Fandango’s FOWC is formidable.
The Word of the Day Challenge is family.
Today’s story is also part of A Guy Called Bloke’s Pimp Imp’s December’s Dastardly Deeds Challenge for December 24, with a story prompt of Trolls are for life not just Christmas!
Trolls are for life not just Christmas!
A troll family lived in a cave under the bridge, by the wide river, in a remote part of the country, far from any big city. As this was in the northern region, the winters there were formidable. Trolls have no concept of putting away food for the cold months, so they foraged for roots, what animals they could trap, and fish from the river. It wasn’t an easy life, and they often went to sleep hungry, as a troll’s appetite is voracious and staying warm in sub-zero temperatures burns a lot of energy.
The father, mother, and their 3 grown troll children did not know of things like celebrating holidays such as the approaching Christmas. They only knew that at a certain time of year, sleighs with jingle bells would jingle their way to the bridge. Often the sound of human voices and laughter would accompany the jingles as they swooshed over it. Human voices and laughter meant one thing to the troll family: food.
Each “jingle bell time” meant setting up traps for the food. Thick vines were raised just before the jingles got to the bridge, tripping the horse. As the driver got down from the sleigh to check on what happened, the troll children would nab the riders. Papa & Mama grabbed the driver. The horse sometimes was able to recover and jingle off with the sleigh. Sometimes not. The trolls took only as many as they could eat, so many were able to pass safely.
Search parties would come out, looking for the missing people, but no trace was ever found of them. Theories varied, but the most common one was that they fell into the river and were carried away.
The annual jingle harvest carried on for many years – until Professor VanHelsing’s niece, Marga Joy, never arrived at the annual Christmas Gala in Bonvorgenbord. Bonvorgenbord is the village where the VanHelsing ancestral home held its holiday gathering each year. VanHelsing and his trusting assistant, Norwood, set out with the family hound, Franken, to travel the route and find Marga Joy.
As their sleigh jingled over the bridge, Franken started to howl and whine and leapt off. VanHelsing and Norwood followed Franken and immediately saw troll tracks. Their hearts sank. They went back to the sleigh and retrieved a crossbow with sedative-packed arrowheads, the Laws missile with ammo, and an elephant rifle, loaded. They moved quickly as Franken’s yowling was getting more frantic. It sounded nearby, which meant they had to act with much urgency.
It didn’t take them long to find where the tracks were leading. Just as they approached the cave entrance, a loud, agonizing yelp was heard. VanHelsing silently edged his way along the wall of the cave until he was able to see by firelight what they were dealing with. Franken was still alive and trying to crawl his way out. Papa, Mama, and The Troll Children were sitting by the fire. No other living thing was seen. Formless inert shapes were in a corner. The stench was overwhelming.
Franken continued to whimper and crawl, until he made it to VanHelsing, who then was able to drag him out, wrap him in his coat, and carry him to the sleigh. Preliminary examination showed Franken’s back legs were crushed but his body intact.
VanHelsing instructed Norwood to set up the Laws and keep firing until out of ammo. He perched himself on a nearby raised area of earth with the automatic crossbow and the rifle. He’d counted 5 trolls and he had 10 arrows. Norwood started firing the Laws into the cave and the most unholy of howling echoed out to them, then a great snarling and a trembling of the earth as they thumped their way out, towards them. Norwood fired again at the first movement exiting the cave. He nailed Papa in the chest, who fell and blocked the entrance. Mama screamed and with great effort pushed his inert form aside, which gave Norwood time to reload. VanHelsing used this as an opportunity to shoot his first arrow into Mama, striking her shoulder. By the time she used her one good arm to move Papa, now inert, aside, she was groggy and soon fell, fast asleep.
The 3 children, bigger and stronger than either of their parents, and now enraged, exited the cave. One was severely injured already from the first Laws strike. VanHelsing aimed for him with the next arrow and got him in the eye, instantly dropping him. Norwood aimed the Laws at the second trollchild and nailed him in the chest. Game over. The third, final child rumbled towards Norwood, as VanHelsing nailed him in the neck with an arrow. He stopped long enough to writhe in pain at the arrow and blood poured from the wound, an artery hit. This gave Norwood a chance to reload, firing into the third child’s stomach, stopping him cold.
All trolls were dead except one, Mama, who was asleep.
Norwood and VanHelsing ran into the cave to look for Marga Joy. They located her among several other bodies piled in the corner. A finger to her neck revealed a faint pulse! They lifted her carefully over to the fire and wrapped her with one of the many articles of clothing laying in the shadows. The other bodies were checked but she was the only survivor. Norwood put a bottle of brandy to Marga Joy’s lips and trickled a small amount in. Her eyes fluttered open and she groaned.
While Norwood tended to Marga Joy, VanHelsing went outside and secured the Mama troll with thick vines and heavy chains from the sleigh. Soon VanHelsing, Norwood, Marga Joy, and Franken were racing back to the Village of Vonborgenbord. The villagers returned to the cave and loaded the troll up and traveled to Zurich. They fetched a fine price for Mama, who was put into a cage in a special section of the Zurich Zoo. As trolls are immortal unless killed with gunpowder, she continued to be a marvel for zoogoers all year long, not just Christmas, but for many years, up to the present!
VanHelsing, Norwood, and Marga Joy were able to enjoy their Christmas together. A special set of wheels were constructed for Franken so he was able to get around with just his front legs. He lived to be 25 years old, a well-loved companion and part of the family.
OK Rory, how’s that for a happy ending?