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GOBLIN
by Simone Solon 

     The crystal sunlight radiated through the condensing sky and as the first raindrop gathered sufficient weight to fall, a girl sat on a bench and counted out her meagre supply of change. She had 50p the guy with the nose stud had given her at midnight for turning over a single card; 50p that she had found on the platform and a handful of copper and tens and twenties left over from the money which other people had given her the previous day. The total came to £1.70. Not enough for a coffee but she could buy herself something to eat.The station was still sparsely populated and only a few weary travellers waited under the great glass dome for the first trains out. Katerina had managed to spend the night undiscovered under a bench in one of the waiting rooms. It was an irony that was not wasted on her that by day she was virtually invisible, often unable to attract the little attention that would ensure her a meal, but by night she felt as conspicuous and vulnerable as a mouse surrounded by cats.
     It was day now but the soft, yellow brick walls with their glass arches harbouring cafés, ticket offices, bars, boutiques and bookshops, the acres of pale, polished concrete, faintly sparkling under the high electric lights and the natural light pouring in through the glass curve of the roof, were yet to transform into the friendly forest full of trees where a tree could easily pass unnoticed if it wanted to.
     Unfortunately, the tree that was Katerina, less than smart but not quite shabby, passed unnoticed rather easily. Her light blue jeans were a bit too loose on the hips and too baggy at the knees. She wore them with a floral t-shirt, that had once been brightly printed but was now only faded shades of turquoise, and a dark blue cardigan with a zip. She had a soft black jacket for when it was cold but the jacket objected to spending most of its time crushed in her backpack and if it had ever been stylish it would have taken a discerning eye to tell. A closer look than most people allowed her would have revealed that she was something of an exotic flower. Coils of black hair proverbially tumbled, tangled down her back and large black eyes gazed out at the world from a finely chiselled, rather elfin face, high brow, high cheekbones, narrow jaw. Sometimes those eyes glittered with a surprising energy, an exuberant joie-de-vivre, but more often than not they were deep pools of a strangely innocent sorrow, uncontaminated by bitterness or self-pity.
     This morning, having once again walked off the daily backache that arose from sleeping under a bench and having made use of the washroom facilities on the station to tidy herself up, Katerina was feeling oddly optimistic. She had dreamt again of the Knight of Cups and again, dazzling in shining armour, he had lifted her onto his great, grey horse but before the dream had turned to nightmare and she had transformed into a goblin and been cast from his saddle, she had woken up. Despite the brightness it was still very early. As usual, since she had found herself at this hub of the universe, Katerina had had to get up early to get out of the way of the cleaners.
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