Breaching Worlds-Chapter One
Jonathan was bringing the sweating chestnut mare in for the night when he heard it. The boy could not be certain of just what it was. He paused, putting his hand on the horse’s nose; hoping she would understand to be silent.
There it was again.
An ever so soft wheezing just toward the hay stack on his left.
The night was calm, nothing stirred the crisp air of early spring. The mare snorted, spraying a blast of hot breath on the boy’s neck and startling him. He was unaware his hand had left the rains as he took slow steps closer to the sound. Glancing back at the horse, the ten-year-old reached for the small dagger sheathed on his right hip, trying to strain his ears for the soft wheezing.
This could be it, he thought nervously. It could be a goblin. As he slowly made cautious steps closer to the sound, he envisioned himself presenting his father with the corpse of the filthy beast while his father beamed with pride. Following would be a celebration feast where he, Jonathan would make the toast and the event would be talked about for years to come. To be able to kill a goblin outside the battle field was said to be an honorable accomplishment, as they were such swift runners. But what they had in speed, Jonathan fancied himself in having in cunning, and he would outwit the nasty thing and catch it off guard, slaying it before it would even realize what was happening.
With this image vivid in his mind, he leapt around the hay stack, waving his dagger wildly, his eyes tightly shut, letting his imagination allow him to truly know and see what lay behind the haystack.
“I’ve got you now, vile goblin!” He declared, dagger slicing through the air blindly. “You cannot escape!”
Jonathan allowed one of his brown eyes to peek through his lid.
There was no goblin to be seen, yet the soft wheezing continued, slightly louder now. It was coming from just near his foot. The boy looked down and gasped at what he saw. A goblin, he could have handled - and handled bravely at that! But this was something completely unfathomable. What does one do with a finding such as the one presented to him? Was this a trick? Some goblin trickery to distract him while they snuck up sneakily behind him?
He froze, standing as still as he could listening to any other sound which may indicate truth in his suspicion.
When his ears failed to give him any clues, he slowly turned around, only to find nothing creeping up behind him. The boy did a quick spin around to study the barn, but still nothing revealed itself.
Forgetting the mare which had followed him towards the pile to help herself to supper, Jonathan sprinted back to the house where he was greeted with the smells of dinner being prepared, his two younger sisters squabbling and his father holding Jonathan’s four-week-old brother on his knee.
“Come quick!” the boy panted as he burst through the door. His sisters silenced while his mother turned a worried look to her husband who returned it. “In the barn!” the boy continued. “You have to come quick!”
William passed his infant son to his wife and reached for his sword, his eyes meeting with his wife’s briefly.
Shifting her baby, Elsie watched as her husband followed her eldest child to the barn, to face what, she did not know.
“Mother?” Veronica began to get up, searching for her cane.
“Hush now, darling. You stay right there,” Elsie replied. It pained her to see her youngest daughter blind, searching for her cane, which was a poor substitute for eye-sight. But she could not deal with that sorrow at the moment. It had been a sorrow that had lingered since the girl’s birth, and for the moment, it could be put on hold. Elsie had seen the fear and distress in her eldest son’s face. Anything could be in that barn, out there, waiting for her husband, William, and his sword.
Elsie loved her husband, but only because she should love him. She never stopped to question whether that equated to real love or not, as it did not matter. It had been a marriage more of convenience than of love. She knew that her children needed a father, and that she needed a husband to survive with so little money. But if the cards had been dealt differently, had they been able to fend for themselves, Elsie would probably not be sorry if he was slain on the battle fields of the Bonnet by one of those beastly creatures. He had never done her any harm, though other than her children and the farm, he had failed to provide her with any good either. He was just plain cold, fixated on what had to be done in the physical world, leaving the emotional wellbeing of himself, his wife or even his children, well alone.
No, Elsie was not too worried about her husband. She fretted mainly for her son. She had been so young when he was born and was very ill long after. It was a miracle she survived and was able to bare more children. She loved them all so much, the thought of losing them or even having one of them injured was unbearable. It did not help her much that in times like these, her mind would wander obsessively to the worst conclusion.
There had been recent goblin sightings, or rumors of such. Could it be possible that Jonathan had seen tracks in the mud? Or worse - had actually seen one of the beastly creatures? William did enough fighting at the Bonnet without having to deal with it on his short visits home.
Her imagination continued to contemplate the possibilities. It could have been the sow. The pig had not been well after the bitter winter, and they had been worry she might die soon, though hoped that she would have her litter first if she did. They needed those piglets to sell. What if a goblin had come and slaughtered her, leaving them to starve the following winter?
Or perhaps -
The door opened. Nothing in the world could have prepared Elsie for what was about to follow.
Continue to Chapter 2
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