Boy meets werewolf.

≪There it is again. She’s opened another gate.≫

Hans found himself on a rough wooden floor. He dimly remembered landing roughly. He puffed as he stood. The wind had been knocked out of him. There must have been something on the floor because he felt really grimy. The air was pretty foul, too.

Brushing himself off, he looked about. It was a large room. In the dim torch light, he could only just make out stone walls. The wooden floor was littered with bones, rusty weapons, and ruined armor.

“OK. Now I’m worried,” Hans muttered.

“You should be,” rumbled a voice from behind him.

Hans looked toward the voice. From the ruin of some sort of bed, what could only be described as a wolfman, rose. Hans heard himself gulp. The beast walked over and bent down to look at Hans, face to face. He sniffed a couple of times.

“Human, from Midgard. No weapons.” The beast snorted a laugh. “You no doubt walked past that useless worm, but I’m amazed Hel didn’t take you into her care. She hasn’t had a plaything for a while and she would have taken a liking to a pretty boy like you. Even if you do need a bath. Or were you a disappointment?”

He sniffed again. Hans wondered how he could smell anything over the stench permeating the room.

“You must eat a lot of garlic, don’t you? Maybe that’s what I don’t like about your smell.”

“Sorry.”

The creature straightened. “Hmm. You intrude upon my lair, but apologize for your breath? You amuse me, human. I’ve not seen a mortal from your realm in many years, and none have been of a mood to talk before.”

Hans watched the creature walk back to its bed. Its gait was sort of like someone walking on his tiptoes. No mistaking his forelimbs as anything but arms with clawed hands, though. Hans hoped this wasn’t a real-life werewolf he was dealing with.

“Talk?,” He finally managed to squeak out.

“Consider that . . .” the wolfman picked at his teeth with a claw, “. . . the longer you keep my interest, the longer you put off dying.”

Hans recovered his voice, some. “What do you want to talk about?”

The beast rumbled a sigh, “Business first, I guess. I can smell lies, so be warned that the first one you offer me, will be your last. Did Gná send you?”

“Who?”

The wolfman sat up suddenly, but sniffing lay back down. “Odd. You don’t know that name at all?”

Hans shrugged, “I don’t even know how I got here. There was this electric circle thing with a naked woman inside. I touched it and ended up in here.”

The creature chuckled. “Now I know you didn’t come past Hel. If you entered a worldgate simply to get at a naked woman, you definitely wouldn’t have been that much of a disappointment to her. At least not so that she would send you to me right off.”

The wolfman glared. “Your tale is odd. The Aelfqueen must want you dead if that was her that sent you here. But why?”

The creature seemed lost in thought, then nodded. “Well, I’m of no mood to be her executioner. We’ll speak to Father after he has rested. He knows about these things and it will only be a few days.”

He rumbled, “Maybe you can be a decoy while I raid Hel’s kitchen for beer. Maybe pizza. Mmmm.”

Hans quavered as the creature bared its teeth at him. He realized it was grinning, but those fangs made it hard to smile back.

“What is your name, mortal?”

Hans faltered back a step. “Uh, well, my name’s Hans, Hans Madison.”

The beast stopped smiling. “Madison? A son of Modi?”

He suddenly raged, “Son of that betrayer, THOR!? No more talk Son of Modi. You die now!”

The creature leapt from its bed and onto Hans in a single bound, knocking him to the floor. It sank its teeth into Hans’ left shoulder, clawed hands gripping and piercing his arms. Hans screamed in pain and terror. An electrical bolt threw them each to opposite sides of the room.

With a growl and a roar, almost laughing, the beast exclaimed, “At last, Thor’s heir, come to do battle. Come Son of Modi. Come learn how the great Thor perished to these claws! Come feed me as his flesh did!”

Hans stood looking about for anywhere to run. “No! I didn’t come to fight. I told you. I don’t even know how I got here!”

The creature swiped at the air, as though catching a lie in the air and discarding it. “Fa! I had forgotten the stench of the Aesir, Son of Modi! But you reek of it!”

The creature charged at Hans again.

Hans grabbed a spear from the floor. It was broken off below steel langlets that should have served as reinforcements. It was awkward to hold, but it was long enough. And so he parried the first attack, lightning struck again from nowhere. The creature was stunned but lunged again, raking claws across his chest. Hans managed to block the next blow, and the next, electric fire flashing with each parry.

The beast hesitated a moment, breathing heavily. Hans considered that holding a metal spike with what must be an electrical storm raging outside, with his problem, might not be a good idea. Not that he could just put it down.

The next attack was slow and easily blocked. Hans thrust the spear at the wolfman catching it in the shoulder. Another electrical flash sent it tumbling back.

The creature down, Hans stepped back, gasping for air. Too out of breath to speak, he held a palm out to the creature.

“We don’t have to do this, Man.”

The beast failed to take the hint and leapt for Hans once more, catching the spear in one claw and striking out with the other, almost missing, he laid the left leg of Hans’ jeans open, drawing blood once more. That hurt. It could have taken his balls off.

Bellowing his own rage, Hans jerked the spear back and with both hands plunged it into the thing’s chest. An electric bolt traveled down the length of the spear and bathed the wolfman in blue light. It howled hideously before its body exploded.

Hans collapsed to floor gasping for breath, covered in blood and gore, most of it his opponent’s.

A thin, hollow voice rang out, “What is the meaning of this?!”

Groaning, Hans looked up. A hooded figure, fading in and out from barely visible to only slightly translucent, glared balefully at him.

“Who are you? Who are you to invade my home and slay my son within its walls?”

Hans hesitated, “I . . . I . . .”

“No matter. You won’t have a grave to be marked.”

The apparition pointed at Hans and flicked its wrist. A glowing sphere floated from its hand. It grew into a massive fireball, coming right at him. Hans covered his face with his arms. The fire ball struck him squarely and exploded, scattering debris. Hans removed his arms from his face and looked at them, then himself. He was unharmed.

The manifestation floated backward in amazement. “This can’t be! Who are you?”

Hans remained silent. He couldn’t decide if he was being defiant, or was simply scared out of his wits.

“Very well. You are DISMISSED!”

The room blurred and everything went dark.

Next:
CHAPTER 3–FEAR

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Copyright AndyOH! (Andrew F. Odendhal)
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This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead is coincidental.