Today’s entry in the quick online reads series is an experimental work in progress for a longer piece of fiction, with a bunch of kinks that need ironing out. Still, I like the direction and wanted to share this early draft with you. I like the perspective, but certain aspects need further depth, and some situations could do with a little tweaking. Specifically the section taking place in the school. Anyway, it’s coming up for the sixth week since I quickly tapped this out, so will be due a proper rewrite! The finished piece will be almost unrecognisable, and I won’t be able to share publicly, so I figured I’d share it with you now. Hope you enjoy!
Demigods exist. I know, because I am one. I guess I’ve been a demigod since I was born, but to be honest, I’m not really sure how it works. Am I actually the son of Odin? Or is it that I was chosen somehow at a later date? My name plucked from a hat in Asgard (where the Gods live) perhaps?
Maybe you’re asking yourself how on earth I can be a demigod, and have no idea how it all works? Well, it’s complicated. There are like, clues, ya’know? The first and most obvious of them is that I can feel them. They’re with me with everything I do. They’re constantly over my shoulder, whispering in my ear, guiding me.
Just earlier today I was walking the dog. Mum didn’t get back ‘til late and she still had to walk Thor, put Freya to bed, and have a shower, all before cooking for us. I was absolutely starving, so I told her I’d walk the dog for her while she carries on with the rest. Fair deal, right? It’s what they were telling me to do, anyway. I’ve learned I don’t have much choice when they’re telling me to do something. The voice gets louder and louder, until my urge to give in is just too strong to ignore. I’ll end up getting out of bed in the middle of the night to do my homework, or feeling so desperate to do something that I end up doing anything (like the dishes, or changing Freya’s diaper) just to busy myself. It really can be quite stressful, this demigod business.
Anyway, out I stepped into the cold. It was a dark evening. All winter evenings are dark, but it seemed spookier this evening because the air was heavy and the fog was dense, the streetlights painting the whole floor with a deep orange glow. My footsteps echoed down the street, Thor’s excited breathing filling in the rest of the silence. The quietest of sounds seem so loud at night, don’t you think? And when footsteps echo behind you on the path, and your eyes get tired and everything seems to get darker in an instant, and all you can think of doing is running without looking back because you’re pretty certain someone or something is behind you…
I calmed myself down. It’s nothing, I told myself. Still, I peeked over my shoulder, and I could hear my heart thumping through my chest. As I rounded the blind corner of the back path, just before the end where it meets the main road and the street lights start again, I saw a man. A dark man. He stood still at the corner, beneath the streetlight, his shadow stretching out in all directions. Long cloak flapping in the wind, his hat hiding his face behind thick, black, emptiness. With him was a dog, as still and eery as the man that stood beside him.
My brain said ‘Odin.’
Then my brain, in a deeper, raspier voice, replied, ‘Correct.’
I stopped where I stood. In a sharp snap of the neck he looked at me, and the weight of the air suddenly pressed hard against my shoulders. I had to tense my entire body to stop it from flooring me. I can only describe the feeling as the weight of power. Sheer, overwhelming power, radiating from this ethereal apparition. That cold, dark, heaviness. It happens when I pray to Him sometimes, too.
Thor’s thirsty breathing stopped as he pulled his tongue back inside his mouth, both bored from sitting, and unsure of this figure in the distance. I had two choices. Face this man, or turn around and walk back the way I came. I made the smart choice and turned around, walking all the way home as fast as I could.
Do you see how he called me out on purpose? Just to catch me and tell me something? It’s not nice. It’s scary and imposing and I don’t want it. But they wont leave me alone.
Another clue is how uncomfortable I feel in this world, like I’m not supposed to be here. Like I’m different, somehow. Other kids laugh, and joke, about silly things. They obsess over girls and video games. Sometimes they even cry when little things like disagreements happen. I try to help, but it never seems to work out.
A few weeks ago, Jonah Benson was upset over how his girlfriend had held hands with Brent Talbot. He sat beside me in home room, scratching love hearts into his desk between the initials J.B. And S.H —Standing for Sarah Henson, obviously. I told him not to worry, that kid relationships never last anyway- It’s all about learning to be an adult at this point in life. He stared at me blankly for a second, stopped inscribing initials with that pencil, and stabbed me in the hand with it!
I don’t get it! I only told him what the Gods tell me. They give me lessons all day everyday, and nobody wants to hear them. So what am I, as a demigod, supposed to do? Just ignore them myself because the world is too lost to save? I rushed to the medical room crying, pencil still dangling out of my hand. When Mrs Lonsdale pulled it out, there was a tiny red hole surrounded with the grey of the lead. It was actually pretty cool to look at, but it wicked hurt. “I’m going to send you home, Danny,” She said in her kind, delicate voice, “I’ll call your mum.”
I liked Mrs Lonsdale, she had a beautiful soul. Shortly after, she led me out of the school and into the parking lot, where my mum waited for me with the engine running. She knows I like it when the blowers stay warm. There’s nothing better than warm air rushing at your face after being out in the cold. Mum had to go back to work, so she left me at home with Freya, Thor, and our nanny Ethel. She didn’t like me very much, I had heard her telling mum one time (listening when I wasn’t supposed to be) that I’m the reason dad left. That I was too different for him to cope with. That my ‘artism’ was too much for him. I guess she meant that I was too artistic? Who knows? She was always nice though, and we all watched TV together until mum got home.
After dinner, mum tucked me in my bed and read me the stories of Asgard. My favourite ones, like how Loki transforms into a female horse to stop a giant and his steed from winning a bet, or when he convinces two sets of dwarves to compete against each other for the favour of Asgard, securing six epic items for the Gods. I like Loki, he’s different too.
She kissed me on the head, gave me my medication and a sip of water, and walked to the door.
“I love you Danny,” she said, “You being different isn’t a bad thing, you know? You’re gonna do great things.”
She turned out the light.
So there you go, a slung together, clunky story with a lot of mystery at this point. Still, I hope you can see through the blackened layer to see glimmers of the diamond beneath. I’m excited to have a do-over with this one. So what did you think? Do you have any suggestions that could help me in my upcoming rewrite? Let me know in the comments!