There was once a troll whose name nobody could remember, for he has been born long before the people had arrived, when their little huts made of straw and wood had popped up across the lush countryside. He had seen the world change, but had learnt by now that change was an endless cycle: the four seasons breathed into one another but spring always came after winter, the ocean always calmed again after a storm.
The troll, bemused but somewhat humoured by a human story he had once heard, lived under a rickety wooden bridge at the bottom of a mountain, not one mile away from a small village. There the troll watched generations of humans scramble down the banks to the river below – drinking, washing, playing, some offering tentative toes towards the water’s edge, others travelling further downstream to someplace beyond the mountains. Sometimes other humans would arrive at the village, and he would hear their shouts, see the black smoke snaking above the treetops. But no matter who lived in those huts, the children would still splash each other down by the river, their mothers dragging them home by the ear if their clothes got too splattered with mud.
And so the years went on and on. The seasons flowed as they always had, the falling leaves swept beneath the troll’s bridge on the continuous current of the river…
Something I wrote a number of years ago now when I was super into Aimee Bender’s writing – I really enjoyed the abstractness of her short stories, and it gave me a lot of confidence to write about things I wouldn’t typically have thought to write about before. I have a short note beneath the story that reads “troll meets little girl, leaves the mountains on a quest?”, but I have left no indication about where I was hoping the plot would go beyond that.