Dankness limp like water slips from black-rot joists and rusted metal above, festering, ever dripping, a-moldering the slick clay leading down to the river below and infecting his saturated skin with untoward disease. The stench of stagnancy fetes the air in his lungs and reddens the whites in his eyes, but he does what he can to placate his urges, rubbing at sores with crooked hands and patiently waiting, a hunger building inside him that food can not, that mere sustenance would never, placate.
The meth is worn off, the heroin a distant, blessed memory. Through knotted muscles and collapsed veins only icy anxiety courses where chemical bliss once flowed, an anxiety trembling for the next rush, troubling his mind and other delicate organs which had come to depend upon numbness for survival. The greatest of despairs had found him here in this best of hiding places when he heard it, the drum of feet, “Oh Glory, Glory be!” He pulled erect onto blistered, rotted feet.
The sound of innocent footsteps approaching, a deliverance of hope for the lost, a ghost of what once was! He slaps at his crook’d hands, one with the other, quelling their eagerness. Putting them to use, he grasps the joist and lifts his head above, squinting into the light for a look-see. A boy! A boy! It is with difficulty that he waits, his eagerness filling him with natural narcotics; adrenaline and dopamine easing his troubles. He lets go, dropping down, his eagerness made known through a dance. Eager hands slap again, demanding patience, dreadful patience of one another. The footsteps grow closer… ever closer, til he can stand it no more. When he spoke it was through an unfamiliar, gravel-filled voice.
”Who is that? Who trips and traps? This bridge requires a toll!
State your name and name your game to satisfy ”The Troll!”
”I am Billy Kidd.”
Something stepped into the boy’s view on the far side of the bridge, strangely rubbing it’s hands together as if washing them in invisible water.
His fearful feet pause. It is a man such as the boy has never seen. He recoils with disgust, but cannot force his eyes away, as it seems too awful to be true.
Excited hands slap and clap in front of it, their motion strange, and unwordly.
”Billy Kidd! Did you say Billy Kidd? Ahhh, a sheepish name for a sheepish boy! A high pitched squeak, like rubber from a door stopper laughed out from his fetid throat. He was quickly beside the boy, his hands slapping, closing the bridge’s distance with a lively pace despite his seeming moribundity.
The boy closed his eyes from the horror, and pushed out his palms to ward it off, but it had him grasped by the wrist in an iron grip and was pulling him. Billy set his feet to resist, he was a strong lad, but the grip grew tighter, the pulling more violent ’til he was pulled along. His mother had warmed him of this very thing, had told him to never, ever come to this place; that the wild grass across’t this bridge only looked greener than what could be grown with his own hands. He had only wanted to try it though, Billy had, just to have a taste…
Billy Kidd woke naked but alive. Dream-like were the mem’ries, trance-like the now, but there was the feeling of floating, then and now, of flying both with fear and exhilaration, but the dream-flight was done. Now it was submerged floating, heavily buoyant, exhausted, sick. In the crook of his arm was a mark, a bruise, deep and black with an eye at it’s center, an eye as red as the troll’s. Billy needed his mother, but could not go home, not like this naked and marked. He wretched into the slimy clay, and wallowed in the filth below the bridge until he adopted it’s smell and it’s look. He waited there, curled and cold, the drips finding and festering him, too sick to stay, too ashamed to go.
The deepest of despairs had found him here in the best of hiding places when Billy heard it, the drum of feet, “Oh Glory, Glory be!” Billy pulled himself up onto rotted feet, his clawed fingers slapping at one other in anticipation.
His voice sounded unnatural from under the bridge’s dank hollow;
”Who is that? Who trips and traps? This bridge requires a toll!” He said.
So, state your name and name your game to satisfy ”The Troll!”
She was paused, her eyes wide as she recoiled from him in horror. His hands slapped excitedly as they awaited a name.
”I am Capri Corn,” she managed, as Billy rushed to make her acquaintance, eager to show her the greener grass.