This story originally published in Anotherealm

Truth Be Trolled

by C.W.Smoke

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People think they know trolls. They think that trolls are big, slow and dumb and that they hang out under bridges waiting for unsuspecting victims to cross. Those bridge-lurkers give trolls a bad name. And they're imposters!

How do I know?

Because I am a troll. My name -- as close as your language can get -- is Chubbypack (Cha-bee-pak), and I'm fed up with those lame-brained deceivers who make everyone think we're all dumb and dumber. Living under bridges is damp, drafty and often cold. That should be your first clue....regarding intelligence. Then giving everyone three chances to lie or be smart just so they can escape. Talk about stupidity.

Well, this has gotten under my thick, black skin for so long that I itch. And I'm here to set the record straight. Even if it means revealing our secrets.

According to the tales, the Elves vanquished the Trolls and banished them to hide in dark places like under bridges. I just have two questions.

Who tells these stories?

Why humans of course. Because that's what you want to believe. Do you seriously expect that if the Elves won, they'd leave any Trolls alive? Think about it. And here's my second question:

Ever seen an Elf?

And why do you suppose that is? Well, I'm going to tell you, and you're not going to like it one little bit. It's because we won. That's right. Now, deal with it. And here's our first big secret:

People see trolls (no, not those slobber-brained, bridge-lurking imposters) all the time. Trouble is, we're the last thing they see. That's right. Our success rate is a whopping one hundred percent. No one ever escapes. Is it any wonder that you humans make up comforting tales rather than face the facts?

And how about me? How do you think I feel? I am the perfect predator, but no one knows until it's too late. How would you feel if you were the best and no one knew it? I don't need a diversion. I don't need a cover story. I just need to hunt -- that's all.

In fact, I'm going to tell you my secret. It will do you no good. It is already too late. You see, every troll has a stalking gimmick. We all hunt a little differently. But we wind up at the same place.

Humans all suffer some form of phobia -- fear of heights, fear of snakes, fear of open spaces, fear of the dark, you-name-it. We find our humans, and we use telepathy to discover their deepest fear. Then we go that place of unbridled fear....and we wait.

When our victims visit their fears, they find us....waiting. No three chances. No fumbling. No mercy. We harvest them while they're paralyzed with fear, like ripe fruit, ready to pick.

But I digress. I promised to tell you my stalking method. Well, since real trolls are telepathic, I focus in on brainwaves....a certain distinct pattern of brainwaves. You must remember that from our perspective humans all merge together, and their brainwaves appear to be a vast gray ocean -- hardly an ideal selection process.

So, I need something to make my humans stand out....from the herd.

And how do I accomplish this? Well, I must confess. I use your technology. In a way, you could even call me the father of modern demographics. You see, I advertise, and when my humans use my name, they set up a one-to-one resonance between us. I look out over that vast sea of humanity, and anyone who has ever used my name, or even thought my name, switches on like a flashing signal beacon, a blinking red light floating in a sea of gray. Oh, and just to let you know, once the signal is switched on, I am the off-switch.

Be seeing you.


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