Sophie and her mom walked to the park. The sun was shining, and mom had a lunch packed in her bag. It was going to be a marvelous day. “What’s for lunch?” Sophie asked.
“You just had breakfast,” Mom said. “I’m sure you aren’t hungry already.”
“I just want to know what it is,” Sophie said.
“Sandwiches,” Mom said.
“What kind of sandwiches?” Sophie asked.
“Egg salad,” Mom said.
“I like egg salad!” Sophie said. “What else is in there?”
“Wait and see,” Mom said.
Sophie frowned, making sure to look extra sad. Mom laughed. Sophie tried to keep looking sad, but it was too hard. She laughed too. She skipped down the sidewalk. They were almost to the park now. They just had to cross the parking lot.
The parking lot was full of short concrete barriers at the ends of the parking spaces. It made the parking lot look like a graveyard today, when there were no cars parked there.
“Where are all the cars?” Sophie asked.
“The parking lot is closed,” Mom said. She pointed and Sophie turned to look. There were orange plastic cones blocking the entrance to the parking lot. “I’m not sure why, though.”
“Maybe there’s a troll here,” Sophie said.
“In the parking lot?” Mom asked. “Why would a troll be in the parking lot?”
“They’re looking for people to eat,” Sophie said. “Don’t be scared though, I’ll keep you safe.”
“You know how to fight trolls?” Mom asked. She sounded a little impressed.
Sophie smiled. “Of course I do. I’ll show you how.” She hopped up on one of the barriers. “I’m a troll now,” she said. “If I get to the end of this barrier, I’m going to eat the villagers.”
“What villagers?” Mom asked. “I thought the trolls were going to eat us.”
“It’s just an example,” Sophie said. “Now hold your hand up.”
Mom held out her hand like she wanted to shake hands with someone invisible. “Like this?” she asked.
“No, no, no,” Sophie said. “Hold it up like you want to say stop. That way the invisible spider webs can shoot out of the center of your hand.”
Mom adjusted her hand. “Okay. Is this right?”
“Yes,” Sophie said. “Now, do that if I get close to the end of the barrier.” Sophie slowly shuffled along the top of the concrete barrier. At last, Mom held up her hand and Sophie stopped. Sophie pretended to stumble off the barrier. “You got me. Let’s practice some more.”
Sophie walked back to the other end of the barrier. “I can balance really well,” she said. “Did you see that?”
“Yes, you did a great job,” Mom said.
“Okay, now I’m a troll again,” Sophie said. They practiced stopping trolls several more times. Then Sophie stopped and started waving her arms. “Do you see this? If I do this, I can stop your webs. So you have to wait until I’m not doing this. ‘Cause if I’m doing this and you shoot webs at me, then they hit you instead.”
She crossed the barrier, waving her arms, then held her arms still as she approached the end. Mom held up a hand. “I got you,” she said.
Sophie smiled. “You did. And if you hold up your other hand while I’m singing then you get hearts to heal you.”
“It’s more complicated than I thought,” Mom said.
Sophie hopped off the concrete barrier. “Yup,” she said. She looked around. “But I don’t see any trolls right now. Maybe they’ll be here on our way home. Let’s go to the park.”
“That sounds like a great idea,” Mom said.
“We could eat some of our lunch first,” Sophie said.
“We just had breakfast,” Mom said. “Let’s play first.”
“Okay,” Sophie said. “Let’s play pirates. I’ll tell you how to play.”
“Okay,” Mom said.