For this assignment, I flew to Wales, England and climbed under the Llangollen Bridge to see if maybe, just maybe trolls lived there.
Instead, to my surprise there was a hunched back, hallow checked woman sitting crossed legged on the ground. Her spine was a mass of coiled curves and she was rocking back and forth, moaning. She had a vacant look about her and seemed to be staring at the stagnant water before her. I felt sorry for her because she was obviously living under the bridge, but something about her made me uneasy, and I tried to slip away.
“Stay,” she said in a lisp sort of voice.
“Um, I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
“You were looking for someone else perhaps?”
“No, I just…”
“Maybe, you were looking for trolls?”
As I looked around I saw bones strewn all around the sandy floor. She smiled at me showing her mossy teeth. “Sit,” she said. “You have an assignment due tomorrow, don’t you?”
How could she have known that? Was she a mind reader? I thought as I sat on a small boulder.
“I would offer you dinner but I have nothing left.” she said pointing her dirty finger at the bones.
“How do you know about my assignment?”
“I know many things.”
“How long have you lived under the bridge?
She ignored my question and scratched at the lice crawling in her hair and said, “Soon, very soon I will rule Wales.”
Oh great, I thought, she’s deranged. Next she going to tell me she’s the Queen of England or King Author’s bride.
I really needed to get this interview, so I took out my notebook and began taking notes…
“Okay, why are you living under the Llangollen Bridge?”
“The trolls invited me to dinner, so I stayed.”
“You mean trolls really do live down here?” I asked looking around.
“Not anymore, I ate them.”
“You ate them?”
“Yes, they were quite tough, nasty tasting creatures.”
“Then why did you eat them?”
“I told you, they invited me to dinner.”
“But you said they tasted nasty.”
“That’s right, but I was hungry.”
“Why didn’t you eat a biscuit or something else?”
“Don’t like them.”
I didn’t like the way this interview was going, but I decided to finish and get out of here fast.
“Well, what do you like to eat then?” I asked.
“Children’s brains of course.”
“What?! You’re a witch?”
“A witch, a hag, a sorceress, I have many names.”
I knew I should have gotten out of there, but my curiosity got the better of me. “Do you have family?”
“Ah, yes, my son is Count Lars the Red; he is the wizard of Wales. I will be visiting him soon, very soon.”
“Lovely. Do you have any plans for when you visit him? Sightseeing perhaps?”
“We will awake Afang.”
“Afang, the sea serpent who lies dormant under the bog. He is a monster as big as a mountain and as strong as an army.”
“Why are you going to wake him?”
“I have many reasons.”
“Could you name one, please?”
But the hag was silent. I watched her as she picked up a couple of the trolls’ bones. Clank, clank, clank, she banged them together, then poked my stomach with one. “You don’t miss many meals, do you dear?” she said baring her mossy teeth.
I stood up and ran before I became her next meal.
As I jumped up on to the safety of the bridge I saw her gnawing on one of the bones rocking back and forth.