FROM THE NOTEBOOK
More and more, I see the reasoning behind the Physiker's theory. She says that each Goblin market gives a trailing history of how the Hedge was re-configuring itself the prior week—of course, she says it in the most dismissive way, implying that I am idiot for not realizing it myself. Perhaps she is right. I had held on to my lazy thinking that the Gobbos knew paths or had caravans. Now I notice that the change-over in stock and new items popping up always clump together in clusters of qualities. To my credit, there is a constantly changing array of the corrupted items that just stew in the magic of the Hedge until they take on some nightmarish attributes—and those are the majority of the dross offerings in the bargain bins. They masked this pattern for me. That's what I tell myself.
Clearly, the gobs were able to break into some huge Faerie animal holding facility—a zoo or a lab or a horrible pet store. The prize item, by goblin reckoning and the carnival air around it, was the slowly flexing accordian-folding glass aquarium brimming with foul greenish water that released bubbles scented of bleach and something almost fruity. I cannot recall much more—the Physiker dragged me away claiming I was overcome by the fumes. I have the sense of the horrible liquid was spilling over the edges and things alive in that tank that my mind associates with kittens and crabs simultaneously. A goblin delicacy, the Physiker tells me, and good for a soup for the recently malnourished Changeling—she was apparently unconcerned and unaffected and now possessed of a squirming plastic bag of something that made clicking noises.
But after that I could see the pattern. There were bird cages hung on hooks that shared the strange writhing nature of that aquarium. The largest cages, big enough for a child, had bars that were covered in scales and twisted and coiled—perhaps snakes bound to that purpose.. And the smaller ones, of a size for parrots and cockatiels, had bone-like bars that shuddered and shivered and on them, tiny mouths full of teeth yawned open and snapped shut. Mercifully, I saw nothing within the cages.
We found a box of collars, studded with needles both inside and out, that seemed so harmless when I saw them, that I picked one up and examined it without worry—and yet—I still have the pin pricks all over my hands and my neck. Again, I am further in debt to the Physiker – which is growing both alarming and embarrassing.
We saw a pair of gloves that looked as if they'd been ripped and torn at by dogs—they had an aggressively menacing air to them. I stayed well away after my encounter with the collars. A few stray items also seemed part of the set—for instance, a plastic bucket so gnawed and worried-over that it was only the bottom two-thirds of it's original form; curiously enough, even in this state it gave off a dream-like sensation of security and safety.
There were unsteady stacks of cans with labels that resembled a famous brand of canned tuna—but instead of the cartoonish fish in a blue sea, it was a cartoonish fish skeleton on a wet-looking red background. The cans themselves were unevenly sized and sloped in height—which bothered me all out of proportion to the situation. I didn't buy nor did the Physiker—but she did consider the blood-caked can opener that sat on the same table—it looked old and well-made, like fancy silverware, but covered in grue and tarnish that would never come off.
At the butchery stalls, perhaps related or perhaps not, the tables were piled high with big chunks of massive quivering corals. The tentacled living masses within the pits were being popped out with spoons into pails and bowls and whatever container would slow their writhing escape. What didn't sell fresh within the first minutes got smacked with a mallet until flat and then dumped into crocks and covered with salts and vinegars and twigs. Patty pickles...now I knew where they came from.
- Noxious Ungainly Aquarium
- Robust Squamous Bird Cage
- Repulsive Organic Bird Cage
- Equable Pacifying Animal Collar
- Savage Worried Gloves
- Brutish Relieved Bucket
- Eldritch Mighty Coral
- Brutish Relieved Bucket
- Annoying Macabre Can Of Tuna
- Morbid Silver Can Opener