Little Lambsy Deadsy: A Troll Story

I like the horror genre because it tends to reflect what people are really deep down scared of in that particular place and time.

In the 50s, the fear of Communism and the unknowable other was reflected in  Invasion of the Body Snatchers (they look just like us ...but they don’t mow their lawns!)

In the 60s our fear of nuclear radiation was reflected in a series of ordinary-critters-rendered-murderously-huge movies like  Night of the Lepus where ginormous irradiated rabbits threaten to rise up to nibble us all to death (which is probably not what Jesus meant by “and the meek shall inherit the earth”).

In the 70s we had a slew of serial killers (the Freddy, Michael and Jason franchises)  to show us the dangers of teenage sexuality; when the fear of teen sex disappeared  with the proliferation of diaper changing stations  in high school bathrooms , horror franchises kept pace and went meta, with Jason and Freddy eventually fighting one another, how great is that?  I love the horror genre because it just keeps giving back.

Based on the recent elections (Lock her up!), and two of the horror movies that got the most attention this year (The VVitch and The Autopsy of Jane Doe) the culture is currently really, really afraid of powerful women.

And trolls.  Suddenly trolls are in the zeitgeist again! Which makes  For Whom The Bell Trolls (an anthology of 25 tales of trolls,) very timely indeed. Filled with every type of troll imaginable, from the Milo-on-the-Internet type to the under-the-bridge-chomping-animals-between-gnashing-teeth type, and everything in between, there is something for everyone – and at just 4 cents a story (all proceeds going to charity) it’s trolling you can feel good about.

bridge-troll

Little Lambsy Deadsy

There once was a girl who lived in a stone house, at the top of a long hill, on the edge of a small village. The name of the village was Bridgeville, because of the bridge that crossed the swift-running stream. The hill was called Sheep Hill, because of the sheep that always dotted the hillside, grazing and generally going about their sheepy business.

The girl was an ordinary girl in most ways: she had two elbows, two knees, and two eyebrows. She had light brown hair and medium brown eyes, and four freckles across her nose. Even her name was ordinary — not Bluebonnet or Carysalis (which were the names of some of the other village girls) but simply…

Emily.

In fact, the only thing out of the ordinary about Emily was her left leg. It was shorter than her right leg, and the foot was turned toward the inside, as if it was always thinking about walking sideways. It was an ordinary foot in every other way, just a little unruly.

To Emily’s family — her father, her mother, and her tiny baby brother — it was perfectly ordinary for Emily to have an unruly foot. After all, they had never known Emily’s foot to be any other way, and it did not stop Emily from doing many of the things a girl with two ruly feet could do. She could work the treadle of her mother’s weaving loom, and rock her baby brother in his basket on the floor.

She could also get about quite nicely. For short distances, Emily walked with a crutch her father had carved. For longer distances — like to the nearby villages’ market days — Emily’s father would pull her in a little wooden wagon with cunning wooden wheels.

But most of the time, Emily found it quickest to scoot around on the seat of her pants. By using her hands and the heels of her feet, she could get from here to there very quickly. (Quicker, I wot, than you or I on the seats of our pants.)

Emily liked best to scoot to the barn, where her father had placed a long and sturdy wooden plank (sanded smooth to prevent splinters) that reached from the dirt floor all the way up to the hayloft. From that lofty height, Emily could see a distance of more than five sheplenks.

She could see the great boulders that speckled Sheep Hill, where the Old Ones said the faeries hid. (Emily scooted among the boulders often, playing Peek and Boo with her brother, but had never once seen a faerie, though she hoped to one day.) She could see the distant sheep grazing on the long green grass, looking like fluffy clouds fallen all the way to earth. She could see

Simple Shep and his trusty sheep dog, Zippy, watching over the flock.

She especially liked to watch the baby lambs frolicking in the tall green grass, making a baa-baa sound — much like her baby brother, whom she loved very much. She could see the village, and the good people of Bridgeville looking small in the distance, crossing the bridge to and fro, going about their busy day.

Emily could almost see underneath the bridge, where it was dark with many shadows. She sometimes watched Simple Shep dangle his legs off the bridge as he fished for trout in the stream below. On a hot day, under the bridge would be a good place to get out of the sun, she thought — or a hiding place.

* * *

Find out what happens next.

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