Katie knew what she had to do: the red spoon was dirty -- again. Several gobbets of flesh had escaped their notice. As she scrubbed, a thin, white hand crept out of the hole in the baseboard. Reaching up, it make a secret mark on the back of her right calf and withdrew as silently as it had come. She did not precisely feel this intrusion, but Katie knew something was wrong. Later she said: "I felt that the cabinet door was not entirely shut"
Before everything changed she might have watched a little television. She knew better, though, and donned her outdoor gear--its bulk obscuring her worn features moments after she disrobed.
The stairs were difficult despite the banister's disappearance the previous winter but outside the suit hampered her but little as she cleaned the goblins from the intake ducts. Not the goblins of fairy tale and Hollywood, perhaps, but the lumpy creatures resembled the repulsive creatures of legend far more than they did their own parents.
"Always trying to get back in," she thought. "It comes of lax discipline," she added firmly.
The mark must have been apprehended somehow through the impervious fabric of the suit. A small creature burst out of the undergrowth where the hedge had been. She had never seen a live goblin when the sun was up, and they scarcely ever approached people, despite their incessant efforts to enter buildings. Flames curled from its ears as it crumpled at her feet, gabbling at her for a few seconds and pawing at her feet.
"I couldn't make out what it was saying," she mused wistfully, "But I almost thought it called to me."
"Nonsense. They don't speak. They can't." Willard hoisted himself out of the hammock and began to lurch back and forth, scissoring his tusks. "Next time, carry a stick to keep them off." He ruffled his dorsal plates. "And stop that hole!"
That night, Katie left a saucer of milk out on the kitchen floor, but Willard found it and dumped it out before he went to bed with the others.