Being a troll used to be wonderful. He still remembered that beautiful cave they used to have, in the old country… There was so much space; plenty of room for a nice cooking fire. Lots of closet space. Everyone had their own bedroom. There had been several villages around, with plenty of plump juicy children to eat. There were always so many of them around – and no one seemed to miss them. Children went missing all the time, right?
Apparently not. The villagers had come with their torches and their sharp, pointy knives.
Now…. Well…. Now, things were decidedly worse. It was not his choice to come to this dratted new country. In this place, there were very few caves. The only suitable dwelling the family could find was the cavernous storage space beneath some grade school’s gymnasium….
As though that could be considered suitable. It was definitely a down-grade. It always smelled like a foul mixture of sweat and toxic cleaning chemicals, and they had to be certain to duck out of sight whenever the school janitor came down to get cleaning supplies or have a discreet cigarette break, which was, thankfully, not more than once a day.
And the stomping was awful. Do you know what it’s like to have three-dozen nine-year-olds running around on you ceiling, reader? The running and the squeaking and the shouting were interminable. Eventually, they just had to invest in good ear plugs and hope for the best.
As for food…. Well, they weren’t starving, but it definitely wasn’t gourmet. Children were off the menu – too closely counted here. They actually took attendance every day, here. People would definitely notice if they started disappearing. They’d started off stealing food from the school cafeteria – but that was a no-go. Not even trolls will eat that stuff. Finally, they resigned themselves to doing what normal people do. Once a week, one of them would walk to the grocery store to pick up the necessities.
Admittedly, the prices at the grocery store were outrageous, but the luxury of toilet paper was lovely. There had been no toilet paper in the old country. Actually, there had been no toilets. Modern amenities, he admitted, reluctantly, were quite nice.
And, of course, he missed sunlight. And exercise. And freedom. They used to be able to roam the woods all day. Now they could only come out at night. On the bright side, now they had the playground. The little ones could run and jump and slide to their hearts’ content. And they usually did so, playing all night, until the sun came up.
As for him, he was growing more docile in his old age… The running and the jumping were not for him. But he did like to sit on the swings, rocking back and forth, watching the little ones play and reminiscing about the good old days.
And thus, dear reader, you might see him, if you’re walking home late some summer night and decide to take a shortcut through the school yard. You’ll see him, alone in the empty playground … sitting and swinging in the darkness, a small, hairy figure in the night, with decidedly pointy toes. He’ll be gazing off into the distance, the way your own Grandpa frequently does, and dreaming of better times. Of when he was young and the world seemed brighter.
And if you see him, reader, run.
Run as fast as you can.
POV – third person (omniscient) * A Mythical Creature or Idea * an empty playground
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