Emily was anxious to see the view from her hayloft perch. Before her chores — even before breakfast! — she scooted up the plank.
Would she see the skulking wolf with a lamb in its jaws? Would she see the men of Bridgeville chasing it with their weapons, and with mighty shouts?
She imagined a pack of wolves racing across Sheep’s Hill, the brave men of Bridgeville heaving their throwing axes at the lamb-thieving scoundrels. Perhaps Shep the shepherd boy would twang an arrow into one of the furry, retreating rumps.
Emily could well picture it, for she was indeed a very imaginative girl.
But there was no such pandemonium. All was quiet, quite like most mornings.
As usual, the cats of Bridgeville were running about, chasing the last rats bold enough to show themselves in the light of morning. Even now, two cats — one black, one white and gray — could be seen pussyfooting along the rail of the bridge.
As usual, she could see the stream and the mist swirling on its surface.
And as usual, she could see the bridge, and the shadows beneath it.
After all this usualness, Emily was quite unprepared for the enormous hand that shot out from the dark underside of the bridge. It reached up and up and grabbed the black cat, who was equally unprepared. And before you could say Beware the sound of water chuckling, a gigantic troll leapt from under the bridge.
Opening its enormous mouth very wide, the troll ate the cat with a great gnashing of its huge brown teeth.
Emily could see the spray of blood and bone and fur in the troll’s cave-like mouth.
Quicker than quick, the gray and white cat spun around to run away — but alas it was not quick enough. The horrid troll reached out its long and warty arm and grabbed the unfortunate puss, which vanished into the chomp-chomp-chomping jaws of the troll.
And that was that, no more cat.
Emily could hardly believe her eyes — yet she knew she wasn’t imagining things, for she could never imagine anything so terrible as a troll eating the head off one cat, much less two.
And even if she chose not to believe her eyes, it mattered not to the awful troll, which was now burping (a sound Emily could hear quite clearly, even from a distance of five sheplenks) and clambering back under the bridge.
You can read the rest of this tale of a little girl battling a terrifying troll on Kindle “For Whom the Bell Trolls: Tales of Terror, Triumph & Trolls” for just $3.99. All proceeds go to the St. Jude’s Children Hospital.