Loki’s Point of View
It was a bad idea. Part of me knew this from the moment it formed in my mind, and by part of me I mean all of me, but I went along with it anyway. I couldn’t stop now; the idea was too far gone in my mind.
It all started with my close friend Clea Dahel complaining about her upcoming AP tests, which she had done for the past three years. We were seniors now and I would’ve thought she would be used to the testing by now, but the one thing to know about Clea is whether she was used to it or not, she would happily complain about it anyway. I guess it was just her way of dealing with the responsibilities she seemed to constantly heap upon herself.
Clea had said she didn’t want to take the test regardless of whether she’d paid for it or not and continued to spout fruitless wishes that the test would be cancelled or interrupted somehow. I, on the other hand, didn’t have any AP tests. It seemed like at that point my father just assumed I probably wouldn’t care enough to study and get a passing grade on them so he wouldn’t pay. It was for the best. He was right.
That was when the idea formed. A way to interrupt the testing. It would be so easy. It was a terrible idea. I wanted to do it anyway.
Clea could tell when I had a bad idea by the look on my face and she had raised her hands up in protest. “No, I don’t want to know what you’re thinking. Don’t tell me, I don’t want to get involved. Especially not this close to graduation.”
She was right, of course, and even my best friend Noah, who usually went along with any harebrained scheme I came up with, refused to join in anything that could get him into trouble this close to the end. I didn’t blame them inwardly, of course. Outwardly I called Noah a pussy though.
It was a terrible idea and it would have consequences, but I had survived consequences before. Mostly for fighting, some from skipping class or just being late one too many times. I could survive this.
The hallways were empty; just 15 minutes before there had been nervous students milling about to their next AP test. Now they were all locked within, sweating onto their dotted pages and praying their pens didn’t run out of ink halfway through their essays. My thin fingers brushed the red fire alarm and my eyes quickly scanned the area for anyone who may be looking on.
With the jerk of my arm, I yanked the lever down and a screeching ring sliced through my ears. I covered them with both hands and ran.
* * *
My father’s face was twisted with barely concealed anger.
“This is the last straw Loki.” He said, rubbing his forehead irritably as he paced back and forth in front of me. It had been the last straw several office visits ago, but I wasn’t about to remind him.
I lounged on the couch and stared out the window at the cloudy weather, moments from bursting into a beautiful stormy day. Dad had said the sun wouldn’t affect me until likely after I’d graduated, which was about the time that human food would become revolting and make me sick. The sun had already begun to give me problems, however; a light sunburn within minutes and a bad headache, but there wasn’t much of a way to avoid it. It was only a matter of time before I’d have to start hunting. Dad wasn’t looking forward to it, I could tell.
“I would have thought you’d know better than this. You’ve done some stupid stuff in the past, but to pull a stunt like this less than a week before your graduation? Do you want to stay in school another year?”
I remained silent. I could feel his eyes drilling into me, but I kept mine trained on the window.
“Look at me Loki.”
I complied, my mouth shut. I gently ran my tongue over the tip of the one fang that had recently begun to grow in. The other was still covered by a tooth so loose I had half a mind just to yank it out.
“Why? Why on earth would you pull this crap?”
I shifted in my seat. I didn’t like questions. He wanted me to defend myself, but I had nothing. He wanted a good reason for why I had done something so moronic. You can’t always get what you want. I gritted my teeth and chanced a small shrug. My father threw his hands up in the air.
“You don’t know? Well that’s just great, isn’t it?” He ran his fingers roughly through his hair and turned away, staring out the window. With a labored sigh, he spoke again without turning around. “I’ve managed a little convincing with the school to cut your sentence down so you can still graduate, but that certainly doesn’t mean you’re going unpunished.”
I swallowed. Father’s punishments weren’t exactly the most enjoyable of experiences.
“Right after graduation I’m sending you to Moonlight Falls-“
“What?!” I interrupted but he ignored me.
“-to stay with your uncle Jiro for the summer whereupon you will do whatever he says and I will not be receiving any calls complaining about your behavior for three months. Are we clear?”
My first thoughts were that he couldn’t possibly be serious. The last time I had seen Uncle Jiro was when I was so young I hardly remembered him. The only reason I knew his face was because it was so similar to my father’s. All I knew was that he was human, he lived in Moonlight Falls, and he and father were unimaginably close; or at least that had been before father had become preoccupied with his own family. What I didn’t know was everything else I needed to know to live with him.
“What about-“ I began my protest, but Father cut me off, tapping the vein on the underside of his wrist as if asking not for the time of day but for the time of the heartbeat neither of us had.
“You’ll take care of it later. You have plenty of time.” He spoke evenly. “You’re leaving next Friday. Start packing.”
The tone of his voice said that the conversation was over and it took all the willpower I had to stand and trudge to my room without a tempered response that would only do me worse.
* * *
“He what?” Clea said incredulously over the phone.
“He’s shipping me off to middle-of-nowhere, Moonlight Falls to live with an uncle I hardly know for the whole summer.”
“He can’t do that! We had plans this summer! You pulled a fire alarm, it’s not like you blew up the school!” Clea sounded more broken up about this than I did. She and I had had a tentative on-off relationship for most of our high school career; a relationship she liked to call “friends-with-benefits” but I hardly ever got any of the benefits, mostly just female emotions.
“Well it’s not like there’s anything I can do about it.” I grumbled.
“When do you leave? Can we get together before you leave?”
“Tomorrow. And I can’t, I’m forbidden to leave the house until then.”
I heard a loud bang through the phone as Clea chucked her cell across the room, then rustling as she picked it up again. I rolled my eyes. Typical Clea.
“Okay, okay, it’s just one summer right? A few months? And then you’ll be back? It’ll be alright, yeah, just keep in touch, okay? Bring your laptop and phone and text me! Promise?” She sounded more like she was talking to herself. Knowing Clea, she probably was as she paced around her room clutching an Xbox controller in her other hand. He’d been in her room before, many times in fact. Her Xbox 360 and assortment of games were her prized possessions and if she wasn’t playing them, she was on her computer or sleeping and was most certainly not doing the laundry that festered in wrinkles on the floor.
I couldn’t help the smile that crept onto my face, “I promise. I’ll see you in a few months, alright?”
We said our goodbyes and I proceeded to text Noah of my predicament. Being less emotional and less… female, he didn’t require a heartfelt phone call and I received a pleasant “damn man that sucks, lemme know when you get back ill see you in a few months bro” in response.
My friends were taken care of, now there was only one thing left; me. There was no getting out of this, so I packed up my laptop and phone securely in my suitcase for safekeeping and so I wouldn’t forget them. I dragged the baggage to the car and shoved it in the trunk then trudged upstairs, slumping onto my unmade bed with a muffled yell into my pillow which dissolved into an irritated moan.
Time to pay old uncle Jiro a visit.
* * *
True to his word, early Friday morning, 1:18 AM to be exact, my father yanked open the door with a booming “Get out of bed, we’re leaving.” The frown on his face was indiscernible and I couldn’t quite place out of the many things he hated about the situation, which one was making him frown. He had dark circles under his eyes, but I could hardly remember the last time I saw my father looking fully rested. I moaned, but not wanting to incur any more of his wrath, rolled out of bed and tripped over myself as I dragged on a pair of pants and a shirt before following him out.
The drive to Moonlight Falls took several hours and most of it was spent in a tense silence. After it became clear my father had no intentions of turning on the radio, I pulled out my IPod and turned up the volume until I could see him scowling at me from the driver’s seat. He was forcing me out of the house for 3 months; if I could deal with that, he could deal with the inconvenience of my music volume. At one point I heard him mentioning something about remodeling while I was gone, but I wasn’t paying attention.
We arrived at Uncle Jiro’s house around five in the morning and I knew if my father was going to drive straight back home, he wasn’t going to make it before the sun caught him. It was already peeking over the horizon as we parked in the driveway. He gave a tentative glance out the window and hopped out of the car quickly, popping the trunk and yanking out my suitcase before I got a chance to. I took the case from him and followed him up to the front door.
“Isn’t it a little early to be knocking on people’s doors?” I asked as my father banged the door with his fist.
“He’s used to it.” Was the only reply I got. Whatever that meant.
Several moments later, the front door creaked open to reveal an older version of my father with longer hair. His face, unlike my father’s, was as open as a book and looked as irritated as I felt. I didn’t really blame him. He looked from my father’s face to mine and then back to his.
“You haven’t changed.” He spoke matter-of-factly.
“Blood is surprisingly good for wrinkles.” My father replied in the same tone. Their eyes were locked and it was as if I wasn’t even there, let alone the reason we were here in the first place.
Suddenly, both of their stoic expressions broke into light smiles that practically mirrored each other. Even with the visible aging difference, they were certainly identical twins.
“It’s good to see you again, Ig. Even though you do still have the worst timing possible. There is such a thing as too early you know.”
My father held out his hand for a handshake and then pulled his brother in for a hug. I felt invisible and I had debated more than once whether or not I could slip back into the car and drive home. Eventually, Uncle Jiro seemed to notice I had been standing there the whole time and gave me a look over.
“You’ve grown quite a bit since I last saw you.” It was clear he was saying this because it was what relatives said, not because he actually cared. I raised one eyebrow and my father shot me a glare.
“Remember he’s here for punishment. Try not to be too soft on him.” My father said and I glared back. As if anyone needed reminding as to why I was here.
Uncle Jiro shrugged like it wasn’t his problem, “This is between you two. I’m not taking your place as a father, Ig.”
My father sighed, rubbing his forehead, “Alright, I’d better get going. Loki, you have everything?”
I nodded and, making no move for a hug or handshake or any form of goodbye, we stared at each other for a tenuous moment before he pulled out his keys and headed for the car. He gave a quick wave goodbye; I didn’t wave back as I watched him drive away until he was out of sight.
I turned to look at Uncle Jiro to find he was already staring at me. “Try not to break anything while you’re here,” was all he said before showing me to my room. I scrutinized the house for any clues as to what my uncle was like, but the house was modestly furnished with no evidence of his possible personality. There were no family photos, hardly any bits of décor; it didn’t feel like a home of any kind. It felt more like a movie set; as if any moment someone would call “Cut!” and the walls and furniture would be carried away.
My uncle passed by the first doorway, what I assumed to be his room, and opened the door to my room for the next few months. “Ig- ah, your dad says you’re violent. Just know if you break anything you pay for it.” He spoke as if he were discussing the weather or what we were having for dinner that night. I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of conversations he and my father had had before sending me over here. I doubted they were anything good.
“Um, okay Unc-“
“Jiro.” He interrupted, “None of that uncle crap. I don’t need a title to be reminded of what I am.” With a dismissive wave, he turned and walked off without even a goodbye.
This was going to be a long summer.