We saw them on the road between Old Bridge Creek and Trowville. At first, it was just part of a foot, the heel slipping between the trees back into the forest, but then a little further along the road where the apron of grassland widened in front of the treeline, we saw a whole one.
Whether it was the headlights or the noise of us approaching that first drew its attention wasn't obvious, but we stopped the car on a verge at the side of the road and cut the engine. Looking up through the windscreen, we saw it looking right back down at us.
Despite the night, an almost full moon illuminated its skin to a curiously familiar bluish rocky grey. If you wanted to paint a picture of one from your imagination, it's exactly the colour you would use.
It examined us fairly nonchalantly in that disappointing way that wild things do, though we did see it was clasping food in its hand; there was the odd leg sticking out between the fingers. It kept smelling the food, almost obsessively, every few seconds or so and because it's body moved so slowly the arm was continually going up and down like an old giant carnival attraction; without the grin.
We knew about the trolls, well everyone did really but me and Eddie had never seen one before and the first thing I thought was they do look pretty sad. People say it's because they're hungry all the time having to live off what they find dead on the roads. But it's a real melancholy behind the eyes and it looks like it comes from a place far deeper than the bottom of their empty stomachs. Eddie said why don't they kill stuff, and I said they don't, they're just not made that way. Lost their hunting instinct I guess.
I said they were like giant carnivorous cows emerging from the forest at night to feed by the mercy of dumb animals, bad drivers and luck.
Eddie said what did they eat before the roads came. I said I didn't know.
Now I've seen one I really like them but I can understand why some people wouldn't. They are huge and scary things.
It wasn't bothered by us and in the end we got bored of watching and Eddie started up the car.
As we drove away I wanted to wave goodbye, and for a second I believed that it might actually wave back at me.
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