A Hollow Welcome
Frigid air runs across my face, caressing my cheeks into an awakening embrace. My eyes flutter open to the sparkle of the stars above and the sound of nature all around. I sat up and took in my surroundings; I was in a clearing surrounded by trees. Even though I had no idea where I was, I could not help but feel comforted, like returning to a childhood memory. A place that, even though I have no memory, I knew I could place all my trust in it to protect me. I laid back down, digging my hands into the grass, feeling my way into the dirt, and allowing the breeze to cool my warm skin.
I watched as the moon crossed the sky; slowly, it crept through the void of space until it reached the horizon, just to start again the next night. I wondered if the moon enjoyed the journey it took every night, a labor endured to avoid the sun’s harsh heat. I must have been laying there for hours just enjoying the feel of the wind, the sound of the bugs, and birds, all combining with the sounds of the trees, making an orchestra where I was their only attendee, or so I thought.
My relaxing night was interrupted by rustling among the trees; a steady shiver crawled up my spine till it reached the back of my neck, where my entire body shook. Spinning my head around with my ear turned outwards, I hoped to pinpoint the location of the rustling, but the more I turned, the more I realized it was all around me. In a hastened panic, I continued my sporadic spinning, hoping to glimpse whatever was hiding in the tree line, praying that it was some harmless animal and not the horrors running through my mind.
“Show yourself; I want to see you.”
I shouted at the top of my lungs, not realizing the error of my words. Not one second passed before every inch of tree line gave birth to a horde of small, green, grotesque half-lings. All wielding spears or rope. I darted back and forth, trying every direction hoping for a break in the lines, but I was surrounded; I collapsed to my knees as they drew ever closer to me. I watched as they screamed and chanted their way over to me; time felt as if it slowed to a slither, allowing me to watch them prepare their ropes. Everything went quiet as I watched them move at a fraction of their speed; this was my chance; I could escape if they continued to move so slowly. I tried moving, but time seemed to speed up as soon as I did.
Although small, they struck like a tsunami, knocking me straight onto my back with no effort. The ropes burnt and cut as they attached to me, stretching my limbs like a starfish. Two of the Goblin like creatures climbed onto my chest, grinning and giggling,
“Welcome to the Hollow, cunt.”
The two Goblins screamed at me, laughing as they poked me with their small sticks. Although the laughter did not last, a mighty roar echoed through the forest, scaring all the fauna in the area into silence. All the Goblins were staring around in a panic, and the two on top of me jumped from my chest and ran away from my still-bound body as a figure flew in front of the moon, quickly descending upon me.
Fear jump started my body as I writhed in my bonds, hoping, begging, praying that they would loosen before this beast landed atop me. I was too slow, though; he landed a foot on either side of me, facing away from me. He was a colossal man with enormous hands and feet and the most blood-curdling smile that ran unnaturally high upon his rounded head. His body twisted and turned till his face was directly in front of mine, his smile now appearing even larger and his eyes filled with crazed determination.
His voice, as loud as a cannon, blasted my ears.
“Why, if it ain’t little ol Anodyne, you’re a little early. I hope you enjoyed your nap so far, but you are early, so it is time to wake up.”
His voice was as deep as he was gargantuan; he intertwined all his fingers and raised his fists above his head. Then with all his might, his fists descended upon my head.
I shot out of my bed, sweating and shaking. I quickly got up to turn on the light to see my window was left open. I heard a noise from the hall, so I opened my door and turned on the hall light. I saw nothing, heard nothing, and did not sleep the rest of the night.