Episode One: The Horn: Scene 14

Nothing, in fact, stopped bullies. I’d learned that before. As I started to head out the gates, I saw Mr. Otter. He was sitting on a bench opposite, peering at me from over the top of a trashy romance novel. What kind of guy reads trashy romance novels in public? Oddly, my first thought was: A dangerous one.

Or maybe not so oddly. Dangerous people don’t care what other people think. He winked. I turned down the sidewalk away from him, although I was contemplating matters. The horn. Maybe it had belonged to me.

Maybe it had belonged to my parents. Maybe they had been into all of this Norse stuff and I’d picked it up from them. It looked too old to be mine.

Or Mr. Otter had planted it. I glanced over my shoulder. He was no longer there, surprise surprise. Probably stalking me. Except that, like Bruce, I hadn’t picked up anything of sexual interest from him, although he seemed sensual for an older man.

Maybe he was gay. Might explain the trashy romance novel. Gay men were always way less afraid to be seen with things like that. Except that didn’t feel right either. I hadn’t recognized him. I just felt as if I should have.

And there he was, leaning against a doorway ahead of me, a sardonic expression on his face. “Got the horn yet?”

“Maybe I don’t want it,” was what came out. “Why don’t you get it yourself?”

“No fun.”

“Because you put it there,” I accused. Obvious. It was his horn and he was using it to try and…what? Trick me into stupidity? Maybe. I wasn’t going to do anything that crazy, but I couldn’t help but be tempted. It had been chosen to tempt me. “What do you want?”

“You’ll find out.”

Infuriating. I made up my mind to dislike him. “Go away. Get out of my life.”

“You don’t really want that.” Something about his tone was at once smooth and grating. I was torn between a desire to trust him and a desire to throw a drink in his face.

“I want answers,” I admitted. “But you don’t seem inclined to give them.”

“Get me the horn, and I’ll start talking,” he promised.

I had a feeling he wasn’t going to keep it. Turning, I walked away. This time, he didn’t teleport or whatever into my path, but my bag felt heavier. When I glanced…dang if he hadn’t stuck his trashy romance novel into it, the top of it sticking out.

What was this man up to?

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