Once upon a time there was a foot bridge with beautiful arches that swept over rushing white water. Leafy green branches mingled with their stone counterparts until, when one looked up, the two merged into a dizzying display of lush green and dead stone, a living stained glass window.
It was a romantic spot, a place where one could imagine lovers meeting to steal a kiss under the cool shadows. Yet, the bubbling water was the only laughter to be heard for under the bridge, there lived a troll.
Contrary to popular belief, trolls are not ugly creatures. Seeing a troll, one would never realize his true nature until his hideous heart made itself known. This particular troll under this particular bridge was particularly handsome. His hair was as silky as his voice. His lips were as chiseled as his heart.
He lured lonely women without hope. His voice was that of the river, whispering promises of love until the young women, hearts brimming, leaned forward to hear more. Their hair dangled towards the water, flowing over the rock until it was in his grasp. He wrapped his hands around the locks and pulled them to their deaths, their last sight that of beauty, their last gasp nestled in a sigh of love.
Men tried to kill the troll. They walked across the bridge, their hearts hardened to his words and his appearance. They drew their swords and dared him to show his face. But for men, the bridge was empty and silent.
The people who lived on either side of the bridge despaired ever ridding themselves of the troll. They offered rewards of gold and jewels to the man who could vanquish him, but it was a woman who accepted their offer.
She was small, barely taller than a child. Her hair fell to her waist in a golden waterfall. For all her beauty, her heart was pragmatic, not given to romantic gestures and foolish overtures. She wanted the troll’s death more than she wanted her own life for the troll had killed her younger sister – a foolish, romantic girl who thought to change a troll with words of love. The woman tied a ribbon the color of the forest around her hair and armed herself with a small knife and the knowledge of what must be done while the people of the village shook their heads in sadness over one who will surely be lost.
She walked across the bridge, her bare feet whispering on the stone. At the edge she leaned over, her hair falling gently over her shoulder.
His voice seduced. “I’ve never seen one so beautiful.”
She whispered back, “Can you change, troll? Can you become the man worthy of my love?”
“For you, I could be any man. For you, I could be your heart and soul. I would give up all for one taste of your lips, one touch of your hand.” His words twined around the woman, entering a small, lonely crack in her heart. “I would be everything for you. I would drink your love like the finest wine.”
She leaned further, her body reaching for his as her hair fell. His fingers reached out, caressed the strands.
“Beautiful,” he murmured. He wrapped one hand around the silk. With the other he grasped the edge of the bridge and brought himself fully in sight. He was more beautiful than rumored. His face was that of a statue of a god. His body was chiseled of the same cool marble, perfect in every way. His deep brown eyes stared into her soul.
He licked his lips and leaned closer. She moved on a sigh.
Searing pain filled her head while he grasped her hair in both his hands. His face twisted into a visage of ugliness. “Fool,” he laughed.
“More fool you,” she gasped as she used the knife to slice her hair at the nape.
Surprise replaced cruelty as he tumbled from his perch her golden hair following him to be swallowed by the misty white waters.
This post was inspired by the Write at the Merge prompt on Write on Edge that put together a stained glass window and the lyrics from the Some Nights song by Fun. I used the stained glass image to inspire the idea of an arching, gothic bridge that was home to my troll.
3 hours ago