The companion short story is also posted under the Free To Enjoy section -
"Guardian: A Short Story"
A Short Story by Rosalie Thorne
Edited by Shannon Whitsett
Setting: Tiny cafe with a door that’s at the corner of the building. The outer walls are windows, the inner walls hold mirrors. There are plants everywhere - ivy climbing the walls, hanging planters, blooming potted plants on every table. It’s the place Persephone would call home. The business next door was a bar with plenty of darkness and made more than enough money - easily could be home to her Pluto. It’s a nice enough cafe with plenty of drink options. Basically a mix between that mermaid coffee shop and the place where they use bread for bowls; but it’s local, historic, a favorite of the city.
The bell over the door rings as a girl enters. She finds her favorite table that always seems to be open, the one on the far right back corner. There she can see everyone and everything in the cafe and almost everything outside. Is this from paranoia? Maybe. Was this taught to her by her Naval officer father? Absolutely. She was told to always observe... keep watch – that that is the only way you can know what’s really going on.
She gets her usual: strawberry yogurt smoothie, from a familiar waitress. She knows the girl from school but their relationship is very superficial. However, she always leaves a heavy tip knowing how hard life can be... even though she doesn’t have much money herself. It’s her grandparent’s money, her parent’s money, or borrowed money for school. Her bank account? Checking - 0.00 Savings - 2.30.
The cafe is fairly busy and only going to get busier as the mid-day classes from the University down the road let out. This is good, this is what she wanted, this is why she requested here and now. The busier this place is the less likely people were actually going to pay attention to anything they hear. Or the less likely they would be hear anything at all.
The first wave of students come in. Either they’ve been up since their morning classes and need a second wind or are picking up something sweet before heading back to their home for that classic college nap. Maybe they just need something to keep going or they will never make it through the day.
Then... he comes in. He is tall with round glasses and curly hair. Looking downright like Harry-damn-Potter. He wears a green t-shirt and a black zip-up hoodie with his gray wash jeans. Though he is at least in his mid-twenties, he looks like that bespectacled boy. Is this comforting? Maybe. Does that matter? Not really. They are both there for one thing and one thing only: he is coming to interview her about the times she has been possessed.
It takes him a while to see her, she does not wave. She waits until he spots her and even when he waves and rushes over, moving his messenger bag - laptop bag? - in front of him to squeeze through the crowd, she waits silently with her drink and lets him speak first. If he speaks first it means he is the eager one, he is the one seeking information, he is the one that feels the need to know her story. Which means? She has all the power and can tell him as much or as little as she wants. Truthfully, this was not something she generally talked about - sure as hell was not something she brought up in the random. But she had made one stupid post on her fucking blog and he saw right through her lie that it was ‘fiction’.
He sits down and pulls out of those tablets with the weird thin bendable keyboards. He starts typing before he even says anything. But then, with wide eyes and a push of his curls away from his face he says “Hi!”
She sips on the straw of her smoothie slowly. Then she says, “Hi....” flatly, purposely failing to indicate whether she feels positive or negative about the situation.
“So...” he then pauses, giving her a place to speak. 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.” He is extremely excited, stumbling over his words - his brain obviously computing faster than his mouth can work.
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.”
“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 mocking 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?”
The boy blinks a few times too quickly and the girl notices his huffed breathing. He becomes tense and his head tilts as he looks down. She has seen this reaction plenty of times before - rape is such an uncomfortable subject for many; and it really tells you about who you’re with when they reaction. He doesn’t lift his eyes but takes a deep breath, “So there are some times you allowed possession?” he asks in a backwards way.
“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 feverishly and it makes the girl a little uncomfortable. She doesn’t like to talk about these things. She did not talk about her true beliefs at all, to anyone, because that would absolutely send her to the loony-bin. Normally, she was all alone with her thoughts and feelings, beliefs and memories. All alone and wanting to keep it that way.
“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?”
Her lower back was hurting so she shifts her weight to 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. She seems to center herself and locks eyes again. “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 where Persephone and Hades, and so many more radical revelations that I can’t even remember.” The girl looks up skeptically, gathering a sense if the interviewer believers her at all or if this was just a puff piece for his blog. His eyebrows were raised though in a very reassuring way, his eyes strong and insisting she continue. “I do remember though that he said he thought I was one of his... uh, soulmates.” She rolls her eyes and waves a hand with exasperation. “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. So we get into this really intense conversation and I’m sitting naked on his couch and then it happened.”
The interviewer leaned in, “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!’” She last bit comes out in a sing-song manner.
He takes down some notes; his brows furrowed and then says, “Then what? How did it leave?”
She smirked with a huff. “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 to let her interviewer react and he does. His brows furrow and he leans forward lips slightly agape. She continues to really drive home her point, “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...” but then she stops short.
She starts blinking and then rubs her forehead. “I... I don’t remember exactly. Either because of 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.”
The interviewer looks at the girl with fascination and pushes his glasses up his nose with one finger before continuing. “You... you spoke with Hades?”
She cracks a 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.”
The guy across the table from her nodded. “And that was that?”
She licked her lips and then bit her bottom lip. “Well actually... a little bit later, I was laying 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.”
The boy cocks a brow and the girl continues with a smile, “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.”
The interviewer’s mouth gapes open. “... 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.”
There was a lot of note taking and the girl ordered another of her usual plus a chocolate chip cookie. After it arrives and the waitress leaves, the guy says, “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 gives a shake of her head. “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.” Noticing she was trailing of she sits a little straighter and opens her hands with an apologetic gesture on the table. “Sorry. 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.”
Slowly the boy said, “God-spouse?” Not exactly expression confusion, but seeing this as an area of caution.
She nods but waves her hand dismissively. “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.”
“... did it? And how did your brother, an angel? React? Did he force the... thing out of you like Hades had?” he asks, a little confused.
She sighs. “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.”
“Did you have any negative effects thereafter?” he asks, looking truly concerned.
“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 writes down a couple more notes and then leans back in his chair, contemplative. Then, again, with the same sort of caution he asks, “Is the Loki God-spouse where the other types of possession come in?”
The girl became very uncomfortable. They were breaching ever so close to that line of the stuff she didn’t talk about. The stuff that would send her to the bad part of the hospital for an extended stay. “I suppose so.”
He paused 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. Letting out a soft sigh and refocuses and 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.....’ and that was the start of a very long, confusing, heartbreaking part of my life... that is still very, active.”
“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 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 a habitual gesture as he stares at her unblinkingly, without truly seeing. He then looks at his laptop screen and slowly starts typing. “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... er, ever moved your body or anything like that? Or is it just that he speaks with your voice and that’s it?”
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?”
The guy nods and is back to typing feverishly. “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. She feels very small and wishes she could make herself even smaller. “Sometimes I wonder though... sometimes I feel it.”
The guy looks up to her and takes his hands off his weird little laptop. He crosses his arms - not because he is angry or judgmental but because it feels comfortable and wants to make sure she knows his attention is purely on her. “What do you mean?”
She sighs and put her hands to her face. “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. “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.”
The girl finally looks at the guy across from her. They stare into each other’s eyes, not quite sure what is about to happen, not quite sure what to expect. Finally the girl speaks, just another fact slipping into her mind, “Who is it that you love?”
The guy smiles and reaches into his messenger bag. Pulling out a perfectly shaped golden apple, he places in the perfect center of the table. His body shifts... he is no longer this over eager, Harry Potter-looking, geeky little nobody who was interviewing the girl for his ‘The X-Files’ themed blog. No. He is strong, he sits up straighter, 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. His smirk emerging the way she somehow knew it would. And 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!