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For My Girls: Ch 7 Huntress

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.

7

I didn’t want to leave his side.

Ever.

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.

“Mother?”

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?”

“I’m frightened.”

“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?

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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For My Girls Ch 4

Now that the dust has settled around the release of MS10, The Final Monster Squad novel, let’s get back to the unfinished stories that lay in the shadows of my computer’s hard drive.

Huntress was a continuation of Sven’s Hunter trilogy. Erica, his daughter, is demigod and must be hidden from her grandfather, Odin. She is an assassin, trained by the best of Asgard and she has only one mission…to destroy any demigods that may arise.

But what happens when the demi she is sent to kill captures her heart? Read on to find out more…

4

I learned that her name was Hildy. Short for Hildegard. Not a pleasant name to have roll off the tongue, but I’m told it was considered a blessing to have a female named Hildegard amongst her peoples.

She spoke of the gods and the great battles that they had amongst themselves. She explained to me how the less honorable of them would come to earth and walk amongst mankind. It cemented their faith and gave them great strength…for a short time.

When men think about their gods, it ‘feeds’ them. The power of the spoken word or unspoken thought, prayers and meditations, it all concentrates into a mental energy that the gods feed from. They use that power to increase their own strengths.

Gods like the zodiac used to cheat the system and go to those people who had multiple gods. They appeared to them and they would assume their god’s mantles. They cheated the ancient people of their true gods and it was looked down upon by the other gods. They were soon blacklisted and it was the Greco-Roman gods that finally broke them of their bad habits and left them banished from the realm of the gods.

This was immediately after the zodiac had tried to assume the Norse gods positions from their people. Odin led the battle and kicked the zodiac’s asses. They had just returned to their own realm when the Greco-Roman gods struck the final blows. Zeus banished the zodiac and they hadn’t been heard from in millennia.

I listened intently, taking in the lessons of my people that I had never been taught. I learned how the demigods used to be common until Odin, Zeus and a few other leaders among the gods declared the demigods heretic and slayed them all.

This caught me off guard. I was suddenly afraid to even be in her presence, yet…she knew I was a demi before I ever spoke to her. I think she noticed my apprehension because she gripped my hand and soothed me with her voice. “Easy child. Not everyone believes as the Allfather.”

“Aren’t you afraid what might happen to you if they ever discovered you helped me?”

She laughed and it was a deep throaty laugh. I hate to admit that it was contagious, but she had me chuckling right along with her. “Really? And what could they possibly do to this old woman that hasn’t already been done?” She wiped the tears from her cheeks and patted my arm. “No, child. You need to know what you are and why.”

I wasn’t sure I understood but I nodded. “Please, explain it to me.”

She leaned back and took a deep breath. “Child, you are the product of two completely different worlds. The world of man and the world of the gods.” She stared intently into my eyes and I felt as though she could read my very soul. “The gods fear you because you have the potential to be even greater than they are.”

“I don’t understand. If I’m only part god, how can I be greater than they?”

Her smile set my mind at ease and I believed every word that escaped her. “Because you can combine the best of both worlds. It’s the very nature of what you are. The real quandary is, why were you created.”

“My parents say it’s because they loved each other and I came into being.” I glanced over my shoulder towards Asgard. “My uncle says it’s to serve the gods and do those things that they have sworn never to do again.”

Her brows hiked and she stared at me. “Truly? And what have they sworn never to do again?”

I cleared my throat, almost afraid to repeat the words. “To appear before mankind. Even to do what needs doing. That is why they act through nature.”

She laughed again and shook her head at me. “Silly child. They simply want to use you. You are their enforcer. Much like your father is for the vampires.”

I gave her a shocked stare. “How could you know what my father does?”

Her face sobered and she stared back at me. “Child, that is what I do.” She pointed to herself. “I was the oracle.”

 

*****

 

Hildy explained to me how she had been the oracle until she met her true love. She knew he was coming and she had been ordered to turn him away.

She couldn’t do it.

Instead, she ran off with him, abandoning her post and her responsibilities. It had taken them nearly two generations to find another who could do what she had done.

In her prime, Hildy had advised kings and gods, paupers and trolls. She was highly sought after and although the legends say that once she was deflowered, her gifts would fade, they never did.

The only thing she never saw coming was the king’s men taking her only child from her. She assumed it was her eternal punishment for abandoning her position. She had spent many lifetimes questioning whether she would have still left with her love if she could have known the pain she would feel later. Part of her claimed that she would have never known love…the love of her husband or the deepest love that only a mother could know. Another part of her would argue that knowing love and losing isn’t worth the pain. She had long ago given up on the ‘what if’ arguments.

“What it all boils down to is, what are your intentions?”

I shook my head. “To serve. To protect the nine realms. To do what I was created for.”

She sighed heavily and shook her head. “Child, if you learn nothing else from me, learn this…it’s a far more noble thing to live your own life than to live the life expected of you.”

Her words caught me off guard and I debated whether she was speaking from her own experience or channeling my future. “I’m not sure I know how to live my own life.” I poked at the dirt with a stick, unable to look her in the face. I was too embarrassed to admit that I was too young to know what I might want to do with my life.

She nodded as though she truly understood. “You will know when the time is right.” She suddenly stood and stretched.

“We’re not done are we?” I was honestly worried that she was going to send me away. I felt like there was so much more I needed to know and only she could enlighten me.

“I need a drink. And not some weak tea brewed from bark and leaves.” Her eyes glimmered with that mischievousness that I had seen earlier. She disappeared into her tree trunk and reappeared moments later with a leather flask. She pulled the cork with her teeth and took a long pull from the skin. She took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. “That will tighten the skin on your backside.”

She handed me the leather skin and I held it close to my mouth, unsure if I should partake. My mother would have a fit if I did. She wouldn’t even let me drink coffee.

Now I know why my father enjoys his mead. The honey wine she offered me was sweet and savory, but it burned all the way down my throat. The warmth it left in my stomach was not unpleasant.

It didn’t take long and the trees were swaying without a wind to blow them. Everything we spoke of was much funnier and I suddenly didn’t care so much about the problems I had arrived with.

“So tell me child. What really troubles you?” She sat beside me, passing me the skin.

“I’m supposed to kill this boy.” I took a swig and felt my head spin. “He’s a man, really, but…he’s a demi, like me.” I handed the skin back to her.

“Ahhh. Let me guess. The gods sent you to kill him, yes?”

I nodded. “They did. Oh, but he’s sooo cute.” I batted my eyes at her. “Surely they must have made a mistake to want to kill somebody so…”

“Handsome?” She gave me a wink as she took another pull from the skin.

“Oh, very. He has the prettiest eyes. Like liquid pools of the purest amber.” I sighed heavily and leaned back against her tree. “And his smile is brighter than the sun.”

She laughed as she handed me back the skin. “Sounds to me like you’re in love.”

I gripped the skin and stared at her. “How can I be in love? I’m not even six years old yet.” I snorted and took another pull of that sweet nectar.

“Child, age is nothing but a number.” She pulled the skin from my grip and pointed to herself. “How old do I look?”

I was starting to see two of her. I leaned closer and tried to gage the wrinkles around her eyes. “Which one of you?”

She laughed and fell back against the tree. “Either of us. Both!”

“Oh, well, then….you must be at least fifty years old.”

She laughed so hard she fell over. For a moment I feared she might spill the mead, but she held the flask high and upright. When she finally composed herself, she handed it back. “You’re too kind.”

I shrugged. “Fiftyfive?”

She shook her head at me and pointed a finger. “Much, much…much older than that. But nevermind.” I felt her hand cup my face and she pulled me closer. “You’re a woman. You may not have many years in the realms, but you are grown. And a grown woman can…and often does, fall in love.”

“But I don’t know this boy.” I pushed the cork back into the skin and set it between us. “I just know that he’s pretty.”

She nodded. “That’s all I knew of my husband when first we met.” She gave me a sad smile. “Sometimes that’s all you need.”

“But I’m supposed to kill him.” I tried to sober and found it increasingly difficult to keep my eyes open. “He’s a demigod like me. He can’t be allowed to…to…”

“To live?”

I had to think about what she had said. I found myself nodding, but still questioning the ‘why’ he had to die. “They never told me what he’d done to deserve death.”

She shook her head and turned my face to hers. “Because he exists. They cannot suffer a demigod to exist. It could upend their entire creation.”

“How?” I tried to stand and quickly realized that was a mistake. I sat back down and placed a hand firmly against the trunk of the tree to keep the realm from spinning out of control.

“Did you not listen to what I told you? You and he…you have the potential to be even greater than they are.” She sat upright and seemed to sober immediately. “Child, they are old. Nobody prays to them any longer. They survive off the energy of those who are already here. The humans? They’re all enjoying their form of the afterlife. The rest of us? We were moved here when mankind broke the treaties with us. The elves, the trolls, the dwarves and giants…we all came here when mankind decided to hunt us down. We’ve been here ever since.”

“Sounds to me like mankind isn’t worth the trouble of saving.” I reached for the skin and she pulled it away from me.

“You’ve had enough. You need to be able to think now.” She snapped her fingers and I was suddenly clear headed. I have no idea how she did it, but something told me that she was more of a witch than an oracle. “Now pay attention.”

“I am.” Although it was very disconcerting to suddenly sober.

“You and he are different. And not just because you are demis. No. You two could simply walk the earth and reveal yourselves to men and you would have worshippers falling from the trees like leaves in autumn. Think of the power you would be stealing from the gods if you did that!”

I shook my head. “But we wouldn’t do that.” Could I truly say that for Alejo? “I mean, I know I wouldn’t.”

“Child, what is the worst thing that can happen to a god?”

I shrugged, truly unsure of the answer. “Death?”

She shook her head solemnly. “No. To be forgotten is a fate worse than death.” She stood on shaky legs and stretched her hands upward. “When those who once worshipped you suddenly forget that you even exist? That is truly a fate worse than death.”

“Then why don’t they reveal themselves to man once more? Prove that they are real and let-”

“Man doesn’t think he needs the gods anymore.” She stamped her stick into the ground and the dirt seemed to swirl. Within moments it faded and became a portal. I could see people walking the streets of a large city, their faces down, staring at the phones in their hands.

“Man worships things now. They don’t need to pray to the gods to fix things when they can do it themselves.” She caught my attention and I saw the fear in her eyes. “The gods chose to use nature to speak to mankind, but man isn’t listening any longer. That’s why they use every gadget they can possibly dream up to ignore nature. They don’t care what they do to the land, the waters or the air.” She sighed and sat back down, the portal to the earth closing. “Some think they are saving the planet by picking up trash or recycling the things they buy, but they aren’t. They don’t listen to nature. They don’t feel what nature is offering them. They don’t…care.”

Her words struck a chord with me. I felt my own phone bulging in my pocket and I knew she was right. I had been just as guilty of losing myself in some game or social media thing when I could have been doing something productive. Anything would have been more productive.

She patted my hand. “These things are just man’s most current distraction. They lost sight of what was important a millennia ago. Before they broke the accords with us.”

“Okay.” I swallowed hard and dreaded her next answer. “What does that have to do with me? How does this help me with Alejo?”

She sighed and closed her eyes, suddenly appearing very tired. “Child, if you and this Alejo were to suddenly show them what you truly were, a grand portion of mankind would follow you. Worship you. You’d be the center of attention for as long as you wished. All of that power focused on the two of you would make you stronger than…”

“The Jewish carpenter?” I knew that was a long shot.

She nodded slightly. “That’s entirely possible. It’s been at least two millennia since he made his walk with them.”

“But that’s not what I would want and I don’t think Alejo would either.”

“That doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that you could.” She suddenly stood. “You look like them but you have the power of the gods. If Odin Allfather suddenly appeared on earth, would they fall to their knees and love him or would they fear a ten foot tall Norse god with one good eye and a penchant for shoving lightning up their arses?”

I could see her point, even though I’d never met my grandfather. This all seemed too much for me to accept at once. The different thoughts racing through my mind all came to one conclusion…if I allowed myself to be the weapon of the gods and destroyed Alejo, who then would protect me from their wrath?

I turned to her and she had that knowing look on her face. “Exactly. Who would protect you, child?”

 

And that’s where chapter 4 ends.
If you’ve been following the blossoming adventures of young Erica Svensdottir and you like what you’ve read so far, know that there are a few more chapters waiting to be shared.
All in good time, faithful readers.
All in good time.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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