Thursday, November 15, 2012
[Chuk the Troll]
1 of 3 entries for a flash fiction contest. The maximum word count is 500 words. I managed to get this to 499...
The mountain was icy and windswept, a good home for any troll. His was the company of mountain goats and high-soaring eagles. On clear days Chuk could sometimes see dozens of other mountaintops, far away.
Downhill, there were many animals that were too weak to live on the mountain like Chuk did. Animals that stole and wore the furs of other animals. Chuk always shuddered at the thought. One day, Chuk decided he would venture Downhill and have a look at the hide-wearers himself.
He leapt from rocks, climbed down precarious cliffs, and held fast when powerful winds clawed at his matted hair in the night.
He saw lights ahead of him and approached cautiously, the snow muffling the steps of his great bare feet. When he peered through a window, Chuk saw some of the ugliest, skinniest animals he'd ever seen.
They all huddled around a small fire, though he did not understand why they were shivering. He snickered at the thought, but took pity upon the freezing, ugly family.
The next day they emerged from their wooden cave and found a new pile of dry logs. The family shouted with surprise and, safe and out of sight, Chuk watched. He saw as their confusion turned to glee and gratitude, but he did not understand their words. They were each wrapped in animal hides and Chuck shuddered as he saw this, but realized that away from the fire, they did not shiver.
Chuk moved his toes around in the snow. He did not need to protect them like the bear and deer. Perhaps if he had his own hide-shoes, he would not slip as often on the ice and rocks.
After thinking a long while, Chuk abruptly dropped down from the trees and the family screamed when they saw him, and all but one ran into the wooden cave.
Chuk tried to speak. He spoke fluent troll, but to no avail. One hide-wearer returned holding a strange branch with a string tied to both ends.
Chuk felt a stinging pain in his shoulder. He looked, surprised, to see a feathered, pointy branch in his arm. It didn't hurt much, but why...
Another arrow. Closer to his chest. Chuk reached and casually plucked the pointy sticks from his leathery skin. Trolls were often rough folk, but this did not seem at all like a greeting. The hide-wearer waved a torch, and it seemed brighter and hotter than the sun. Chuk fled, angry shouts following him.
As he slowly climbed the mountain, the troll heard wolves barking and howling behind him - pets of the hide-wearers! But the troll was too accustomed to climbing mountains to be followed. He was frightened, but he managed to lose them.
Later, Chuk stood upon the highest cliff of the peak. He stared down, gnashing his teeth. One day he would again venture down the mountain, and he would have his boots.
But he would make them out of the skin of the hide-wearers.