Episode One: The Horn: Scene 12

I’d met Bruce a couple of months ago in a coffee shop that had, a couple of days later, been damaged by an electric fire. It wasn’t looking good for reopening. So, finding him required the use of the trusty internet.

No, he wasn’t a guy I’d date, and frankly his daughter was hotter…did I say that out loud? Too old. But he supposedly knew something about weird stuff, and something about Norse runes. So he was the go-to guy if I could just track him down. He’d know something about what might be with the horn. Or not. At least he could confirm my odd knowledge about Tyr’s rune and justice. Or deny it and let me know for sure I was going nuts.

He agreed to meet me in Old Town Alexandria, where there was a real, honest-to-goodness magic store. Or, at least, a witchcraft supply store, which amounted to the same thing. I sat on a bench outside, enjoying the heat and contemplating the good ice cream place on the waterfront.

Bruce joined me. A thin, greying man, old enough to be my father or grandfather. He felt like no threat at all, almost as if it wasn’t really a man sitting next to me, but some genderless figure – never mind that I knew he was married and had two daughters. Maybe he was just that old. Or that married.

“Hey. I wanted an opinion on something.” I’d sketched the rune, and showed it to him, as the first thought.

“Tir. Or Tyr’s rune.”

I nodded. “I saw it used as decoration. Was wondering what it meant.” The confirmation, though, elevated my heart rate. I should have been relieved at the evidence I wasn’t insane, but I wasn’t. “No, that’s not true. I thought I knew what it meant.”

“That’s good. You’re remembering something.”

“Runes?” I felt my lips quirk, the gesture not quite voluntary.

“Lots of kids mess with them at some point,” he pointed out. “Because they think they can tell the future. Because they’re pretty. Maybe…” He stood, abruptly. “Let’s go inside.”

I followed him, curious. The interior of the store looked innocent enough. It was lined with books. In the center was a glass case containing some very nice…and presumably quite expensive…jewelry. The more interesting stuff was towards the back. Statues. Incense sticks. Rocks.

Rocks. And some had runes on them. I moved to look at them. Set under glass and on top of velvet pouches.

“Runes,” Bruce said. “Divination runes.”

“I know,” I found myself whispering. But maybe that was all it was. That I’d played with them before, messed with them as so many kids did.

“Maybe you should get some.”

I wanted to argue that I was broke, but I couldn’t. All I could do was stare at the marked rocks.

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