78. Covits


On the Road of Weeds, two thirds of the way to Old Knife City, a rushing river severs the cobbled road. Across the gash runs a bridge of unmortared stones, taken from the water before the current claimed their harsh edges. On the apron of cool, mossy silt beneath the bridge, which spills into the water like the roll of fat above the belt, Covits waits.

Many years ago a man named Covits took residence beneath the bridge, and the same spirit animates this body. But this body no longer resembles a man’s. The nails are long, the hair is gone, with scales to take its place. The teeth are points for ripping fish-flesh, and the eyes are hooks for dragging travelers down.

Most walkers on the bridge never see Covits – not unless he is hungry, and the tide is too low to offer fish – and so he does not meet the legal definition of a Bridge Troll. What brought him here, then? What spiritual dividend does this vigil pay? Well, Covits has perfected just one virtue, and that virtue is patience. He understands that a single act can validate a life, provided it is executed at the proper time. And so Covits waits beneath the bridge, and will keep waiting, for the traveler who truly deserves to be stopped.

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