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“Oliver! Will you hurry up? You’re going to be late!”

His mother was angry. He could tell. She only ever used his full name when she was angry. It wasn’t his fault, though. Not this time.

“I can’t find my sock,” he shouted. “It’s gone!”

He had put everything out on his chair last night. He could see it, in his mind, a neat little stack of clothing with a pair of blue socks on top. Somehow, by the time he got around to putting them on this morning, there was only one. He knelt on the floor and stuck his head under the chair, hoping that his other sock had just slipped off the back somewhere.

“Why didn’t you put them out ready last night, like I told you to?”

He jumped at the sound of his mother’s voice, banging his head on the chair. She always managed to come up the stairs completely silently.

“Ow,” he said, rubbing his head, his eyes stinging with the threat of tears. “I did, mum, they were right there, but now there’s only one!”

She folded her arms and looked really angry.

“I swear it was there,” he cried. He waited to be told off, but all of a sudden he realised that his mother was not looking at him. She was looking at his bed.

“Out,” she said.

Nothing happened.

Quick as a flash, she ducked down and stuck her arm under Oliver’s bed. There was a brief struggle, like when his dad was reeling in a big fish, and then she jumped up to her feet.

She was holding one end of Oliver’s missing sock.

On the other end, sharp teeth digging into the material, was a greenish thing with big, green eyes, and big green ears. It looked across the room at Oliver.

“Get off it,” Oliver’s mum said. “You can’t have this one.”

Its eyes slowly rolled up to look at her. She put on what Oliver called her “Seriously Stern Face” and stared down at it.

Slowly, its teeth parted and the sock came free. It sat there, mouth open, sharp teeth glinting, then its fat grey lips came together into a pout. It looked up at Oliver’s mum with big eyes.

“Um, mum,” Oliver said, “That sock looks kind of… damp. Can I wear the grey ones instead?”

She sighed, rolled her eyes, and dropped the blue sock back onto the sock goblin’s head.

“All right then,” she said. “But you’re spoiling him, you are. Now hurry up!”

Sock Goblin© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: Another story with a picture! I seem to be feeling artistic these days!)