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From Inside the Flap
Are Tory and Mandy stuck in this underworld? Are other children falling through to this underworld as well? You must find out by reading this darling action packed fantasy filled with enough beautiful scenery and delightful dialogue, that will leave you hungering for a sequel. J.K. Rowling’s has a new rival, and her name is Billie Brannock - the out of this world storyteller of an exceptional tale of Icelandic myth, SIGGI’S TROLLS.
David Bowlin, email@example.com
?Once you get in you can?t get out,? warned the old man as he shook a thick and hardened finger in the cold afternoon air.
?Trolls, ogres. They live under the earth. They steal children if they are not, ah, ah?? The Icelander’s ocean blue eyes glistened as he struggled to speak the English to which he was not familiar with, waving his claw-like hand about as he searched for the proper word.
?Pacified? Placated?? asked Tory’s father. He tried to remain patient despite the unwelcome interruption to their visit of the city.
?Yes! Placated! We leave them food and gifts in small dollhouses. This makes the trolls happy, and our children are safe.?
Tory observed the Icelander from behind his father. The old man’s features betrayed his true age, seemingly youthful despite the sparse gray hairs upon his head, and the wooden cane that supported his frail form.
A fine, powdery snow drifted and swirled as the bustling native crowds scurried across the sidewalks. Occasionally, a stern glance would be directed at them, causing Tory some discomfort.
?How old, your son?? The Icelander asked, his cool stare turning into pools of affection as he observed Tory.
?Eleven, working on twelve,? replied Tory’s father.
S?ggi focused on the young boy, his bushy eyebrows comically raised. ?Come on out, I don?t bite.? His tone was soft and beckoning. ?Only if you bite me, then I bite you.?
Tory’s father shoved him forward, irritated by his son’s shyness.
Embarrassed, Tory forced a grin, and pulled the knit blue and white cap over his reddening ears. He was always game for an adventure, and the old man seemed quite full of himself.
?Tory. Tory Simmons.?
?Nice name, very simple. My name is S?ggi. I tell you my last name, but it is too hard for you to say.? He hitched up the knees of his pants as he leaned closer, then clutched the cane in both of his hands. ?Do you believe in trolls??
The boy’s bashfulness melted as he succumbed to S?ggi’s grandfatherly attitude. The idea of discussing monsters encouraged his desire to talk.
?What are trolls??
S?ggi almost fell backward. He steadied himself, and cast a glance at the boy’s parents. With a grunt, and a shrug, he peered back at Tory. ?They are ugly creatures. Green skin, black teeth, and long, filthy, shaggy hair like our sheep. They are short with bowed, thin legs, and huge potbellies. Some have warts on their big noses.?
?Warts? Like on toads?? asked Tory.
?Yes. And, beady black eyes that are wicked and evil. They have arms so long they drag on the ground, and sharp fingernails on twisted bony fingers. Nasty things, trolls are.?
Tory smiled. ?There ain?t no such things as trolls.?
S?ggi’s eyes turned to ice, and the pink drained out of his razor-burned cheeks. Gone was the merriment. A solemn dread invaded his voice. ?Oh, yes, my friend. There are trolls. I know. I have seen them. When I was six I watched as they crept into the backyard of our home. One at a time they came, sneaking behind the rocks. So sly they were.? His fingers constantly kneaded the smooth curve of the cane. ?My mother was inside the house. A neighbor came by to visit. And Margr?t, my baby sister, was in the pram on the back steps.?
S?ggi stopped for a moment. Snowflakes landed, and melted on his baldhead. He jerked back to reality at their cold touch. ?I was thirsty, I remember. I went through the back door. But, before it closed I heard a noise?a grumble, like your tummy does when you are hungry. So, I peeked out the door. Margr?t was making sweet gurgling sounds from the pram, a happy baby she was. Then it happened. Their long, furry arms pulled them across the rocky ground at such a speed it was a blur.?
Tory’s mouth gaped. A cold chill clamped his chest like a vise, and his heart raced.
S?ggi wiped a tear from the corner of his swollen lefteye. ?They jumped up to the pram so fast, all I could do was stare. Long fingers reached inside for Margr?t. The trolls? wicked black eyes glittered like hard marbles as they pulled her from the pram. But, she did not cry. I crouched in fear as they carried her away to the trolls? hellish kingdom under the earth. I was still shaking when my mother looked into the empty basket and screamed. Her cries of pain went on and on. All I could do was stare at her. We never saw Margr?t again.? S?ggi fell silent.
Tory shuddered as he imagined the trolls, lathering at the mouth and running off with the baby. ?What did they do with Margr?t? Did they eat her??
?Tory! Don?t be so rude. Haven?t you listened to anything I?ve told you about being polite?? She sharply jabbed the boy in the back then cast a sympathetic look at S?ggi.
?No, Mrs. Simmons. He should know.? The old man’s eyes challenged the woman’s unexpected reaction as he considered Tory’s question. ?I will be honest, Tory. I don?t know. But, I have seen the holes, and I know that once a child goes down one of them, they never come back. I have not seen Margr?t since the trolls took her.?
?That’s a very, uh, interesting story,? said Mr. Simmons. ?But I think we better get going. We have a lot of errands to run yet.?
S?ggi shrugged. Americans were realists. He should have known better than to have expected anything other than doubt. But, he had hoped that the boy would believe him. On that final thought, S?ggi stood and carefully hobbled away, the cane making a dull thud on the slushy sidewalk. ’So be it,? he called out. He waved a brisk good-bye over his shoulder.
On the opposite sidewalk a nervous woman dashed about talking to shop owners, her voice shrill with worry. The Simmons turned in her direction as she wrung her hands in despair, frantically searching the immediate area. Suddenly her fearful eyes latched onto S?ggi and she raced across the road with renewed energy.
’S?ggi, have you seen S?nja?? she asked, her hands shaking as she gripped his knobby shoulders for support.
The old man looked away. He stared at Tory as he searched for a comforting reply.
The woman tugged at S?ggi’s arm.
?Tell me. Have you seen her??
S?ggi sadly shook his head, unwilling to look into her pleading eyes.
The tears trickled down her tired face as she jerked away and continued her search.
The Simmons stared at the old man’s tormented features before they turned and walked away. Tory barely noticed his father’s brash command that they needed to hurry because he was worried about the stores closing soon. His mother rambled on about how much she enjoyed her weekly shopping trips. They both seemed unconcerned about what had happened. But Tory’s thoughts remained on the trolls and the desperate woman searching for her daughter. S?ggi’s words, ?Once you get in you can?t get out,? continued to haunt him. Lingering on that frightening image, he followed his parents into a nearby store.
Blood Moon Publishing is an imprint of Double Dragon Publishing