Chapter 8: Hushed Voices
I freeze on the spot. I can hear my brothers talking to her as she takes a step in but the words won’t register. A titanic wave of panic rises inside me as she walks in the bar. I drown in my own fears as she comes closer with a coy, faint smile on her lips. She is wearing the same worn jeans I had first seen her in and over it a black, tight t-shirt with the Tyr’s rune on it. Most girls rip the top off to show more cleavage but not Iris. Still the t-shirt wraps her body tightly and everyone can see how perfect her little body is with her supple waist and the full breasts swelling underneath the thin fabric. I turn to my brothers and all their eyes are on her with the same predatory look they have on every girl that walks through that door. I am in a killing mood right, ready to pluck all their eyeballs out. I bite my jaw down and my hand goes for the knife.
“Good morning, Rage.”
I turn and she has taken one step closer. She holds her distance but she is looking straight into my eyes. Is she making fun of me? Is she here to taunt me for catching me spying on her? Or is she out of her mind? In her eyes and there isn’t even a flicker of amusement or mocking. Her lips curl a bit more and she nods slightly. Her face has lost that unhealthy paleness she had when she first came in. Her cheeks have a pinkish hue and her lips are even redder. I look over her head at my brothers. Tor holds his cup of coffee a few inches from his lips, Wood still has the empty pot in his hand, Runner looks at me with his mouth gaping, Stig looks over his screen with knit eyebrows. They are all as shocked as I am.
I turn to her. I open my mouth but no words come out. I shut it, bite hard down, my jaw itching. I toy with my cigarette and run my fingers through my hair nervously. She needs to get away. I am screaming at her in my head to leave already, get the hell away from me. Instead, she takes one step closer and leans to me. I instinctively lean back away as if she is threatening me with a flaming rod. I will hurt her if she comes any closer. I will grab her and hurt her and she will bleed cause she came close to the Hellhound. And then she whispers, only for me to hear.
“Thank you for watching over me.”
Everything hushes, the screams, the agitation, the urges. My shoulders relax and only then I realize how tense they were. My breathing goes back to normal and the nervous twitching stops. For few precious seconds, I am peaceful. I get lost in those fucking eyes and everything that ticks relentlessly inside my head stops. Before I can fathom what has happened to me, she is gone into the kitchen and all I can do is follow her with my look.
“I’ll be damned.” Tor says making me turn to him.
All my brothers are looking at me with raised eyebrows and smiles. All the momentary serenity I felt goes up in smoke. I grunt as my nostrils twitch angrily.
“Aaaand he’s back.” Runner jokes.
I shake my head and go back to my room with long strides. The room is trashed and I look around for my boots. I put them on and then go out my bike. I start the engine and then speed away as fast as I can.
Thank you for watching over me. Her words echo in my mind. Was I? I was watching her, but was I watching over her? I did. It is true. I can sense she is scared, scared of something, someone, of life itself. And I hate to think she feels like that. I would kill anyone trying to hurt her. Not kill. Killing won’t be enough for anyone even touching a strand of her hair. I would torture and maim him till he would beg me to kill him. And then I would start all over again. The thought of Iris being hurt makes me go even faster.
I leave the town behind and go up the mountain. There is a place I like up there. I can see the whole city but the city can’t see me or the fucked-up things I do to myself when there is no else to torture. When I get there, I get off the bike and stand at the edge of the cliff. Times and times over again I have thought of taking one step further. It is a steep fall to certain death. But I am a Rider of Tyr, I am a feeder of eagles*. I am no coward that rolls head down to his own spineless death. I must endure and hope to die in battle.
Death. I wish for death every single fucking day since I remember. Even as a child. No child should wish death but I saw no other way out, just the eternal serenity the darkness of the end brought. Ever since I Runner took me in, I ride to this place, this edge of my world. And every day I come out here and look down at the cliff and the drop, stepping out at the very edge, listening to the pebbles roll down all the way to the bottom. And every day I dream of a gust of wind pushing me off, of the ground giving in under my feet. I picture myself at the bottom with my skull cracked and my fucked-up brains scattered all over, finally getting the peace that is robbed off me. Every day, every fucking single moment of my shitty life. Every day but today. Today all I can think of is...if she would like it up here.
* “Feed the eagle”: a kenning, a figurative speech usual in the Old Norse, that means “kill the enemies”