By A J
By @S F Brooke
The Mace made him drop the flowers and I pulled myself out of his grasp while my finger never left the trigger for the spray. He clearly wasn’t expecting it since I got him straight in the eyes…the mouth…the nose. It looked painful even to me and when he started yelling in pain there was a major part of me that wanted to help.
Flapping my hands like a bird I called out, trying to talk over his yelling, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Oh my God, I’m sorry!”
He was bent over with pain now, tears streaming down his face as most of his skin was turning the color of his hair. If this dude really was…Loki, then he certainly didn’t have healing powers.
I took off towards my apartment and put the key in the lock, pausing as I did so. Was I I took off towards my apartment and put the key in the lock, pausing as I did so. Was I really helping this person? This lunatic? I gave a whine and thumped my head against the door as I realized I was. Cursing under my breath, I headed into the apartment and grabbed a few water bottles before heading back down.
The redhead was sitting on the concrete curb near the steps, the bouquet of flowers littered on the floor. There were petals everywhere. He had his head in his hands, rubbing at his eyes furiously but at least he’d stopped screaming.
I put a water bottle in his hand with the lid off, “Try putting this on your face.” With a little guidance, I got him to dump two bottles on his face and eyes which….didn’t look good. His skin was red, redder than his hair at this point, his eyes clenched so tightly I wasn’t sure how he got his muscles to contort like that. Tears were littered on his face and his nose was running. Not a very fitting image for a deity. I dug into my purse and handed him a few tissues.
With a sigh, I planted myself next to him, “You’re insane.” I told him, giving a small chuckle.
“And yet,” He started, wincing as he put a tissue to his eye and paused to gurgle and spit out pepper spray from his mouth. “Here you still are.”
“I am.” There was honestly in the words that were coming from my mouth, “I don’t know why though.” Sitting there, I couldn’t think of a reason why I didn’t run screaming into my apartment and hadn’t called the police. Why hadn’t there been more fear? More hesitancy? I was still within range of the person I had just Maced in the face and there were plenty of reasons for me to turn and run yet….
“I’m not saying I believe you, not even close, but…you have an intriguing story.” With a wave of my hand towards him, I said, “I…can’t believe what you said earlier. I’m no goddess, I’m certainly not your daughter. I mean we’re practically the same age!”
The redhead, Loki, gave a deep laugh. “Trust me, we’re not. However, humans don’t do well to beings who are thousands of years old.”
“See that kind of talk! Humans? Hela? Midgard?” I shook my head, making a face of confusion. “That’s where the pieces aren’t clicking.”
“It’s true I’m afraid, only I can’t show you how,” Loki told me, finally blinking a few times. His eyes were red inside and out, the white of his eyes was harsh looking and I winced as he turned towards me.
Biting my lip, I gave him an apologetic look. “I’m sorry. About the Mace I mean.”
The man waved a hand of dismissal. “It’s fine, like I said it’s been a long…long while since I’ve been on Midgard. Well, Earth.” His eyes seemed to go distant and the air around him seemed to become colder as he stared off in the distance.
It was still hard for me to call him that ridiculous name, there was no way this man was the same Norse figure that I’d read about in school or even over the years that I’d been in town. It was impossible…so why was I willing to listen to him?
“Would you like some coffee?” I asked, offering an olive branch. Even if this guy was crazy, I think I would get some brownie points for giving him some warm coffee. Plus if I was going to think straight I needed to sober up quickly. With a hand on his arm, I helped him up the stairs and into my apartment, sitting him down on a small bar that I had in the kitchen and started brewing up some coffee.
Loki seemed to take notice of the many plants that were in various stages of decay around my apartment, he had a small smile on his face. “When you were a child you would collect dead things as well. Do you remember?”
I was disturbed by that. Frowning, my eyes traveled to his. “No, I don’t. And I don’t collect them, I just can’t take care of plants.”
My guest laughed, rich and sultry, before becoming pensive, “There are parts of you still known to your own psyche yet you continue to not remember….”
“That was cryptic,” I answered with a raised eyebrow.
Loki smirked, “It’s one of my many talents, however, I have to admit it’s troublesome for me to realize that you don’t remember much of your life. This isn’t what I thought was going to happen when we met again, Odin must have put a spell on you.”
I touched my temple, feeling a headache coming on. “Yep, still crazy.” I told him, “There are no such things like spells or Norse myths come to life, there’s no such thing as the goddess of death and I’m sure not her!” I ground my teeth and stirred an unhealthy amount of sugar into my coffee mug. “There’s no spell on me.”
The man only took a sip and looked at me unsurprised. “How much do you remember of your life?” He asked, softly.
I stopped stirring and took the spoon out of the mug, staring at the small growing puddle of coffee on the counter. It soon turned into the oil and gas that was spilling out onto the road from the car crash, “I remember a crash, bright lights, my mother’s red hair, my father’s voice…I remember waking up in a hospital bed and…there’s a lot of blanks before I got offered a job by Manny who owns the flower shop.”
“How old were you?” His voice was sort of hazy as I struggled to remember, my brain on overdrive.
“Eighteen, nineteen maybe?”
A hummed acknowledgment, “Where did you go to school?”
“I don’t know.”
“Nineteen is plenty of time to have more memories than a car crash, what else do you remember?”
That…that was actually a good question. It felt like my brain was pulsing, pushing against an invincible wall of sorts. “I don’t know.”
“Libi…what even is your last name?” Loki’s voice was careful, hesitant even.
I was snapped out of my thoughts, turning wide eyes towards him. “I…” My throat closed, my voice was unwilling to move past my lips. I remembered every time I introduce myself to someone, Gianna, Manny, Mrs. Lousia, Ottie…I never once said my last name. “I don’t know.” My chest felt tight and my palms were sweaty, I didn’t like this. I felt scared now…this was too much for me to process… “I don’t know,” I repeated, whispering. My hands came up to hold my head as I sat heavily on the bar stool.
“It’s ironic really,” The man continued, a deep sigh releasing from his bones as he took a sip of his coffee. “Odin loves to play games. Your name, Libitina, means death. Not even that, but Protectress of Death.”
“Who is Odin?” I asked, a migraine forming full force in my mind.
“Relationally…he would be your adopted grandfather. Hysterically he’s the Allfather, the king of Norse people and myths.” Loki answered, looking mildly peeved.
I furrowed my brow and stared at him, “And you just expect me to believe all of this?” What was I doing? Inviting this person into my home, listening to their story, even….wondering if….my whole life is just an illusion?
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