|nishka//loki (nishka) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-10-26 16:51:00
I never wrote a letter
Who: Nish and Loki
What: Nish finally comes to terms with her sister’s death.
Where: Pax, Fifth floor
When: Thursday, October 12, 2017, evening.
Nish studied the key in her hands, a silver snake that made her nervous but seemed to call to her, daring her to use it. She’d taken it from the ceiling on the fourth floor a few days ago, keeping it with her, in her purse, her pocket, on her nightstand, but not using it. She knew that wherever it led to would hurt, but she also knew it was something she had to see. A feeling deep in her gut she had whenever she touched it, balled emotions impossible to decipher.
Finally she couldn’t take it anymore. She stood, taking it with her, and yanked open the door of her apartment, stepping out into the hallway. She was alone on this floor now, and she no longer got the same anxiety out here as she used to, with no psychotic neighbour to avoid. The door across from her, 507, led to an empty apartment, as did all the others. She was safe here, and if this key did something to her, no one would be around to see.
She stepped forward and slipped the key into the lock for 507, turning it before she could stop herself and pushing the door open.
The door, the key in the lock, the walls it was attached to, all fell away, and she was suddenly outside, standing on a stoney shore. Cold wind whipped around her, cutting through her pajamas, making her shiver. Usually she loved the cold, but this was different, biting and harsh. She hugged herself, looking ahead and spotting a group of people further up the shore, crowded around what she knew was a viking ship.
She stepped forward; the feeling of being pulled towards the scene was overpowering. Her feet moved without her directing them, and soon she was among the crowd, though none of them paid her any attention. Still she walked, coming up closer to the shore, stepping into the frigid water until she was thigh deep and standing next to the ship.
She saw a man, golden haired and handsome, a godly glow radiating from his face, lying in peaceful repose in the middle of the boat, surrounded by gifts and jewels and weapons, the hallmarks of the well-loved and honoured dead. But when she blinked he was gone, and he was replaced by a scene of horror from her childhood.
Now the boat was full of water, murky dark and stained pink with blood that floated in serene rivulets around the stark white face lying at the bottom.
She felt as if she’d been punched in the gut. “Heather…” she choked out, stumbling back and away from the boat, falling onto her backside in the water. Shock settled on her, her whole body shook and her stomach twisted and churned sickly inside her. She hadn’t at all been prepared to see that, so real and immediate in front of her, and the image was burned into the back of her eyelids, just like it had been the night her sister had died.
The water soaked into her clothes, sapping warmth from her until her limbs trembled. A distance away, the people milling by the shore were murmuring to each other, and a few looked her way. One pulled away from the others, a viking warrior who might have vaguely looked like her brother, his strong hands picking her up and guiding to the shore, away from the boat and her dead sister. He draped his heavy fur-lined cloak around her and then let her be, as she collapsed to her knees onto the stones.
She buried her face in her hands and cried, mourning for Heather as the others around her mourned for Balder. She let everything out, everything she couldn’t face at the funeral - her guilt, her pain, and her love, because she had loved her. And now that she was gone, it hurt like her heart was being ripped in half.
’It wasn’t your fault,’ said Loki, his voice was soft, soothing. ’Not like this was my fault.’
Nish sat back on her heels, her hands clutched tightly to the cloak around her, pulling it tight around her bare arms she gulped down breaths of icy air. “I wanted her to hurt,” she said, her voice shaking, her breath misting in front of her.
’But you didn’t want her dead,’ he said. ’You didn’t kill her, Nishka. I killed Balder, but that was a long, long time ago.’
“And...she was Balder,” Nish said, taking a shuddering breath.
’She was,’ he confirmed. ’In the same way you are me. And are you responsible for my deeds, committed a millenia ago?’
Nish swallowed and shook her head, “no,” she said, trembling, but calmer.
’And did you hold her under the water and slit her wrists?’ he asked. His voice was gentle, but the words tore fresh tears from her eyes.
“No,” she said again, “but I could have stopped her…”
’For gods’ sakes, Nishka, you were a child. You are not responsible for what happened,’ he lectured. ’Did you think your parents were blind to her? Did you think they never knew? Of course they did! They tried to help her, but they kept it from you to protect you.’
That stunned the tears from her eyes, her lips parting in shock. “They…”
’She was in treatment, Nishka,’ he told her. ’All those days after school when she went to ‘dance’ class? Did she seem particularly coordinated to you?’
“She was as clumsy as I was,” she said quietly, as if not believing it herself, the ghost of a smile twitching the corner of her lips at the memory. Could this be true? All these years she’s been beating herself up over not telling her parents...and they already knew?
’She was struggling with her own issues, and it had nothing to do with you. You didn’t hand her the dart of mistletoe, Nish, she fashioned it for herself.’
Tears flowed freely down her cheeks now as all the pieces fell into place. She went back in her memory, now watching through the lense of this new information, and it suddenly all made sense to her. “But why would she...she was so happy...so beautiful and popular…”
’Every blessing has its price,’ Loki said softly, ’I wanted to show that to Balder, but unfortunately, Heather found out on her own.’
Nish took a deep breath and sighed it out slowly, hot tears dripping from her chin and soaking into the fur cloak around her shoulders. . She stood, wiping her eyes as she watched the funeral in front of her, and then joined the mourners, now as one of them.
And as they watched the giantess send off their beloved Balder, she saw the face of her sister. This time the water was gone, and she was lying beautiful and peaceful in that boat, surrounded by the treasures of her life, and as the flaming arrow hit and the boat was suddenly awash with flame, she was finally able to put her to rest.