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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Smell (the sense of smell) (07/29/10)

TITLE: Vilfrid and the Human Girl
By Theresa Santy


The Black Forest was murky, dank, and not at all what Vilfrid had expected. Even worse, he regretted the company. The nearly-full-grown troll wished he had not let Nagendra coax him into the deep shadows, and he longed to be anywhere else.

But Nagendra’s temptations were difficult to resist. His eyes were like slick pools of oil, and he emitted a musky odor more pungent than that of the local trolls. With hypnotic and crafty language this foreigner presented the Black Forest as an appetizing sort of paradise where trees spilled forth ripe fruits, quail eggs, and berries, and where a troll would never have to labor again.

“Do you enjoy life in the village where a troll’s youth is destroyed by work?” Nagendra asked.

Vilfrid did not enjoy life in the village. Leaving would be easy. “Show me this Black Forest,” he replied.

In the thick of the woods of this so-called paradise a menacing canopy of moss strangled treetops; vines and creepers suffocated every living thing below. Work relief was provided at the expense of the creatures that lived beyond the Sparkling Blue Lake Edged with Rue—that is, the humans. These yoked slaves carried the burden of the colony. The only fodder spilling forth was a blatant lack of restraint by the forest dwelling trolls. It was a place where frogs and mice were the only available food, and where there was no light of any kind.

During Vilfrid’s first and only night in this dreary place, Nagendra leaped atop a boulder and addressed his disciples. The leader gave a provoking speech regarding power and domination and while he blathered on Vilfrid caught a whiff of a familiar scent, one reminiscent of a stranger who saved his life—long ago when he was merely a cub. Vilfrid’s nostrils flared and twitched and instinctively, he traced the odor to a den in a spruce thicket. He found a human girl inside and he recognized her from that day long ago. Though still tiny the human had doubled in size, but her striking features—olive-brown skin, ebony hair, and bracing green eyes—remained unchanged.

The girl was on her knees, with her chin resting against her connected palms. When she recognized Vilfrid her face brightened, and she jumped up and pressed herself against the bars which held her captive.

The human girl’s aroma—traces of the fragrant waters of the Sparkling Blue Lake Edged with Rue, also rosemary, thyme, and the sweet honey-scent of bedstraw—spun Vilfrid into a memory of that day long ago. Vilfrid had wandered behind the teal building with the symbol of the two intersecting sticks perched on top. On Sunday mornings humans liked to coagulate around this building and one Sunday the human girl was gathering yellow wildflowers when Vilfrid crossed her path. For a great length of time the strangers stared at one another, not in shock or fear, but simply out of astonishment.

Their gaze was broken by the angry voice of a full grown human male. The male was holding a sort of weapon and pointing it toward the troll. But the girl, though only a fraction of the size of Vilfrid, jumped in front of him and shouted at the human male in her native tongue. Soon after, the humans left.

Back in the present and empowered by the human girl’s odor, Vilfrid tore open the cage and tossed the girl onto his back; she quickly settled between the blades of his broad shoulders. Since Nagendra was still enjoying the sound of his own voice, the runaways slipped out of the encampment with little difficulty.

Vilfrid’s muscles were enormous and seemed somehow enhanced. His movements were swift, but quiet like a shadow. He galloped through the night and just before dawn he reached the teal building with the symbol of the two intersecting sticks perched on top.

The girl kissed Vilfrid’s paw and then ran off, leaving behind her scent, which was embedded in the skin and hair of Vilfrid’s neck where the girl had held on tightly for so many hours. The troll breathed in traces of the fragrant waters of the Sparkling Blue Lake Edged with Rue, also rosemary, thyme, and the sweet honey-scent of bedstraw. He felt invigorated by a formidable sense of hope and courage.

Vilfrid rushed home, but with a strong desire to return to the teal building and learn more about the human girl with the bracing green eyes.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/05/10
This was a great read. It took me a bit to realize the blue building was a church, but that's because I was so wrapped up in your fantasy. Great writing skills.
Karen Pourbabaee 08/05/10
A creative and mesmerizing tale rich with symbolism, very well crafted.
Lollie Hofer08/06/10
Great fantasy...and it is indeed full of symbolisms. I didn't get it at first so began to look up the meanings of names and words. Intriguing story, a insister character, a dark forest, a hero and a heroine. Incredibly creative!
Caitlyn Meissner08/06/10
750 words is hardly enough for a good story like this. I found myself wanting to know more about the history of your world, who the villain was, and why trolls and humans were coexisting. Maybe someday you'll be able to turn this story into a novel. Good job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/12/10
Congratulations for placing in the top 15 of your level and the top 30 overall.