The Troll of Glasonbury Bridge

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FOUR

Glasonbury had never prepared for war, crimes or anything of that sort. It didn’t even have a police force. The Hub was the place where all ill-feeling was deposited, and every Glasburion knew that they could count on it. There was always a reason, for anything – the Elders would say, co-incidence was not a state of mind that permeated the towns folk.

Dilbert had placed all his eggs in one basket by letting himself be shunned and discarded by the townsfolk – labeled a troll as if he had no other purpose, no ambition and seemingly no family.

So, it was this: the time had come when the Hub was becoming full; the leather-bound books with their weighty paper had been scrawled upon so many times by so many people with as many evil deeds and ill-conceived thoughts, whereupon weird things were certain to happen. This hadn’t been properly planned from the beginning, but it was a fact. Dilbert remembered his father telling him about the Hub when he was a youngster. He warned him of the unknown aspects of such a place, and how one day, something was destined to happen and it couldn’t be good.

Dilbert recalled that very day in which he spoke to his father and how it made him feel - the barn that they were in, sitting on two bales of freshly gathered straw with its string firmly attached. Dilbert pulled on the string, his legs straddling the square mass. His father went on and on about the unknowns, the vagaries of something untried and compared it to a witches’ potion concocted out of all sorts of bits and pieces, yet untested. It was like a fairy tale to Dilbert, something that would haunt his sleeping hours, but never anything he could have imagined really happening.

Why was he dreaming of this? Why was he laying in a field of sun flowers? He couldn’t answer the questions that came to his mind.

“Dilbert.”

“Dilbert, you are here with me, and you are safe.” a voice came from the abyss.

Dilbert’s thoughts strolled around his mind knocking into memories and feelings of insecurity. The lady had kneeled down next to Dilbert’s body that lay across the soil inanimate. She was speaking to Dilbert now, her hair gently touching his face. His eye convulsed, and then his hand came from his side to swat the tickling sensation.

As his body slowly regained awareness of where it was, the lady pulled back, raising her head. Her skin was olive, contrasting well with her deep black locks. She had an elegant nose and delicate cheek bones.

Dilbert’s eyes opened and he looked around still believing he must have been in the field of flowers or the barn with his father, but instead, he could see his bridge overhead, the grey-blacks of weather-torn stone from frosty mornings and the damp of the once raging river looked down at him as an eager reminder of reality. He sat up. The lady pulled the hood back from her face and looked down.

“Who are you? What did you do to me?” he said without hesitation, but with as much respect for the woman, that he now recognized, for her beauty alone.

“I am Candice.”

“You are strangely beautiful, but I do not know why you should care to visit such an insignificant person such as myself. Most think of me as a troll and I do not mind, but it means that I hardly ever get visits by beauties such as yourself.” he replied sheepishly.

“I have been sent here by my mother. You know her as the witch that warned the Elders of Glasonbury.”

“Ah! Yes!” Dilbert exclaimed, pulling his body up and turning toward Candice crossing his legs.

“Did you put me to sleep?”

“Yes, it was a potion that you received when you kissed me.”

“I usually don’t do such things. Not that I don’t find your beauty absolutely contaminating, I do, but it’s just...” he was lost for words. Candice blushed, smiling, trying her hardest not to turn away with embarrassment.

“Dilbert. I am sorry if you have been frightened by what has happened, but it was the only way to bring awareness of the dangers that the Hub is causing Glasonbury. You already have it within you – the knowledge that your father had given you. I just had to help you to recall.” Candice stopped from elaborating any further hoping that Dilbert would put two and two together.

He twirled a piece of grass between his fingers. Looking down at the grass a thought popped into his mind - some disturbance, then leapt to his feet and cast the grass aside.

“I do remember what my father told me.” looking much more serious now, his eyes focused on the strange lady in front of him. She too clambered to her feet and prepared for whatever reaction Dilbert might present.

“My mother told me that your father was a very wise man.”

“She knew him?”

“Yes, she did. She told me that he was misunderstood by the community and preferred to stay out of everyone else’s way.” she giggled at the thought.

“Why do you laugh?” he asked, puzzled.

“You are much like him, I can see.” she said, looking around the bridge home and its sparse luxuries.

“Right...yes, you are correct, I guess, but I do like it better this way you know.” Dilbert said, trying to convince the girl.

They sat together on a bench that Dilbert had carved out of the side of the bridge. The huge rock face had been worn down by years of pounding from a hammer and chisel. It had begun as a carving, a sculpture to make the bridge more homely, but after several days, realising he’d need a place to sit down and rest his weary body; he decided to turn it into a bench seat.

After discussing the obvious connection which their families had had they then spoke about why Candice had lured him into kissing her and thereby falling into a dream state. She regaled tales of the witches and their current seclusion from society because of certain evil-doers giving their kind a bad name and explained that most witches were good at heart.

Dilbert was a keen listener, nodding his head and echoing her concern. He felt sadness at their plight, but at the same time akin in solitude.

“But what is all of this to do with me?” he asked.

“You are the chosen one. You were chosen, like me, before this life; another time, when people could see further than their noses. My mother, bless her soul, always reminds me of the diminishing concentration of our generation,” Candice laughed at herself, “it is true, I know, but we also have a responsibility.”

“What do you mean? I am just an ordinary man that lives like a troll; what in the world can I do?” he let on, shrugging his shoulders in apathy.

“You are great Dilbert. You are not alone in the way you feel about Glasonbury. Many people have grieved for the town, and Sskissen. They have aired these grievances at the Hub, but it is now time to change the situation or evil will take over.”

“I don’t know.” Dilbert stood up and walked a few steps, then turned toward his new friend. He rubbed his forehead in thought, his eyes staring into oblivion.

She looked at him squarely in the eyes, “My mother knew you were ready, when you so gallantly approached the elders concerned about Glasonbury."
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