Yes dear readers, it’s time for the next installment of the trilogy that nearly was. I tell ya, the more I read through these old scribblings, the more I yearn to finish the story. Maybe Erica needs to be heard after all.
Anyway, for your reading pleasure, here is Huntress Ch 5!
I know I must have seemed a completely different person when I returned home. I feared that I still had the mead on my breath and avoided my mother. Night had fallen and I could hear my father talking to someone in his study. I so wanted to go to him, to ask his opinion on this mission but I knew better. Father is many things, but one thing he would never do is go against the orders from Asgard. If they told him to ravage the earth, burn the buildings and enslave the humans in the name of Odin, he would ask where they preferred him to start.
I tried to sneak past his office when the doors suddenly opened and his right hand man, Tex, stepped out. He held his dusty old cowboy hat in his hands and shot me a crooked smile.
“Miss Erica.” He tipped his head to me and stepped toward the door.
I always held a soft spot for him. For my entire life, Tex had been there to assist my family in whatever they needed and now he was the direct line between my father and the vampires he worked for.
I fell into step behind him and caught him at the front porch. “Tex. Can I pick your brain for a moment?”
He turned and gave me his full attention. “I’m afraid there ain’t much in there to pick through but you’re more than welcome to whatever I have.”
“I need advice.” I searched his weathered eyes and he hid much more wisdom behind them then he ever let on.
“I’m not so sure I’d be the best person to ask.” He nodded toward the door. “Your pappy is in there and I’m sure he’d be a lot closer to the answers you need than I ever could.”
I watched him slip the hat back atop his head but he made no effort to leave.
“I don’t think I could ask father what I need to ask you.”
He seemed to ponder what I said for a moment then nodded. “Okay then. Shoot.”
“If you were ordered to kill somebody but…”
“But what?” His hand reached out and lifted my face to his. “What’s wrong?”
I shook my head slightly. “Thor wants me to hunt down and kill another demi.” I found my head shaking stronger. “But something inside tells me not to.”
He stepped back and studied me for a moment. “What seems to be the issue?”
That’s one of the many things I really like about Tex. He had never judged me for who I was or what I’ve done. To hear him say it, we’ve all done things we may not be proud of. It’s what we do from then on that matters more.
“I can’t put it into words. There’s just something about him.”
I nodded. “He’s so pretty. And there’s something about him that makes my power sizzle.” I shrugged. “I can’t put it into words.”
He nodded and chewed at his lower lip, the gears in his head spinning. “I can’t say for sure, but girlie, it seems to me that you need to talk to somebody who knows more about demigods.” He gave me a sad smile and a shrug. “I’m sorry I can’t help you, sweetie. I just don’t have the kind of knowledge you need.”
I sighed heavily and gave him a quick hug before he drove off into the night. I don’t know why I thought he would have the answers I needed. Perhaps because my father trusted him in all things?
I sat on the front porch and stared out into the night sky. “Where are you Alejo?”
I tried to sleep. Usually a visit to the realms left me drained and sleep was a welcome reprieve. It allowed my body and mind to rest and my energy stores to recharge. But sleep wouldn’t come.
I tried searching for the history of demigods on the internet but found the misinformation and uninformed assumptions made by humans to be laughable. It was no use. The gods had destroyed most of us in the past and according to Hildy, it was because of our potential.
If we are so damned dangerous, why had Thor allowed me to live? Why had he gone to such lengths to keep me hidden from Odin Allfather? Was it just to be their hunter? A destroyer of my own kind? Were there really enough of us that he needed to take that precaution?
Alejo was the first demi that I knew of beside myself. And having touched his power and feeling what happened to my own I could possibly understand their fear. But if another god had spawned offspring what was to stop them all from doing the same?
I sulked around my room while these and a thousand more thoughts bounced around in my head. I began to question everything I knew and everything I thought I knew.
I braced both hands on my open window seal and stared out into the night sky. “I need answers but I don’t know who to ask.”
I nearly jumped and my head whipped around looking for the source of the voice. I recognized it almost immediately and my eyes finally focused on him.
Alejo stepped out of nowhere and became visible, standing in my yard and staring up at my window.
“When…how did…why are you…” My mind raced faster than my mouth could form words.
He laughed and it made my insides dance.
“That only leaves ‘what’ and ‘where’.” His smile was radiant and I found myself smiling back.
I appeared before him, standing on the soft grass of the lawn and noted that he held no fear of me. Perhaps because my weapons were stowed away? Maybe he knew something I didn’t.
“How did you find me?”
His smile faded, but only for a moment. “I searched you out.” He spread his arms wide and spun a slow circle. “Something…I don’t know what, pulled me here.”
I nodded, knowing exactly what he meant, but was still unable to put it into words.
“Why did you search for me?”
His smile faded and he crossed his arms. “I think because I was curious why you would try to kill me.”
I felt my cheeks flush. I think it was embarrassment.
I lowered my eyes and couldn’t meet his gaze. “I had orders.”
I could see the shadow of his head nodding from the moonlight. “I see.”
“I don’t.” I suddenly looked up and for a moment was lost in the swirling amber pools of his eyes. “I don’t understand at all. Why would they want you dead?” I had to stop myself from saying, ‘You’re too beautiful to kill’ and was glad I was able to.
“I suppose that depends on who ‘they’ are?”
I opened my mouth but something in the back of my mind was screaming at me to not tell him. I swallowed hard and tried to think of something convincing. “My bosses.”
“M-hmm.” He cocked his head to the side and continued to stare at me. “That’s pretty vague.”
I swallowed hard again and avoided his eyes. “Would you believe that they’re vague?” I cracked a sheepish smile but he didn’t return it.
I heard him sigh and he dropped his arms. “What aren’t you telling me?”
I shrugged. Everything.
“Well, I was hoping that we could clear the air and maybe move on, but…” he trailed off. I watched him slowly turn and I knew he was about to disappear.
“You said you had answers.” I blurted out, hoping to stop him. I took a step toward him and he paused.
He barely glanced over his shoulder as he spoke. “Why should I help you if you can’t be open with me?”
He had me there.
I sighed and walked toward him, stopping by his side. “Talk with me.” I placed a hand on his shoulder and felt the power surge between my fingertips as we touched.
He hiked a brow and turned slightly, watching as blue ribbons of electricity darted between us. “Interesting, isn’t it?”
I nodded. “I’ve never seen anything like it before.” I slowly pulled my hand back and watched as the blue licks lifted, trying it’s best to maintain a connection.
“Nor have I.” He turned and faced me. I saw his eyes harden slightly and he seemed to huff. “Okay. We’ll talk. But talking is a two way street.” He raised a brow again and I saw his mouth form a tight line. “That means you enlighten me as well.”
I heard myself say, “Agreed.” I was a bit shocked not only at how quickly I said it, but the fact that my mouth spat it out before my brain could think about it.
I seem to recall my father having trouble holding his tongue as well. Perhaps it’s genetic?
He turned and walked slowly toward the concrete bench my mother placed near the edge of her flower garden. The sweet smell of honeysuckle and wild flowers greeted us as we sat and silently stared at the night sky.
“So, what do you want to know?”
I didn’t know where to start. “Everything.”
He chuckled and it made my insides do flip flops. “Everything, eh? That’s quite a bit.”
“Okay, start with what you know. Who spawned you, where do your powers come from?”
He raised both brows at that. “Who ‘spawned’ me? I’m not a frog.”
It was my turn to laugh. “I realize that. It’s just…our parents were gods.” My voice was barely a whisper but I don’t know why. There wasn’t anybody nearby who could hear us.
He nodded. “Perhaps spawned isn’t such a bad word.” He pulled his legs up and sat cross legged on the bench. I found myself following his lead and staring at him as he spoke.
“For the longest time, I thought Poseidon was my father. My mother finally told me that it was Zeus who… ‘spawned’ me.” He gave me a crooked smile.
“Why did you think it was Poseidon?”
“I love water.” I watched as he got a faraway look in his eyes and he breathed deeply. As if he could smell the ocean air from here in north Texas. “I found myself constantly at the shore, diving to depths that nobody should be able to stand, practically able to breathe under water…”
“That sounds amazing.” I was lost in his voice and could almost see him, muscles rippling under the waves, sea life surrounding him and worshiping him as he frolicked in their world.
“It is.” He shot me a brilliant smile and I found my breath catching in my throat.
“Were you disappointed that Poseidon wasn’t your father?”
He shook his head. “No. Not at all.” He shifted on the bench and faced me. “But I was surprised that my mother withheld the facts surrounding my birth from me for so long.”
My face scrunched and I gave him a quizzical look. “How old are you?”
He blushed and turned his eyes away. “Nearly six.” He shot me an embarrassed smile. “My mother raised me away from others so I didn’t know that I was different.”
I nodded. “My parents do the same.” I lowered my voice and leaned closer. “And I’m almost six, too.”
We shared a moment of silence before he continued. “When I sensed you, I honestly felt that the gods had sent me a…”
“A what?” I honestly didn’t know what he was about to say.
He shrugged slightly. “A friend.”
I nodded. At that moment, I thought he meant, ‘just a friend’. Somebody who understood what he was going through. Somebody who knew the problems and the joys of being a demi.
I watched as he slowly met my gaze. “So, your turn.”
“Practically the same story as yours. Except my father sired me while he held the stolen powers of a Norse god.” I shrugged. “Thor knew that he couldn’t raise me without that power so he shared his own.”
Alejo nodded. “If he shared his power, then…technically, isn’t your father Thor?”
I shook my head. “No. Remember, it wasn’t Thor’s power he held when he sired me. Technically, I think Loki would be my father.” I scratched at my head, trying to figure out my own lineage.
“No, I mean, if he shares Thor’s power, then they are equal, yes?”
I shook my head again. “My father’s power has grown since Thor shared it, but Uncle Thor is still more powerful. And he has millennia of using his power under his belt. He’s much more comfortable being a god than my father ever will be.”
Alejo nodded, pretending to understand. “Either way, you’re of Norse lineage.”
I smiled. “Didn’t the strawberry hair and the blue eyes give it away?”
He shook his head. “You could have been Irish.”
I opened my mouth to inform him that the Norse had settled Ireland centuries ago, but decided not to. I simply nodded.
He continued to stare at me and I finally had to ask, “What?”
“So who are your bosses that they want me dead?”
I had forgotten about that. His question actually struck me like a blow. I wasn’t expecting it.
I inhaled deeply and let it out slowly. “Thor.”
It was his turn to be confused. “Why would Thor want to kill the child of a Greek god?”
“It’s not that.” I struggled to find the correct words. “It wouldn’t matter where you came from. I was allowed to survive in order to ensure that no other demigods were allowed to live.”
Alejo looked as though he had been struck. “Allowed to live?” He shook his head and pulled his legs free, standing and staring at me. “Who are they to determine who can and cannot live?”
I stood and know that my eyes held the sorrow I felt. “If Odin Alfather knew that I existed, he would send his best to bring him my head. Thor allowed—”
“It is not up to him!” He began pacing, his hands waving as he spoke. “We live. We have a right to live.”
I stepped in front of him and stopped his pacing. “They fear us.”
“No shit!” He stepped around me and continued his pacing. “They know what we’re capable of.”
I stepped in front of him again. “Speaking of…”
He shook his head at me, not understanding. “What?”
“Tell me. What are we capable of?”
I saw him smile and his eyes narrowed to slits as he broke into laughter. “Oh you have no idea, do you?”
I grabbed him by the shoulders and ignored the jolts of power that coursed through me. “Tell me.”
His laughter faded and his smile turned to a sly grin. “You’d better sit down for this.”