By Al Kristopher
According to Norse mythology, Fenrir is the wolf son of Loki. Fenrir is so powerful and fierce, a chain must be kept around his neck at all times; not even the gods could control him. Fenrir is destined to kill Odin at Ragnarok, but is destroyed by Odin's son. Even so, a demonic wolf that has the power to slay a powerful god is indeed a terrifying creature.
"Even a crow has the right to sing." --unknown
What a waste. What a pity. I honestly didn't know which was worse. He was laughing and going about like the idiot he always was--why must I be beleaguered by idiots? Well, he was happy, even though it usually didn't take much to make him smile. You're going to fall in the water if you keep dancing like that, I grumbled to myself. He almost does. I wasn't in a very bad mood then--for once--but I decided that my disposition could use a pick-me-up. Wearing a scowl on the outside and a smile on the inside, I pushed him in the water. What a pity. And a waste of good fishing rods. Oh, well. I made him smile.
His laughter scares me. This is not a joke; I am literally afraid of his laughter. Were he to snarl and snicker like a hyena over a carcass, my heart would be put at ease. I'm used to that. I'm used to him being something of a bully, even though I know he's not that bad--just a dreamer who got perverted. Well, that'd be a nightmare, so I guess he's a nightmare now.
And now he's laughing. Not a single trace of anger or pride or malice is on his face; he's just laughing because I did something to amuse him. He's amused. His smile scares the living crap out of me, and I've seen things that would make rocks break out in a sweat. Trust me, I'm not a fearful person, but when I see him being merry and amused=85 well, it scares me.
What frightens me the most is that I'm laughing with him. To be honest, I can't remember the last time I genuinely let myself chuckle, or even smile for long periods of time. Well, that crazy nut who's barely able to keep afloat--pity, the fish he caught are long gone--has made me smile on several occasions, although nobody else knows about it. I love him--that is, I love berating him. I'd go SMACK! and he'd bowl over in pain, even though I usually don't kick him that hard (emphasis on usually). That's my way of showing that I love him, even though I really can't stand him, and I wish that he'd grow some more brains in that empty abyss that he calls a head.
I continued along with my entourage of two for some time. Well, it's not really my entourage, it's his--his posse. I'm glad I'm a part of the posse, and not just for him. I enjoyed my job, while it lasted, and I enjoyed standing by his side through thick and thin. I went along with whatever he said, because that's what friends do. Yes, you heard me right: FRIENDS. I'm brave enough to be friends with this maverick, and he's stupid enough for it. The perfect posse.
No, I wasn't romantically attracted to him. You may ignore all rumors that claim otherwise. I loved him, yes, but=85 come on=85 we're a posse. There really can't be any kind of romance in a group like that. Anyone who tells you otherwise has got to be an idiot. Besides, with the idiot around, a love interest would be very awkward; very awkward indeed.
One year later--which is almost an unfair statement--the three of us stumbled BACK. You know what I'm talking about. We returned there, the only home that any of us ever knew. Well, leave it up to the idiot to receive the best welcome. He was given a hug and slaps on the back and I think a girl swooned over him. My friend, even though I do not need to ask you this, may I please have your permission to vomit?
I didn't like the reception I had received. Some young lady squealed and gave me a hug. I don't know how to respond to those kinds of things. Several other people bowed and extended hands of greeting; again, something I'm not accustomed to. I wouldn't mind a hug or a handshake from my companions, not even the idiot--but come on, do I look like I want this attention?? Show me to a hot bath and I'll be okay.
Ugh, please don't flirt with me. Even if it's harmless fun, please don't.
I almost smiled as he got his reception. Cold as a dumped lover's heart. They just muttered something like, Welcome back, glad you're safe, feel free to stay as long as you want. As long as you want. How about forever? I love this place. You'll see more of us soon. I never wanted to leave in the first place. Stop, I'm crying. Permission to vomit?
People love idiots, that's why the idiot got the most attention. Everyone loves a big goof. And he's not a bad guy, he's just missing a few hundred-thousand brain cells. A mysterious person is also loved, though for reasons I daren't try and comprehend. Even I got a better reception than our friend. He was just seen as the bad guy, the one who started this whole thing (he really wasn't, though nobody believes that). There was another one here, just like him, who has since found redemption--whoops, two, sort of. Everyone loves the two of them now, even former enemies. What can I say? They're hard to hate. Even he likes them.
We certainly didn't stay forever. The idiot did, and he eventually settled down in a local town, although he often calls this place home. My friend weaved in and out of obscurity like a ninja, and the shock of seeing him wandering around this place eventually wore off. Eventually=85 it took ten freaking years for people to get used to seeing him here again.
Even he found redemption, in the most unlikely place: a half-crazed suicidal girl. He saved her life, pulled her out of the pits of Hell, and brought her back to this sweet, nasty world (sweeter than Hell, I'll bet!). He's her whole reason for living now. I'm starting to like her as well, and we've formed something that might be an acquaintanceship. I forgot her name.
I don't like it there, but it's better than wandering. Ugh, not again, please don't be nice to me, I can't stand it. I'm your enemy--well, crap, I used to be your enemy. Now I'm just a scar, a scar that will never heal. Don't start being friendly to this scar. Bodily injuries only hurt more if you try and remove them.
I sit in my bed, partially dressed, so very tireless. It's after midnight and my body tells me that I should go to the training grounds. Instinct, brought on by years of visiting this place. We found a lot of people there, the three of us. Technically, it's legal for people to be there after hours, but technicality isn't something we deal with. If it's not from the master's mouth, it's not really our concern.
I obeyed my instincts and quietly walked to the training room. I wore nothing over my feet, which would usually be a bad idea if I was going there, but I knew my way around. I probably knew that place better than the architect who made it. I could have crawled through that jungle of steel and plant life with nothing but undergarments and I would escape unadulterated (to prove it, this is exactly what I wore). Trust me, there's a way.
I started ambling through the ground, keeping an eye out for wandering predators. I could kill anything that breathed, with two possible exceptions (well, I could technically kill that idiot, but=85 you just don't do that to family), so it wasn't like I was afraid or anything. Just cautious. Curt and cautious. I had the feeling that, if I had been born a man, my mother would have named me Curt. It's such an apt name.
I encountered no danger in the training ground, so I used this freedom to run around and test my agility. Only two other people in the world really know the full extent of my bodily powers. I know I look lithe and powerful, and my agility can be compared to a cat's, but these assumptions only scratch the surface. In other words, only a primate in the peak of its physical prowess has more agility than I.
I spoke not a word as I soon realized that I was being watched. He was standing there, hands in his pockets, observing me swing through trees like a savage. Nevertheless, I continued my workout: weaving through trees, leaping over rocks, daintily allowing my toes to just barely scrape against the floor as I ran=85 I guess I considered it a treat to him (might as well show him what I'm made of).
Eventually I stopped showing off and landed in front of him. A smile of amazement was stuck on his face, and not even a crane could have removed it. I knew he was not just gaping at my abilities, either: like I said, I wore only the essentials tonight. I'm not one for vanity, but I'll have to admit that I have a very nice body. Too bad I can't see more than half of it at a time.
Standing in front of him, breath normal, arms crossed, I asked what he was doing here. As always, I was quick to the point and thoroughly concise. In my mind, there's no need to bore people with speeches unless it's necessary. And when I speak, I never repeat myself, ever. Anyone who asks me to reiterate my words is either deaf or ignorant.
Curses. Don't smile at me, please. I'm not that attractive. Go bother someone else.
I learned his name, learned what he was doing there. Training, he said. For what? I gave him a quick examination--not too bad. He's somewhat attractive. Well, he doesn't make me want to retch, which is a good sign. For any old thing that might pop up, he answered. He was training for anything that came his way, typical of someone so young. I believed him, though. Isn't that why everyone improves their bodies?
Crap! Whatever you do, don't start acting friendly around me. Please don't. Please.
He thought I was here to punish him. Typical. I used to do that, a long time ago. I was legendary, and so were my other companions. People ran in fear when they saw the three of us walking through the hallways--like wolves, we were, three wild wolves coming to blow down the pigs' houses.
No, I'm not here to punish you. Just an old habit that I never learned how to drop. Of course, I didn't tell him that. Like I said, whenever I speak (that is, if I speak. Sometimes I don't even need words to express my sentiment), I'm always straight and to the point. If I had more friends, then they might say that I spoke in a very honest fashion. That's almost flattering.
We continue to talk, sort of. He eventually poured his soul out to me, poor creep. He said that, for his entire life, he's always wanted to be someone, to be noticed, to be famous. Just once, he wanted to be important too. Typical. Of course, I'm not criticizing him; everyone wants that. He reminded me of my friend, even though there was nothing dangerous about him, and his smile didn't scare me. He was just ambitious, like my friend.
He went on by saying that he came here, to the place that so many called home, so that he would be able to make his dream a reality. And for awhile, it seemed as if he did. Pomp and circumstances later, and he was back into obscurity. No one but his friends knew about him; they hardly even knew he existed. Poor creep. I almost felt sad for him.
He ended his tirade by noting that he eventually did attain fame, sort of, but even now his face was just one among many. He was just another statistic, the kind you hear on the news. Thirteen people killed in a bus crash=85 Nobody takes heed to that sort of thing. It washes over your body, like water over a duck, and you go on as if you never even heard it.
That was the kind of person he was. I decided to push him.
He landed with a THUMP on the ground, and his discomfort was accelerated by my taunting smile. Silently, the poor guy got up and dusted himself off. Didn't even ask why I pushed him. He just sighed, and looked at me. I pushed him again.
And again. Was he enjoying this?
After I pushed him for the fifth time, he still continued to rise to his feet, dust himself off, and sigh. I knew why he did that, too. I'm a pretty smart person on the inside, not just another pretty face. He did that because he was used to it: he was used to being pushed around, he was used to having his dignity destroyed, he was used to being overlooked. He didn't mind, it seemed.
I smiled after he got up, strangely. It wasn't a taunting smile or a sneer of power; no, I smiled because I admired his tenacity. It sort of reminded me of my friend. I extended my hand, apologized for pushing him, and he accepted without hesitation. Then I received something very unexpected: in what I think was a burst of pride, this young man pushed me.
I could have avoided it, or I could have just jumped back and saved myself. But no, I chose to be pushed, I chose to fall on the ground, I chose to let my garments get dirtied. Normally, I would never do such a thing. But then, and only then, I would have done it. After all, in a sense, I deserved it.
Well, he helped me up and smiled at me. Curse you, stupid idiot!! I don't like these games you're playing with me! Don't flirt, don't smile, don't be friendly, don't offer assistance, don't love me. Curses. I'm starting to like him. I shouldn't. I should just push him one last time, and walk away laughing. Oh, Creator above, my own laugh frightens me=85
I thanked him. He wanted to get to know me better. Men. Probably staring at my half-naked body the whole time. Well, not really--his eyes were looking into mine. Shoot! Why'd I have to obey my instincts? His eyes were so idiotically ordinary that I could have spewed on them. Thank the heavens I didn't; I really was starting to like him.
I regret accepting his offer. Curse me, but I grew to like this fool. He was so much like my friend that it frightened me. Well, no, that's not accurate. To be exact, he made me feel=85 well, good. Not that my friend didn't, but=85 well, this young man made me feel=85 wanted. Needed. Cursed; I was starting to like him. He knew, he knew what it was like to be a nobody, and he no longer minded. I'm a nobody. Nobody cares about me, or what I do, except for the posse. But I don't mind. I don't mind at all. CRAP! This day cannot get worse.
I kissed him. On the lips. For a minute. And curse me, but I enjoyed it.
I don't want this. Leave me alone. I will tear you to pieces. I helped bring about the Apocalypse--sort of. I helped the man whom everyone thinks is the "enemy". I was party to so much grief and terror and strife and storm. Don't like me. Stay away. I'm dangerous. You do not want to be around me. Trust me--no, don't even trust me. Go away, turn around, and never look at me again.
He kissed me back.
His laugh made me feel at ease. His laugh made me smile, or maybe my smile made him laugh. I don't know which was which. Okay, let's be reasonable. He's not very strong, and he really isn't too good-looking either. He has no way to attain what he wants: no fortitude, no backbone, no plan, nothing. He's "safe". He's "pure".
He's perfect. I told him I enjoyed our date--ugh, I really should have stayed in bed--and that we should do it again sometime. No, run, save yourself. Being with me will only bring you pain. Please, go.
Wait. Why did I want him to leave? Why did I want him to stay away from me? Shouldn't I care less about a little twerp like him? Shouldn't I be able to just brush him off? Or better yet, push him? =85Oh, no. I AM a smart one, you realize? I figure things like this out pretty easily. I knew, almost as soon as I asked the question! I knew what the answer was!
I don't want to see him hurt because, curse me, I CARED. I cared for this poor, Nameless man, this unknown soldier. It was almost as if I knew him somehow, even though we had just met.
Who's the pity now?
I crawled into my room, not realizing that it was almost dawn. I didn't care. I had nothing to do, nowhere to go, no responsibilities at all. I was useless. I could have slept forever and nobody would miss me, nobody at all, except the posse, and they're=85
A knock came to my door, and I grumbled to myself. What kind of insane person would--no, my clock read 8:25. How long had I been asleep? I heard my name being called, twice, and another knock came at the door. I squinted and adjusted my eye. Eight twenty-six p.m.!!! I had been asleep all day!
I groaned out in pain, and sorely wished to kick myself. How I could allow myself to sleep for so long was a mystery. Growling the soft growl of one who had been asleep for hours, I managed to tumble out of my bed and answer the door. It didn't matter that I was still dressed in my undergarments. No one cared anyway.
I opened the door, probably smelling of my workout session last night--don't ask why I even bother, I won't be needing it anyway--and grumbled. My hair was in my eye, but I could distinctly see the young man that I had met the other night. I was still halfway awake, so I only caught part of what he said. Something about=85 huh? You missed me today? No, that can't be right. Reconsider what you're saying. Rubbish.
Truth is always so strange. He told me he missed me. It was no lie. He spent the whole day looking. Nobody cared that he was gone. Nobody even noticed that he was missing. Just like me. I wish he'd leave. I don't want him around here. He asked me to dinner. Stupid idiot. Why must I be beleaguered by these morons? Everywhere I turn, just another fool=85 just another=85
What a fool. Both of us. Today just had to be that stupid anniversary. It was one year ago today that=85 I don't care. I just didn't care. It was such a difficult period for me, this past year. They were all resting on cushions, and I had been forced to sleep on the street--that's how the year was. Hard pavement, and they had soft pillows. They were celebrating. I could care less. He expressed similar sentiments.
He didn't say that for my sake. I knew, all right, that this meant nothing to him. Just another day, or evening, whatever. It was just another day for him, for me, for both of us: and a really pathetic excuse to ask me to dance with him. A few people recognized me as I came into the room, wearing whatever I desired. Nobody cared, they were just surprised to see me. I held his hand. Only six people really recognized him.
I accepted his offer--to dance, I mean. I did it for many reasons. One, to spite everyone there. I delighted in seeing their facial expressions, though they never knew it. Two, I just plain wanted to surprise them. Everyone there thought I was just the same old wolf, lurching at passersby, fangs dribbling with lusty saliva. And three=85
Because I was really starting to like him.
Our presence there meant nothing at all. Just two foreign faces in the midst of all this fame. We were obscure, unknown, and I'll bet money that we were unwanted. You're supposed to be doing something, young man! Stop socializing with all these important people and go to work! And you! What are you even doing here? We banished you ages ago, like the demon you are! Don't pretend like you're one of us. Leave, and maybe we'll forget that you were ever here.
He was a pretty good dancer. I decided to kiss him, openly, affectionately, in front of all those people. A gasp escaped the lips of a young girl sitting close to me, and I think I heard a dish breaking. I smiled openly, and rested my head on his shoulder. We'll regret this. Both of us. We're only going to hurt ourselves. Even so, will you stay with me? You know being with me will only cause pain. And still=85
The night ended, thankfully. Well, it was still dark outside, but that ludicrous anniversary party had faded. We were both happy about that, at least. Hand in hand, we escaped the room that had once contained lovers and famous people and important people and people with names and faces. Not us. We left there, as we should have, and found a secluded place to converse.
Friend. Friend. I never thought I'd use the word outside of the posse. Were we friends? Were we enemies? Were we=85 in love? I'm not sure. My friend, if you insist on being with me, prepare yourself for pain, and misery, and defeat, and despair. Still you walk with me. Still you smile. Still your warm hand covers mine. You don't care about pain. Even three seconds of pleasure will make your day. I make you feel like you're important, don't I? Good. The feeling's mutual.
We continued walking, until we were alone. I felt very comfortable being alone, just like a hot bath. Isolation is akin to Valhalla to me: peace, calm, serenity, void of all idiots. I can be myself in solitude. I expressed this to my companion when we arrived. He sighed, and was equally glad we were alone. His kisses proved this--oh, I wish this were for real=85 but=85 it can't be like this=85 it can't be=85
A tear came out from my eye and landed on his face. No, I'm sorry, it can't be this way, it can't, and=85 you don't want to know why! Silently, I held him in my arms. I didn't need a reason. I just wanted a brief moment of happiness before=85
The gun in my hand went off, piercing his chest and his wonderful heart. He died without pain, I hope, and he fell into my arms. Carefully, I laid the dead young man down on the floor, and whispered the reason for his death in his ear.
"My dear friend Nida, I am dying." I kissed his unresponsive lips, hoping that he would be hailed as a hero in the afterlife, and left the area to spend my last remaining month on Earth in solitude.
Cancer, the doctor had said. She sighed and glanced at me. It's an advanced case. I'd give you two months. I'm sorry for being the bearer of bad news. Just like that. Thanks, doc. Leave it up to the Creator of this world to invent something that can destroy even me. You know, I've been in a depression ever since I was beaten by normal people. I know better now. Not even they can stand up against me now. So, I'm not invincible. That's good. Even I must die sometime. Just one thought, doc. If I'm going to die, I don't want anybody getting close to me. They'll only get hurt. If I can, I want to spare them that pain.