Grit McNoniface was a lowland troll. Unlike their better known highland cousins, lowland trolls were smooth skinned, hardworking and small. Indeed, they were so unlike the stereotypical image of a troll, that they were often mistaken for a pixie or a sprite. If you want to wind up a lowland troll, then tell it it reminds you of a stone sprite. At that point the most likely reaction is very troll-typical. They want to eat you and if you happen to be soft skinned and under one foot tall then you’d be advised to runaway.
Grit left home when his lack of hair and distinguishing warts made him a laughing stock. Eschewing the rolling hills and caves he headed south to seek a small safe space to pass his days. After journeying for what seemed an age he alighted on the Benefice of St Boniface. Here he found a small aperture in the back of some stone steps, perfectly sized and well hidden. He untied his kerchief, took out his hammer, chipped a couple of granules off the stone tread to rub in his forehead for supper and withdrew to contemplate his lot and practice a form of barnacle Pilates much favoured by stone based life forms.
Years passed and the incumbents of the Order came and went, never caring much for the occupant of the space beneath the steps. Whatever it was, was clean, sang with a mellifluous tapping tone and regularly restored the stability of the steps by the assiduous introduction of grit.
For his part, Grit came to realise the motto live and let live worked fine for those either over three foot high, blessed with razor teeth or a psychopathic disposition. What worked for members of the order, didn’t work so well for a gravel rubbing, soft shelled troll with a preference for early days (trolls sleep during the day) and petunias. He fought constant battles with large spiders, rodents of all kinds, ant colonies and the occasionally stupid bird who decided Grit’s aperture was perfect for a nest.
In a way, those battles, that need to maintain a Qui Vivre at all times kept Grit going. He watched as time, tide, abrasive footwear and his small hammer took its toll on his home under the steps, never reaching any conclusion about their gradually diminishing thickness. Trolls live a long time, but even so they have a mortal coil off which they will eventually shuffle, and Grit felt sure he would teeter over that particular precipice long before the steps gave way.
One morning in June Grit was awoken by the most thunderous cacophony. Bits of grit, old mortar and stone rained down on him as he hurried to collect his meagre belongings. It appeared everything was about to collapse.
Outside Brian Tonsil sucked on his vape and shook his head. ‘You’ll ‘ave to take ‘em out. We’ll get some new ones from Bob’s.’ Brian was foreman at Tonsil Construction who had just been awarded the contract to convert the now redundant Monastery into a Spa And Deep Wellness Revitalisation Environment. Ripping out the obviously dangerous stone steps was in the first phase.
As the crowbar lifted the middle step, destroying in one easy swing decades of home building, Grit stared up at the sunlight flooding in. He did what all trolls have done down the years when confronted with sunlight: he turned to stone.
Brian leant forward and peered into the small space that the sweating navvy had exposed. He bent and picked up Grit, brushing dust off his horrified face.
In the same moment that life ebbed away from Grit, Brian smiled. ‘Must be a good luck charm,’ he chuckled, as he pocketed the small figurine. ‘I’ll give it to the missus.’
This was written in response to this week’s #writephoto prompt