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.

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