|The Troll Who Carried Sickness
Author: lynx wings PM
A girl wants revenge, and asks a troll for help. Be careful what you wish for. This was written for a writing class, and revised. Concrit appreciated and adulation basked in.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Supernatural/Fantasy - Words: 1,104 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 07-28-05 - id: 1973571
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Her father was not able to pay the tithe, and so the Duke had him beaten. He lay dying as her mother tended him in someone else's house. It made Ailith angry and ashamed, but mostly (and this also made her ashamed) afraid for her own future. And she wanted revenge.
Ailith visited the troll.
Everyone knew where the troll lived. There was a path leading from the village into the forest, and at the end of the path there was the tree. It was a very large tree, and you could see it if you walked half way down the path (but no farther than the neat line of mushrooms that crossed it) and clambered halfway up the tree on the side, and twisted your neck in such and such a way. The braver village children all had done this. Ailith had, but so long ago she barely remembered it.
Ailith hesitated at the mushrooms, but only for a second. She stepped neatly over and continued down the path.
She arrived at the tree.
She'd seen it from a distance before, but now it loomed over her. She was not sure what kind of tree it was, but she saw that it was covered in Ivy and moss.
And then she heard the troll.
"Who disturbs my rest?" it asked, in a voice like stone scraping against wood.
Ailith's courage almost failed her, but she did not allow herself to run. She stood frozen for a second before answering.
"My name is Ailith, and I come from the village," she said.
"What do you want?"
"Revenge." She stood up as straight as she could
The troll came slowly out from behind the tree. It was smaller than Ailith had expected, and the first word that came to her mind when she saw it was burdened, although she was not entirely sure why The troll was towered over Ailith and its skin ws tinted green. There were dark patches on its neck and fingers. There was an odd, far away look in its red eyes, as though it was seeing things that were not there.
"That is as good a reason as any," said the troll, and when it spoke Ailith could see its large, swollen tongue, coated with yellow-white fuzz. "You want revenge on the human who claims to own this land," he said.
Ailith nodded and decided not to ask how the troll knew.
Without another word, the troll went back behind the tree, and Ailith was worried that it would not help her. It did return, though, carrying a small charm made with feathers and some strange stone. It gave this to Ailith. "Hold onto this," said the troll. "Whatever you do, hold onto this."
Ailith held the charm, and her hand tingled.
"I will tell you this song," said the troll. "Sing it after I do."
Ailith nodded, and the troll sang.
"Ring around the rosies
A pocket full of posies
We all fall down."
The troll sang the song again, and Ailith sang with it. When it was over, Ailith felt relieved, very relieved.
"When?" she asked, eagerly.
The troll gave a cackle. "Soon. Now, maybe. Or later. No one knows." The troll grinned, looking frighteningly gleeful."Thank you, dear Ailith. I've been waiting for a chance to release that for a very long time. Remember, keep the charm."
The troll disappeared.
It was only then that Ailith realized that she had not asked what form the revenge would take.
It did not matter to her. She returned to her mother's side to find her father dead.
On day after her father died, Ailith and her mother stayed at the house of one of her mother's friends. The next day they had her father buried, and the day after that the friend had to turn them out because there wasn't enough food. On the forth night she and her mother slept on the street.
She held onto the charm, and sometimes the words to the song ran through her head and she found herself singing them, and wondering what they meant.
There were black swellings on the necks of the sick and their tongues became coated with white fur.The people in the manor were affected first. The duke and duchess and their son died within days of each other. The sick had flea bites circled with red. Ring around the rosies, thought Ailith. People carried posies, because they hid the scent that filled the village – the scent of dying and infection and bodies – and that was Pocket full of Posies. The bodies of the dead were burned – Ashes, ashes—and everyone, everyone, who caught the disease died. We all fall down.
They were all dead. They were all dead except Ailith, who watched as the bodies were thrown into mass graves and burned by the priests who came from the neighboring villages. Ailith saw the blank eyes of her mother looking up at her from the pit, and she fled.
She ran down the path again, past the mushrooms, to the tree. The troll was waiting for her.
The Troll did not look like it had when she had first seen it. There were none of the black swellings, and it laughed when it saw her. The word Ailith thought, and again, she was not sure why, was free.
"I take it back," she said. "I'll give you anything. Take me."
The troll grinned, flashing sharp teeth. Its eyes were black and beady. "I would not take back the sickness for anything. I carried it for far too long."
The troll shook its head.
Ailith felt everything break down inside of her. "Can you fix it?" she asked.
"I could, but I won't," said the troll.
Ailith put her hand in her pocket, and found the charm, warm and tingling as always. She pulled it out and threw it at the ground.
"You'll regret that," said the troll.
Ailith coughed and sneezed as she returned to the village. Her joints ached, and she felt uncomfortably hot. When she woke up the next morning, she felt miserable and had black swellings on her neck.
It took her three more days to die.
The village is still there, but it's much larger now, and threatening to spill into the forest. It doesn't, though, and probably never will. There is still a path, and there is still a tree. There is still a troll, but it has been forgotten.