The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Five Giant Steps for Parenting (Troll Edition)
by Alex Grey
Step 1: Establish a routine
I’ve got this! Felicia thought. Starting with a family vacation; fresh air, back to nature, this is the new US!
Hank, her husband, belched loudly. “Gotta love a hunter; this wood’s gotta be full of them. We’re gonna eat like kings!”
“Aaw Hank, didja eat them already? I wanted us to sit down for dinner like a proper family.”
“Yeah, I know, but they smelled so good, and the kids needed a few balls to play with. You want me to catch some more for later?”
“No! I want you to spend time with the kids! Plus I hope you cleaned up after yourse…”
Felicia shook her head, Hank was already jogging round the lake shouting “Hut Hut” as their children, Marcus, aged 110 and Pippa, aged 75, shrieked after him. They were ducking and dodging between the trees as they threw the ragged balls around, spraying the clearing with stringy blood.
Felicia grunted. Don’t mind me, I’ll just clear up, like I always do.
She walked through the woods, hefting stained hunting jackets, sticky cargo pants and rifles into the undergrowth. Really, trolls got such a bad rap for leaving litter on the forest trails, but until someone came up with a better way of packaging food there was always going to be waste.
Step 2: Spend quality time with your kids
Right, let’s see if I can keep them interested for five minutes, thought Felicia.
“Hey kids, you can play ball any time, come look at this cute doll’s house; there’s even a car for you, Marcus.”
Felicia reached up and ripped the lid off the doll’s house. Pippa peered in and snapped off a piece of wall. She chewed a brick.
“This isn’t gingerbread. You promised me a gingerbread cottage in the woods. This is horrid!” she wailed. Slates and stones splashed into the lake as she tore the house apart.
“Marcus always has the best stuff, this house is rubbish, there aren’t even any dolls!”
“There are, look, they’re in the basement – I wonder who put them there?” soothed Felicia.
“They’re rubbish, they’re too squishy.” Pippa shook the dolls roughly.
“Let’s do some bowling!” said Felicia quickly, “There’s ten of them, a full set!”
She grabbed the dolls, pulled the bowls off the top, cleared out the finger holes then set the bodies upright. They sagged.
“That’s rubbish!” yelled Pippa. “They don’t even make decent pins.”
Marcus picked the car up, “Hey, it’s got action figures, they’re making real good screaming noises. The more I shake them, the louder they are! Cool!”
Pippa grabbed the car.
“It’s not fair!” she shouted, before throwing the car onto the ground and stomping it flat.
“Daaad!” Marcus yelled.
Step 3: Avoid harsh discipline
That’s right, call your father, thought Felicia. You know he’ll side with you.
She stepped forward as Hank ran towards the doll’s house, swinging a tree trunk.
“Wait, Hank, remember what I said about modern discipline? That’s why you left your favourite bashing club at home, remember?”
“Huh?” said Hank.
“Try reasoning with them.”
Felicia left him to it. Behind her Hank was explaining how poor trolls living under city bridges would give their long tusks to have such nice toys to play with. Pippa cried and Marcus whined…
Step 4: Foster your child’s independence
“Hey Honey, how about I get the fire going?” Hank reached up lazily and plucked a pigeon from the air. It squawked pitifully as he swallowed it whole. .
“Look, I found another hunter, maybe we could try a spit-roast like you saw in your fancy cookbook.”
“I thought I told you to play with the kids?”
“Aaw honey!” Hank hoisted the hunter into the air. The man was shrieking and squirming.
“This guy was just there, in the bushes. I mean, he was helpless, not even running, I’ve probably done him a favour, saved him from dying slowly of starvation.” said Hank virtuously.
“Fine! As long as you do the cooking!”
“Of course, honey, anything for you.”
An ominous silence spread over the clearing as Hank put a stop to the hunter’s caterwauling..
“Hank, it’s awful quiet. Where are the kids?”
“Aww Honey, you know how much energy they’ve got. I sent them off into that town we passed on the way here.”
“You sent them into town? Unsupervised?”
“They’ll be fine. I picked them a couple of trees and taught them the best ways to flatten houses. They can practice; lessons for life, like you always say.” Hank beamed.
Step 5: Look after you!
Felicia closed her eyes – Hank was just so traditional. Just this once she thought she might have cracked the “Five Giant Steps for Parenting” that she’d read in last month’s “Cavern and Causeway” magazine.
“I’m going for a swim.” She said absently, wading into the lake and letting the soft water soothe her skin.
“Aaaaah!” she murmured, “This is more like it.”
The peace was broken by distant screams and thuds echoing across the lake.
Sound sure carries over the water, she mused, but at least they’re having fun.
She lay back, just keeping her face above the surface. The water muffled a cacophony of crashing bricks, sirens and childish laughter. The glow of flames from the town and Hank’s crackling bonfire painted the darkening sky.
That’s pretty, she thought.
Felicia closed her eyes with a sigh.
A moment later a splash woke her from her reverie.
“You look so beautiful, honey,” said Hank, as he swept her up in his arms.
The sound of the town’s destruction continued to drift across the woods.
“Hey honey, the kids are busy, and here we are, just you and me, whaddya think?”
Felicia slapped him playfully. Hank flew through the air and landed in the ruins of the doll’s house.
Her roar resonated around the lake.
“You’re crazy! If you think we’re having any more kids…”
Fiction © Copyright Alex Grey
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More about Alex Grey:
After a lifetime of writing technical non-fiction, Alex Grey is fulfilling her dream of writing poems and stories that engage the reader’s emotions. Her work has been featured by a wide range of publications including Siren’s Call, Raconteur, Bookends Review, and Toasted Cheese. One of her comic poems is also available via a worldwide network of public fiction dispensers managed by French publisher, Short Edition. Her ingredients for contentment are narrow boating, greyhounds, singing and chocolate. It is a sweet life, yet Alex’ original view of the world has led to her best friend to say ‘For someone so lovely, you’re very twisted!
Please click here to discover more!