Friday 27 June 2014

Dark Fiction - A Brief Study of Trolls

A Brief Study of Trolls

By Casey Douglass

as part of #fridayflash

Film and fairytale have let the side down in recent years. Trolls are either portrayed as blundering fools or as some human eating monster. Well I am here to set the record straight.

My name is Arthur Quint, and I have had the privilege of living and working with various Trolls for the last decade. This is no small achievement, as many people have never even seen one with their own eyes.

The difficulty lies in them being inter-dimensional beings. They don’t live under bridges or in dark forests you see. They simply use these as doorways into our world. They seldom use these however, as they have most of the things they desire in their own backyard, so to speak.

One night, I was cycling along a back-road near my home when I was bundled off my bicycle by something large and heavy. After a profusion of apologies and a hastily made splint for my broken arm, Jarth the Troll offered to make it up to me by taking me back to his world. It only took moments for my fear to be overwhelmed by curiosity and I soon found myself gazing across a literal uncanny valley.

The Trolls themselves are partially made from rock, and partially flesh and blood. They continue to grow throughout their entire lives. Once they reach a certain size, they stop moving and simply sit or lay, gradually becoming part of the landscape and losing their sentient spark. This is considered a good death in Troll society. Of course some die in civil wars and other conflicts but most Trolls can look forward to a very long and healthy life.

They live in an honour bound society and seem most like the olden day Samurai of Japan. This is partly why the governing hierarchy permitted my visits. They viewed it that Jarth had wrong me by injuring me and saw my visits as evening the score. I don’t think that I was originally permitted to visit as much as I have. I would like to think that I won them over with my manner and quick humour.

Their world is similar to ours but everything has a purple hue. In later visits I discovered that they actually live underground in their plane of existence, and the purple light comes from an enormous orb that is suspended from the ceiling of one giant cavern. The size defies belief. Let me put it this way, in the decade I have been visiting, I have only seen one third of what it has to offer. I did manage to get to an edge once however. There the light is very dim and things are quite dangerous; not all Trolls are friendly. The maladapted ones literally get pushed to the fringes of Troll society. On that day, Jarth and a host of Troll guards accompanied me. There was no fighting, just uneasy eye contact and chest bashing.

Troll society as a whole is very civilised, by some standards at least. They have institutions that we would recognise as schools, shops and banks. They have law and order, healthcare and all manner of so called modern inventions. They don’t quite have smart phones and computers but what they do have is a quite lovely steam-punk technology that does a superb job of imitation. You haven’t lived if you haven’t seen a Troll using a sputtering cog-bound calculator.

One aspect of their society that is hard to stomach is their currency. Their whole society is based on a body fluid system. These are, in ascending order of worth: urine, saliva, snot, blood and sexual secretions. Yes it turns my stomach to think of it. It is safe to say that every opportunity that arose where a Troll desired to pay me, I kindly refused. It also goes without saying that you never ever want to win the Troll lottery.

This leads us to one of the main reasons why some come to our world. They make dangerous trips to biohazard bins, abattoirs and the occasional raid on sperm-banks to make their equivalent of easy coin. You might think that this influx of external fluid would unbalance their economy and you would be right. That is why the various gateways are heavily guarded. Enterprising trolls occasionally avoid the beating bestowed by the hulking guards and manage to sneak through.

Along with biological fluids, they are also quite partial to human pornography. A copy of Penthouse would go for...well...let’s just say that you’d need a few buckets to collect your payment.

Sadly, the doorways are closed now which is why I feel I can publish this small paper without endangering them. I don’t know what has happened in their realm but one day I found a small purple pebble left outside my back door. It was broken in two perfect halves and was covered in fluid. I think it was a message from Jarth, my friend and my guide to that world that is now lost to me.

We have lost the opportunity for something remarkable and I have lost my friend.