The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
It had been a long day at the diner. I really wasn’t interested in anything except getting home, putting my aching feet in Epsom salts, and having a beer. The quickest way to achieve all this was to sneak through the park on Abernathy. Sure, technically the park was closed after ten, but there wasn’t any fence or anything, and I often went that way.
A full moon hung above the trees. Shadows crept along the path. And then I heard the creaking…that sound every child past and present knows…the squeaking, creaking sound of a swing’s chain through the bolts that suspend it.
It was past midnight. Who would be swinging at a time like this?
The playground was to my left, in a clearing in the trees. I’ve always had a foolish streak of curiosity, so—of course—I had to follow the sound.
I came up behind the swings. A figure in a pointed hoodie cast a shadow halfway up the path. That was all I could see from the back.
“Hey, kiddo—do you know what time it is?” I asked, stepping around the swing-set so I could see who occupied it.
Slowly, its head raised. “This is the time of night when I collect my tolls from those foolish enough to ply these roads,” it said in a deep gruff voice that told me it was definitely male.
A hand shot out and grabbed my wrist. His size was deceptive—his strength that of a giant.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Pay the toll or accept the consequences!”
“What toll? What consequences?”
“A hundred gold to walk my road, or sit in my place.”
And that is how I come to be sitting here, a shrunken troll collecting tolls at swing time.
Fiction © Copyright Rie Sheridan Rose
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author Rie Sheridan Rose:
The Incredibly Irritating Irishman
Josephine Mann and her friends are back! It is 1874 in a New York City that never exactly was, and Jo finds herself with a surfeit of suitors. Her “cousin” has come from Ireland claiming that they were betrothed before she was born–just when she is getting Alistair Conn right where she wants him.
It’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight!