You decide that, despite your suspicions about the place, the best course of action is to knock on the door. You are hungry and you have walked for hours. You knock on the door, but you realise that you have done this with your bad shoulder. Your fatigue had made you forget about your injuries, but suddenly the pain comes rushing back. You collapse to the floor just as someone answers the door. You look up to see a small forest gnome standing in the doorway. ‘What do you want?’ He hisses. He is obviously not pleased to have been interrupted at such a late hour. ‘Please. I’m injured. I woke up in this forest, and I’m not sure why I’m here or how I got here.’
The gnome stops to consider for a second. He turns, and goes back into the house. You can hear him explaining something to his friends, but his speech is muffled and there is shouting from the other occupants in the house. Eventually, he returns, with another gnome. Together, they pick you up and bring you into the house. Another motions to a bed, and they put you down on top of it, straining to reach. You lie down. The sheets smell musky, and appear to be stained by someone else’s blood. You are so tired, however, that these things do not bother you.
You drift off to sleep, and wake up to feel bounds around your hands and feet. There is muttering outside your door, and a gnome comes. He does not look at you. His eyes are kept firmly to his feet. Your mind begins to work again. You know there is something wrong with forest gnomes, but you cannot place it. The gnome approaches your bed, and suddenly it clicks.
‘The gnomes of the hill, will leave you still,
The gnomes of the rock, would knit you a sock,
The gnomes of the waves, not found amongst knaves,
The gnomes of the ground, make you safe and sound
The gnomes of the tree, would eat you and me.
Once you reach that line in the rhyme, the horrific realisation of what is going to happen to you sets in. You struggle against your bounds, but it is futile. The gnome is on your bed now, and from behind his back he reveals a knife. You try to scream for help, but you know that there will be no answer. This was not how you intended to die.