The Unforgiving Tale of Asgard
Chapter 2: Retrospect
One month ago, Brownstown, Indiana.
“So if your parents are golems and were born out of a volcano explosion, how come they were able to call you their kid,” Kylie bemused. Although most people would look at me like I’m the stupidest thing since YOLO became a thing had I told them my story, Kylie had always been intrigued by the possibility of magic in a different realm since we first met in kindergarten. Like myself, Kylie was also an outcast nerd and as a lover of conspiracy theories and manga, her capability to suspend belief was beyond even her four year old self. “Do golem parents get together and…you know…?”
“Oh my god Kylie, no!” I let out a guffaw as a smacked her with a pillow. Sometimes I felt guilty, like I’m holding her prisoner to my delirious fantasies, fantasies that I know are very much real but that she will never be able to confirm. But still, I loved having someone normal to confide in and allow them to know everything about me. Without her, how can I ever be myself? “Golems are born out of molten rock when it meets with Asgardian rune stones. Demons expect the volcano to erupt, so they purposely place the runes by the lava currents to create golems. Golems were created to fight wars for the demons and do manual labor like farm work, tending to house work, and on and on…
“My parents were a special unit of golems that were made to research new magic to use in the war, and so their status was that above other golems normally deemed as tools. However, I wasn’t technically their child. I was born a demon in the household that hosted my parent’s laboratory. My biological mother died due to complications in child birth and my biological father...well, he died serving the war even before that. You can say that my golem parents were my wards, taking care of the family estate until I was old enough to take over.”
I looked at Kylie for a second and I immediately put on a big smile as she was staring off into the wall, probably trying to picture what a golem looked like. She has always loves a chance to hear more about my previous life, even if my memory of that era was only for such a short period of time. I was only two years old when we crossed, but the memory of a demon does not easily fade. My original parents died like many other demons’ parents died, and the sharp memories of our past no matter how early served as a means to keep our bloodlust fresh. The thirst for revenge and war can never begin too early, and considering Asgard was in a never-ending state of war anyway, it served a convenient purpose that everyone had the same scars: the loss of loved ones, and the loss of what it is to feel, dare I say it...human. It ensured that everyone was always willing to keep fighting and defend their country.
Kylie was staying at my house for the night, as she always did every weekend. Usually we watch anime together and talk about how much we hate Annie Piersson and her entourage of bitches that walk around with her at school. Either that, or we busily devise some new practical prank to cheese my brother when he gets home from football practice. But not tonight - tonight Allie was unusually more curious about my previous life than usual. Although I always liked to think she believed my stories, sometimes I felt a little insecure about our friendship. Maybe she thinks my stories are pure theater, a means to pass the time like talking about the latest anime in the season. Maybe I’m just a source of entertainment to her, but as I continue recounting my past at every opportunity she allows me, I wonder how fascinated is she really? How long can I keep her interested for her to remain my friend? Because other than the fact that my previous life is great fantasy fodder for others, I only have one story, all of it based on the two years of my life that I can remember and the rest based on bits and pieces mom and dad tell me every once in a while. If she ever decided that she didn’t believe in magic, would she cease to be my friend? Sure we have similar interests, but what is to stop her from finding better things to do than kill time with me?
We were both laying on my bed facing the ceiling, our hair almost an intertwined, tangled mess on the sheets. She turned to look at me ready to make some quip about my story I’m sure, but she held back. Instead, her eyes diverted back to the ceiling as I silently wondered what could possibly be going on in her head. She’s pretty, Kylie is...in fact, she has often been asked out to dances and homecomings but always refused, choosing instead to come to my house and spend those nights watching anime with me. She never told me why, but I knew that she didn’t want me to feel lonely. Where I was a humanoid walrus wibble-wobbling its way around life, she was graceful and athletically fit. I always wondered why she didn’t try out for the cheerleader team. Even her straight, coal-black hair perfectly-trimmed just right below her shoulders made her look like a French model…I mean, she was everything I was not. But even then, she still chose to remain by my side after all of these years. And I’m thankful for that.
“God, Kylie. I wish you could have seen Asgard. It was war-torn, of course, but the world itself was enchanting. Unlike Earth, Asgard looked like the core of an apple, most of it chewed away with even the bottom end gone and only the top part remaining. Almost like an umbrella-shaped world, where the empty space under the umbrella housed many moons and meteors that orbited around the core. I know this because we lived on the single moon orbiting the top umbrella part of the realm. The moon was host to the biggest interplanetary gate in Asgard, which allowed swift travel in between the several moons and Asgard itself. It was our country’s prized possession, as it was decorated in millions of jewels and gems around the rims of the portal gate. The actual portal itself was a swirl of light blue pixies, almost like stars in a galaxy but instead of the swirl most common in galaxies, it took the shape of a face. The face had no mouth, but it donned three eyes. I never understood the meaning behind the face, only the meaning behind the gate itself. Anyone who entered the portal would immediately be surrounded by these pixies and consumed by a loud imposing ring in their ears, only to disappear in a sudden bloom of light and spectacle. It was always fun to watch other demons enter the gate to travel Asgard, but the portal was also the reason the war ended up at our heels. The reason why my parents chose to use magic to turn themselves into humans and escape with me to Earth…”
It was quiet for a while as we both laid there on the bed, pondering about how little and meaningless we all were in the grand scheme of the universe. She turned to look at me again, this time with a stern, pleading look, “Allie, I want to see Asgard for myself.” She looked at me a little while longer waiting for a reply as I uneasily stirred on the bed, trying to come up with an answer. “Look, I know you’ve told me that you can’t go back before but...I need to be in Asgard. I want to escape my reality, our current reality. If magic is real, if magic can do anything, Allie...I want it. I need it.” She looked fired up and serious…I do not remember the last time I saw Kylie like this.
“Listen, Kylie I’ve told you,-” just when I was ready to reply with my usual explanation about the interrealm gate being sealed shut since we first made it into Earth, Luke bangs on my door, signaling that he is home from practice.
“Hey fatass, Dad says it’s time for dinner. He brought Chinese. Again.”
“Fuck off, asshole! We’re coming!,” I yelled back.
I looked back at Kylie expecting her to continue the conversation we were having but instead she gestured toward the door, “Hey, no worries. I got a little caught up with myself. Let’s go eat, yeah? Oh dude, I brought the English dub of Tokyo Ghoul we can watch later! Look, I know you don’t like dubs but I personally am a fan of Austin Tindle’s voice work AND he’s pretty damn fine, so you can go fuck yourself.”
I laughed. “Okay deal, let’s go eat.”
Mom was sitting at the end of the six-seater table as we all made our way around to choose our seats. Allie and I sat on the one side that allowed us to sit together while Luke sat alone on the other. All of us were probably frothing at our mouths waiting for Dad to start serving the grub. By the way, I may have exaggerated Mom’s ignorance of human speech in a previous journal entry but she’s actually alright. Her ignorance mostly comes at us when we least expect it in the form of stupid questions. Like at this moment, as we all sat around in silence, she asks, “Hey Allie, you’re getting a little bigger. Why is that?”
I turned red as Luke started laughing his ass off, salting the wound deeper by pointing his finger my way. Kylie just laughed politely and shook her head when I looked to her for help. Mom doesn’t particularly…mean it, of course. Her question comes from a golem’s perspective: how does a human gain weight so quickly when golems do not, and demons only ever do when they’re rich and all they do is eat – a luxury most demons do not have. I wasn’t always fat. In fact, when all three of us became human, we mimicked an existing Earth family’s features, only changing a few eye and hair colors, and maybe a few other things to make sure we weren’t mistaken for the same people. My mimic was of a two year old human girl named Sam from England, and of course she was of average toddler weight and size. My weight today is my own fault, and has gotten aggressively worse over the past month because oh my god do I love Chinese food. Somehow I managed to convince Dad to bring it to dinner for three straight weeks and despite him being a golem-turned human technological business genius prodigy, he knows squat shit about human nutrition. I could also give two ass farts about it, either, because that chow-mein is just too good.
“I don’t know Mom, but I have reason to believe that Luke has been poisoning my food so that I gain weight faster than all of you,” I said sarcastically, trying to steer Mom’s glaring limelight of fantastical questions over Luke’s way. I just wanted my goddamn chow-mein, not an interrogation about my lifestyle choices.
“Luke,” Mom asked incredulously, “show me your trick. I am curious to see if I may reproduce your results over to my own body. Her appearance with that much weight on her, it amuses me. It’s almost comical, I dare say,” she asks as she turns to me with a slight smile and nod. I had no response except to stare at her with a straight face.
Luke hates it when she starts asking dumb questions in front of guests even if they happen to insult me, not because he hates answering them, because it only makes the case that the Freyrs are just a nutcase circus family with lots of money. He wants to be the exception to the rule but he can’t escape the reality that he is a part of it, too. “Wha-no…no Mom, she’s just screwing with you. She’s just fat because she eats this greasy shit every night, I mean jesus. In a couple of months you’ll be asking her why she has a bed with wheels to move around. I’ll give you a preview to the answer: because she’s fat, and she’ll keep getting fatter if you keep feeding her that crap.”
I didn’t let Mom respond because I knew she didn’t completely understand, “Look asshole, I may be fat, but at least my face doesn’t look like the receiving end of some pimp beating on his hoe every other night. I’m actually smart enough to stay away from trouble.” I was referring to Luke’s black eye and a couple of bruises on his cheeks.
Kylie, who was probably waiting for the perfect moment to talk about his injuries, finally spoke up, “You fought with them again, didn’t you?” She had a crush on Luke, so her concern over his constant fist fights was always ready to spring into action when he came home hurt. “You know, with the other team? Did you lose again?”
Luke just sat there, not wanting to talk about it. He avoided her gaze for as long as he could, trying to contain his anger. Losing was his sore spot, and any mention of it by anyone and he is likely to curse like a sailor. He took one look around the dining room and took a deep breath before conceding, his silver-blue eyes almost looking apologetically into hers, “Yeah, we lost. That punk bitch from the other team completely disrespected me after they won. The jackass thought he could get away with calling us Shit-Brownstown losers, so I went at him. We argued for a little bit before I landed the first punch, but he had his whole crew to back him up. My team didn’t fight with me, they just split us up and coach even scolded me for letting emotion take over.” Kylie showed her complete undivided attention as she shook her head in disgust, mouth agape. God, sometimes I feel like she exaggerates, but I guess that’s what it means to have a crush, right? I think my brother likes her too, but I don’t think either of them have made a move. Despite his popularity, he has only had one weird relationship earlier this year that he refuses to talk to me about. Right now, just as the moment felt ripe for further lovey-dovey exchanges of concern over each other, Luke killed it, “I mean look, forget it, okay? Let’s just eat. Where the hell is Dad? Dad!”
There was no immediate response coming from the kitchen where Dad was at, making us all wonder if he heard Luke. Not too long after though, we started to hear some quick shuffling, and the double doors dividing the kitchen and the dining room were split open by a kick.
Dad rushed in, arms full of utensils and Chinese food takeout bags as Kylie and I got up to help him set it down on the table. “I am so, so sorry, kids,” he apologized. “I got my hands tied up trying to close the kitchen window. I told you guys before, don’t open it – this house is old, and any moving parts are bound to get stuck or break eventually. We need to take care of it while we fix it up, and that means no opening of windows or, especially you Luke, using the door frames for pull-ups. Understood, kids?”
We all nodded our heads in unison, but I doubt any of us cared too much as we mowed down our food. Everyone always ordered healthier food, like salads or steamed rice and veggies. Dad and I were always the outliers and ate a bunch of chow-mein and salted pepper shrimp, but of course he didn’t get fat. For one, he was fairly tall and two, he always went out for a run every morning. I wish someone would join me on my lonely corner of obesity but man, I just can’t give up chow-mein. My brother can’t eat it due to childhood trauma. When he was four years old, Mom and Dad took us all fishing and bought Chinese to eat out at the park. Back then, they weren’t very well acquainted with Earth wildlife and recreational activities, so they often took small trips like these to get better assimilated. Luke was sitting alone by our bonfire ready to eat his share of the food that Mom had prepared for him. Dad was reading a fishing book, reading up on the part on how to properly attach bait onto a fishhook. Me being the wiser at seven years old, immediately saw the absurdity of the situation as Dad attached a chow mein noodle onto the fishhook and tossed it into the water. We heard a scream from the bonfire.
We all rushed over to Luke and as I had suspected, Luke was given worms for dinner. This was evident of his cute little red fed face, moist with tears and screams as worms slithered out of his mouth while Mom and Dad tried to make sense of the situation.
Nowadays, Luke doesn’t eat chow-mein. In fact, he has been known to gag at the mere sight of noodles. As a result, Luke doesn’t like to look my way when we eat, adding to his hostility toward me and my preferences for dinner for the past three weeks. But that’s okay because Kylie and I find this slight disability of his quite hilarious.
Kylie looked at me as I settled into my pajamas back in my room. She was tucked in and ready to go to sleep in my big queen-sized bed. We did end up watching a little bit of Tokyo Ghoul but we decided to turn it off since she was the first to get heavy eye syndrome, as she usually did deep into our anime marathons.
“What?” I asked with one brow arched.
“Hey, don’t let them put you down about your weight. I think you look pretty the way you are. Even more, you’re the nicest, funniest person I know. Never change that about you, okay? Even if you happen to shred all of it and turn into a beach body hoe next year.”
It was her turn to cock an eyebrow and smile. I laughed my way to the bed and snuggled in right next to my bestie. “Hey, as long as my dad keeps bringing me that chow-mein, I’m going to keep eating it like it was my last meal on Earth, okay honey? There ain’t gonna’ be no beach body any time soon.” She smiled back. She was facing me, her left arm holding her head up as her French model hair dangled toward the pillow. “But seriously Kylie, thanks for being my friend. Of course I won’t ever change, especially with you always being there for me.”
We don’t often have moments like these, but the night was right and after her sudden crazed burst about wanting to go to Asgard earlier in the day, it almost felt right to admit that we still appreciated each other, and that all is still good in the world.
“Allie, I have something I want to show you.” I turned to face her, surprised at the sudden change of tone in her voice. She sounded serious, yet there was a slight excitement to her voice. It was now my turn to be unusually curious. My eyes widened when she dug out a dull stone out of her pocket the size of a nickel. It was impressive as Kylie held it out on the palm of her hand. Small blue gems decorated the exterior of the stone and in the middle lay a familiar shape I haven’t seen in a long, long time. It was the shape of a face with no mouth, and three eyes.
Kylie’s gaze did not escape my own, hers a serious, stern impression in contrast to my own, fearful face. Sweat started pouring down my face as I fumbled with words, “Kylie…where did you get this?”
Kylie’s look softened, gem stone still firm on the open palm of her hand. “Allie, we can finally go to Asgard. I can finally see magic. I can finally be free of this reality.” Her voice turned hard as she ended that last word, and that is when I knew something was very wrong with this situation as her single tear dropped down onto the gemstone on the palm of her hand.
The gems on the small stone lit up like lights on a Christmas tree and the stone began to levitate away from her hand. The stone started to spin in mid-air, causing papers and linens in the room to fly and swirl around like we were in the middle of a hurricane. We were in the eye of a tiny storm. I looked over to Kylie and she looked back at me, completely incredulous as to what was going on. We held each other tight in fear of what was to come. Kylie wasn’t religious at all, but in this moment, she was audibly praying to god at the speed of light. I turned back to the situation at hand.
Small pixies started to fly around the room in the midst of all of the chaos, apparently coming out of the stone itself. They swirled around with the storm for a little while until they began to find each other and form the face with three eyes.
It was scary.
Me and Kylie were in my bed, still clutching each other and whimpering, while a massive glowing face with no mouth was staring right at us.
There was almost a short minute of eerie silence as the face looked right at me, almost as if staring into my soul. Almost as suddenly as I began to scream, the face collapsed and funneled right into my eyes.
Darkness. I could not see.