SML’s New Ancient Correspondent, Megan, has been missing for weeks.
In our searches, we found nothing of her or her body. But her journal continued to update with new entries, nonetheless. Here is what it has written since we saw her last:
It started when our milk went bad. Now, milk goes bad, I recognize this. But our milk went bad days before the expiration date. Still – no big deal. But then the chips in our cupboard, the ones that had yet to be opened, started going stale – again, days, sometimes weeks, before their expiration date. I thought our grocery store was to blame, so I started shopping somewhere else.
Then our oven started to act up. I called the maintenance man, but when he came it was working again. The same thing happened to our fridge and then our dishwasher. Something would act up for an hour or so, but then it would right itself when I drew attention to it.
And then, one night I was setting up the coffee pot so that it would automatically brew in the morning. It was dark out and everyone else had gone to bed. It was hot in the kitchen. Then I felt it. Something – no, it wasn’t something. It was never something. I knew that it was a hand the moment it touched me. This hand glided across my bottom. It felt like when you lazily trace your fingers across one of those beaded curtains. I spun around, but I was alone in the kitchen. At least, I thought I was alone.
That’s the thing. I wasn’t scared. I should have been scared. I should have screamed or run downstairs. But I didn’t. That’s when I knew. I should have known when the milk went bad. We weren’t being haunted. We were living with something, and it was making trouble, but it wasn’t a ghost.
A kobold had taken up residence in our kitchen.
One of the most famous kobolds is Hinzelmann who took up residence at Hudemühlen Castle in Northern Germany in the sixteenth century. Maybe . . .
Okay, our kobold is nothing like Hinzelmann. Hinzelmann was once asked if he knew other kobolds or the “knocking spirits” (Polter Geister), and he replied that he, a good Christian, had nothing to do with those specters of the Devil. Hinzelmann was known for helping around the house, telling the maids what chores they were neglecting and washing dishes for the estate cook.
Our kobold has started taking all the things in our fridge and putting them in the freezer.
Hinzelmann’s human companions made him comfortable with a room of his own and warm milk with crumbled wheaten bread every morning. In order to stem the stream of insults that our kobold has continued to fling in our direction, we began to leave out milk before work in the morning. He didn’t touch it. We started clearing off the sofa and putting down blankets, along with a pillow. It doesn’t appear to change anything. My watch is never where I left it the night before. My husband swears he was lightly pushed up the stairs yesterday. And our milk is still going bad.
I know better than to get an exorcist. One once confronted Hinzelmann, and the good Christian ripped up his texts and then began to scratch and attack him violently. I don’t know what ours would do.
We all woke up last night to a party going on upstairs. Someone was whooping and hollering, stamping its feet and throwing the pillows on the couch downstairs. When all three of us, awake and concerned, went to investigate, the shouts stopped. The sound of the TV was the only thing that greeted us once we had a clear view of the room. Apparently our kobold likes infomercials.
The kobold has made contact in the most disconcerting way. Our roommate was taking a shower when she heard a whisper behind her left ear. “I like you,” it said.
The kobold does like Nikki. A guy she began to see a few nights ago came over and the kobold had its effect on him. Nikki had told us that this guy was great: a good talker, an interesting storyteller, totally not challenged in anyway. But, I believe, his mistake was going to the bathroom.
The very first thing he did when he came over to meet us was excuse himself to use the facilities. When he returned, his affable demeanor had dissipated into thin air. He couldn’t keep his eyes from darting around the room. Whenever one of us asked him something, he became tongue-tied or lost his train of thought after only a few words. He began to shake all over until he abruptly stood up, said goodbye to all of us, and walked out the door without another word.
I thought of Anne and Catherine, whom Hinzelmann had loved so much that he chased their suitors away. He would corner one of Anne’s suitors and, by gold writing on the wall, tell him to go after Catherine instead. When the suitor changed his affections, he was confronted by more gold writing telling him to resume with Anne. Of course, when he returned to the first girl, another message about Catherine would appear.
The two women never married.
I’ve had enough. I sat on my kitchen floor for thirty minutes trying to contact the kobold after I found all of our lunchmeat strewn across the linoleum.
I put my hands behind me and leaned back. That’s when I felt it: warm, gooey, and steadily flowing between my fingers. I looked back and saw bright red blood rising up over my hands. My eyes followed the flood to about a foot away where there was the body of a little kid, his throat cut.
I tried to get up, but my hands slid in the red stuff and I found myself tumbling way too close to the body. I closed my eyes instinctively, and when I opened them I was curled up on the floor and Nikki was shaking my shoulder. I had apparently screamed out. The blood was gone. The body was gone. But I could clearly remember slipping and sliding.
I re-read some things about Hinzelmann. This caught my attention:
“When someone once said to him that if he would be a good Christian, he should call upon God, and say Christian prayers, he began the Lord’s Prayer, and went through it till he came to the last petition, when he murmured ‘Deliver us from the Evil one’ quite low. He also repeated the Creed, but in a broken and stammering manner, for when he came to the words ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting,’ he pronounced them in so hoarse and indistinct a voice that no one could rightly hear and understand him.”
Even Hinzelmann, who apparently was a primarily benign and Christian spirit, was affected by dark forces.
As I was praying at church this morning, a soft voice whispered in my ear, “Don’t forget about me.” It wasn’t malicious. It was actually not even scary. It sounded so sincere and urgent that he could have been pleading. I don’t know what I’m going to do.
For more on Hinzelmann, check out Thomas Keightley’s The Fairy Mythology (1870).
If you spot Megan or her kobold, give a friendly wave, but do not approach. Stay tuned to SML to see if we can return Megan to her natural, corporal state.
Megan Miller is (..was?) a classicist with a bent toward the macabre. She received her master’s from Oxford, but now tells as many monster stories as she can to the students in her university courses. To read more Ancient Correspondence, click here.