Episode One: The Horn: Scene 5

The horn was back in the pawn shop window. It was the middle of the night, the place was closed, and I stood there, staring at it.

It wasn’t real. Or it was, and only I could see it, and I wondered if I could see the price tag if what was on it would be one word. I imagined it reading “SOUL.”

I couldn’t accept that I was going mad. I thought it was a memory. That I’d seen or known or owned a horn like that at some point in the past, and my mind was somehow inserting it.

Tyr’s rune. Justice. What was happening to me? No. I’d just known that once, that was all, in some nebulous time before the six months I’d been here. I wasn’t even sure I was sixteen. It was a guess, because they had to make a guess, they had to give me a name.

Tyr’s rune. And I was supposed to have it, but I didn’t, and I wanted to run home again, to get to my bedroom and lock the door against people who’d try to mug me in broad daylight and whispers that warned me and disappearing and appearing horns.

The other alternative was to break in and steal it. I couldn’t believe I’d contemplated that, knowing it wasn’t really there. But it was tempting in a way it shouldn’t be. I thrust my hands in my pockets and started to walk away.

“You know you want it.” A male voice, and I heard footsteps approaching from behind. Tall, thin, grey hair.

“I won’t steal it.”

“Suit yourself. But if you want it, you’ll have to take action.”

“I don’t know you.” I tried to quicken my pace, but he matched me.

“Call me…Mr. Otter.”

The name didn’t even feel familiar, didn’t even feel as if it was somewhere in the back of my brain. Felt fake, but at the same time, I had a strong desire to trust him. “Do you know who I am?”

That was stupid. He was some creep, he couldn’t know, didn’t know. Didn’t have a clue. “Maybe,” he said, in that same voice, that same slight smile crossing his features, and then he turned to walk away.

I might have called after him, but there were too many people watching. Too many witnesses who might have heard a more protracted exchange.

Maybe. I didn’t like that maybe.

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