Chapter Thirteen – A New Game


“Okay. Now, Hob, we’ll sit in a circle and try a few of these.” They made a start with Connect Four and Jerry encouraged the goblin along. “This game’s easy, Hob, just slot your yellow disc in and I’ll slot in my red ones. The first to get a row of four wins. Do you get it, Hob?” Jerry beamed.

But hope turned to despair as Hob ate all his yellow discs.

“These cakes are too hard!”

He spat out a mangled mess of yellow plastic and Jerry and Jacob just stared at the ruined pile of discs. Jerry swallowed hard.

“Let’s try snakes and ladders, Jacob, that’s really easy. But make sure he doesn’t eat his token.” Jerry turned to the goblin, holding up a small red disc. “Hob, this is not for eating. We are playing a game. Just watch us and then you can join in, okay?”

Hob stared at the board. Jerry and Jacob showed him how, and Hob loved rattling the dice, but that was it: he just kept on rattling and rolling the dice.

“Well, it’s a start, for a goblin,” Jacob laughed.

The only game that worked, well, with goblin rules, was snap! Hob yelled, ‘Snap’ all the time. His version was ‘yap’, though at least he learnt how to slap his card on top of the pile. Yap, yap, yap. Hob won every single time, yelling, ‘Yap’ and grabbing up all the cards.

“We’ll call it ‘Goblin Yap’ − the new version of snap,” Jerry grinned.

The boys spent some time at Gran’s house after their supper of chilli wraps – and managed to hide a pile of the leftover wraps and mince, which they hurriedly stuffed into a plastic bag for Hob – a goblin doesn’t worry at all about how food looks!

“Tomorrow night we can have a TV or a games evening, if you like,” Gran announced.

“Yeah, that’s great.” Jerry winked at his brother. “We’re practising new games this evening, Gran.”

As they walked back to the shed, Jerry turned to his brother.

“What if it doesn’t work, Jacob? What if we can’t get Hob transported back to Goblinland? What if we have to keep him here?”

“That’s a horrible thought.” Jacob shook his head. “Imagine if we had to introduce him to all our friends at school, never mind what Gran and Mum would say.”

“It’s got to work,” Jerry said in a growling voice. “Goblins are really hard work and having one as a kind of brother, no way!”

When they opened the door of the shed, they were not in the least surprised to find their pile of games in chaos, and what hadn’t been ripped up had been eaten!

“Enjoyed the Monopoly, I see, Hob. Do the notes taste good?” He dumped the bag of mangled chill wraps in front of the goblin, who did not hesitate to dive in.

“Good eat!” Hob slobbered over the wraps. “That not good eat.” He pointed at the half-chewed Monopoly money.

“You don’t say,” said Jerry. “Anyway we need to practise his midnight party piece before we go back to his tree. How’s the moonlight?”

Jerry looked out of the little window at the evening sky. “Hmm – it’s hard to tell, but perhaps moonlight isn’t so important. The elf shoe and Hob’s wish are more important.”

To read the next chapter, click here.