hwango: (hermit crab)
[personal profile] hwango
Author's Note: According to Wikipedia, Brushback Pitch is the name of an awesome giant robot which - wait, no...they've undone my edits. According to Wikipedia, a Brushback Pitch is a thing in baseball where the pitcher throws the ball not quite at the batter to try to intimidate them into shifting position. Oh, well. I have chosen to approach this from the "borders and personal space" angle, but I've also appropriated a garbled version of the maneuver's name for the name of one of my characters. Normally I wouldn't bother to explain all of this, but I don't want people to think I've gotten the prompt wrong and only used it to name a character.

Content Warning for whimsical violence.

Long ago, in a distant land, there lived a terrifying troll who was beset by a charming village.

The troll had lived his entire life in a haunted forest, where for many years he had enjoyed the relative solitude of having only wolves, ghosts, and owls for neighbors. He found the howls of the wolves musical, the whispers of the restless dead calming, and the hooting of the owls hilarious. He spent much of his time tending to his trees, painting, and just listening to the subtle sounds of his home. Life was peaceful and pleasant, and it had been decades since he'd torn anyone apart with his claws and teeth and then bound their soul to a tree by burying their bones among its roots.

And then, seemingly overnight, a village sprang up nearby. In truth, of course, it took many years for the village to become settled, but the troll was asleep as a rock for much of that time, and so the presence of the village came as something of a shock when he woke up.

The village was a terrible place - full of people shouting and laughing and hitting things with hammers. These loud, obnoxious people kept noisy birds that weren't owls and noisy animals that weren't wolves, and the collective din was unbearable. The troll considered venturing into town and murdering every living thing he found, but he had always been content to cultivate his forest one or two hapless intruders at a time, and the idea of slaughtering an entire village and then leaving all of those bones and souls unused just seemed shamefully wasteful. No, the sensible thing was to just ignore them and wait for them to be killed by a plague or war or something.

Alas, however, the people proved to be remarkably healthy, and there were apparently no local wars at the time. The village continued to expand, and in what seemed like no time at all the humans had cut down much of the local ghost-free forest. The troll was afraid that soon they'd be coming for his trees next.

Now, in spite of his solitary existence, this troll did have a name, though few creatures knew it and even fewer would ever have occasion to speak it. But to those few, this troll was known as Blackbrush. He had acquired this name due to his curious and rather untrollish penchant for painting, and the fact that he painted with a viscous, noxious, and frankly horrifying concoction of his own devising that was made from tar, pine pitch, and souls that had finally gone mad from being trapped in a tree for centuries. The stuff was so black that it practically ate light, and did eat pretty much anything that managed to get stuck in it.

Blackbrush decided that the best way to keep the humans from encroaching on his land any further was to mark out the borders of his land before it got any smaller, and the obvious way in which to mark that border was to paint it with his signature pitch. So, under the light of the next full moon, Blackbrush ventured out from under the shelter of his trees and painted an unbroken line of sticky black goo six feet wide that stretched all the way around his forest. The humans would not dare to cross such a line, he thought, and he could go back to trying to ignore them until a dragon ate them, or they decided to go live somewhere else, or whatever.

Naturally, this plan backfired spectacularly.

If Blackbrush understood humans a bit better, he might have foreseen that they would be curious about this strange line of evil sludge that had appeared overnight. He might even have guessed that the first few curious people would lack appropriate caution, and would meet with hideous, nightmarish deaths as a result of their curiosity. He might anticipate that the survivors and the relatives of non-survivors would come seeking revenge, and that, after some impromptu bridges were devised, an angry mob of people with torches and improvised weapons would come to visit his previously tranquil domain with every intention of doing him harm.

Well, you can imagine how frustrated Blackbrush was to have gone to all of that effort for nothing, and to have wasted all of that pitch. He was in such a foul mood that he ended up tearing people apart so vigorously that it was difficult to tell which bits to bury together afterwards, and he got only a handful of new haunted trees out of the whole debacle. The second wave of revenge-seeking humans were even more infuriating than the first, and in the end he did the only sensible thing, which was to follow his original plan after all.

Blackbrush now lives in the largest haunted forest in the world.

Date: 2016-12-16 11:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eternal-ot.livejournal.com
Ha! I really enjoyed this take. Very creative :) Good job!

Date: 2016-12-17 12:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks! I'm glad people got to read it. I was a little worried for a bit, there.

Date: 2016-12-16 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluegerl.livejournal.com
And I do hope he's happy there... cos it must be full of some pretty obnoxious ghosts.... Sticking my head above the parapet lately I am finding the outlook decidedly NOT GOOD. There's such a lot of nasty out there.... do you think Blackbrush would mind if I moved into his forest. I can cope with ghosts... I go WHOOOOOOOOOOo back at them and they run away.

My little 'forest' seems to be shrinking a bit too.... its half way between two rather busy reasonably close by cities... with Universities and lots of industrial estates.... so we are becoming a sort of dormitory town.... I think I too may have been sleeping a bit as a rock lately.... I went to the post office just at picking-up-the-kids-from-school-time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Date: 2016-12-17 12:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
I'm certain you are far more terrifying than any mere ghost. = )

Ack, never go outside when the school releases children! It is a terrifying time!

Date: 2016-12-16 04:57 pm (UTC)
meridian_rose: pen on letter background  with text  saying 'writer' (writer)
From: [personal profile] meridian_rose
I love the opening which puts a twist on things; the troll is beset by the village and not the other way around!

Like Shrek. Only so much darker with that whole binding the soul to a tree...which distrubs me because I love the idea of burying beneath trees.

What an ending!

Contestant only voting this week, good luck :D

Date: 2016-12-17 12:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. And not to worry - I'm sure it takes extra sinister effort to make a haunted tree, and burying people under trees the usual way is perfectly safe!

Date: 2016-12-17 02:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rayaso.livejournal.com
I loved the humor in this, from the opening to the end. I got a special kick out of "cultivate his forest one or two hapless intruders at a time." It was a great line! I also enjoyed "pitch" as a substance. I thought about writing an entry which included a sticky substance from the brushback bush, found only in the Australian outback. Great job!

Date: 2016-12-18 06:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Glad you liked it! Heh, that line you mention is a favorite of mine, too.

Aw, you mean we just missed having at least two entries where "pitch" referred instead to a sticky substance? I'm still working my way through entries, and so far I'm still alone there. Maybe next time. = )

Date: 2016-12-17 07:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bleodswean.livejournal.com
HAHA!!! What a great tale!!! I love how diabolical Blackbrush is....but still needs to be hit with the clue bat!

Well done!

Date: 2016-12-18 06:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks, glad you liked it!

Date: 2016-12-18 01:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penpusher.livejournal.com
It's Blackbrush's Pitch! Very likely the most stretched prompt of the week! But quite fun!

Date: 2016-12-18 09:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
The most stretched? But I have a "pitch"-er whose pitch intimidates his adversary from straying too far from home (plate)! = ) Glad you found it fun.

Date: 2016-12-18 02:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] encrefloue.livejournal.com
Delightful and dark from beginning to end. Loved the piece and your use of the prompt! I actually thought for a moment of using "pitch" as the substance as well, though I didn't end up in that direction. All for the best--it wouldn't have been put to as good of a use as in this wonderfully subversive tale.

Date: 2016-12-18 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I have to admit, before I looked up what the prompt actually meant, my first assumption was that it would be something sticky like pine pitch, and I never did manage to let the idea go. = )

Date: 2016-12-19 06:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mamas-minion.livejournal.com
I like the turn about of the Troll being the hero. this is a very well crafted story and very humorous.

Date: 2016-12-20 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thank you, I'm glad it amused.

Date: 2016-12-19 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Thank you for your entry!

Date: 2016-12-20 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thank you for your comment!

Date: 2016-12-19 06:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Thank you for your entry!

Date: 2016-12-19 08:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beeker121.livejournal.com
Yippee! A fairy tale told from the perspective of the 'villain' who is perfectly reasonable, really. This is fun.

Date: 2016-12-20 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks, glad it was fun.

Date: 2016-12-19 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marlawentmad.livejournal.com
This was such a good read. Thank you for such a delightful romp.

Date: 2016-12-20 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!

Date: 2016-12-20 01:03 am (UTC)
ext_29986: (Default)
From: [identity profile] fannishliss.livejournal.com
loved it !!

I love Troll stories. :)

Date: 2016-12-20 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

Date: 2016-12-20 06:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
Hahahaha-- As the village grows larger and encroaches more, the forest becomes more and more undesirable, so a natural barrier arose just the same.

Not to mention that the troll also helped shrink the number of village inhabitants. For a troll, that solution does not surprise me at all. :)

Date: 2016-12-20 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
And now there's a huge haunted forest with some very charming uninhabited ruins next door. = )

Date: 2016-12-20 08:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] murielle.livejournal.com
LOL! Thoroughly enjoyed this!

Great twist of the prompt. You should get brownies for that alone. Well told, well written, well done!

Date: 2016-12-20 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Mmm...twisty brownies. I mean, uh...thanks!

Date: 2016-12-20 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] my-name-is-jenn.livejournal.com
Haha, this was great. Love how you used pitch as the sticky goo. The ending definitely made me laugh. I'm happy Blackbrush has a large forest he can live in. :)

Date: 2016-12-20 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Glad you liked it! I'm glad people have been supportive of my unconventional interpretations of the prompts. I do tend to end up coming at prompts a bit sideways.

Date: 2016-12-20 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] uselesstinrelic.livejournal.com
I'm so happy for Blackbrush! :D Seriously loved this entry. It inspires me to try harder to come up with fun, clever entries like this one.

Date: 2016-12-21 08:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Thanks! And wow, I'm happy to have been inspiring. That's very kind of you to say.

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