Two-Headed Troll – Robert Eversmann

A two-headed troll pushes through the trees and finds a heart. A heart as big as a boulder or horse. e heart there beating on the ground, bright red pinned in the grass in the moonlight. Akork and Bagork. One reaches but his other stays his hand.

–I want the heart and I deserve the heart.

–No, I will put it into my chest because my life is harder than yours.

Akork lifts the left arm. Bagork lifts the right. They stretch. They rock their shoulders back. If they take the heart, they will become two. Two heads. Two hearts. They regard it now like a widening hole or bleeding animal.

–We are too woefully the same. I hate you, Bagork.

Bagork cries. Agork lends his hand to wipe away tears. Same shadow. Same arms.

–I will take the heart and put it in my chest. It needs a body.

–But what if we are turned to stone?

–Put the heart in me. Do you remember the little farmer? I loved the little farmer.

–You ate him.

— I deserve the heart. I deserved the little farmer. I will touch the heart. It will beat inside me.

A troll needs only a second heart. But where did this one come from? Another dead troll. e trolls, two of them making the operations as smoothly as one, though each looking his own direction, one at the sky, reflecting maybe on all their life together, the other at the heart, paling, dying, beating there slowly like the split chest of a horse.

 

The troll slumps their one set of shoulders. Akork agog, Akork ready, Akork beating his heart, their heart, with his fist of tear-wet fingers, his chest, their chest, he beats it and beats it.

–The same heart in our body. One heart. Our heart. Two hearts.

–I will put it in you.

Akork stops. ere is will be no more Akork and Bagork. ere will be no more two-headed troll, there can be no two-hearted troll. It is impossible. And now this too-giant heart. Bagork reaches, caresses it, says to Akork, It’s ok, reach your hand out. And the trolls pick it up between them, their two gentle hands, this new heart shivering birdlike in their warmth. Two thumbs meet atop the puckering left ventricle. Akork and Bagork lock eyes.

–There’s no going back.

–I know.

They push the heart into Akork’s mouth. Blood ran down his chin, tilting to the moon, blood streaming, blood running down their chest, their legs, blood staining and piling in the grass. Akork chewed the heart and Bagork watched him.

–Do you feel di erent?

–Yes.

An instant fracture, a bolt struck between them, splitting them, two rock faces split clean apart, two new arms, two new legs, two trolls birthed like stone, cracking, shattering, forming. What once was one now was two. The sky unsettled, the sun threatened, the two trolls fled, away from each other, away from the grass, flayed damp like a pile of men.

 

 

 

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