24 – Troll

The two young figures ran thru the dark forest, trying to find a place to shelter from the rain.

“Oh, shit. Oh shit. Oh SHIT!” The girl in the faded jeans and a Union Jack tank top cursed at the top of her lungs as she struggled not to slip on the muddy trail. “I told you Spike was just fucking with you. There’s no bloody shed here. Oh, I’m SO going to kick that bastard in the nuts when we get back!”

The thin boy with the now drooping Mohawk looked back at her with an ashamed face. “But Ratboy said he’d been to it too. He even drew me a map, he really did.”

Around them the storm was getting heavier. Small pieces of hail joined the huge raindrops falling on them.

“Look!” he said as they reached a bend in the trail. “There’s the old train bridge. We can stay in there ’till this blasted rain stops.”

They ran towards the nearest arch, and quickly took refuge under its crumbling red bricks. “Damn, Skid. This is the last time I listen to you.”

They were both shivering, their wet clothes offering no comfort against the gusts of cold wind that reached for them under the bridge. “I’m going to try and build us a fire.” He said hopefully. Then looked around but saw nothing but dirt and wet leaves on the floor.

They sat against the curved wall in silence, huddled together to keep what little warmth they still had. The storm kept raging outside when they began to doze off.

The light was what woke him up, amber reflections cheerfully dancing on the arched ceiling above them. Then he noticed the pleasant warmth and the cracking sound of burning wood. He turned to find a nice campfire in the middle of the floor.

“Jez? Wake up! Come on, Jez!”

The girl opened her eyes. “Hey! I thought you said there was nothing to build a fire. Where’d you find dry wood in here?”

“Wasn’t me, Jez. I just woke up too. Someone else must be here with us.”

They looked around, but could only see the arching red brick walls disappearing into the blackness of an old maintenance tunnel.

“Hello?” The boy finally said. “Anyone there? Um… thanks for the fire?”

There was no answer.

“I don’t like this, Skid. Let’s get the hell outta here.”

“Oh, come on. If whoever built the fire wanted to do anything to us he’d already done it while we were out cold.”

A rustling from the darkness startled them. “Who’s there!? Come on out.”

They could see movement in the shadows. Someone… or something… big was standing just beyond the light.

“Skid…” Pleaded the girl. “Let’s go… please?”

The thing in the shadows gave a small step forward, it seemed to hesitate.

“Skid! Please!”

There was another step forward. The creature started to slowly raise a huge clawed hand.

They both stepped back against the wall, their eyes fixed on the darkness inside.

A pair of eyes, gleaming with a dull red glow, stared at them. Grey lips parted to reveal a set of huge sharp teeth that gleamed like steel against the fire. A massive foot came forward.

With a shriek the girl ran out from under the bridge… closely followed by the boy.

Behind them, a huge grey form screamed and ran after them into the rain outside. “Stop!” He shouted. “Please! Don’t go, please! Don’t go!”

His plea was lost against the thunder. The two young figures had disappeared into the darkness outside.

He slowly walked back under the crumbling arch and sat by the fire.

“Please, don’t go.” He muttered sadly, speaking really to himself. “It’s been so long. I just want someone to talk to.”

With huge tired eyes fixed on the fire. The old troll wept… alone.

• • •

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