leg in them.

As I walked down the drive, scuffing my toes as I went, I heard a kind of rhythm
beneath my feet. I ignored it and carried on walking down the drive. I climbed over
the new fence to the lane, noticing that the rhythmical beat seemed to be following
me. But, again, I ignored it and carried on walking. I climbed over an older fence,
then walked past the dung pile, hearing a clanking noise, the kind they always have
in ghost stories. But again, I ignored the noise; it was a metal gate after all. 

I carried on walking and suddenly tripped over a furrow that wasn’t there the second
before. At the bottom of the hill, I climbed over yet another fence and noticed a
peculiar series of scratches and dents in the woodwork, as if a careless army had
scrambled over just minutes before. That’s when I fell off the bridge.

Plunging into the icy cold water, I hit my head on an odd-shaped knot on the root of
a tree and I fell into a pit. Firelight danced on the damp walls of a cave, but my
eyesight was soon blocked with a gaspingly cold cloth that smelled like brackish river
water. I was bound to a trunk with rough hands and the cloth was ripped off my face.
Blinded by the light, it took a moment to realise what was in front of me: a group,
shorter than men. It couldn’t be goblins could it? I moved my gaze to the other side of
the cave and saw a strange collection of short people around my height, but their stern
and weathered faces told me that they weren’t children. As I realised that they were
actually a set of goblins and dwarves, I was thrust into a dugout. A solid oak door was
locked behind me and the last occupant didn’t look like he or she had enjoyed their time
here. All that remained was an unpleasant stain on the floor.

Guttural cheers and grunts echoed through the door. It seemed to me that the goblins
had won some kind of event and I was the winning move. Soon, the door was unlocked
and I was pulled out. As the celebratory scene was unveiled before me, I was shocked as
I was handed a suit of armour. Looking down in amazement, I saw that it was wonderfully
hammered together and made from Pepsi cans, old bicycle parts and strips of rusty iron
fencing. I had become the king of the Rustwater Goblin Tribe.


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