Because, every night the goblins come for her. The goblins are hunting, and she is their prey. She doesn’t know how or why, but she does know when. A black mass that seems to be nothing but nails and teeth follows her. Gibbering, drooling, hissing, they hunt her when the shadows become long.
She cannot sleep without the sun.
Stomach grumbling she picks herself up. Her paper cup did not make enough today to put some nourishment in her aching belly. Not that it would make a difference to the skin that stretches and clings to her bones. She wishes she had some clean socks, as she hoists her ratty oversized pack onto her shoulders. Her feet are permanent wrinkles inside damp cotton. But wet socks are at least better than no socks. She will be down to no socks soon.
She begins the walk, the walk she does every night. Her knees tremble, and she braces herself for what is coming. Months of little sleep has made her weak. She walks much slower than she used to.
The shadows are already condensing around her, her weakness attracting them quicker. There are glimpses of scrawny wee creatures with six bony limbs and green glowing eyes that fade into the gloom of the urban night.
She keeps her head down and trudges away from them, her matted hair covering her glum face. She knows the goblins will follow her. They always do. The goblins will follow her deep into the abandoned bus stations and garbage-filled alleyways. They will harass her, pinching and jabbing at her then skittering away when she futilely slaps after them making hissing noises between their sharp goblin teeth. They will follow her into dark gardens and through dim parking lots. They will follow her wherever she goes.
She is always tired, but she cannot lie down. To lie down means to die. She has seen the others, toothless Harry, skinny Marlene, even gangster Johnny, and many more who finally succumbed, who finally lay down, who finally went to sleep at night. She has seen them, or what was left of them, their bones and flesh and blood splayed across the cement in an explosion of sinew and organs. Toothless Harry’s toothless jawbone had been lying in the middle of the street. Skinny Marlene was only identifiable by the broken plastic bracelet she always wore, hanging off of a gnawed bone. Gangster Johnny, well his whole hand had been left, clutched around his semi-automatic. Not that the gun had made a difference, not if he fell asleep.