The companion short story is also posted under the Free To Enjoy section -
"Possession: A Short Story"
A Short Story by Rosalie Thorne
Edited by Kathryn Maurer
Setting: A rather hipster café, too tiny for no reason, though a cool feature was that in the corner of the building was the door. The outer walls are all windows, the outside has climbing ivy and flowers almost as if they were creeping through the seams in the brick itself, the inside always a clean pane of class to look out into the streets. Inside, it was obvious Pluto and Persephone had bought the side-by-side vacancies because the little café could be confused with a flowers shop; more climbing ivy, hanging planters spaced perfectly throughout the dining area, blooming potted plants or flowers on every table - and the business next door was a very successful bar, dark and comfortable and perfect for after a long day at the university. Beyond the eclectic flower shop meets café vibe; however, there was a good range of drinks and healthier foods. In the end, though, it’s local and historic and therefore a favorite of the city.
The boy is almost pushing his way through the crowded sidewalk to make his appointment on time. He knew by her nature that she would already be there, waiting, so there is no justification in being late. In addition, his excitement about this meeting – about finally meeting her, finally finding her - was making his heart race and his mind move so quickly he cannot keep up with his conscious thought.
He wished he would have been there earlier, the normal mid-day rush of students making a thick line out the door. Saying “Excuse me!” he pushes his way through a cluster of guys just to break through into the café. He has worked so hard to get this far, no one and nothing is going to stand in his way.
As he is looking for her, memories of their lives together beyond this world force their way to the forefront of his mind. They have had so many lives, it seems, by now… and yet here they go again. It is hard at times, that was for sure – like going twenty plus years without her – but it was also so much fun! As a mortal, she is in constant need to grow and learn and change and adapt and be different, be better… and as Loki, it is as simple as: he needs chaos, he needs not to be stagnant, not to be still, not to be stuck. So, a perfect match.
With ‘timey-whimy-spacey-wacey’ bull-shit, he doesn’t actually know how long it’s been since they first met but every time he sees her he has the same feelings all over again. Even now, as he spots her in the far corner, his heart races, his breathing is unsteady, he gets the ‘butterfly’ feeling in his stomach, and yet… his mind becomes absolutely clear. There is only one thought and one thought alone: to love her, to protect her.
Even when sitting, he can see that this time she was a small female. Small in height, small in stature, a body like a ballet dancer and the posture of one. Also, the resting face of one, too, completely still, almost expressionless, just watching, waiting. Her hand is wrapped around her perspiring glass of what looks to be a strawberry smoothie, her long fingers moving up and down in a subtle in-anticipation movement. Her beautiful hands looking as if they’ve never done any hard labor in their lives, reflecting on the rest of her – blonde hair so clean and precisely styled in loose curls, her face clear and soft looking with ever subtle natural blush in her cheeks, her grass-green eyes bright with life. If he didn’t know any better – if he wasn’t aware of the truths she had expressed already - he would have never guessed she had faced hardship.
Again, dodging and weaving through the crowd of peers, he’s forced to move his bag in front of him to avoid hitting strangers. Her eyes are very much on him, watching him. It is obvious she knows it is him she had been waiting for, and yet she does not wave or even smile. No, just sits there silently, very still, very… small, her big green eyes watching him. Finally, he is able to sit and, with her silence, he comes to speak first. He did not mind. He wanted to see her, wanted to talk to her, wanted to know all about her. He is eager, he is interested, he is the one who is in her hands – the ball is in her court.
To keep up the façade that he is this nobody with a supernatural/paranormal, almost ‘X-Files’ or ‘Buffy’ themed blog and that this was an interview, he pulls out his small Google Chrome book with the flexible keyboard. In truth, this was not a post he would be making, he would never write a word about this in such a way…but he did need to get some information to Heimdall (his best friend, the one who – of course- knew both of them, and therefore, if there was something unexpected, like if she had PTSD or something, or if she had a demon following her, Heimdall would be able to aid him). Finally, with a very comforting smile, he says “Hi!”
She sips on the straw of her smoothie slowly. Then she says, “Hi....” flatly, cautiously - in a way so is to not express anything positive or negative. She had made it very clear in their messaging that this was not something she liked to talk about so it was up to him to make sure he did everything he could to make her feel comfortable, make her feel safe, make her feel sane.
“So...,” he says slowly… hoping she will begin to speak at this point. But she does not and he continues for her, “So... I just have a few questions. About your experiences with being possessed and the possessions themselves.” More to the character he is playing, he seems extremely excited, stumbling over his words.
Nothing in her changes, “Alright.”
He nods. “Okay... so... your blog... I know you claim it was fiction and some of it might have been. But how much? How much is true, how much was faked?”
She blinks slowly, her eyebrows rising ever so slightly. “I think it would be easier if you asked more specific questions.”
Whether this was true or not, it would make the experience easier for her, so he replies, “Right... right, no you’re right. That’s more direct, that’s easier.... So,” he clears his throat, “so, how many times have you been possessed?”
She lets out a curt, almost mockingly snarky laugh. “That’s like asking when I lost my virginity. I was raped... so, did I lose my virginity when I was raped or when I finally had consensual sex? Is virginity something we can control?”
Feeling his stomach turn into a knot and all the muscles in his body tense and twitch, he is only left to blink a few times too quickly. This is not the sort of thing he wanted to hear, but this is the sort of thing he knew he might hear and therefore need Heimdall's help. Trying to calm himself, he looks down…. Trying not to make this the focus of the conversation, he breaths very slowly. He doesn’t lift his eyes but takes a deep breath, “So there are some times you allowed possession?” he asks in a round-about way to be careful of her feelings.
“There were two times it was unwanted, unwelcome, where I completely lost power of my body. And then there are too many times to count where the conversation I was having flips - instead of hearing them speak in my head and responding out loud, suddenly they are speaking with my mouth and I respond in my head.”
He starts typing his email to his friend quickly, finally having a point where he can reach out for him; give away all the important and concerning info. Maybe it was the speed or maybe it was the concentration with which he does this, but he notices the girl become uncomfortable. He can see in her eyes that she is so viciously worried that she is going crazy and is therefore scared to continue talking.
Taking her very seriously he asks, “Alright, so two times it was unwanted. Let’s go through those. The first time? What can you remember? What were the circumstances? How… or why do you think it happened?”
Maybe because of a physical discomfort, maybe from a mental or emotional one, or maybe because of something subconscious, the girl leans forward with her elbows on the table, slowly sliding her glass back and forth between her hands. “The first time... I was very close to dead. I was coming out of a relationship that I cannot begin to explain - he was abusive, he was a predator, he was insane. This guy... he destroyed everything about me, everything that I was. I was left empty... alone, depressed. I have bipolar disorder,” she continued to elaborate, “so the depression was something that was really taking over my body... bit by bit my body was turning in on itself. Here’s the thing though, I cannot harm myself. No matter how much I want to or how many times I try it’s like there’s some protective spell cast over me and I cannot physically harm myself.” She looks away for a moment and takes a deep breath. Another moment, and then she looks back into his eyes. “Anyway.... I was at this friend’s house. He... was very spiritual and had a belief system that was very extreme. He said that he was half-demon and that his parents were Persephone and Hades, and so many more radical revelations that I can’t even remember.” She looks at him with worry, with skepticism, trying to study and analyze if he believes her or not. His eyebrows were raised, though in a very reassuring way, his gaze strong, insisting she continue. “I do remember though, that he said he thought I was one of his... uh, soulmates.” She flicks her hand with exasperation the same time her eyes roll. “He was in a poly relationship, you see, and he said that he knew me and knew me to me one of his soulmates. So, one night we stayed up way too late, though I was barely sleeping anyway. We get into this really intense conversation and I’m sitting naked on his couch and then it happened.”
He leans in to the girl that is his everything – his literal reason for existing, “The possession?” he asked softly, quietly, respectfully.
“Yeah.... Yeah. So you could say I was not only physically vulnerable, emotionally destroyed, but also mentally unsteady. I was so close to just snapping from reality all together. At first, I could tell something was wrong - something was off, I didn’t feel right. I can’t explain it... it’s… it’s like when you know you have something important to do but you just can’t remember...that odd feeling of ‘there’s something else, what is that something else.’ And, this time, there was surely something else. Abruptly, I was not the one speaking, I was not the one controlling my body, I was not the one in charge. I could see my friend and the apartment and my body; I could see just fine. I could hear, too. I could hear what IT was saying to my friend. And I could feel... feel the way my body was moving without my control. This... thing… inside of me was dark. It was furious. It was nasty. It spoke with an attitude and a snarky tone. It spoke like it had successfully done something, celebrating like ‘ha-ha-ha I have this body now!’” The last bit comes out in a sing-song manner.
He notes this, notes that he might have to hunt down whatever hurt her so. Concerned, knowing how badly possessions can go, he softly asks, “Then what? How did it leave?”
She smirks with a huffy exhale. “My friend? The one I said told me he was half-demon and son of Hades? He then became possessed by Hades himself.” She paused with just enough time for him to react: his brows furrow and he leans forward lips slightly agape. She continues to really paint the picture, “His stance changed, his voice deepened, his eyes did not blink. He spoke with the, I would discover at this point, escaped soul that was in my body and told it it had to go back. When the soul refused my friend - I mean Hades....” She stops short.
She starts blinking and then rubs her forehead. He has seen this type of behavior before – it is when memories are removed and yet the individual is trying to retrieve them. “I... I don’t remember exactly,” she confirms. “Either because what happened is otherworldly, Celestial beyond my mere mortal comprehension….” She trails off. “Or maybe it’s just because it was six fucking years ago….” She lets out a frustrated sigh. “All I remember is my friend, as Hades, holding his hand to my forehead and I immediately felt like I had an intense fucking fever. But for some reason, I want to swear there was water thrown at me and I was wet?” She shakes her head, as if she is trying to shake the memories loose. “I don’t know. But after... the soul had left me. After it had been sent back to The Underworld, I stared up at my friend and was surprised to find he was still clearly Hades.”
He looks at the girl, and not just as his persona, but true to his being, he is interested – fascinated that a God like that came through to handle the situation himself. “You... you spoke with Hades?”
She offers a crooked, entertained smile. “Yeah... and all I remember is thinking ‘holy fucking shit, I’m talking to Hades and I’m naked – oh, my god, oh, my god,’ and I was panicking. I’ve always loved his mythos and his relationship with Persephone, so to be talking to the real deal, naked! It was like those people who have nightmares about being naked in front of their classmates. It was so embarrassing! But either he couldn’t tell or didn’t mind, and he told me I was safe now but I really needed to rest. Then, all of a sudden, my friend was back to his normal self.”
He nods. “And that was that?”
She licked her lips and then bit her bottom lip. “Well, actually... a little bit later, I was lying in my friend’s bed after that and I was exhausted and crying and I don’t even remember... but I do remember my friend coming in. He wasn’t himself again. He was moving like a woman, his voice was high, and he spoke to me as….” She inhales sharply, “Well, as Persephone.”
He cocks a brow at the unlikeliness of the scenario and the girl smiles almost triumphantly. “It’s Persephone and she’s telling me I was her child and she loved me and I needed to be strong and she was so sorry for all the pain I had been through.”
In shock and awe that such a truth was said so plainly, he utters “... Jesus.”
The girl leans back in her chair, casually waving her hand as she speaks. “Yeah. So that was my first experience with all that.”
He writes a lot in his email, quite disapproving how his girl was introduced to this world, how she was Woken up. In that time, the girl orders another smoothie plus a chocolate chip cookie. He patiently waits for the order to arrive and the waitress to leave before saying, “Alright, so what about the second unwanted time?”
She sighs. “So you know how my friend was like, ‘Oh, I’m half-demon and my parents are Hades and Persephone’ and I was, like, his lost soulmate or something? Well, my older brother... my older brother somehow had fallen into a crowd of people who talked just like that kid from my community college. They all talked about past lives and this and that and one of them was considered ‘The High Priest of Florida’ and all this shit.” She rolls her eyes and shakes her head disapprovingly. “Anyway, so my older brother... whose name just so happens to be Michael, he fucking thinks he’s the Archangel Michael. No shit, I swear, he literally thinks he’s the angel.” Apparently, she felt she was trailing off because she sits a little straighter and expresses, “Sorry,” as an apology and continues. “So anyway, my brother comes to his buddy’s house where I’m staying and he’s talking to me. And for one, my brother has always disliked me. But, ever since he became the angel, he hated every fiber of my being and thought I was a demon and that I was, like, Loki’s God-spouse.”
‘Yes, exactly,’ he thinks. But again, does not approve of how this was introduced to her. Keeping up the façade, though, he says, “God-spouse?” with caution.
Her reaction is rather dismissive, though she does nod. And he knows – given all the times they’ve gone through this or something similar – she plainly just does not like the term ‘God-spouse’ because people throw it around so loosely and do not actually understand what it means and entails. She doesn’t ignore the subject all together and says, “That comes in later. Anyway, so I’m sitting on this dude’s couch and the same fucking thing happens again where I feel like something’s wrong. It’s the same feeling I had months earlier so I panic and move to a different couch and tell Michael that there’s something there that tried to possess me.”
Very intensely feeling like he needed to punch his girl's blood brother, he says “... did it?” slowly. “And how did your brother, an angel? React? Did he force the... thing out of you like Hades had?”
With a sigh, she explains, “I told Michael I didn’t want to go through that and I told him basically, if he really is an angel he needs to just send it away back to where-ever or whatever, ya know? But he’s so fucking self-serving that he forces me to get possessed so he can talk to the - at that point I think it was demonic - soul that was there. I don’t remember much of the conversation but my brother talked with it and it was the same thing. I saw, I heard, I felt, but it wasn’t me. But then... it just left. Either something my brother said compelled it... or it had said what it needed to say and... just left.”
Again, knowing how bad possessions can go, he asks with the utmost concern, “Did you have any negative effects thereafter?”
“Not physically. Although, there was my brother screaming at me and then hating me, so much in fact he not only didn’t invite me to his wedding, he set up security so I couldn’t ‘sneak’ in! Like I would even care to do that...,” she snorts, “but he still thinks I’m evil, or some sort of demon and a Loki God-spouse.”
He feels something a little weird when she says his name… because it’s not quite in a loving way but it’s far from disbelief. It was making him uncomfortable, if he was honest, and he continues to write this in his email. His biggest concern, at this point, is that she will not believe it is him. Then leans back in his chair, contemplative, trying to figure out how to broach this next subject. And after a moment, asks cautiously, “Is the Loki God-spouse where the other types of possession come in?”
Instantly, she wiggles uncomfortably. “I suppose so.”
He pauses and very thoughtfully explains, “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable... and you don’t have to say anything you don’t want to.”
She nods. “Basically, I am a poly-theist. I believe every God or Goddess that was ever worshiped, or will be praised in the future, is real. And just like with life - or any other belief system - they are all teachers. Personally, I took Lady Justice and Heimdall as my teachers because I have a control problem and an obsessive need to know the future; to make sure what I am doing is right and good. But, uh...” she laughs unintentionally, “so... Loki, though... ah Loki.” She looks to the ceiling with a small smile, then giggles softly; a giddy girl. (This is the reaction he is used to, this is the cute reaction he loves so much, this eases his fears.) Letting out a soft sigh and refocusing, she explains, “He came to me one night. Stood across the room, tossing a golden apple in his hand. I had always been fascinated with Loki, ever since I was a child. The movie ‘Mask’? The titular mask is Loki’s and that’s why Jim Carrey’s character does all that crazy shit. And my father is part Norwegian so I never gave up my interests in the Norse Myths, like reading runes and all that. But Loki.....” she laughs again slightly and closes her eyes. “He came to me and in the nicest way possible said, roughly, ‘Stop thinking you belong to other men.... stop looking for this random soulmate you so desperately want.’ He tossed the apple again and said, with a smirk, ‘You’re mine....’ That was the start of a very long, confusing, heartbreaking part of my life...that is still very, active.”
He recalls that fondly but wonders “You... could see him? Or was this a dream?”
“Nah...” the girl says matter-of-factly. “It was like... his presence was an obvious fact. I couldn’t see anything and I was very much awake but it all happened like it was fact. Like after reading a line in a book and then your brain repeats it back. That’s what always happens… facts just come to me. I don’t see anything, I don’t have visions normally. Sometimes I get facts that are future tense - that are coming. Only twice did I have a dream that was an actual visual fortune telling.” He looks surprised but excited with this confession but she sets him straight quickly, “Only once or twice did I hear him speak to me. But any other time... it’s just these facts that come to me.” She leans over the table, “See... I believe every realm or world or plain of existence sits right on top of each other,” she gestures across the table with her hands in stacks, moving them one over the other. “So that time... he was standing there in front of me as plainly as I am sitting across from you now. But we weren’t in the same realm. Somehow I knew that fact and I reacted.”
His thumb moves across his index finger in habit, a contemplative gesture as he stares at her unblinkingly, though without really seeing her. There were a lot of thoughts floating in and out of his mind…a lot of thoughts rising and falling from his consciousness to his sub-consciousness. There was a lot her mind was open to, there was a lot she already believed, there was a lot she had already been exposed to… but there was always a line. A line that could not be crossed. ‘What was that line?’ He wonders… and slowly he begins typing to Heimdall.
“Alright... so you said earlier that any other time you can claim possession is simply when the roles get reversed in the conversation and they talk with your mouth instead of you and your thoughts then become responses?”
“Yes, and it has only ever been Loki.”
“So... has he,” oh, goodness it was so weird for him to talk about himself in the third-person, “... er, ever moved your body or anything like that? Or is it just that he speaks with your voice and that’s it?” Because honestly, when they get into a multi-realm conversation like that, it is hard to tell what actually breaks through the barriers and what doesn't.
She shrugs. “That’s it. It’s like... it’s like the connection is so delicate that if he doesn’t speak through me, the connection could easily break. Does that make sense?”
He nods and is back to typing rather quickly. And out of the blue, he feels the need to reassure her, “That actually makes so much sense. Like a conduit. And don’t worry; I don’t think you’re crazy.”
Her voice is low, soft, almost as if she doesn’t want him to hear her at all. And he watches as even her body shrinks a little, her curling into herself. “Sometimes I wonder though... sometimes I feel it.”
Instantly, he pulls back and crosses his arms comfortably. He wants to make sure she knows his attention is only on her. “What do you mean?”
She sighs and put her hands to her face. Almost ashamed, almost scared, most definitely hurting. “I told you... after Loki came so clearly to me, he’s never left. And that term? ‘God-spouse’ literally means husband or wife of a God or Goddess. That term doesn’t feel right and I don’t use it... but… but....”
“You love him.”
She scratches her forehead. “Nuns love God, don’t they? Don’t they marry Him? Isn’t that their whole thing?” She shakes her head softly. “Look, it’s not like all these Tom Hiddleston fan-girls think it is like. It’s not like all these women who call themselves God-spouses after the first ‘Thor’ movie came out. It’s not like that at all.... He can’t come here. He can’t come to me. He can’t be human. So... it hurts.” Her voice is getting harsh, almost as if her throat was feeling raw with the pain. “It hurts so much every time the thought even flickers through my brain. It hurts so much that there are points I have begged any God, Goddess, Higher Being, or Lower Being to kill me so I could stop feeling the pain of the separation. It’s an addiction where there is no way to get a true fix.” Her voice becomes breathy and she feels like crying. “It’s like we’re two halves of one being and I feel broken and ruined and empty without the other half touching. Like ‘love’ doesn’t even begin to describe it - it’s more than that. It’s... it’s white, it’s pure. It’s overpowering. It’s fate.” Her voice slows and she curls into herself. “Maybe, maybe this is all just crazy talk of someone who has been hurt too much and has manifested this perfect person to love and loves them but it’s safe because he can’t come to me. And that’s what a shrink would say, I know it.”
He cuts her off and uses her own terminology, uses the same thought processes she was comfortable with. “But, it’s a fact, isn’t it? Just like any other fact that slips into your mind from places unknown. It’s a fact.” At this point he is almost begging her to see the fact – see the truth.
She looks at him, her expression changing slowly. And deep in her eyes he can see that another Fact is slipping into her mind. That someone, somewhere was feeding her just another piece of the puzzle. Slowly, curiously, she asks, “Who is it that you love?”
Finally, the weight is lifted from his chest and he smiles. She seems ready now, she seems willing, she is finally his. Reaching into his bag, he pulls out something that is rather iconic not just for him, but between them. It was his fidget thing – the thing that in most of her memories he was playing with, tossing up and down or from one hand to the other: pulling out a perfectly shaped golden apple, he places in the perfect center of the table.
Then, he is able to drop the façade, drop the bull-shit…. He knows it’s safe, that she is ready and willing and will accept everything that this is. His body shifts...he is no longer this over eager, geeky little nobody who was interviewing the girl for his bull-shit blog. No. He is strong, he sits up straight, he legs widen as he leans back. One forearm rests on his leg, the other on the table, his fingers tapping rhythmically one by one. His head tilts in that way she has known without ever seeing in this life. His smirk emerging the way she somehow knew it would. And he knows that she knows for a fact what he is about to say:
Thank you all for the read, don’t forget to look out for my future works! My author Facebook is The Mousy Girl: Rosalie Thorne, my Instagram is @TheMousyGirl, and my website is TheMousyGirl.com!