I think this will be the final installment of my ‘Stories that Will Never Be’.
There are a few paragraphs of Chapter 8 that were written but it does little to nothing in pushing the story forward.
Since this story will never happen, I might as well lay it out for you.
Odin, her grandfather, hates demis. Demigods have the potential to become more powerful than the old gods and he refuses to suffer a demi to live. That’s why she’s kept away from him and ‘managed’ by Thor.
At the end of the trilogy would be the big slap down between young Erica and the grandfather who didn’t know she existed. She’d kick his ass, of course, and although he loses, he’d tell her to finish him because he’d never quit hunting her.
She doesn’t have it in her heart to kill family…so she strips him of his power instead. It’s hard to kill a god when you’re basically a human. She and Alejo run off to make demi-babies and live happily ever after.
At least, that was the plan. Who knows what the story might have evolved into. Heaven knows, the original Hunter trilogy was NOT supposed to be what it became, but, it is what it is.
Anywho…on to the final chapter.
I didn’t want to leave his side.
I wish I could put into words the emotions that ran through my mind, through my heart…but there are no words for what I felt.
I thought I knew what love was. I may not have centuries walking the earth like my father, but I have had many experiences. Just nothing like this.
I have loved.
I have loved many. I love my father. I love my mother. I love Uncle Thor and I love Tex.
But this? This was something new. I liked it and it terrified me at the same time. This young man made me feel things that I didn’t think were possible. From the moment I laid eyes on his image, I knew there was something about him. I just didn’t know what.
We spent the night walking along the beach. We talked. We kissed. We talked more. We cuddled. We built a fire and lay beside it, talking and laughing and sharing experiences.
We almost missed the sunrise but we sat beside the smoldering fire and held each other while the sun broke along the horizon and warmed us with its rays.
I hated to leave his side but when the sun rose, he said that he had to go and that I should return home. He promised to meet me the following night at the same spot and we sealed the date with a kiss.
I had no idea what was happening with me, but I liked it.
I also had no idea how to tell my mother.
“You’re what?” She stared at me wide eyed.
“I think I’m in love, mother.” I couldn’t help but smile even though her face was one of shock and disbelief.
She reached out a shaky hand and took the back of the chair. I watched her pull it out slowly and practically fall into it.
“What am I going to do? First it’s coffee, now you’re in love?” She turned and gave me the saddest look I’d ever seen. “All in the same day?”
“Mother, it’s not horrible. It’s wonderful.” I pulled out the matching chair and sat beside her. “He’s lovely and he’s sweet and he kisses so-”
“Oh my god!” She was to her feet and pacing. “You kissed him?”
“It was just a kiss, but it was such a kiss!” I was on my feet again. “It was like our souls were intertwined and-”
“Please stop!” She fell into her chair again, her head shaking. “Sweet baby jeezus, Erica, you’re only a child.”
I froze and stared at her. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “Mother, I’m a woman.” I reached down and lifted my shirt. “See? Bossoms.”
“Erica, stop that!” She reached out and pulled my shirt back down.
Now, I have to be honest. I don’t know exactly why I did that. She is my mother. Of course she knows that I have bossoms. She buys my clothes for me. She knows that I’m…developed. I understand that most normal children at the age of five are probably still pooping themselves or eating dirt. But I’m not your normal five year old. Well, nearly six. But the principal is the same.
As Hildy said, age is nothing but a number.
I watched her hands shake as she turned slowly and got to her feet. She reached for the coffee and I had to stick my foot in my mouth. “You’re shaking enough already. Do you really want coffee?”
She turned and glared at me with such intensity that had the look missed me and struck the wall it would have peeled the paint. “I need something to calm me down and dammit, coffee calms me.”
Things were getting real. She didn’t allow cursing for any reason and she just dropped a D word. Something tells me I should have just mailed her a wedding invitation…if it ever comes to that. I guess there is such a thing as over-sharing.
I sat back down and waited for the lecture on how I was just a child, I couldn’t know what love is, blah blah blah.
When she sat back at the table, she took her time. I think her cup was half empty when she finally looked up at me again. The next words that came from her mouth nearly knocked me from my chair.
“I’m sorry, Erica.”
Her voice was so soft that I barely heard her.
She shook her head slowly. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did.” She took another drink and I waited.
“They warned me.” She motioned toward me with her hand. “That you would age very quickly until you reached…this. Adulthood. And then it practically stops. You’ll remain young and vibrant and…beautiful forever.”
I wanted to tell her to stop. That her tone and actions were scaring me. But I’m a huntress. I know no fear.
“They said that you would…grow up. And there was nothing I could do to stop it.” She sniffed back a tear as she sipped her coffee.
I reached out and took her trembling hand. “I’m sorry mother. I never wanted to hurt you.”
She laughed and I could tell it was to keep from crying. “You didn’t hurt me, Erica. You’re right. You’re a woman.” She turned swollen red eyes to me and I saw the tears threatening to fall. “I just miss my baby girl.”
She patted my hand and I wanted to cry with her. I was in such a hurry to grow up and I had no idea how much she cherished the time she had with me when I was little.
Suddenly she sobered and glanced nervously over her shoulder. “You mustn’t tell your father. Or anybody! Do you understand?”
“But father will understand. I’m sure-”
“No! You don’t understand.” She lowered her voice and leaned closer to me. “You were sent to kill him, not fall for him. If word gets back to Thor, they’ll hunt you!”
I nearly snorted a laugh. “But I’m Uncle Thor’s favorite-”
“You’re a tool Erica!” Mother stiffened and glanced towards father’s study. She turned back to me and lowered her voice. “If you don’t do as you’re told, you will be removed. Do you understand?”
My head was shaking. I’m not sure if it was denial or fear. “No, they wouldn’t do that. Alejo’s gods accept him and they teach him the ways of our kind.”
“Our kind?” Her eyes were wide and her hands were trembling again. “Sweetheart, his gods are not your gods. They’re not your family. Do you think they would stand against Thor and his warriors if it came down to handing you over or go to war?”
I fell back in my chair and I could feel my mouth working but no words came out.
“Sweetheart, there is no sanctuary against the gods. They don’t acknowledge the sovereignty of other gods. They don’t even acknowledge your right to exist.”
She sat back and huffed as she tried to search for the right words. “They hid you from Odin. They hid you from Freya. They know that if word got back to them that you existed, you would be hunted and destroyed. The old gods simply cannot allow you to usurp them.”
“But I would never…”
“That doesn’t matter. They simply cannot allow you to exist. The possibility is too great for them.” She sucked back a sob and squeezed her eyes shut. “I couldn’t bear to lose you.”
“Nor I you, mother.” I reached out and took her hand again. “I can’t hide forever.” My mind raced faster than I could form words. “Even if I killed Alejo, who is to say that Odin wouldn’t order Thor to destroy me?” I stood slowly, my mind in a whirlwind. “I don’t want to die.”
“Then don’t.” She stood and squared her shoulders. I had seen my mother resolute before, but not like this. The set of her jaw was pure defiance. “Do what you must, but you survive. Do you hear me?”
I nodded, unsure what exactly I could do against Odin Alfather. But I knew that if I ever hoped to live in peace, I’d have to be prepared for war.
“I hear you.” I stepped away from her and released her hand. “I love you mother. Tell father that I love him.”
“Be careful Erica.”
Those were the last words I heard from her before I transported myself to Svartalfheim. I stood outside the tree that Hildy called home.
I tapped on the bark above the opening to her home and prayed that she was home.
“Back here child.”
I stepped around the giant oak and saw her in a tiny garden. I hadn’t seen it during my last visit. The great tree that she made home had blocked it from view.
I walked along the edge and watched as she finished plucking a few herbs from the ground. She placed them gently in her apron and hobbled toward me. “I was about to prepare food. Care to join me?”
I gave her a gentle shake of my head. “I’ve come to talk, if you don’t mind?”
“You talk while I cook.” She cackled as she made her way back to the tree. She placed her herbs besides the opening and slipped inside. When she came back out she carried an oversized kettle. “Hang this over the fire and fetch some water.”
I hung the handle from the iron hook then scooped a large bucket of water from the stream. She was already searing meat in the pot when I came back and the smell had my mouth watering. She stirred the meat, searing the edges before adding the water.
“So talk, child. What brings you back to old Hildy?”
“Of course you are.” She ladled small amounts of water over the searing meat as she spoke. I watched her add a few of the freshly plucked herbs then she sat back and eyed me. “You just discovered the truth and now you are unsure what you should do.”
I nodded. I didn’t know how she knew, but I prayed that she would have answers.
“What should I do?”
She shook her head as she added tubers and vegetables to her pot. “I cannot tell you that, child. That is entirely up to you.”
“Can you tell me the outcomes of a decision? You are an oracle, are you not?”
She smiled at me but there was such sadness to it. “I wish that I could.”
“Do you see any future for me?”
Her eyes brightened and she nodded. “Oh yes, child. A long and prosperous future.” I watched as she squinted and appeared to stare into the shadows of the woods. “I cannot see how you come to that point though. If I could, I would direct you through to the easiest route.” She shrugged. “All I can tell you is, you will survive. And you will do well.”
“With Alejo?” I wasn’t sure I really wanted to know the answer, but my mouth asked before my brain could stop it.
She shook her head slowly. “I cannot see that. I do not know if he is your future or your ruination. I can only see that you survive and you prosper.”
I sighed and sat beside her while she cooked.
“I don’t think I’d want to simply survive without him.”
She patted my shoulder and gave me a sweet smile. “Nobody can tell what your fate is. Nobody can direct you down the ‘proper’ path.” She sat next to me and took my hand in her leathery palm. “You must walk your own path. If that path leads you to love, then by all means, embrace it and experience it and enjoy every moment you can.”
I turned to her and I felt tears swelling in my eyes. “I’m afraid.”
“I know. And you have every right to be. It’s not every day that one finds out exactly what their life is worth in the eyes of others.” She patted my hand once more then stood and stirred her pot. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned over these many, many…many years, it’s this. Don’t let a chance at true love slip away because you fear the outcome. Embrace it. Relish it. Give it everything you have. Even if that loves dies or is somehow taken from you, you’ll have known what it feels like and it will help to form you into the person you were meant to be.”
Her words brought me peace. She didn’t point me in any direction and say, do this and all will be well, but I felt as though she armed me with enough hope that I could face whatever it was that the gods had in store for me.
If it meant that I had to renounce my lineage and never return to Asgard, then so be it. If Alejo was right and the gods of Olympus would welcome us, then perhaps it was time I went there and met his gods.
What was the worst that could happen?