“Get up, I thought I heard something in the garage.”

I opened my eyes, startled.  My wife was shaking me and whispering very loudly at me.”

“What?” I replied, still a little groggy.

“I think someone is breaking into the garage.  I heard something crash in there.”  She shook me again.

“Okay, fine, I’ll take a look.”

I rolled onto my side and swiped my finger across the top of my biometric gun safe.  The door popped open with a thunk.  I reached in and grabbed my 9mm and a spare magazine.  I stood up, slipped my feet into the slippers next to the bed, and stuffed the spare mag into my pajama pants pocket.

“It’s probably nothing, but if you hear me yell, call the cops.”

“Be safe.”  She said to me as I headed out the master bedroom door and down the stairs.

I held the gun in a one-handed low ready as I went through the main floor hall towards the basement door, turning lights on as I went.  I was convinced this was nothing.  We live in a very safe neighborhood, in a very safe town, in a very safe state.  The last time my wife shook me awake thinking that someone was breaking in, two screws had pulled out of some dry-rotted wood on our back deck and one of her planter boxes fell.  I fully expected to be crawling back into bed in about three minutes with another trip to the Home Depot and house repair on my weekend to-do list.

I went through the basement towards the garage door when I heard a loud crash.

The adrenaline shot through my brain.  I was wide awake now.  Something wasn’t right, time to get serious.  I used my trigger finger to activate the weapon light on my pistol.

I got to the interior garage door, stood off to one side, reached out, and turned the latch to unlock the deadbolt.  I listened and heard nothing.  Quickly I turned the knob, threw open the door, and ducked back behind the basement wall.  Still nothing.

Slowly, I came around, doing my best to slice the pie, scanning the garage with the light on my pistol.

My tools were all over the floor.  It was a mess.  I swept from right to left across the entire garage and didn’t see anyone.  I reached over to the wall and flipped on the light.

What I did see was my tool chest.  The top was open and all the drawers had been pulled out.  Sockets and wrenches were scattered everywhere.

“What the fuck?” I said to myself.

There was nobody here.  But how did my tool chest get open?  That wasn’t an accident.

Then I heard a noise.  Snuffling and chewing like a hungry dog eating out of a bowl.  It was coming from under my workbench.

I squatted down and shone my weapon light under the workbench.

“What the fuck!?”  I rhetorically asked the universe, much louder this time.

There was a thing under my workbench.  It was sort of man-shaped, but the legs were much too short in proportion to the body.  It was about two feet tall, with long pointy ears, and rough greenish-gray skin.  It was wearing clothes.  Not quite clothes, but rags tied together to fit like a simple robe over its torso.  It had a short tail that ended with stiff gray hairs, and there was more stiff gray hair on its head.  It had its hands to its mouth and was eating something.

It was eating my sockets.

“What the fuck!?!” I said for a third time, this time very directly at the thing under my workbench.

It turned its head to look at me with jaundiced yellow eyes.

“Ten millimeters tasty.” It said in a gruff voice.

It reached out one long, bony finger, and started rolling my sockets around.  It picked out a deep socket between two long claws and put it into its mouth.

“Ten millimeters most tasty.”

“What the fuck are you?”  I shouted.  I had just been woken up from a sound sleep to confront a bizarre creature that was eating my tools.  My brain wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders at the moment and my vocabulary was a little bit stunted.

“Gremlin.”  The creature hissed at me.

I had heard of gremlins before.  My grandfather had served as the flight engineer and top turret gunner on a Flying Fortress in the European Theater.  He told me stories of how things would just go wrong on aircraft.  Engines that had just been maintained would suddenly quit.  Landing gear wouldn’t retract or go down.  Parts were always missing.  The aircrews jokingly blamed gremlins for their problem.  As a kid, I thought my grandfather had been pulling my leg about them with his war stories.

“What the fuck are you doing?” I’m now up to six words.  The brain is starting to get going.

“Hungry. Ten millimeters most tasty.”  It hissed again, as it picked up a ten-millimeter, quarter-inch drive socket and sucked it down with a slurping sound like a fat guy eating oysters on the half-shell.

Well, that explained a lot.

“Oh, you mother fucker.” I grabbed the gun with both hands and raised it to a firing position.

The gremlin moved so fast I could hardly see it.  It grabbed the pistol right out of my hands, yanking so hard the palms of my hands hurt.  It jumped up on top of my paint shelf and ripped the slide off my pistol.  With the tips of two claws, it pulled a small part out of the slide and stuck it into its mouth.

“Striker block plunger spring, tasty.” It belched loudly.

“Detent springs most tasty.”  It said with obvious relish.

“Oh shit,”  I said as I looked at my gun safes.  There were claw marks on the metal, but they were still closed.  The safes were built from much thicker steel than my tool chest, for obvious reasons, and they were evidently enough to keep the gremlin out and from eating my guns.  My tackle box of spare gun parts had been cracked open and dumped out.

The gremlin must have seen something he liked from his new vantage position and hopped down to where the gun parts were.  It scattered some of the parts, a 1911 recoil spring plug rolled across the concrete floor toward me.  It grabbed a small zip top plastic bag, ripped the top off and dumped the contents into its mouth.

“Sixteenth-inch roll pins, tasty.”  It said as it chewed.

“Human…”  It pronounced human like hoo-man. “Make tasty morsels for gremlin.  Human use tasty gremlin morsels in human machines. Big flying machines. Booming machines.  Riding machined with two wheels.  So many machine full of tasty morsels for gremlin.”

I lunged at the gremlin, but it was too fast.  It hopped away in the blink of an eye onto my riding lawn mower.  It grabbed one of the mower deck cotter pins, pulled it out, and stuck it into its mouth.

My brain fully woke up, and overcoming the shock of what I had encountered, came up with an idea.

I backed up slowly until I was against a shelf, keeping an eye on the gremlin, which jumped over to a quarter-inch hex bit driver set that had spilled on the floor, and was eating my T15 Torx bits.

I reached behind me with my right hand and grabbed a sixteen-inch pry bar.  With my left hand, I groped around until I found what I was looking for, a 4×6 padded mailer.  It was a package I had gotten earlier in the week and hadn’t yet gotten a chance to put away.

Holding the pry bar behind my back, I ripped the mailer open with my left hand and teeth.  Using two fingers, I extracted a small zip top plastic bag.  I held it out towards the gremlin.

“Here you go, you little bastard.  I have something for you.”  I said, trying to keep my voice from being too menacing.

It looked at me with its yellow eyes.

“AR-15 extractor springs. A whole bag full.”

Its eyes opened wide and started to bug from its head, as large as racket balls.

“Extractor springs and buffers?” It asked, its voice rising to a squeak.

“Springs, buffers, and o-rings,”  I said, in as pleasing a tone as I could manage.

The gremlin made a squeal of delight as it hoped a few feet over to me.

I grabbed the top of the tag with my teeth and tore off the entire zipper section.  I turned the back upside down and dumped the contents at my feet.

The gremlin scrambled towards me in a shot and started grabbing for the parts, when I brought the pry bar down on the top of its head right between the ears, as hard as I could.

It made a horrible shrieking sound as I drove the creature into the ground.

I tried to get away, but I grabbed it by one of its stubby legs.

It clawed at my arm.  Blood welled up from the deep scratches it left in my arm, but I smashed it in the head again and again with the pry bar.  Its skin was tough and its body dense, it was like beating a bag of dry dog food.  A bag of dry dog food that was kicking and clawing and trying to get away.

It slashed at my right hand with its claws and I dropped the pry bar.

I slammed the little shit into the ground hard, still holding on by one leg.  I put my knee onto its back, pinning it to the ground.  It started trying to crawl out from under me, leaving claw marks in the concrete floor.  I started reaching around wildly for anything I could use as a weapon.

My hand landed on my 20V brushless angle grinder.  With one knee on its back, I grabbed the side grip with my other hand, squeezed the paddle trigger, and drove four-and-a-half inches of thirty-grit grinding wheel into the back of its head at 9000 rpm.  The gremlin screamed as sparks and green blood sprayed from the back of its head.  I pushed the angle grinder into its skull with all of my weight as it thrashed around.  I was literally grinding its head off.  The gremlin stopped moving as the grinding wheel started digging into the concrete.

I stood up, blood dripping from my arms, covered in green goo from the gremlin, the acrid smell of burning metal and concrete in my nose when I heard a hoarse voice say, “What the fuck is that.”

It was my wife, standing in the doorway of the garage, pointing at the dead, mangled body of the gremlin, holding her cell phone in her other hand.

“A gremlin,”  I said flatly.

“What?” She said shakily.

“A gremlin.  It was eating my ten-millimeter sockets, so I killed it with my angle grinder.  Remind me to text your dad in the morning thanking him for it for Hannukah.  It came in handy.”

My wife just stared at me.

“Here, hand me a lawn and leaf bag.  I want to bag this up and get it outside before it makes more of a mess on the floor.  I’ll clean up the rest tomorrow.  I need a shower and want to go back to bed.”

My wife, bless her, grabbed a black trash bag out of the box on the cleaning supply shelf in the basement and handed it to me.

The next morning, I was in the garage, with the outside door open, cleaning up the mess from the night before.  I was sorting out my remaining sockets when I saw a veritable refrigerator of a man walking up to my garage door.

“Hello.”  He said.

“Yes, can I help you?” I asked.

“My name is Ownen Zastava Pitt, do you have a minute to talk?”



This wasn’t originally intended to be a Monster Hunter International fan fiction.

I had to replace my car battery in the cold and was having a hard time finding my 10mm socket.  I thought about the stories of gremlins and thought up a humourous idea of a gremlin that eats 10mm sockets.

After several iterations of the draft, I realized it sounded much like an MHI section, so I leaned into it and just finished it off that way.


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By J. Kb

6 thoughts on “The Gremlin”
  1. I got one that eats brushes and paints, though it strangely ignores the ancient paint pots that date to the 1980s.

  2. This sounds right, fortunately my garage has a reverse gremlin. While looking for bicycle gear shift cables I found my multimeter that had been missing fo years.

    1. So while everyone else’s garage has a micro black hole that swallows random items, you have the universe’s “white hole” where it all reappears.
      (It’s a much nicer analogy than saying your garage has the gremlin’s @$$, where all the missing s#!t ends up.)

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