The Boy was minutes from death. He was suspended in a cage above a black cast iron cauldron, surrounded by hungry trolls of all shapes and sizes. The steaming liquid inside bubbled away while a few roughly chopped vegetables bobbed along the surface. Not that trolls were big on veg, they had only added them at his request. He reasoned that if he was going to be made into soup he’d at least want to be a tasty healthy soup and though he was about to become the soup’s main ingredient, he thought it smelt quite nice.
The Boy gripped the rough iron bars of his cage and looked out at the hungry trolls. As the steam rose from the soup, sweat trickled down his body. The king of the trolls, short and ugly with a large hooked nose and one large broken tooth protruding from his lower jaw, hobbled over to the cauldron. Sticking his nose over the rim he took a deep breath, his large hairy nostrils flaring. The steam collected on his mottled green skin causing his crown of dead roses to slide forward and almost fall in the soup. Placing it back on his head the troll king fixed his watery red eyes on the caged boy and smiled, showing his oddly protruding teeth set in black gums.
“It’s almost ready,” he croaked in a deep voice full of excitement. A ripple of anticipation spread through the gaggle of gathered trolls. “At last Almanac Malfernum is going to be mine!” he croaked more to himself than the crowd, but they cheered anyway; they knew not to upset their short-tempered king. The Boy sat back in his cage and placed his arm around Luca, the small black cat sat next to him. Luca was the only true friend he had ever had. The Boy let out a long sigh.
“Well Luca, you ready?”
“Yup, Yup!” Luca said nervously as he chewed his bottom lip. The Boy chuckled; he thought back over the events of the past week that had led up to this point and the amazing adventure he had had with Luca and hoped this wouldn’t be the last.