“Joy.” Bryan said. “When was the last time you told someone ‘I love you’?”
Joy slid back in the chair rolling it backwards and looks up pinching at the microphone piece of the headset.
“None of your concern.” Joy said.
“It is when you seems to be dying of ...something.” Bryan said.
Joy looks over to see Branthony with a black eye dart under his cubicle.
“Bryan!” Joy yells. “That was not necessary.”
“You’ve equipped yourself with a walking cane.” Bryan said. “One; it means you’re getting Gregory House’afied. Two; you’re getting paralyzed. Three; you’re dying!” He gestures over the cane leaning against Joy’s desk. “You haven’t said the words since we broke up.”
“Since we broke up; that means you don’t have to punch your way around to know information.” Joy argues back.
“I am your friend.” Bryan said. “And a Norwegian refused to tell me that something was wrong. Norwegians are the most friendly people, sides to Irish and Swedes, who can carry an intelligent and smart conversation.” He points down to the floor. “There’s something wrong when they don’t come out honest.”
“And you’re judging people by their nationality, again!” Joy said.
“Joy, you sound Russian.” Bryan said. “And I haven’t judged you. Because you’re not from Russia.”
“Bryan, you’re being a Buttinstky.” Joy said.
“Telling inanimate objects don’t count for ‘I love you’.” Bryan continues as he chooses to ignore the retort from Joy. “Before your life runs out on your condition.” He lowers his voice at the mere mention of ‘condition’ to Joy. “You have to admit it; seriously.” Bryan waves his left index finger up and down. “As a friend and former boyfriend: move on.”
Bryan left Joy’s cubicle.
__ __ __
Loki still had the key that Fandral had given him. Right before Fandral decided Loki wasn’t convinced by his words and his survival.Fandral was gone by the time Loki had turned around to insist he didn’t need it. The Midgardian key that belonged to an old haunted house called the ‘Winchesters mystery house’ that once belonged to a woman named Sarah Winchester. The same Midgardian who doors leading all over the place in that same haunted and possibly cursed house. Loki had the key in his wallet pocket. Loki takes his wallet out and takes the key out; the key made a perfect reflection of Loki.
Loki saw a metal bucket on a stair step.
“I don’t need this.” Loki reminds himself, tossing the key into the bucket.
Loki puts the wallet away and then continues walking down the street.
Loki’s attention is drawn down to his coat pocket that is vibrating. A classic melody was coming from the vibration radiating from the phone itself. That classic melody represented unknown calls coming from numbers that were not registered. Of course someone had to be calling right after Loki finished a bottle of sprite and a bag of Cheetos. Loki takes the phone out, presses the green button, and puts the phone against his ear.
“Hello?” Loki said, answering the phone. “Who told you I am back in town?”
“Fan sites!” Came Hank’s reply. “Tell me you’ve seen the news.”
Is this why Hank had called Loki for the second time using an unknown phone number? All because he wanted to hear if Loki had seen the news. Hank is definitely one of those unusual Midgardians who can live longer than most and had unusual ‘abilities’. The exception here is that Hank is not a vampire.
“…No?” Loki said.
“There’s a news report going on about a car wreck.” Hank said.
“If I wanted to hear about Car Wrecks, I would be at home.” Loki said. “Which I am not.”
“Joy’s jeep is in the news.” Hank goes on ignoring Loki’s reply. “It is missing the roof and the window shield is caved in. The stranger part here is that the reporter hasn’t said a thing about a driver being found in the jeep!
“So you’re saying she ‘disappeared’.” Loki said.
“Look man, if Joy was to disappear then so would her house, her cubicle decorations, and everything.” Hank said. “If a person was to disappear out of the blue they wouldn’t do it in the midst of a Sami-truck wreck. Joy would have been dead, but, there are no reports of a blood trail.”
Loki stops at the window showing a collection of television sets.
“And nor is there any blood seen on the windowshield.” Hank said. “Its…it’s like she wore a helmet or hit her head on the –“
“How do you know that it is Joy’s jeep?” Loki interrupts Hank.
“Joy’s jeep has a Z marking on both sides.” Hank said. “Joy made that marking herself while under the influence a couple months ago.” Hank makes a low pitched laugh at his side of the conversation. “Oh, the joys of Office parties.”
Loki then could see what Hank is talking about.
“I witnessed Joy make the Z with her car keys.” Hank adds.
“Seriously, though, how are you so sure?” Loki asks.
“Branthony was out with his girlfriend wearing sunglasses and saw Joy’s jeep speed on by.” Hank said. “He saw Joy through the driver’s side window. Right in the direction that a large Sami-Truck accident would happen.” Hank lets out a relieved sigh. “I needed to tell someone before I went in over my head about this weird Sami-Truck wreck.”
Loki’s phone rang again.
“I am getting another call, Hank.” Loki said. “I’ll put you on hold.”
“Loki,you can hang up o—“ Hank started to say but Loki put him on hold.
Loki puts the phone to his ear.
“I know you’re calling me for a drink at the bar, Bryan.” Loki said. “I decline your invitation.”
Instead of hearing Bryan’s voice on the other end; there was an eerily familiar laughter that belonged to one woman only. The one and only woman Loki had decided to ‘cure’ many years ago on Asgard.
"Hello, old friend." Margret's voice came over the phone.
Loki looks in both directions in the street pretty confused at best.
"Margret." Loki said. “Where did you get this number?" Loki normally didn’t give out his phone number to many people; basically not many people. Loki then thought about what Hank had told him. “Or should I ask; whose phone did you steal?’
Loki had only returned to Milwaukee for Shannon’s funeral. That same funeral had been only a few hours ago in the afternoon hours; it was what Shannon would have wanted. She really wanted Loki to meet her father—her mother died a few years ago—At a Christmas party in Wisconsin. If only they didn’t go out; Shannon would still be alive for that party to happen in two months.
“Not much of a friend greeting someone they ruined.” Margret said in a resentful voice. “You said that everything I knew about you was wrong. Turns out you’re the Asgardian who is wrong about themselves.” She kept pulling little straws one by one on Loki. “Do you like to go camping?”
“Margret.” Loki said, with the hint of a serious tone. “Don’t play games with me.”
Margret laughs. Loki could hear forest life from the other end; an owl’s hoot, a wolf’s howl, and what can be referred to as October exclusive animals. Margret is at a forest, Loki concludes, in the middle of October.
“You were always the trickster.” Margret complains. “Now, you’re popping the balloons of fun.”
“Margret, this is not a matter I’ll like to dance around.” Loki said.
Margret made a disappointed sigh.
“I should have believed you were no fun.” Margret said in an expected-knowing tone. “I am at the Kettle Moraine State Forest.To be a little more accurate; we are there.” Margret’s lowered voice indicated she is looking down towards someone. “I assume you’ve been there.”
“You interfered in a crime scene, Margret!” Loki said.
“Crash site.” Margret grumbles. “It was more of a quick snatch than a death toll.”
Loki could feel sick to his stomach.
“Margret, what does anything have to do with this Midgardian?” Loki asks. “She’s a mortal!”
“You’re an idiot.” Margret said in a harsh tone. “You’re realizing this too slow. We’re in the forest behind the Reuss Ice Age Visitor Center.” Margret makes five creepy non-trusting tsks that would suit a movie villain. “Maybe one of us won’t be alive when you get here.”
The connection to Margret’s end came to a sudden deadline. Loki takes Hank’s call off hold and puts the phone to his ear.
“Hank, pick me up.” Loki said. “I know where Joy is.” He fiddles with his shoe at the sidewalk hearing a reply from Hank on the other end. “I sold the car to Izzy.”
__ __ __
Margret stabs the Asgardian Dagger into Joy.
“His offer comes only once.” Margret said, pushing the dagger in and heard Joy’s shaky painful gasp. “Mr Odd not appreciates ‘no’ as an answer.”
Joy is shaking. The pain from the infliction was tremendous. Joy could see her life flashing before her eyes. Joy is gradually slipping out of Margret’s grip.
“Sc-s-s-c-s-screw you.” Joy manages to say.
Margret parts way far enough to see Joy’s eyes are showing anguish.
“Then death would be exceptional.” Margret said as she takes out the light blue electrifying dagger from Joy who let loose a painful scream.
There was terror in Joy’s eyes that had replaced the anguish.
“Joy?” A not so high pitched male voice is heard from the distance.
Margret steps back enough for Joy to fell on her knees. Joy is covering the bleeding wound leaning over trembling. A stab wound would leave her to recovery, Margret stood over Joy’s back with this look in her eyes. Margret didn’t plan to leave Joy with one wound. Margret uses the small dagger to stab into Joy's back three times when she had the time. She did it quickly enough that Joy was not able to scream even louder.
Joy fell over on her side on the grass floor.
“And it is done.” Margret mutters to herself, putting the blade into a sheath.
Margret goes into the cloudy misty woods across from an injured Joy.
“Joy?” Loki calls out as he appears from the distant dark scenery. “Joy!”
Loki came to Joy’s side not long after came Hank.
"What--oh my--" Hank stops in his tracks. "She's--"
“When I was supposedly dying, right there.” We hear Joy’s voice in the background as the two men were speaking in concerned voices “I finally realized why Fandral was familiar.” Loki picks up Joy’s light and weak body that did not have a cane nearby. “Fandral is my father. All it took was comparing some facial features between a mirror image of me and a memory of Fandral.”
“This isn’t what I imagined myself to be doing tonight!” Hank said,as he and Loki were running towards the parking lot out of the forest.
Loki said something back to Hank that Joy did not catch. Hank got to the truck first then opened the passenger side door, and then, opened the driver’s side door and got into the driver’s seat. Hank’s hands were trembling taking out the truck keys clicking against other from his jean pocket.
“I am a. . .” Joy attempts to speak.
By now Joy could see the brown carpeting on the ceiling of the truck and the bright yellow square light attached in the middle. It was a very good assumption that Hank had finally started the truck then went into a ‘drive the speed limit of a Nascar Racer for dear emergency’ mode that made the streets pass by in a classic blur form. The passenger side door had been likely closed.
“Don’t speak.” Loki said. “Save your breath.”
“Yo—yo--your question, Loki.” Joy said. “I ne—n--never replied.”
Hank pulls the car door open. Loki gets in then Hank shut the door and he went into the driver’s seat. Joy grabs at Loki’s shirt with the clear sign of blood on her fingers. Her body is trembling in fear and in dire pain.
“I—I’m a . . Dem—demi. .” Joy is trying to get the last words out.
“Save your breath for survival.” Loki said.
We hear Joy’s voice in the background as she slips into unconsciousness. “I knew then Thor was determined to make sure Loki could never return.” We see Joy sitting in the seat beside Loki but he could not see her. Joy is apparently disgusted by her unconscious body that didn’t seem well at all. “Very determined.”
“Ew.” Joy said, acting disgusted at her own body. “I look hideous in that dresswear!”
“You get a do-over.” Odin’s voice surprises Joy.
Joy turns her head to the right and then finds the scene to be different. A golden room with a yellow table and the same old man who had a metal eye patch instead of a fake eye. There was a ‘wise’ vibe coming off from the dead former king. Joy’s skin crawled as though she is in the presence of a ghost.
“I’m not dying.” Joy said, sliding her finger on the table. “Am I?”
“It is up to you.” Odin said.
“Being vague for an old man.” Joy said. “More vague than Gandolf the gray wizard.” Odin chuckles at her reply. “Why do you mean it’s up to me?” She looks towards the windows where Loki is demanding Hank to speed up. “You knew who my parents were, all this time.”
“No, I did not.” Odin said. “I did not see any relevance in your past with Asgardians.” Odin taps his fingers on the golden table. “And you are dying.”
Joy’s face did not change.
“Duh.” Joy said. “It is really obvious.”
“Your father is dead.” Odin said. “The real one.”
Joy stares at Odin.
“…What?” Joy said, after a moment or two. “You tell me you didn’t see any relevance in my past with Asgardians, and then before then, you tell me it is up to me if I want to die.” Joy narrows her eyes. “That means you want me to know, or, you’re giving me a choice.”
“Become an Asgardian or die as a Demigod.” Odin said.
Joy became silent. She tips her head down to her hands thinking deeply about this offer. Her eyes darted back to Loki then to Odin and back to Loki. Finally her eyes shot back to the black hideous dress wear that was only worn for a special occasion. This special occasion was for a dance party. The one thing wasn’t too good at it. It was pretty much dancing. Joy flunked at dancing. So after going to a dance party and driving back home; she had the rather sad scenario to be attacked by a lizard woman in a dress.
And get in a car wreck that surprisingly didn’t leave Joy a dire injury anywhere on the head.
“Gods cannot die.” Joy said.
“Anything made by mortals is not effective.” Odin said.
“So I essentially become superman.” Joy summarized the whole Asgardian perk.
“And you age much slower.” Odin adds.
Joy tilts her head down looking down to the floor at what seemed to be an eternity. Joy lifts her head up back towards Odin’s direction pretty confident and ready. She seemed more than ready to go through hell.
“Is there something you want Loki to know?” Joy asks.