It was just past midnight when Toni approached the stone bridge that crossed the river by her home. She smiled, remembering how she’d been scared of this bridge when she was a child, scared of the nasty troll she believed to be hiding in the darkness beneath it. Glenn, her older brother was to blame. He told her the story of Billy Goat Gruff, changing it slightly to make her scared. He had her believe the troll hadn’t really died, but was roaming the country looking for naughty little girls, because naughty little girls tasted so good.
“But I’m not naughty,” she told him tearfully.
That was a long time ago.
Halfway across the bridge stopped and listened. What was that?
“Who’s tramping over my bridge?”
Sure it was her brother she shouted, “Glenn, I know its you, come up here, you’re not funny. What are you doing out at this time of night?”
A throaty evil chuckle echoed from the darkness, “I’m coming to gobble you up.”
“Okay you’ve had your fun, come up here right now.”
“Are you a naughty little girl?”
Confused and scared Toni leaned over the stone wall, thinking her brother was going to great lengths to play a prank on her. What she saw was a small, squat shape with white flowing, scrabbling up the bank as fast as it could.
She sprinted along the short pathway to her house, surely she could outrun the twisted midget. Breathless and terrified she made it home, but the handle of the front door didn’t turn, it was locked. She ran around to the back, same thing, locked.
“Mam, mam, let me in, open the door!”
Footsteps from within.
“Thank GOD! Mam, hurry!”
The door opened slowly, too slowly. Toni barged through and pushed it closed behind her, locking it quickly.
“Mam, where’d you go? Someone tried to get me, call the police.”
Then she heard the raspy voice again.
“I’m going to gobble you up Billy Goat Gruff.”
“I’m not Billy Goat Gruff.”
“You’re a naughty child though, even better!”
Toni sat bolt upright in bed and screamed at the top of her lungs. “Help, MAM!”
The light went on in the hallway. Oh thank heavens, I’m in bed, I was dreaming.
The door opened and a small body with a wizened head stood where Toni expected her mother to be. It’s the last thing she ever saw!