The villagers stayed indoors, covering their ears when they ventured out. Zilla searched all day for the gnomes: their grotto, fairy house, cake shop, the potting shed, even the pub, but could not find his tubby friends anywhere.
“Waaaahhhhhhrrrrghhhhhhhh,” he wept.
The gnomes had gone. There were no signs or clues; vanished into thin air. The villagers whispered about witches, spells and doomsday prophecies.
Zilla sat in his flat and wept, where were they? What would he do without them? Who would make his tea?
Gnome juggling, gnome throwing, gnome bouncing – so many games they had played, such fun they had. Zilla guzzled candies, drank coffee, paced.
Finally, at 5.46am he drowsed into a snot filled slumber, the villagers had sighed and slept too.
The jaunty knock of the mail-badger woke Zilla a few hours later. He lumbered to the door to find a single card lying on his doormat. Scrabbling for his bifocals, Zilla examined the postcard.
A glossy bright picture of people supping cocktails in the sun. Addressed to ‘That Darned Lizard, Back of Beyond’ it carried the message:
‘Gnomes on Tour – Dear Lizard – we has gone hollydaze. Wish you woz here. The Gnomes. XOXO.’
“Noooooooooooarrrrghhhhhh,” Zilla roared, lumbering as fast as he could to the police station. Zilla knew the gnomes would never call him a LIZARD, never. As he explained to the constables, this could only mean one thing – his gnome friends had met with foul play.
No one believed him.
Days and weeks passed, more postcards arrived, Peru, the Moon, Las Vegas, Atlantis.
Until one unexceptional day Zilla arrived home to find the gnomes had returned. They acted as if they had never been away, but they seemed different.
Zilla’s gnomes were gone.