WHO Freyr WHEN the day after visiting Freyja, Saturday morning WHERE Freyr’s home WHAT catching up on some chores, thinking about things WARNINGS talk of death
Freyr awoke that morning with a cheery hum on his lips. Seeing Freyja again made him feel quite optimistic. It was nice to feel optimistic. Contrary to his happy face to his sister, there had been a few niggles lately, if he was honest with himself. He swung out of bed to go through his usual morning routine: some Pilates and yoga, a light breakfast of fruit and cereal, a shower, brush his teeth, dress. He came down the stairs feeling energetic and motivated to have a good day. Picking up the pile of mail he’d left unopened on the sideboard before he’d dashed off the day before and flicking through it, his sunny smile grew cloudy as he saw the letter from the bank. Hadn’t he paid that already? With a frown he dropped the envelopes down again and went to do the breakfast dishes in the sink. The action of working through it was a good way to centre himself on the moment again instead of worrying so much.
His Community Harvest garden project was going wonderfully as usual. Now that the snow was finally melting, they were bedding in for the Spring growth, and plotting seedlings for once the ground wasn’t so hard. The last market had been good, but Maria Inglewood had been sick and couldn’t help, so he’d had to step up and be there all day, and they’d had a few pies left over, which was a little unusual. Also, at the Community Association meeting last week, George and Hassan had got into a disagreement over how long the trash bins should be allowed to be on the curb for, and when he’d tried to step in, he’d been told to mind his business, which was just absurd. At least Holly had defended him, absolutely shocked at the language used.
And then there was the clinic. Not bad, but just not as many successful results in the last month as usual. And they’d had a negative review on Google. Negative! On Google!
But he was making friends, and expanding his network. That at least was going well. Much the Miller’s Son was a valuable person to know. He might not have much power in himself, but he knew people, and he was likeable, and good to have around. Through him, Freyr anticipated making the acquaintance of a lot more powerful gods. He hadn’t met Hades and Persephone yet, but he definitely was interested in the Greeks and just how much power they wielded these days, compared to himself. Makaria was sweet but there wasn’t much to her. He would have to go down to Diogenes and get Much to point out some faces. And that Friar Tuck, he seemed to know people as well, even if he did live next to a church. Handy to have around.
And Freyja was back in town. Freyr hadn’t seen her in so long, and maybe it was just that throwing off his equilibrium. With her to balance him, things would be fine again. He would do a bit of tidying up, because a clean house equaled a clean mind, and then he would do a jigsaw puzzle and call Maria to see how she was, and it would all be right as rain again.
Collecting the full laundry hamper, Freyr whistled to himself and retrieved a key from a hook on the inside of a kitchen cupboard, and wandered over to unlock the basement door. He tripped lightly down the steps, his merry tune carrying him along, and when he got to the bottom, he flipped on the light.
“Oh! You’re alive again I see.”
The voice was hoarse and weak. The fierce blue eyes that looked up at him matched his own.
“Your sister is back in town,” said the Doppelganger with a smirk, heading over to the washing machine to load it up. “She’s broken up with her lover, and wanted to see her dear brother. Isn’t she beautiful? Her messages are always hot, but I wondered what it would be like to see her in the flesh. And what flesh.” He curved out a buxom shape with his hands. Freyr scowled and struggled in his bonds, which only made the demon laugh. “I think I might partake of her delights. Your memories of her are very good, but I want the real thing. I think maybe she does too, really needs to seek comfort in her loving brother’s arms.” He grabbed his crotch at Freyr with a lascivious look, then went to get the washing powder off the shelf.
“Do not touch Freyja, you troll-cursed níðingr,” Freyr hissed. “If I wasn’t tied-”
“Language! Ah, but you are.” The Doppelganger scooped powder in, and pushed the buttons on the machine to select the wash. “And the fact that you continue to make threats like that reinforces the fact that I just still can. not. trust. you. So.” He reached to the shelf again, this time coming up with a small kitchen knife, and walked over to kick Freyr onto his back and then crouch down over his victim. The rough circle of dried blood staining the concrete floor told the story of how many times they’d done this already.
The point of the knife drifted across Freyr’s throat. “Which way shall I go this time? Left to right, or right to left? Or a nice deep belly wound to keep you alive a few hours? That was fun for you before, wasn’t it?”
“Don’t- don’t-” Freyr whispered, shaking his head, and the Doppelganger clenched his fist around the knife handle with a sigh.
“I know. But then I’d have to worry about you getting out or calling for help, and I’d have to feed you and yadda yadda doesn’t that sound tiresome? This way is much more painless. For me, anyway. Ah! Nostalgia! Here’s one for old Odin, hey?” The blade stabbed downwards, and the demon stood up to watch his handiwork. Freyr cried out in agony, and choked, flinched and spasmed even as he expired. A trickle of deep red blood mixed with clear brain fluid started oozing from his nostrils.
The demon tutted and took the knife back, having to tug it a little from its place embedded in the eye socket. “Well good night, sweet prince, see you in another couple of weeks,” he said, and went to the sink to rinse the blade and place it back up on the shelf. “Oh! the washing.”
And so setting the washing machine to begin its cycle, the Doppelganger once more headed up the stairs with a whistle, back into Freyr’s life, leaving the empty body locked in the basement behind him.