The alarm went off and scared the hell out of me. I sat up and immediately wished I hadn’t. My insides felt like they were sloshing inside of me. I was filled with booze and some evil Newtonian liquid.
I was hung over as hell. How much had I drank the night before? It started with that vile whisky. Then all of those beers. I am not a drinker. I recall screaming that. Was I on a table as I did? So many people and they all wanted to have a drink. They all happily came up and poured another and clinked glasses together
I staggered to the bathroom and puked for a long time. Heaving so hard I thought my head was going to explode from the force of it.
Eventually I had nothing left in me. I stayed on my knees in front of the toilet for a while, exhausted from the effort.
“I told you,” came a voice from the kitchen. “I said you had enough but did you listen?”
“Do you think that is helpful? At a time like this? I think I am dying.”
She peaked her head around the corner, somehow managing to look like perfection even though She matched me drink for drink.
“But I did try and warn you.”
“Yes my love. Can you do some magic and make me not be dying.”
“Come into the kitchen, I have a potion for you.”
I slowly got to my feet and .are my way into the kitchen. She smiled at me and managed to light the room. And handed me a cup of coffee.
“Magic potion huh?”
“It took me two hours to figure out the coffee maker. Might as well be magic.”
“I suppose so. Not a lot of technology here that I have noticed.”
“I don’t go to the other side very often. Each new person that comes brings knowledge and I try and learn all I can. A couple years ago Thomas and Ben came and they explained cellular phones and the worldwide web.”
Tom and Ben were a rather nice gay couple. They had started a microbrewery in town. I blame them for this pounding in my skull. They use the whisky barrels to for their beer. Gives it a very rich flavor.
“That explains how you kept texting and calling. I wondered.”
“With the worldwide web…”
“The internet. No calls it the worldwide web.”
“Fine. The internet. Using it we have figured out quite a bit. Have you seen Google?”
“I have a bit of familiarity with it, yes.”
She arched an eyebrow at me. I doubt she has had someone give her attitude or act like a smart ass very often. Every one here treats her with respect, almost worship. And from their stories last night I understood it. She saved them and gave them a new life that stretched on and on.
I am not that kind of guy. As madly in love as I find myself, there is no shut off to the mouth.
“I finally used the Google to figure out the coffee maker.”
“I love you Apricus. You are the best.”
The coffee was horrible. I don’t know what She did to it but it managed to be weak and gritty with an overall burnt taste. And She made a mess all ober the kitchen. The Google has failed this one.
But She seemed overjoyed at my words. So win win.
“I am a master of Google. I can teach you the ropes.”
“I look forward to it. Drink your coffee, we have a busy day ahead of us. Today we climb the East Tower.”
I perked up at that. It seemed mysterious in my exploration two days ago.
I choked down the swill and went to get dressed. On the bed was a new black outfit complete with bowtie, my personal favorite accoutrement. The clothes fit perfectly, like they were tailored for me. Which I am sure they were.
“Thanks for the new suit Beautiful, it fits perfectly.”
“You are welcome Handsome. And I know.”
I checked myself out in the mirror. The suit did fit nicely. I had never owned a tailored suit before. I needed a shave, the stubble on my head was getting dark but she had rubbed it last night and mentioned liking how soft it felt. And I’ll be damned if it wasn’t growing in evenly for the first time in twenty or so years. The perks of living with a Goddess I guess. My beard could use a trim as well.
And I couldn’t tell if it was the hangover or not, but I could swear my normally hazel eye had a streak of blue running through them.
I walked into the living room and She give a low whistle of approval. I felt like a piece of neat in the best possible way.
“Glad you approve.”
“I most certainly do. One more thing though,” she reached up and touched my earlobe where the two hoops dangles. I felt a surge of cold. “Much better.”
I checked out my ears using my phone camera. The hoops remained but were now made of sapphire. A small fortune hung from my ears now. She still stood close so I leaned in and kissed her gently by means of thanks.
She had taken the opportunity as I dressed to pour me a second cup of coffee.
I am not positive what I had done wrong but I accept my punishment.
I made us some eggs and went heavy on the kale. Needed protein after all the drinking and… other things I had been up to as of late. We ate in silence, watching each other in that way new couples do. It was a comfortable silence. After so long trapped alone neither of us had need to speak to fill the gaps. Each other’s presence was more than enough.
I reached out and took her hand. The feeling of being home, of belonging so very strong. Happiness that had eluded me for so long suddenly filled me like a sun burning on my chest. I wanted to explode from the swelling in my chest. The great tolling bell in my chest rang again.
Apricus gasped. I jerked back, worried I hurt Her somehow.
On Her finger was now band of sapphire like the ones in my ears.
“How?” I asked bewildered. But I knew. My will made my feelings solidify.
“I believe you are supposed to ask a question before you do this Haley.”
I froze. Did I just fucking propose? That was rather quick. Did I mean too?
I must have. I did. I would have had ten years with Her at this point. I was robbed of time, who knows how many fucking times?
I dropped to one knee and held Her hand, slipping the ring back off. I gazed into Her eyes, not as alien as I once thought. Beautiful and pure blue perfection. She stared at me, breathless.
“Apricus, my beloved. Ten years ago we found and lost each other. I don’t want to ever to lose you again. Marry me, be mine forever as I pledge myself to You until the end of days. I know it seems fast but we have been on a collision course to one another since before time itself. I love you.”
She stared at me in silence for what felt like forever. I was holding my breath as she looked deep into my eyes.
“I have longed to hear those words for longer than you can imagine. I have dreamt of it.”
“I can not imagine what it was like.”
She stared but did not see. Lost in thought.
“Common courtesy demands you answer though.”
“Yes Mikhail Ehrenkov.”
I slipped the ring back onto her finger. We kissed for a very long time after. And it was incredible. Eventually we came up for air.
“You sure know how to keep a girl waiting Haley.”
“It was not just me that made you wait. But I am sorry.”
“You speak the truth. The destroyers have sought to keep us apart as well. So many disparate things have been against our meeting. Only Mother has been trying to bring us closer.”
“The destroyers. You said Chad works for them. That wendigo that attacked me on the bridge, he is one as well, correct?”
“Yes. I never expected they would be so bold. If I had thought that they would have attacked you that night…”
“You didn’t know. It happened. We found one another. It doesn’t matter now.”
“You are wrong. It matters. We will find it together. And when we do we will tear it to shreds as it screams. We will make it a cautionary tale that all the others will whisper in fear. Vengeance will be ours my love and the entire world will shake with it.”
Shit. I need to always remember the to put the toilet seat down. Maybe try and watch my mouth as well. My fiance has a fierce temper.
And she can back it up.
“We need to climb the East Tower now my love. There is something you need to see.”
“Take my hand my love.”
I reached out and grabbed Her hand and something. Like space around us folded while on a rollercoaster going downhill at a million miles and hour in the middle of a kaleidoscope. When I traveled to the castle it was like stepping across the street with a wave of cold wind. This was like being thrown into a blender while a strobe light went off behind your eyes.
It was exhilarating.
When it cleared we were standing in a darkened room. Candles with the cold blue flames cast flickering light upon a giant table in the center of the room. All in all a huge let down. I don’t know exactly what I expected but it had more of a dramatic flair than a huge fucking table.
Apricus snapped her fingers and the candles flared. The walls were covered in runes, crackling with energy. The same sort of runes covered the table.
Now this was more like it.
“What is this?” I stared around the room. The writing on the walls shifted as I looked. The writing on the table did not. It stayed solid, pulsating with power.
I got closer to it. The thing was not made of wood. I set my hand on it felt rock, uneven stone. I ducked down and looked at the base. It was one solid piece supported by wooden cross beams. It looked familiar. I had seen it before somewhere.
I walked to the walls and ran my hands on the runes. They were cold, ice cold and my hand tingles as I touched them.
She watched me. Let me explore the room.
“Where have I seen this before?”
“When I showed you the past. You saw it then. Relax my love. Let it get to know your essence.”
“What the fuck does that mean? The giant stone?”
She just stood passively.
I was confused by Her words. Let it get to know my essence? How do you do something like that? It is an inanimate object. I went to the stone and placed my hands upon it.
“Hello. My name Is Mikhail. Haley to those close to me,” I spoke to the stone. I felt like an idiot.
The pulsating sped up. I went to trace my fingers on the writing but they were stuck. I pulled again. Harder with everything I had. I looked for Apricus but I couldn’t turn my body to where she stood. I tried to call out but no words came. Panic set in. I had to get away. Why the fuck were my hands not moving?
Then my head snapped back.
you have been through a lot over the span of a mortal life to finally find yourself here
i am Mother and i have know you a very long time
this meteor was my vessel to Apricus, a lovely name to define one of my favorite children chosen by one of my other favorites
you were destined for each other
a great destiny lies ahead for the both of you my children. your planet is dying and only together can you restore the balance
Apricus join us
for too long the destructive forces have run rampage upon this world
i told you long ago that one day your beloved would be born under the blue light, the light that has always guided you
now that time has begun, but this is just the beginning for the both of you
the balance must be restored, and time grows very short, harness your powers, learn to master control of the creation at your fingertips for it comes to destroy all life
look again for a sign under the blue light and follow it, it leads to your destinies, but be wary as it may also lead to your doom
My hands were suddenly free and mobile again. I felt like a newborn, weak and shaking. Apricus looked to be in the same shape.
“What the he’ll was that?”
She looked at the meteor for a long moment before turning to me.
“That, my love, was Mother. And She just spoke of a new prophecy.”
“We must eat. Regain our strength. Battle comes soon and we are woefully unprepared.”
“And I have an engagement to announce. Tonight shall make last night’s party seem like a paltry affair.”
“Can we walk to the kitchen? I don’t know if I am up for teleportation.”
“Wow. Unsuitable language for a lady. Accurate but unsuitable.”
She laughed and led me down a staircase through a hidden door in the wall. It was really cool. When we reached the bottom She moved a candle holder slightly and a seamless section of wall shifted. We were on the ramparts.
“Place your hand upon the wall and use your will to close the door.”
“Concentrate. Pour your energy into it and ask nicely.”
I placed my hand on the tower and tried to gather my will. I felt nothing. How did I do it before?
I was always at an emotional high or low. Right now I was just hungry. And confused. The prophecy was kind of a load of shit. How basic was that? A battle is coming and wait for a sign. That was a fucking warning, not a prophecy.
And frankly, I don’t want to battle. I am not built for fighting. I am a human. Apricus is a goddess. Mother is the entire freaking universe. I don’t like my odds. I never asked for any of this. I don’t want to sound unappreciative or anything. My connection with Her is like a dream. I truly love her. I feel like I have known Her my entire life and want to be by Her side the rest of it.
But this magic shit is not in my realm. If I stop for a minute and really think about the last week and a half I would probably have a complete mental breakdown. The realizations and new knowledge are too much to really comprehend. And Timmy being alive still. And the shit about Chad working with the supernatural bad guys. And the entire Beth saga.
I froze a man. Cured a sick woman. Had a wendigo toss me off of a bridge and infect me with some kind of bad juju. I am feeling the panic grow in my head. The breaking down of sanity.
Went from repeated suicide attempts to living in a goddamned magic castle. What the fuck is happening? And does Apricus not understand how beautiful and ferocious She is? She could literally have any man on the planet. And She wants a dumpy bald guy? What happens when She finally sees who I am? The flawed and worthless piece of shit that barely has enough ambition to get out of bed?
This entire thing is going to collapse around me. All of it is destined to fail, like everything else I have ever been part of. And I am supposed to close a fucking magic door by asking nicely. None of it makes any sense and I cannot breath…
“Well done my love.”
I looked and the door had closed. Huh.
“Is that really how you feel?”
“Ummm. What do you mean?”
“You were speaking out loud the last five minutes. You said it all to the wall. Is that how you really feel?”
“Well. I don’t know. It has been a lot and I have not had a chance to decompress. I don’t know anything anymore. I saw the fucking universe create itself out of nothing.”
She came to me and slapped me. Hard. Like I immediately reached up and felt for any teeth that had been knocked out.
“I understand it has been a lot. But never ever doubt yourself or your place at my side. You are an idiot.”
She wasn’t angry. I could see that. She was hurt. Disappointed. Upset.
And that was worse.
She pulled me in and hugged me tight. Not too tight but just the right amount.
“I know. I’m sorry. This is not how any of this would go if it were up to me. But it isn’t. You can do this my love. We can do this.”
I believed Her, at least believe she believes it. Just getting the thoughts out helped a little. I doubt realize just how much was building up inside of me. It wasn’t gone but it was under control. For now.
“Can we get some grub now? I am starving. And maybe some ice for my face. Wicked slap you got going on boo.”
“Uh, a term of affection.”
“Okay boo. Let’s grab some, uh, grub.”
“You make it sound natural my love.”
“I will slap you again. Boo.”
It was all going to work out. I hoped. Fuck.