This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a WIP from NaNoWriMo 2017, currently titled King Under the Mountain. Set in Casper, Wyoming, in a world where goblins trade in magical goods with humans, traveling from their world to ours through stone circle gates. But if humans aren’t wary in their dealings with goblins, they can find themselves stolen away!

Stephanie and Alix, cousins, are biking home from a party, a bit drunk, and Stephanie vanishes in a ring of toadstools. Alix calls for the King Under the Mountain, and is allowed to try to bring Stephanie back, going through a gate into the other world. On the second day, after she rescues an angry bird’s nest from the tide, she speaks briefly to the king, who provides her with a little supplies, and then she encounters a group of goblins fishing. (There are three races of goblins: hobs, erlkings, and kibi)

Previously: By the time Alix had reached the foot of the dune, the five goblins had gathered in a loose clump some distance from their boat, all their faces turned toward her. Two of the males jostled each other, laughing, one pulling the other into a headlock until a third man thumped them both equally on the heads.

“Hello,” Alix smiled weakly at the hob woman, who hadn’t participated in the roughhousing, and stood a little to the front, if off to the side.

“Hello, tamlane,” the hob replied, “Are you seeking assistance?”

“I need to find my cousin,” Alix began in a breathless rush, “I… she accidentally stepped into a fairy circle, and I—”

“No need to explain,” one of the two erlkings held up a hand to stop her, the hob who’d pinned him now having only an arm draped across his shoulder. “We know what you are–you’re a tamlane, and you seek the teind. We can’t bring you all the way to your destination, but we can take you closer.”

“Yes, of course we can,” the other erlking said, smiling sunnily at her, his amethyst eyes lit with laughter. Most of the goblins were smiling at her, in fact, and something about the ring of happy grins sent a trickle of unease down Alix’s spine.

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“Come with us,” the purple-eyed erlking held out his hand invitingly, taking a step toward her, while the black haired hob shifted to the side, flanking her. Behind them, the other goblins began to spread out as well.

Spooked, Alix whirled around and ran, scrambling up the dune, then down the other side, pushing herself as fast as she could, until her heart felt like it might explode out of her throat.

Laughter sounded behind her, and pursuing footsteps.

“Don’t be scared, little tam!” a male voice called.

More laughter, sharp and mocking.

Alix raced on, feet thudding against the ground, heading inland, dodging fallen branches and roots until the sounds of pursuit faded. She kept running, hoping she could stop before she collapsed, until finally the noises vanished.

Panting, she bent over, hands on her knees, and tried to catch her breath.

*    *    *

I took inspiration from “The Ballad of Tam Lin,” and Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market.” The idea of people being stolen away, and a loved one journeying to get them back (though Tam Lin was stolen by the Queen of the fairies), and the bustling goblin markets with their dangerous fruit from Rosetti’s poem sparked this adventure. Alix and Stephanie are college freshman, 18 and 19 respectively, and cousins sharing a dorm room. They left an off-campus party where they did some drinking, and while biking back to the dorms, Stephanie steps into a fairy circle and is taken to the kingdom under the mountain, where she will stay forever as a goblin unless rescued.

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About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

25 responses »

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    While she may have escaped one danger, I have to wonder what she may have stumbled into in her haste.

  2. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    I wouldn’t trust them either, but I hope she hasn’t made a mistake running away from them so fast.

  3. daryldevore says:

    I’m guessing she only thinks she safe.
    Tweeted.

  4. Ooh, I knew the goblins made me nervous LOL. Terrific snippet and you got my adrenaline up too!

  5. Diane Burton says:

    Never trust a goblin. Edgy snippet.

  6. “Don’t be scared.” Right. 😉

  7. julieevelynjoyce says:

    I could just picture their maniacal little grins in my mind. lol. So glad she ran away, and I can hardly wait to see what other adventures lie ahead!

  8. I have a feeling she was right to trust her instincts here. But I also have a feeling there’s more trouble ahead.

  9. Uh oh! That was a close one. She has good intuition. I think she’ll need it to get her cousin back. 🙂

  10. nancygideon says:

    Goblins! What jerks. Well set scene, Caitlin. Pulls you and the heroine in then . . . Boom.

  11. Carrie-Anne says:

    I don’t think she’s out of the woods just yet, even if she’s dodged one danger.

  12. Alexis Duran says:

    I have to think they let her go, so either they were just having a little fun or she’s jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. Great snippet!

  13. Hywela Lyn says:

    What a tense scene — I think I’d have run too, surrounded by a group of manically grinning goblins, but what’s waiting for her ahead? I can’t believe she’s safe just yet!

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