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April 15, 2024

The Guardian

By Lydia Manx

The Guardian looked at the full and bright moon cresting over the nearby office buildings with a slight frown. Trolls weren't fond of moonlight. Too many of the smarter humans had found them when the bright light utterly illuminated the grays and shadows that usually safeguarded them. Humans didn't treat trolls well by any measure. As it had often been said, Disney didn't exactly make trolls loveable creatures. Who was kidding who? It was known by all the supernatural creatures that the PR for trolls was non-existent. But then trolls weren't good in large groups, thus any possibility of getting together and remarketing their image had pretty much failed. They tended to remember old slights and feuds that should've been long forgotten. As it was, death was the least of the troll nation's problems. The outright hunting and attempts at slaying the trolls was history to all the small trolls from a very young age. Being green for the Hollywood set meant a cute frog with tons of movies and television appearances. In the trolls' worldview it was a level of greens that weren't pretty and colorful, but creepier and beyond disturbing. Nothing put in the crayon box for the kids to make trees and grass in their coloring books. Breaking into the troll's musing, an owl gave a casual hoot into the night, looking for a mate. The troll hadn't had anyone in far too long. The poignant reminder of how little the troll had, and the lack of family made its stomach hurt.

Trolls weren't social creatures by anyone's standards. Hell, they weren't even social with other trolls. The nature of the beast was to decimate and eliminate anything outside their own personal realm. Yet there was always a core family that a troll belonged to and answered to in the long run. This troll hadn't had such a connection in decades, since the last slaughtering of trolls.

A louder hoot from the owl above made the troll refocus on the here and now. The pond that the vampire had gifted was thick with fish and birds. It hadn't taken long for the troll to crunch through the locals -- the slow avian and trapped aquatic. The signs on the border of the water proclaimed no fishing and beware of alligators. The troll smiled at the notion. The two gators that had been slumped on the bottom of the pond waiting to snag a stupid fisherman were long gone. A burp rose up from its gullet and a vague fishy fragrance of freshly digested 'gator scented the air.

Smiling, the troll tromped over to the bench it had created. The bits and pieces of vampire that Jerry Cooper had brought to it a few hours ago were gone. The vampire hadn't been there long, but he'd been polite and respectful. Jerry hadn't ever properly introduced himself to the troll, but he was well known amongst the supernaturals in Southern Florida. He thought he was so hidden from the world down nearly at the end of the country. Even with the distance between Michigan and Florida the word had spread. The Guardian had known that Jerry lived somewhere along the canal, but hadn't realized that Jerry lived only a few doors away from the yipping dog Mr. Peaches and the frazzled older woman called Edna. A long distant epicurean memory -- the body of the vampire Jerry had brought had been far more comforting and nourishing than the mere human.

Humans and supernaturals hadn't treated the troll well for a long time. The new millennium had created rifts in the normal territorial pissing matches and too many trolls had perished. Because of fate, the troll had witnessed things no creature should have to recall. Humans were just as creative and horrific in their torturing of the unknown as the supernatural committees and rival clans were. There were many creatures that went thump in the night for fun, and others for real estate and profit. Always came back to land and coin of the realm, the troll had long concluded. The isolation it had found at the end of the East Coast was a bit soothing because there weren't as many fiends and foes as it had seen in other parts of the country. Nevertheless the Guardian still slept with one eye open. Literally. Chancing upon a dethroned Master Vampire had been a stroke of luck. Many vampires thought they were masters, but in all honesty they were little more than pretenders to the throne. Jerry had been the real deal -- still was.

The night was silent around the man-made pond. It was how the Guardian preferred life. Still and undisturbed. Not something most trolls had. There was more than a bit of action in the past decade. It was like the misery and financial ruin of the humans was grifting into the supernatural world. The years of codependency -- knowingly or unknowingly -- had made the crashing of the human society bleed into the supernatural society. Wars were fought on many fronts and there were no victors. The supernatural communities fed off the fears and hatreds along with whatever bits of humanity needed for their sustenance, and with it there was an unexpected side effect. The hostility and anger that was leaching throughout the humans' world had started to etch into the supernatural fibers of their society. Unlike humanity, the result wasn't a war on foreign soil, higher prices at the pump and lackluster politicians blowing hot air out their asses while feeding at a seemingly unending trough of cash and bribes -- no, the cause and effect over on the dark side was darker than nightmares and deeper than an abyss. Things that went thump in the night had kicked it up to new levels.

The Guardian had seen such levels of horror before and heard of other times in the past when the balance was uneven. The result was beyond anarchy and made the slasher films of Hollywood little more than a child's Saturday morning cartoon. The troll had felt it when the Master vampire had created the new fledgling. It was like the stars had all suddenly flashed brightly, then disappeared from view. Total darkness. And with it there was a noticeable void in the energy that usually ran amok in the area. The absence plucked at the troll's skin, the awareness of the wrongness. Yet, the troll liked the feeling. It meant the otherly side of the supernatural world was just as out of control as the humans' world. Maybe it was due to gas prices or an upside down real estate market, but nevertheless the treachery of evil was everywhere. Betrayals that weren't easily explained worked double time to damage the consciousness of all near and not so dear. And there were betrayals. Ever so many deliciously deep betrayals that layered over and over as humanity began to disintegrate and burst at the seams of the ruination of civilization. The supernatural world was linked closely to the humans despite their belief in superiority over such fragile delectable morsels. That was where the teeter-tottering began. When humans started to crash towards the ground it thrust up the supernaturals. It made them visible and they in turn were seen, and the fears gave way to anger and destruction. Humans destroyed that what they didn't know and when vampires were seen, the poor folks had plenty of time to track them down and stake them. When werewolves howled once too often under a bright moonlit sky, the pitchforks and silver bullets flew. They all needed balance.

Until the balance returned the troll was going to enjoy the roll of Guardian of the pond and eat from the fruits of the vampire's reign of terror. The dawn was starting to break in the east, and the troll saw a long legged heron swoop towards the surface of the water nearby. With lightning fast movements that were at odds with the creature's size it leaped out of the murky depths and snagged the heron out of the air. Just like that, another treat. It would wait for balance. There was time.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-04-23
Image(s) © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
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