The goblin nods and grunts once before pivoting and getting two steps toward the door. He begins hacking and coughing.
I take a large step back, toward where Bailey lies against the wall.
The hacking becomes so severe even Bailey stands up and trots around the opening in the counter so she can stare at the goblin. She gives three quick barks which sets my adrenaline on fire.
"Sir, are you okay?" I ask cautiously but I know I can’t help him.
One of the many reasons I adopted Bailey is she can sense active magic. If someone does a spell in her vicinity, she knows about it. If she gives those three quick barks, it means whatever is being done to the goblin is magic and not allergies.
The goblin doubles over, hacking harder. Soon, a thick green foam spews from his mouth with the force of each cough.
"Dammit," I mutter as I grab the walkie-talkie from under the counter and click it on. "Sven, I really need you out here. Something's wrong with a customer."
The line crackles. "I don't want to be involved," answers Sven's absurdly deep brogue over the walkie-talkie.
"Sven, seriously," I hiss into the walkie-talkie.
There is a huff. "Fine."
"Sir, are you okay? I'm calling the paramedics. Our type of paramedics," I qualify so he knows I am not calling human EMTs. Because who-knows-what would hit the fan if that happens.
I throw down the walkie-talkie and wrench my cell phone out of my back pocket before hitting the supernatural hotline I have on speed dial in my phone.
"Supernatural helpline, what is your emergency?"
"This is Jas Bond at the Fix ‘n’ Find. I have a goblin here coughing so hard that instead of coughing up a lung, it's a foamy green liquid. I don't know enough about goblin anatomy to know how bad that is." I try to keep my voice calm, but unease and panic are setting in. And I hope whatever it is isn't contagious.
"Thank you for that information, sir. I am dispatching two emergency personnel now. They should be there within the next fifteen minutes. Is there anything else I can do for you?"
I hate calling the supernatural hotline; for whatever reason supernatural beings live so long the idea of emergencies doesn’t seem to register with them.
"Not unless you can help this guy through the phone," I respond frustratedly.
"All right then, have a good day," she answers chipperly before hanging up.
Disgusted, I put my phone down on the counter and begin rummaging through one of the top drawers behind the desk. I have a collection of health pendants somewhere in one of the drawers. My ex-fiancée gave me a handful of them before we broke up.
"Aha!" I exclaim as my hand clasps around one of the ruby red and gold pendants. I slam the door shut and run around the counter, catching myself before I trip over Bailey who decides to move between my legs mid-step.
"Take this." The man has now coughed up so much bubbling green foam it can fill the small trashcan I keep behind the counter.
The man seems too distracted to hear me, so I reach across the puddle and pry open his free hand, ignoring the scratch I get across my palm from his overly sharp nails and smash the pendant into his hand, re-curling his fingers around it. I watch as the amulet glows bright, getting brighter the longer he holds it.
"Well, this can't be good," Sven comments from where he now stands next to me.
I didn’t hear him coming from across the shop, so I jump when he speaks.
After several seconds, the goblin’s coughing slows and the liquid stops coming out of his mouth, for which I am extremely grateful for, because now that I am standing here, the smell is getting to me. It is something between wet dog and microwaved fish.
"Do you know what would do that?" I murmur to Sven.
Sven shakes his head as he strokes his long beard, making the two beads hanging in it clack when they hit each other. "No. But my knowledge of magic isn't great. At least not this type of magic."
We both stare at the goblin as his coughing slowly turns more toward wheezing. I look away from him long enough to glance at Bailey, still standing, peering around the counter. The expression on her face and the fact her hackles are still up concerns me. Normally once magic subsides, she goes back about her business. The fact she is still watching sets off warning bells in my head. Not to mention the smell is getting stronger and I have no idea what the best way to clean whatever it is up. I don’t even want to think about how long it is going to take to clear the smell from the shop.