Imagine you were a witch without a house, allergic to woods and nearly broke. Too difficult? Don’t mind – just read the next twisted fairytale to get the idea.
“Knock, knock …“
“The one who called for the apartment.”
The goblin who opened the door looked disappointed. “Oh, yes. I remember which witch …”
“Don’t expect me to slip into silly joking, okay.”
I honestly wasn’t in the mood for that. During the last weeks, I had found shelter in bars or cheap motels or with people I scarcely knew. (As a witch you usually don’t have too many people on your buddy list). I was dead tired, had back issues from sleeping on indefinable substitute beds, and I was almost broke. I needed a new apartment. Quickly. Even if it was in the goblin district.
“Is it still free?” I asked wearily.
“Well, er, yes.” He gave me a suspicious look. ”You wanna rent it?”
‘No, I just like to visit strange people and check on their homes.’ It was hard not to say. But in my situation, it didn’t seem too clever to shoot my usual load of sarcasm at others, especially when they where potential refuge givers.
“Maybe,” I answered instead. “But I thought it was a good idea to see it first.”
“I thought as a witch you have some precognitive powers, sixth sense, third eye …”
If I had I would have probably known that it was not a good idea to invite my beneficial friend, the dragon, to my home for dinner and red wine. You probably heard about the dangers of smoking cigarettes in bed. Well, let me tell you, the same danger potential goes for dragons.
“Now, can I come in … please?” I enquired in a tone somewhere between polite and desperate.
“Just for a little dance ritual on the doorstep.” The goblin was still eyeballing me. “To be sure. I mean, you are a witch after all.”
“Okay,” I sighed. “What shall I do?”
“Just hopping in a circle.”
“On one leg.”
“And if you could throw that salt over your shoulder.”
I groaned, grabbed some salt from the little bag he was holding in my direction and tossed it behind me. The circle became more of an unmotivated triangle. Still, my minimal effort was enough to cheer the goblin up. Finally, he stepped out of the way.
“Thanks,” he giggled. “Don’t know if it really helps against evil spirits, but it was surely worth the sight.”
Of course, it was ridiculous. We weren’t in the magic forest and this was no enchanted tree house, just a crappy apartment in an eleven storey house. Most goblins from the woods had moved to the big city to make their fortune which meant more than a pot of gold these days.
Carefully I slipped in, ignoring the goblin’s inane grinning. After two steps I had to duck from a massive wooden beam. It was the first of a row of ten that spanned the ceiling of what was supposed to be the living room. The floor and all of the walls were clad in wood. No panelling but whole chunks of trees which morphed into several pieces of furniture.
“Nice, isn’t it?”
“Do all of the rooms have this, well, special atmosphere?”
I looked at the ceiling which was lowered at approximately six feet, so I could almost feel the wood on my hair.
“Sure! You should see the bathroom!”
“I think I can imagine …” ‘… something like a bucket of water and a hole in the floor.’
My head hit the second beam, while I was still scanning the interior. With all the wood, single features were hard to make out. After I spotted some fake leaves and twigs arranged around a formally square window, I decided I’d had enough. Yes, I needed a place to stay, but even without issues of claustrophobia, I couldn’t imagine spending more than a few hours in this dressed up tree hole.
“You can have the apartment for the next six months,” the goblin explained. “While I have some travelling to do abroad. On weekends and during holidays my mother usually drops in, since she rents out her tree house to tourists then. As you can see, I leave it all furnished, so be careful with open fire. Oh, and you have to water the moss in the bedroom from time to time. But my mother knows about this. So, what do you say … hello?”
With his mentioning of the open fire, I was out. I left the front door behind me and headed back to the ground floor. Drawing some twigs out of my hair, I sighed. There were five more apartments on my list which were affordable and not on the outskirts. Three of them were in the goblin district which made only two possible new homes left.
“Okay,” I said to myself, wiping off some crumbs of salt from my shoulder. “New try, new luck. Now let’s see what Little Pig Estates Ltd. Has to offer.
… to be continued.
C. C. Holister (c) 2018