Last week, Ben realized he needed to trust the goblin, if he was to ever leave the inside of the tree. This week, we’ll find out if that was a good choice.
The goblin gripped Ben’s arm. “This way, kid.” He dragged Ben through the dark, his fingers pressed against Ben’s flesh like a vice made from sandpaper.
Ben refused to squirm. He had chosen this path, now he’d live with it. …For as long as the goblin let him live. He kept putting one foot in front of the other.
The pitch black that surrounded them faded to a gloomy gray. Soon, Ben could make out the goblin’s outline. The gray melted into a white fog. The goblin more shadow and color than silhouette.
“Here.” The goblin stopped and pointed at something in front of him. In the thick, pea-soup fog, everything looked the same.
“What?” Ben scratched his head. “It just looks like more fog.”
The goblin took a step forward and slapped his palm against something solid. It sounded like wood.
“The trunk!” Ben pumped his fist into the air.
The goblin looked over his shoulder and grimaced. “Let’s find a door.”
They walked together, hands probing the tree’s interior surface. In silent concentration, they peered through the mist. Flashes of tree greeted them, but the fog concealed them each time just as quickly as it revealed them.
Ben kicked the tree in disgust. He hobbled backward and fell to the ground. He gripped his foot and massaged his toes inadequately through his shoe.
The goblin snorted. “Good plan.”
Ben glared at the goblin.
A bright, vertical line cut through the fog. It pierced the tree’s interior. And widened.
Ben scrambled to his feet. The goblin raced toward the shimmering line. They shoved and fought to be the first one through.
They stumbled into a field with an old cottage. Moss covered the roof and ivy climbed the stone walls. Birds twittered above the forest glade.
“Unhand me, fiend.”
The goblin held a struggling imp. A wicked grin split the goblin’s face. “A witch’s grove.”
Ben shuddered. “I’d rather take my chances in the tree.”
“My mistress will–”
The goblin shoved the imp into the tree. “Finish your task, familiar.”
The doorway into the tree disappeared.
Ben looked at the goblin. “What now?”
The goblin shrugged. “Let’s see if she’s home.”
Together, they strode toward the front door and knocked.
“Back already?” a warm voice asked. “Forgot the list again?” A cackle of laughter followed. The door opened. A short, raven haired woman started in surprise. “How’d you reach my grove?”
“It’s a long story.” Ben ran a hand through his hair. “Could you spare some water?”
“Come in, come in.” The witch stepped aside. “It’s been too long since I’ve had proper visitors.”
Ben and the goblin wiped their feet on the doormat and entered the cottage. A grandfather clock chimed in the hallway.
“You’re just in time. My imp will be home any moment from the market.”
Ben’s stomach rumbled. “What’s for dinner?”
“Kid.” The witch smiled at him.
So, what do you think will happen? What do you want to happen? Was it too short? Too long? Too unfunny?
Yep, that’s right. I’m soliciting comments and suggestions. I may even use them. No matter how wacky, zany, nerdy, or weird. No matter how serious, fanciful, or sci-fi. It’s a choose your own adventure. You choose what happens next.