Sara and James stopped as they came to a wide bridge that passed over the Jumatan River. It wasn’t a spoken decision, but they both knew what was waiting for them under the bridge.
James took his sister’s hand. “We might as well get it over with,” he said, trying to be the brave one.
Sara hesitated. “Are you sure we should cross?”
James gestured to the rushing water below. “We knew there was no other choice.” James fished the rest of their money out of his pocket, only three gold coins. “Hopefully this will be enough to allow us passage.”
Sara frowned. Even if the money did allow them to cross, they wouldn’t be able to buy any food. But James was right; there was no other choice.
Sara squeezed his hand and took a step forward. Together, they walked onto the solid wooden bridge, their steps slow and measured. As they reached the middle, Sara’s gut clenched with fear. She expected a troll to appear at any given moment.
But they soon found themselves on the other side of the bridge with no incident.
Sara looked at James. James looked back at her. They cast their gazes over the bridge, wondering if they’d missed the troll.
“Looking for me?”
The nasally voice made Sara jump. She followed the sound to a little green troll nestled in a bed of grass, his hands behind his head as he stared up at the sky.
James stepped forward and tried to sound confident. “Are—Are you the Troll of the Jumatan?”
Sara and James exchanged glances again. “Aren’t you going to ask us for money?” Sara asked.
The troll shrugged. “Nope. That got too tedious.”