The troll was abandoned by his mother. It was standard practice. It was part of troll culture, of growing up. Under a bridge, she stowed him. Away from nature’s indifference, protected from predators.
Cognitively, trolls develop quite quickly. So, in almost no time at all, he was foraging for himself, and cooking with small fires.
The troll taught himself to speak. Like all trolls, his language was unique.
And, as with all trolls, he came to believe that the bridge under which he lived was his mother.
When dreaded, ugly, awful humans walked over the bridge, he would scuttle up the incline, spitting and wailing at them.
‘GET OFFA MY MOTHER!’ he bellowed in his guttural tongue.
In turn, the humans tended to expedite their pace to a brisk run.
Under the bridge, caressing the stone, the troll spoke to his mother. ‘I’m sorry, Mama. I’m sorry. I try to keep ’em off as much as I can, Mama.’
So, it was with horror that the troll noticed more and more pungent humans gathering around the bridge.
‘I’m sorry, Mama. I don’t know why they’re lingering around so much, lately.’ He pet the cold, curved stone wall. ‘I’ll get ’em outta here, Mama.’
As if he were a dog, rabid with rage, the troll charged up the incline. Barking, cursing, shoving the humans.
‘AWAY! OFF WITH YA! YA GROTESQUE HOOMINS!’
The humans backed away from the troll, swinging his pudgy fists, kicking his nubby feet.
‘He is always here,’ said a human wearing a suit to another. They rolled their eyes.
‘I propose,’ offered a human donning a hard hat, ‘we return after dark. When the little ugly is asleep.’
The humans nodded. Shook hands, and it was agreed. They seated themselves in their expensive cars, and drove off. Back down the road. Back to from where they came.
‘DON’T YA COME BACK HERE! NO MORE! NO MORE!’
The troll glanced around.
‘The stupid hoomins. They left behind their big, yellow machines.’
Indeed, they had. Oversized, hulking machines. Like monstrous, metal lizards and beasts.
The troll approached one. Kicked it hard with his big toe. ‘GO ON! GIT!’ he demanded of the silent machine. When it didn’t move, he jabbed his stubby finger at it, and warned, ‘Just make sure ya stay offa my mother.’
Descending down the incline, back under the bridge, the troll rested on the wet ground. He cuddled closely to the hard wall.
‘Don’t know what they wanted, Mama,’ told the troll to the stone. ‘I don’t think they’ll be back, though, Mama.’ His fingers ran along the damp wall. ‘I’ll get rid o’ those ugly machines tomorrow.’
He lay there a long time. He always did. Just him and his Mama, quiet and not bothering the world or anyone. As the yellow sunlight fell into blue twilight, then purple night, the troll, too, fell. Fell into a wondrous sleep.
He dreamed of his mother. Every night he dreamed of his mother, the bridge. And, she spoke to him. She only spoke in dreams.
The troll jumped. Thrown from his slumber. He hauled himself to his dirty feet.
His troll eyes darted, this way, that way. The ground rumbled beneath his toes. ‘WHAT’S GOIN’ ON, HERE?’ he shouted into the late night.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOOOOOM!
Stones toppled around the troll.
‘NO! MAMA! NO!’
He sprinted up the incline. Screaming, and biting at any human he could find.
‘STOP! I’LL KILL YOU ALL!’
Dynamite exploded in eruptions of black smoke and pulverized stone.
‘STOP! MY MAMA! YOU’RE GONNA KILL MY MAMA!’
Not a human in sight. The troll couldn’t find one. But, the explosives continued their destruction.
The troll ran back down. To where he grew up. Under the bridge, under his mother. She fell apart. Piece by decimated piece, the bridge collapsed.
The troll lay, again, where he had always laid. His fingers found the dying wall. Stones fell on his body.
‘Mama,’ he croaked, sobbed, whimpered. ‘ My Mama…’
She died. Every piece of her. Dying. Around him, over him, above him. She died.
The troll lay under a hill of rubble.
The yellow machines came to life. This is where the humans had hidden. Watching the bridge demolished into piles of rock and dust. The metal beasts plowed into the mess of stones. The clean-up began.
Holding onto a single, large block, the troll wept. He hugged it to his heaving chest.
‘Mama, Mama.’ The troll held his Mama’s pebbly, crumbling form. ‘Mama, come back. I’m sorry, Mama. Mama.’
A yellow machine, driven by a horrible human, scooped up the troll with a pile of destroyed bridge. His desecrated mother. He was deposited into a waiting dumpster.
More rubble tumbled down onto him. More and then more, until the troll was buried.
He tried to call out, one final time…
but his mouth, it was choked and filled with the remnants of a bridge.