II – Hands

[Pt. 1]

I suppose introductions are in order before I can really kick things off.

The humans like to call me the Angel of Death, despite my glaringly obvious lack of wings. Another reason behind my hatred of mankind: humans are disastrously stupid and often unwilling to admit this. I’d say no offence, but by this point I’m afraid it’s intended.

No, my real name is Huginn, but for the humans who recognize that name as well, this can begin to cloud things slightly. Huginn was my name back when I had someone to instruct me, and a sibling to keep me company. For those of you with whom this name doesn’t ring a bell, you have no idea how refreshing that is. A name you might recognize is Odin. Back when this name, along with many others (Thor, Freyja, and of course the infamous Loki) was on the lips of all of the human race, me and my brother Muninn spent our days circling the Nine Worlds, serving as Odin’s eyes and ears. The old man only had one eye anyway, so he needed all the help he could get, though you’d never catch me saying that to his face.

All you really need to know for now is that my brother and I were great at our job, and we helped the others rise to godhood. Then something happened and there were no Gods, or men…or messengers.

The last thing I remember is reaching out with my jet black wing to touch the tip of Muninn’s wing. Then the sky itself became a wing of equating blackness and my eyes could no longer do my master justice.

It is true I died that night along with my brethren, but just like every fantastical End of the World story, ours had a stage of rebirth. I hoped as my new eyes cracked open that day, that I would be back at my old post, crouching atop Odin’s throne with Muninn at my hip, but instead as I stretched my left wing out to the side, I saw that my feathers had all but dropped off like autumn leaves. I was fleshy and pink. Well, white. I had these kind of half-formed wings at the end of each arm. As I tilted my head up, I met a face as pale as my own, and the figure standing there informed me that these appendages were in fact “hands”.

“Fuck me.” I remember saying, and what escaped wasn’t the humanoid squawk I’d been used to, but the voice of a man. My voice.

I had only been in this body for thirty seconds and was already having my first existential crisis. The human in front of me had a strong jaw and protruding brow but was female. Her lips were full and as she smiled I felt something in me shiver into a thousand pieces.

“You might want to save those expletives. You’re going to need them.” The woman rolled up her sleeves, I recognised them from the bright halls of Asgard where the female guests wore chain mail frocks made of spun gold. This dress was nothing fancier than wool.

“Now take my hands. Take my hands and you will inherit the power.” She said, turning her palms towards me, they were lined with ink.

I stared at them in fear, in absolute awe. What power could she possibly pass on to me? And more importantly, was I even worthy?

“It won’t kill me will it?” I asked stupidly, not realising that she had already reached for my hands.

“My dear…” She laughed, her voice was deliciously gruff. My hands felt cold, numb. “You are beyond death. Now it is time to become it.”

I – Beginnings

How exactly do you tell somebody ‘Today’s the day you’re going to die’?

The short answer? You don’t. At least…I don’t.

When I was a temp I tried to be all Edgar Allen Poe about it, but the poetic nature of death becomes awfully tiresome when your audience doesn’t appreciate the effort you put into their demise. You’d be surprised how narcissistic some people can be in their final moments before taking the big plunge. That’s just one of the reasons I can barely stand to be around humans, but you’ll learn more about that shortly.

For now though, why don’t you just sit back, relax, and enjoy the vicariousness of other people’s suffering? Trust me, it’s easier than it sounds. You do it every day. You watch the News, you read the paper, you scroll through your so-called Newsfeed, all the while keeping a straight face. This won’t be any different, I assure you. And who are you not to trust me? After all, I’m the narrator, the newscaster, reporter on the scene.

So go ahead. Trust me.

There. That was easy, wasn’t it?

Now we can really begin.

[Pt. 2]

Untitled

Now we know where the pigeons sleep.

The boys pass on bikes,
Now women
Old and young,
Large square baskets
Decorated with the scent
Of real flowers.
Tired warriors screech above.

The tracks hum
Like a horse hair bow
Straining across the neck
Of viola strings.

Now we know where the pigeons sleep.

They will not hear
The perfect C chord,
Their dreams are feet and
Whirling wheels,
They dream
In black and white.