The peck on his cheek was warm and sweet coming with a breath carrying beer. Knox smiled at the touch and his eyes caught the girl. He wandered away from the loud music, the speakers entering a dull retreat as he separated from his friends and followed her like a hitchhiker in the dark.
“Is this were you live?” He asked her giving in to the tight pull of her fingers on his wrist.
“No, just a place to stay,” she called back as she shrugged off her jacket. He lingered on the way her accent whispered his name, sounding more foreign, ancient almost. “Come, Knox”. She put her leg against the small balcony and propped herself up her belly pressed tightly onto the rail. Knox watched her pale hair spill down her shoulders, a mischievous glint in her grey eyes turned black by the night. He heard the shatter of glass muffled by her jacket.
“What are you waiting for?” She hissed through an amused giggle.
What was he waiting for really? He wanted to object but her frame disappeared inside the engulfing dark and he rushed to catch the tips of her pale fingers reaching from inside the shadows.
He fought to be nearer to her flushed skin. Her fingers became claws on his back, her teeth razor sharp grazing against his skin. Knox forgot to ask her name.
In the small Austrian house the early morning was a lazy bluish filter and Knox shivered, wrapping his clothes tighter around his frame. She had watched him sleep before disappearing abandoning him in a stranger’s home. Not wanting to lose the memory of her and the previous night Knox. He stumbled into the living room finding it empty just like the rest of the house. He wondered whether its owner was among the many celebrating through the night on the town’s square. The small space spoke of someone elderly; some millennial dust had settled down on the dark wooded furniture. The room was filled with newspapers and books stacked in piles by the fireplace. Knox fumbled through some meeting unknown authors with unknown subjects. He let the last book slip through his fingers, his eyes caught by something different. An oddity.
His hand reached for the unprotected strange statue atop the mantelpiece above the fireplace. He pried it free from its enclosure, tiny bones, dried thistle, feathers. The tips of his gloved fingers glided on the smooth back of the deer creature. He slipped the glove off wriggling his fingers free. There was a certain warmth to it, a weight which beat against his bare skin. Like a heartbeat, Knox thought smiling at the soothing motions his fingers were playing against the thistled, horned head. The red eyes bore into his own, and for a split second he thought of taking it with him like a souvenir. He measured its value by his need to own it like a remnant of her, of Austria in the fall with all its mist and might. Eyebrows furrowed Knox halted his hand midair into putting the totem in his pocket. Something deep in him stirred, a memory of something awful resurfacing.
He gagged at the sudden pain sharpening his bones, prickling his skin. There were pale blue eyes pinned against his own, the words of an old man banging at his skull. Knox retreated his hand palm closing on thin air. He couldn’t bring himself to take the totem. Subliminally he knew that once in a different life he had also taken it and held it but the memory was brief and enlisted in painful imagery that he forgot the instant. In his hungover clumsiness he left the tiny house the way she had led him in.
On the other side of time in the continuum flowing with godly tears Freyr cast a small shadow among his brethren. They were voiceless for him though their mouths screamed and their faces contorted in anger that was both primal and full of vigor. Hermóðr and Ítreksjóð stood among them their faces still as carved of stone but they judged nonetheless. When he walked they averted their eyes, ashamed to see the betraying son and brother depart them.
The Goyar shot his one full eye at the old man as waited for Freyr on the steps of time. His glint was dulled but it re-sparkled when Freyr, the first son moved beside the beast to be led away.