New Rourke Unmasked
Business of the Gods | The Furthest Away Is Home | Beyond the Borders
The world shifted around Summer as she tumbled in a wash of powder. Her limbs flailed and bumped as she fell, but the enveloping rush of the snow turned what could have been a lethal fall into an uncontrolled slide. She could not tell how far she had traveled, except that it felt like farther than she and Gabriel had climbed to get to the cave. When she came to a halt, she was buried in wet, heavy, snow. Panic set in, and she dug upward, desperately trying to swim through the snow to air. Finally, she made it to the surface, and then something clamped onto her arm and pulled.
“Get off me! Let go!” she shouted thrashing at what was holding her.
“Damn it, Summer!” Gabriel said. “It’s me.”
She shook his hand off violently, pulled herself out of the hole, and curled into a ball on the ground, clutching her legs to her chest. Dizzy and hyperventilating, she had instinctively screwed her eyes closed tight. The frigid air burned her throat as she rasped. The snow touching the side of her face stung.
“Summer,” Gabriel said hesitantly, “you need to get your shit together, right now.”
Summer gulped down some air and forced herself to a sitting position. She swatted ice crystals off her face and blinked.
“Blaahp!” she shouted.
She could see everything. This was real vision, not her vague magical aura perception. But what she saw did not make sense. She had been told they were going to a mountain valley, yet this was a vast expanse of arctic tundra. There were small hills and massive shards of clear blue ice. Far off in the distance, she could see mountains.
“What happened?” Gabriel asked, standing next to her, staring out at the landscape. “Where the hell are we?”
“I’ve been to Kansas.” Summer groaned, feeling welts form all over. “Doesn’t look anything like this.”
He cocked his head at her. “You can see?”
“Yep.” Summer said. “You’re a lot scruffier than I though you’d be.”
Gabriel gestured upwards. “What’s with the sky?”
Summer had seen pictures of aurora borealis when she was younger, this did not compare. Ethereal streaks of rainbow snaked across the sky, tangling, over lapping, like the limbs of a great tree or the fibers of a spider web. They slithered back and forth turning the sky into an ever-changing mandala.
“No idea.” Summer answered.
“Great.” Gabreil frowned. “Question number two.”
Gabriel held his arms out to her, showing the heavy, pitted iron, shackles where his bracelets were normally. Soft light radiated from the amber gem on his right shackle and blue diamond on his left. Hovering in the air between them were three silver rings.
“Now, that I’ve seen. It’s the true form of your bracelets.” Summer said, climbing to her feet shakily. Her jittery legs sunk in the snow up to her knees, but Gabriel beside her stood on top of it. “How are you doing that?”
Gabriel shook his head to say he did not know. “You’re eyes are gold.”
Gabriel pointed at Summer’s face. “Not your irises, you entire eyeballs. It’s creepy.”
Summer picked up a handful of snow and sifted it through her gloved fingers. It felt real enough, but shimmered like glitter as it fell. Looking at the ground, she saw that neither she nor Gabriel cast shadows.
“Well?” Gabriel asked. “You’re the expert.”
Summer looked around again. They were at the foot of a mountain. She could see the path they slid down. The gradient was too steep to return that way.
“I’ve got to admit, I’m a out of my league here. I’m guessing this is some sort of astral plane or spirit world.”
“Like Candlebrook?” Gabriel asked.
“No, this is something else. That place is still, if a little loosely, bound to the natural world. Here the rules are different. Unnatural environment, physical manifestations of powers. That ritual was designed allow us to cross over. Like my kitchen table.”
Gabriel flexed his hands and took a few deep breaths. He felt the cold air fill his lungs. When he exhaled, he expected to be able to see his breath fog up in the air, but it did not. “I see what you mean. How do we get back?”
“Maybe the same way we got here.” Summer pointed up the mountain. “We’ll need to find another way up though.”
Gabriel looked doubtfully at the slope. “And when we get there?”
“We’re here for a reason.” Summer suggested. “Whatever Basinah’s client wanted you to do clearly needs to be done here. We just need to figure out what that is. From the looks of this place, I’m thinking something Nordic.”
Gabriel huffed. “Is there any possible way you could be less vague.”
Gabriel kicked at the snow. “Well, I’m fresh out of reindeer meat. What do you—“
A gust of wind rolled in creating little flurries of snow. Gabriel’s expression became very distant.
“What is it?” Summer asked, but Gabriel shushed her.
Gabriel turned his head from side to side. “Don’t you hear that?”
“No. What are—“
“Quiet!” Gabriel snapped, listening intently. He took a few steps then his body tensed. “Run.”
“Damn it, get away! Run!” Gabriel shouted, and then took off across the field. He moved fast in spite of the terrain, neatly charging over the snow as if it were a smooth, flat, surface. Summer tried to follow, but with each step, she had to haul her leg out of the snow and trudge behind him. Before she had gone a few of steps, Gabriel had already crossed several yards of distance and showed no signs of stopping.
“Wait for me!” she called after him.
Summer thought she saw movement in her periphery. She turned her head, straining her unfamiliar sight. What she had first thought was a long hill was now moving. Something massive plowed through the ground with snow rolling over its back. She looked back to Gabriel and realized that the thing would intercept him soon.
“Gabriel, stop!” she yelled, but the wind was picked up, and he disappeared in a cloud of white. “Shit.”
Summer tried running, but it was no use. She had not moved faster than a quick walk since she lost her vision. She trudged on as best she could; still, her legs plunged deeper into the snow. The wind whipped at her, blowing sparkling snow into her eyes and sucking her breath away. She huffed and strained, but the physical exertion proved too much for her out of shape body. After one last desperate step, she toppled over into a snow bank and sunk beneath the frost.
She lay on a cot facing the heavy timber walls of a cabin. Her body shivered as her senses suddenly registered a slew of contradictory input. It was warm there, her heavy snow clothes were gone, except for her shirt, jeans, and socks, and there was a blanket draped over her. The air smelled of coffee, tobacco, and cooking meat. She heard the crackling of a fire and the sound of metal scraping on metal.
Having instantly transitioned from a harried state to one of repose, Summer’s body felt light, but her limbs were jelly. Gingerly, she tilted her head up to see the rest of the cabin. It was one room, no more than twelve feet to a side. The nails and wood beams were all exposed except in a few places where old newspapers had been plastered up to seal holes. A rawhide jacket hung from a coat rack by the door. There was a window curtained in flannel above the cot. On the opposite wall was an avocado green couch. Next to the couch was a large wooden hutch, its selves full of can goods and dog-eared books. In the corner a man with long, dark grey, hair and weather-worn clothes leaned over the pot bellied stove stirring a pan.
“Coffee’s done.” he said with a smoker’s voice. “Eggs in a bit.”
She had no idea how she had gotten there, but there was an imposing sense of safety and familiarity about the place. Her mind felt like mush. She rubbed her eyes then flipped the blanket away and sat up. Blood rushed from her head. For a moment, the cold and wind was on her again, but then the warmth of the room flooded over her once more.
“Bluuugh.” she moaned. Thoughts washed in and out, eroding her sense of context.
“Take it easy.” the man said. “No need to be rushing off.”
“Gabriel.” Summer said weakly. “He needs me.”
“Gabriel’s fine. We need to sort you out first.”
“Where?” Summer asked blearily.
As she searched her memory, her mind and body dragged back through the years. Decades evaporated until she had regressed to a state before she left the reservation.
She swung her legs over the side of the cot and started putting on her boots, which were right where she had expected them to be. For some reason, she had a nagging thought that she should be taller.
“Here. Drink this.” the man said handing her a tin mug.
Summer took a sip of the coffee. She recognized the blend. It was horribly black and bitter with nothing in it but shredded bits of the herbs that grew around the cabin. The heat and aroma of the drink shot into her head like a gun blowing out the miasma of sleep, sparking consciousness. She coughed and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
“Thanks, Uncle Joe.” Summer said finally putting a name to his face.
Joe scraped out a plate for Summer and himself then sat on the couch. He watched her hungrily shovel down the food with mild amusement.
He was a lean man with long arms. His hands were rough and dark from a lifetime of cultivating his own small corner of the world. Summer’s mother often joked about how her brother and daughter had the same ears, only ever hearing what they wanted to.
“Sixteen-year-old girls shouldn’t be wandering the woods alone at night.”
“Jesus,” Summer scoffed, around a mouthful of delicious eggs and diced spam, “you sound like Mom.”
Joe shrugged. “She worries. We all do.”
“I’m not a child.” she whined. Her spotty face and braided pigtails made a convincing argument against that assertion.
“You keep running off like this, your mom’s gonna have the tribal police tie you to a post in her yard.”
Summer, full of the rebellious streak of post-adolescence, sneered at the thought. “Ain’t scared of rez cops.”
Joe grinned at the young woman in front of him. “That’s my girl, Ninovan.”
* * *
Gabriel ran across the frozen wastes; the wind whistled in his ears. A large raven coalesced out of the air and glided beside him at head height.
“I know it’s right behind me.” he said to the raven. “Stop reminding me.”
The raven was new, yet somehow ancient, but he felt like it had always been a part of him. He thought it was also rather strange that he had been running for a long time but was not getting tired. He felt strong, powerful. Whether this came from being in this spirit world or from whatever his powers as an agent of the pattern weaver were he could not be sure. There was also great bank of knowledge available to him. Much of it did not make sense. It was not gained through experience; rather it was a collection of truths, like grains of sand that had been funneled into his head. He was strong. The bird was his. All worlds are spurs of creation. Activity is an expression of willpower. Many animals have a cloaca which is a singular orifice that is used for both excretion and mating.
Gabriel looked over his shoulder. He knew the wave of snow was getting closer, yet he also intuitively knew that so long as he kept running it would never catch him. He had not heard of Zeno’s paradoxes before, but it was clear to him that this chase could go on forever unless the he did something.
Panic crept into his voice. “I’m open to suggestions.”
He scanned the area desperately for some place to hide. The raven flew ahead of him towards one of the towering ice shards. It had a long angled surface Gabriel thought he might be able to scramble up to safety.
The sound of the thing chasing him beneath the ground grew from a distant flutter to a crunching rumble. He hazarded another look back and saw a massive wyrm emerge from the plowing snow bank and continue its pursuit over land. It was the size of a subway train; the head alone, which resembled that of a bearded dragon, was as big as a VW Beetle. The wyrm’s overlapping, orange, scales were streaked with white and pale shades of brown. Instead of a quadruped, it ran on centipede-like legs that sent up a mist of powder as they riveted the ground.
“Fifty grand is not enough for this shit.”
* * *
“It’s all bullshit.” Summer said, licking the last of the coffee from the corner of her mouth. “She wants me to be something I’m not.”
“What?” Joe asked.
Summer’s brow furrowed. She was sure that she knew the answer to this question a moment ago, but now she was unsure.
“It’s all this crap about our family.” She shook her head. “It’s bullshit.”
Joe rested his chin on his hand. “That stuff’s important, Ninovan.” he said dryly.
“I know.” she grudgingly conceded. “But it’s like she wants me to be her.”
Joe smirked. “That’s definitely not going to happen.”
Summer genuinely liked her uncle. He snuck her beer and cigarettes, and he always had a rude joke or a funny story. However, she mostly liked him because he treated her like an adult. At home, she was expected to be an obedient child. Among friends, she was expected to be like her friends. Joe expected her to be her. During the summer months, away from school and apart from other kids doing everything they could to annoy adults, she would sneak off to her uncle’s cabin. There she read about far away places, climbed trees, screamed at mountains, or found a nice spot to sit and think without anyone to bother her. To the rest of the world, she was Ninovan. In her heart, she was Summer.
She stood up and paced the length of the cabin, which was beginning to feel all too small. “I don’t want to get stuck here like everyone else. I mean, you got out and saw the world.” she said, kicking at the U.S. Army footlocker under the cot.
“I was drafted.”
Summer gave the footlocker another kick but less heartfelt this time.
“You’ve got responsibilities here.”
Summer grimaced. “It’s stupid. Just because I’m an only child.”
“You’re the last child. When your mom and I are gone, it’s up to you to carry our stories.”
Summer leaned against a well, hunching her shoulders as she stared at her feet. “But no one really believes that stuff any more. It’s all fairy tales and made-up witchcraft. It’s not real.”
Joe went to the hutch. “I’ve got something for you.”
He opened the lower cabinet and shifted through his possessions, until he pulled out an old coffee tin. Then he sat back on the couch, and from the tin, he took a small leather bundle tied with beaded twine.
Summer, without moving her head, raised her eyes. “What’s that?”
“It’s a fetish.” Joe said, unwrapping the package. “We pass it along, and it remembers, so that we don’t forget.”
Summer walked over to the couch to see what her Uncle was holding. Hovering slightly above the leather wrapping and slowly twisting in on itself was a Möbius strip. The color and width of the strip continually shifted. Summer stared at it trying to track its changes. Her head felt fuzzy.
“This isn’t how it happened.”
* * *
A hundred feet up, where the ice tower plateaued, the raven cawed at Gabriel expectantly. The ice was a sheer, sixty degree, wall. Gabriel reached out to touch it, but his gloved fingers easily sunk in, creating a handhold. He withdrew his hand and the ice was smooth again.
“Okay, I’ll freak out about that later.” he said and scaled the tower.
Once he was at the top, Gabriel looked down over the edge. The wyrm had arrived at the base and stared at him with hate in its eyes. It reared up and clawed at the ice but could not find purchase on the smooth, slick, surface.
“Ha!” Gabriel shouted, shaking a triumphant fist at the monster. “Suck on that!”
The wyrm inhaled deeply, a clicking sound emitted from its neck, and then a jet of blue and green flame shot out of its mouth. Gabriel jumped back from the ledge before it melted away. There was no steam, but he could still feel the heated air rush past him. Gabriel risked another look over the edge. The wyrm glared at base of the tower and then breathed more flame that cut deep into the ice.
“Perfect.” Gabriel muttered.
The raven flapped and hopped by his ankle.
“What do you mean, why did I forget it could do that? It’s your job to remind me.”
The raven ruffled its feathers haughtily.
“Yes, I know what I said. You don’t have to be a smartass.”
The tower shook.
Gabriel looked down and saw the wyrm charge the tower a second time. He shot an accusatory look at the raven. “Next time, I’m bringing the horse.”
The wyrm slammed into the tower again, and it began to topple over. Gabriel sprawled out on the ledge and clung on. Cracks tore through the clear ice, shattering the tower as it fell, and Gabriel was dumped into a field of boulder-sized ice shards.
He staggered to his feet right in front of the wyrm who opened its mouth and prepared to fire again. Gabriel stared down the gaping maw of soft brown flesh then threw up his hands instinctively as the flame blasted out at him. He closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable, but instead of performing an impression of a matchstick, he felt the heat swirl around and over him. He slowly opened his eyes and saw that the shackles around his wrists had extended over his clothes into heavy gauntlets and bracers that covered him from fingertip to elbow in pitted iron with silver accents. The gems had enlarged as well; they glowed from sockets in the back of his hands. He gasped at arms in surprise. The wyrm tilted its head to the side in confusion.
“Well, alright!” Gabriel said, stepping into a fighting stance. “Let’s do this!”
The wyrm snarled at Gabriel, then spun around and whipped its tail, sending Gabriel bouncing across the snow.
* * *
Summer returned to her true form. The effects of age, and her snowsuit, made her feel heavy and slow compared to the energetic body she left behind. The flaws in the illusionary cabin were readily apparent now: textures seemed flat, colors muted, and the pervasive scents were now just whiffs in the air. Joe’s skin hung loose and ill-fitted like some creature wearing a suit made to look like her long dead uncle.
“Who are you?” Summer asked taking a tentative step back.
“You used to be a lot more fun.” The voice was much less gravely now and had a happy lilt to it. “You were headstrong and wild. Now you just fake it.”
Summer went for the door. The knob just spun.
“If I was going to hurt you, I would have.”
Summer pressed her back to the door. “It’s amazing how people think that line is comforting.”
The entity chuckled the laugh of someone who thought ‘viscera’ was a funny word.
Summer whimpered. “You stole my memories.”
“Oh, no, no. I simply wanted to remind you of who you are.”
“Thanks for that. I’d like to go home now.” Summer said trying to pass through the door by osmosis.
“Now, that’s the problem isn’t it? You don’t even know where you belong. You’re blind. In this case, I mean metaphorically. I’ve been watching you for a while and all I’ve seen is wasted potential.”
“This has been a lovely pep talk, but I really don’t think I should be taking advice from a trickster spirit.”
“Not a trickster, the Trickster.” He took a grandiose bow. “I’ve taken to calling myself Murphy.”
Now that Summer had a clearer picture of what she was dealing with, she was even more anxious to get away. In her studies to learn more about the cultural expectations of fortunetellers, she had amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of mythology that rivaled most academics. She knew that just about every culture had a trickster figure; some had several in fact. They ranged from harmless oafs to malicious schemers. However, her more direct experience with supernal entities that embodied abstract concepts, of which most of those cultural artifacts were based on, had taught her that being trapped in a room with something whose primary directive was to do whatever it wanted was less than an ideal situation.
“Hello, Murphy.” Summer said, her voice wavering.
“Hi.” he replied cheerily.
“You’re the one who gave Gabriel his luck.”
Murphy looked indignant. “He was rude.”
Summer nodded slowly. “That sounds like him.”
“This isn’t about Gabriel.” Murphy straightened up and placed his hands at the small of his back. “This is about you.”
“Really?” Summer said with a giddy laugh. “I’m not important. Let’s just forget this whole thing.”
Murphy took several slow steps towards Summer. His convivial tone did little to conceal his predatory swagger. “I like you, Summer.”
“Yay.” she squeaked.
“Because I like you, I’ll give you an offer.” With inhuman fluidity, Murphy flourished the Möbius strip and waved at the granite stela, which now stood where the pot bellied stove had been. “Take my mark. Leave. In the material world, your vision will return, and you will no longer be burdened with the second sight. Or…” he wiggled the fingers of his empty hand, “don’t. Remain blind and a tool for entities that care nothing for you.”
Summer looked at the strip, sorely tempted. Her initial reaction was to snatch it and run, but she knew there were always hidden costs to such deals.
“Why?” she asked.
“Because you took one of my playthings and handed it over to someone else without asking permission.” The heavy flannel curtains over the window opened. “Turnabout is fair play.”
Summer inched over to the window and looked out. Outside, she saw Gabriel fighting the wyrm. This involved clinging onto the top of the creature’s head and uselessly pounding at its scales with his fist.
Summer whipped her head around to face Murphy. “What did you do to him‽”
“I’m not doing anything.” Murphy shrugged. “He made a deal to do someone else’s dirty work. He’s just…bad at it.”
“Stop that thing!” Summer pleaded.
“It’s got nothing to do with me. I couldn’t help him now even if I wanted to. And, as I already said, he’ll be fine.” Murphy looked out the window with amusement. “Although, he could end up trapped in this realm, battling for eternity. It all depends on how long it takes him to figure out what needs to be done.”
“That’s not for me to say.” Murphy turned his attention back to Summer. “I’m more interested in you.”
“Okay, I’m here. What do you want‽”
Murphy laid down on the couch with his hands folded beneath his head. “If I have to keep repeating myself, you’ll never leave.”
Summer sat heavily on the cot and glared at Murphy. “You want me to rebel. Last time I did that, I went blind. Fighting the visions wouldn’t get me anything but make me miserable like Gabriel.”
“Oh, but you’re wrong.” Murphy sat up and grinned excitedly at Summer. “The difference is Gabriel hated me and the power I gave him. He lived with it, but still fought. You, on the other hand, live in fear of what happened to you. You think, if you stick your neck out, you’ll lose something worse than your ability to see. So, you go along with the visions, delivering every message without hesitating, and now you’re nothing more than an answering machine.”
Summer shrunk into herself at the scolding. She let out a breath that was intended to be an argument but became a pitiful moan.
“That’s not the girl who ran away from home and chose her own name, the girl who questioned. I can’t see that girl anymore.”
Summer blinked at the tears forming in her eyes.
“I have no idea what happened to that girl. All I see is an old woman, chasing after a man who blunders his way into more and more power. She’s trying to fix him, because she’s too afraid to fix herself. Face it, Ninovan. Gabriel is fighting his monsters. You are hiding from yours.”
Summer set her jaw, wiped her face, then crossed the room and slapped Murphy hard across the cheek.
“My name is Summer, you asshole.” she fumed. “I’m not going to take any more of your shit.”
Murphy leaned back, rubbing the red mark. “My apologies. Very well.” Murphy said gesturing to the stela. “There’s the exit.”
“Fuck that.” Summer spat back. “Open the door. I’m saving my friend.”
Murphy watched from the open doorway as Summer trudged through the snow in a unwieldy canter. Beside him, the ghost of Joe watched proudly.
“I told you she could do it, Old Man.” Joe said.
Murphy sighed. “It takes a village to raise someone willing to fight gods.”
Joe gave Murphy a hearty pat on the shoulder. “Come on. I’ve got some cards around here somewhere.”
* * *
Angry at what had been done to her, angry with herself for allowing it to keep happening, and terrified of what she was walking towards, Summer went to face a dragon.
“This is stupid. This is stupid. This is stupid.” Summer kept repeating under her breath as she made her way to where Gabriel and the wyrm were thrashing.
She saw the wyrm throw Gabriel from its back then try to spear him with one of its spindly legs. He grabbed the leg instead and began hauling himself back up. The wyrm rolled over Gabriel and flung him skyward. Gabriel arced through the air, arms and legs flailing. He bounced twice then immediately got back on his feet and charged at the wyrm again.
It was clearly a stalemate. The wyrm was too big, and its scales too thick for Gabriel’s punches. On the other hand, Summer saw Gabriel rebound from several hits that would break a normal person. She was certain that she would not be able to take that kind of punishment, but she pressed on despite not knowing what aid she could give.
“I am going to get myself killed to prove a point.” Summer grumbled. “I’ll figure out what that point is later, but I am damn well going to prove it.”
The wyrm opened its mouth and engulfed Gabriel in a jet of flame.
“No.” she squeaked and stopped in her tracks. The tears from before had gone, but she felt new ones well up. Yet, as the fire dissipated, Summer saw Gabriel rush forward, jump onto the top of the wyrm’s head, clamp his metal hands onto the edges of the wyrm’s nostrils and start yanking viciously.
“Got you now, you lizard bastard!” Gabriel shouted over the creature’s roars.
Summer ideas flickered through her mind in rapid succession. “Fire. Lizard. Dragon. Fire. Face. Nose. Mouth. Fire mouth. Damn, that’s it!”
Summer ran as fast as she could manage. Finally, the vision from the hotel bathroom made sense. “Gabriel! Mouth! It’s the mouth!”
Gabriel held on tight, kicking the wyrm’s crest as it tried to shake him off. “I’m not letting go, fucker!”
The raven flew past Gabriel’s field of vision, and he tracked its path to the direction Summer was approaching from. He strained his focus until he could hear what she was shouting.
“The mouth, Gabriel! The weak spot is the mouth!”
Gabriel shook his head. “Stupid bird. Why didn’t you think of that?”
Gabriel pulled his legs beneath himself and shifted his left hand to join his right. Crouching on the wyrm’s nose, he pulled up hard on the right nostril. The wyrm opened its mouth in a shriek of pain, allowing enough space for Gabriel to swing himself in.
Taken by surprise, wyrm gnash its teeth, occasionally showing a glint of metal between its lips. It focused its gaze on Summer while trying to swallow and began to charge forward.
With the monster barreling down on her, Summer peed herself, but the wyrm suddenly halted. Its head twitched twice and made haggard choking sounds. It screamed, spitting out globs of dark orange blood. Its legs twisted, and it rolled on the ground with its head pin wheeling. When it finally stopped, its mouth was less than a yard away from Summer. She was splattered with discolored snow and shaking more from the adrenaline pumping through her than the cold.
The wyrm’s head rocked, and Summer fell onto her back, trying to skitter away. The left eye burst outward. Gabriel climbed out of the ravaged eye socket clad from head to toe in armor that gleamed with the icy flame of eternity.
They sat up in the small mountain cave from where they had fallen over. Slowly their sense realigned with the natural word.
“Fuck.” Gabriel said, rubbing his forehead.
“I agree.” Summer said. She was blind again. “How long were we out?”
Gabriel reached into his snow pants for his phone. “About three hours.”
“You’d think I would be more used to this sort of thing by now.” Summer reached out her hands.
Helping her up, Gabreil said, “I swear, I’m staying on this planet for at least a year.”
Summer could still see the arcane sigils glowing on the walls. The quarts veins within the stela remained in the twisted form of a tree. The magic in the cave was strong, but it would be weak again many centuries from now.
Atop the stela, a large, ugly, raven croaked once then flew away.
Gabreil watched it go. “Huginn ok Muninn fljúga hverjan dag Jörmungrund yfir; óumk ek of Hugin, at hann aftr né komi-t, þó sjámk meir of Munin.”
“The hell does that mean?” Summer asked.
“Huh.” Gabreil said thoughtfully. “I can’t remember. It was just in my head; now it’s gone.”
“Can we go home now?” Summer asked. “I need to change my pants.”
“Me too, Summer. Me too.”
To Be Continued