Black-Jack-Davey had been on the road since sun-up.
As twilight descended filching the last of the colour from his day he came upon a village.
Up ahead he could make out a little stone bridge and what he took to be a garrison turret.
On the far-side of the river were lights.
As Black-Jack approached the bridge it started to rain.
“Who goes there!” cried a gravelly voice.
From under the bridge lurched a hideous troll who leered at Jack and demanded, “Be ye friend or foe?”
“Oh, I’m definitely a friend,” laughed Jack.
“Yee’ll still ‘ave to pay,” drooled the troll eyeing Jack up for size and licking his…lips.
“What if I’d been a foe?” asked Jack.
“Why, then it’d ‘ave been double,” replied the troll uncertainly. No one before had ever asked any questions.
“And on whose authority do you demand payment to cross this bridge?” continued Jack…
This was too much for the troll. He needed back up.
“Lycretia!” he hollered.
After a small space, Lycretia, lumbered up from under the stone bridge looking distinctly nonplussed to have been disturbed…
“What now, Gore-Tax,” she complained. “Can’t a woman leave a man to do owt reet these days?”
If Gore-Tax was a big, fat, ugly looking troll, which he decidedly was, then Lycretia was bigger, fatter and uglier. She was also decidedly meaner looking…
“It’s this little fellow ‘ere,” said Gore-Tax, looking down and then hastily re-adjusting his gaze, for in all the hullaballoo, Black-Jack-Davey had walked onto the threshold of the stone span… “‘Ere,” said Gore-Tax again, quickly retreating further onto the bridge.
“What about him?” said Lycretia, moving behind Black-Jack…
“He’s asking questions,” said Gore-Tax.
“What sort of questions,” said Lycretia, moving in on Jack.
“Wants to know about authority?” said Gore-Tax following Lycretia’s lead.
“We don’t need any,” laughed Lycretia…
As the two trolls pounced, Black-Jack-Davey hit the deck, rolled to his left, leaped to his feet and dashed across the bridge.
The two trolls collided head to head in mid air and fell to stone concussed.
Their combined weight falling from a height was too much for the little stone bridge. It cracked and collapsed into the dark river where it was washed away.
The small stone house of disgorged travellers bones and the trolls went with it…
But what of Black-Jack-Davey?