Image: Sue Vincent
My contribution to Sue’s photo prompt this week sees the return of an old, em, youngish old friend Little Troll. Like many trolls he lives under a bridge in a tardis like home but that’s where the similarity ends. He’s not a typical example of his kind, what troll has refined tastes in food, literature and the arts? Little Troll’s real name is rather unpronounceable by all but the most determined of linguists. That is, one who’s taken advantage of the local hostelry’s hospitality for several hours and now lies blubbering in the corner calling for his mum. A tad overstated you may think but trollish is quite a difficult dialect to master. Little Troll’s human name is Bob. In Bob’s last adventure he treated himself to a night out on the town with friends; huddling over exquisite hot chocolate and treating himself to a lot of books. An ordinary event you would think. These rare forays into the world of humans go without incident. Which was the case on this occasion. Except, his party was being followed.
The lone figure kept in the shadows, their bright red eyes glowing like molten lava. The figure also appeared to be limping badly. At one point when the party were perusing the Christmas market stalls; the mysterious figure took this opportunity to slip a small business card in Bob’s pocket. It lay in his coat pocket for a year until this moment.
Bob was spring-cleaning his wardrobe and came across the card. It was made of the finest vellum and etched in gold paint on the front were the words “A N Other, Plumber.” Surely this was a joke? He peered closely at the card because the words were shimmering and then disappeared. In their place appeared something he wasn’t expecting, “Flavius, Arch Mage, Necromancer and Bookseller. Please email for prices of Exorcisms. Sliding scale of fees for the severely distressed.”
Well, well, it was his old friend and occasional partner in crime, not that they indulged in anything considered illegal. Not by human standards. Just at that moment the doorbell rang, today it was playing the theme from Mission Impossible. His doorbell wasn’t an inanimate object. It was also his answerphone and PA, came highly recommended. The tune was usually an indication of the nature of his visitor’s business. He opened the door and there was Flavius looking like a truck had roughed him up and then went over him again. Now, being one of the undead has its advantages in that you can only be killed by special techniques. Being run over by a truck wasn’t one of them. Bob pulled Flavius in and sat him in an armchair near the fire. He thrust a coffee into his hands and sat down opposite him. The story that was unravelling was truly terrifying. Apparently one of his customers had decided to steal a rare edition of Agrippa’s Three Occult Books of Philosophy from the shop. The burglary hadn’t gone as planned, so his assailant then decided to dart him with poison and run him over with a truck several times. He laughed heartily whilst driving away. Unfortunately for him it as a homing book, one of only two in the human world. It thwacked its kidnapper hard, but only when he’d stopped by a lay-by. Safety was the order of the day here. Very soon the book was back with Flavius, who was looking like his usual self. His trusted customers and colleagues in the book trade had managed to tidy the shop and called in the Special Branch (The Dryad Division) to deal with the burglar.
This wasn’t an ordinary burglary; there were dark forces at work here thought Bob. Flavius looked up and muttered the following words:
“There is neither good nor evil, only intent.”
Flavius looked rather enigmatic. Bob looked blankly at his friend. He sighed. There was going to be a lot of sighing over the next few days as they plotted their investigations. Flavius had a habit of being rather cryptic, an annoying habit it had to be said.
Image: Sue Vincent