“She Reminds Me of My Wife.”
“She reminds me of my wife.”
Odin let out a long sigh through his nose and started to rummage his pipe from his pockets. “This is the last thing I need,” he thought, trying to ignore seeing the monster of his mind stepping closer to Ava. The two humans (or one human and a possible extra-dimensional being) had been tossed into a holding cell on the cargo ship after being discovered. Ava, the little weirdo, had slept through the whole thing. All twenty of the robots grabbing the four by the arms, all their yelling, and his own too-late attempt to fend them off. If he listened hard enough, the teen could still hear Maggie and Gil screaming at each other from another holding cell, so he didn’t bother. All he had to do was light his pipe and be done with every noise.
“She’s beautiful, is she not?”
A pause. Odin’s pipe was held in his teeth, lighter poised over the bowl but not yet touching. In the eight years since Odin had gained this walking monstrosity, he had never heard such a… soft edge to its voice. He finally looked up from his pipe, across the room to where the demon was now crouched beside Ava’s prone form. Still asleep, even after everything that had happened. He couldn’t blame her though; after all, she HAD set a city on fire. Must take it out of a person.
…It was stroking Ava’s hair. The thing couldn’t even touch her, and was still attempting to stroke her hair. Odin could have sworn he saw Ava’s hair shift just a tiny amount, as if the strokes were actually working. Must have been his imagination. Why did he have to get stuck with lovesick monster? This was a side of the beast that Odin had never seen before, and frankly hoped he’d never have to see again.
“My wife was the same as this girl. Bold, fierce, intimidating. Powerful. She was every ounce a leader and every inch queen. Galaxies were swept under her feet, and though she ruled with an iron fist, she was the savior of all she touched. She was the forge that welded our empire together, and devoured all fools who dared defy her power.”
Odin wondered briefly if the ‘being devoured’ part was literal or figurative.
“She was the empress of galaxies, but to me, she was my wife. My goddess. My idol.” A deep, rumbling sigh of longing made the whole room vibrate, and Odin could see those goat-like eyes close into a half-lidded position, almost as adoring in the monster as it was pitiful to the teen.
“Boy,” the monster suddenly barked, causing Odin’s head to snap up in surprise. What had happened to that quiet cooing gag-inducing voice he’d just heard? From behind its mask, the blood-red eyes were steely and sharp, as a wolf eying another’s prey. “One day you must choose. Your pride, or her happiness.”
Odin suddenly remembered he still had his pipe between his teeth, and wasted no time lighting it. The first drag was always the hardest, with the dark smoke cloying his senses and dulling his nerves. The second drag was easier, drowning out the monster’s words into a soft hiss.
Luckily, only a few puffs were needed to sufficiently silence the beast, something he relished in. It was one of the few points of power he had over his constant nightmare, who only seemed to show up when it was most inconvenient. There was no way he knew yet that could rid him of this hulking creature, but any way to dangle his own power in front of its nose was something he would latch on to.
Now that the beast had been silenced, Odin was finally able to relax and focus on the matter at hand. As he’d told his sisters, he now had twice as much as he went out to find, which had been a miracle in the first place, and he was potentially in the same room as a being with otherworldly power who could overthrow Titan. Hopefully soon, the ship would touch down for a supply refill, giving Odin a chance to knock out the guards, hotwire the ship, and-
Something fast darted across Odin’s open sketch book, circling back to land on the corner of the page. The teen snorted at it before flicking it away like a paper football, raising his gaze to the source. Purple ooze seemed to boil from the monster’s outstretched hands, insects bubbling out, shaking themselves free and flitting like gnats around the confined space. Dragonflies always seemed to be a favorite illusion of the ‘masked marvel,’ who seemed to be giving him a meaningful look before inclining its head to the side. Odin’s gaze followed to fall on Ava, who had shifted in her sleep and was now facing him. Her molten red hair fell over her shoulder in waves, amethyst dragonflies wreathing her body and covering her with a gentle violet glow. Royal purple flowers bloomed from the metal floor, their roots creeping along the seams, adding to the soft perfection of the scene. Ava, the brightest flower in the garden.
Odin had only one response.
“I-I’m not getting with her j-just because Y-YOU think she’s c-cute.”
There was a beat as monster and man stared at each other, then the beast threw its head back, shoulders shaking in what must have been laughter. Its white fangs gleamed in the dim prison light, the purple glow of its illusions fading into vapor.
Odin took a moment to close his eyes and clear his head, taking one last drag from his pipe to make sure he couldn’t hear the monster’s grating laughter once the smoke wore off. Grumbling a little to himself, he took the pipe out and tapped the end to knock out the embers. Maybe he’d be lucky and get a few extra minutes of quiet from this leaf, but knowing his current luck, he was doomed to three minutes, tops.
Despite his best efforts, the final words of the monster lingered in Odin’s mind just as thick as the smoke clung to the cell’s recycled air. “One day you must choose. Your pride, or her happiness.” What the heck was that supposed to mean? Anyone who knew him would laugh at the thought of him changing for anyone, even if that person were a girl with the power to will fire out of thin air.
He glanced over to Ava’s side of the room, snorting in relief to see his deadly apparition had disappeared. His gaze then drifted to the girl, and he froze solid.
Ava was staring right at him, her red eyes piercing his as a Cheshire cat grin revealed her fangs in a grin. “So you think I’m cute?”
A strangled sound caught in Odin’s throat, tongue unable to create any responses, and he turned a deep shade of purple. This only made her chortle, and he thrust his book in front of his face. This would not be the last he heard of that, he was certain of it.