[This is a fragment from the draft novel The Wolves of Ragnarök. This part opens with most of the wolves present - although unnamed, in Angrboda lair, being hunted by an actor, playing the god Thor.]
To us all a full life and a fair measure of prosperity, happiness, pleasure and joy until we are visited by the lord of death, the destroyer of delights and the one who parts companions
Freyja blurs and shifts shape. High and far into cold skies, far above the castle she flies.
It is an ordinary picture.
A mother, her children, her grandchildren. Grey and black pelts gleaming in reflected light. Small hurts from scratches and bruises licked better. Half dozing after an afternoon of play and feast.
Here in the fading light they rest. Bellies full, content. Together, for the last time. The wolves of Ragnarok – the seeds of chaos.
The hawk calls as she circles wolf-home. Deep in the forests of the Jörmungandr she rises again, high above the land.
Here she sees Thor awander.
Far from the bright halls of Asgard, Thor trudges his doom, stalking the stalkers - those who are to face him at Ragnarok. Thor was once friend to Loki, but now he pursues the dark creatures that roam the forests - Loki’s children, the wolves of the Iron Hills.
He pursues this obsession tirelessly – killing the children with a gift from Loki, his hammer, Mjolnir. Unwittingly, folk of the farmsteads have prospered from his slaughter and the regard him highly. Farms have become towns and, as he trudges his lonely path, towns are becoming cities. And beyond the cities, a castle.
But despite his slaughter of Loki’s kin, his doom remains. It is sleeting – half ice and water. Just a little, but it is testing Thor’s spirits. He is so alone, drifting –unfocussed. Still, trying not to make plans, to brick up the future in a particular way. Savoring each moment, in the remembrance of the past. Tonight his hunt will be barren; the wolves are safe from Mjolnir.
In the past, before this age of wolves, the birds had chattered incessantly. The sounds of the city had passed into dreamy weekends, and everything had slowed down.
Curiously dislocated from the community around him, through the ice he trudges, noises of the city around him silenced in his mind – almost as though its daily toil deserves no second thought.
Can we be angry with this fool? He dismisses the reality of what is before him and the rhythm of life nearby, and escapes into a different doom. Is it is an arrogance.
His anger lies deep inside. It is bewilderment at his misjudgments, the unfinished things which littered his life and his capacity to hurt others. But most of all the way he left. Some little things canker – the tip of a knife unfixed, the wall of a room unrepaired, a boat half made, a path unraked, a fallen tree uncut.
Here no glimmer of joy has reentered the world – and maybe he will never smile again. The colors of autumn are remember all around, the greens of the refreshed gums, and the colors of the trees turning, yellows, bronze, red.
Briefly, his mind strays from the wolf spore and he wonders at the nature of ordinary human intercourse.
Earlier he had met the flower seller at the markets. He saw her, standing in the sun, her flowers arrayed in front of her. Elderly, yet happy in the warmth of the morning. She saw him. Looking at her wares. She called him over. He asked her price. She fell into the easy rhythm of question and response. What were these flowers? How should they be kept. How much would she take.
Question and answer: anticipated or unexpected. A dialogue, a pattern: in looks - a shrug - a question an answer. An action a response.
And yet with love, and violence, action and response become merged – we smile together, the giving of pain and feeling of pain, simultaneous.
But in abandonment – simply loss. The agony of violence without the immediacy of the touch of a knife, the slap of a wrist, the smashing of glass. The agony of love, now left. The questions left unanswered. The looks left unwatched. The shrugs forgotten. The descent into self.
In this melody, he hears a question followed by an answer. As experience builds on experience, he hears variations on the questions – and growing nuances in the responses. A beautiful complexity evolving – a sharing that anticipates reunion.
Still such pretty thoughts remain only as a tenuous link to the past. Thor snarls – the end is so near he can taste it. His eyes briefly catches the sight of a tower far in the distance.
He still wonders why the game holds attention so fiercely - and he struggled through a couple of the medical/psych journals a while back trying to figure it out. None of the reasons given were all that persuasive (some of those who looked promising seem to have stopped writing as they got sucked into the game themselves).
There are no immutable laws… He snarls again and spits into the snow. The spittle lands on a hot road between city blocks.
He wonders about the lies sitting behind his real life.