Wunmi Mosaku as
Wim de Klerk as
(Greek god of Intelligence)
Stian Bjørnes as
(Norse god of Vengeance)
Tom Busson as
(Celtic god of Healing)
Valery Kovtun as
(Slavic god of Mischief)
Bloody footprints trailed behind Leonard as he ran as fast as he could down the dark, dirt road. He could still smell the foul stench of burnt flesh as the screams of his best friend lingered in his mind.
Leonard knew it was by the grace of God that his asthma hadn't killed him by now. Though he was convinced if his asthma didn't, the mob of angry white men chasing him down sure would.
It had been Leonard's biggest fear.
For that fateful day to come.
When he'd make the wrong turn. Stumble across the wrong group of people. And end up with a rope around his neck, strung up to a tree as his feet fought against the flaming torches of the monsters that haunted his nightmares.
Like they did Aaron.
Leonard shook his head as tears flew from his eyes. He had to push past the pain of the rocks and glass embedded in his bleeding feet. The way his lungs squeezed his heart as he tried to pace himself. The way his eyes burned from the dust that kicked up around him as he ran for his life. The way his face throbbed from the lingering pain of having a piece of wood smashed against his face.
His father had warned him about wandering into Sundown towns. That the color of his skin made him a target for evil in its ugliest form.
And now Leonard was on the run, praying to God that he wouldn't suffer the same fate as his best friend.
All Leonard could think about was getting back home. Back to his mother and father. Back to his sisters and brother.
"Please God!" he cried out as he stumbled over the hill. His body was heavy with exhaustion as every nerve in his muscles burned from fatigue.
He could still hear the mob behind him. "Get back here, you dirty nigger! We gon' string you up real good!"
Leonard was almost hoping he'd die from lack of oxygen before they caught up to him. He trudged up the hill, his fingers digging into the soil when suddenly a blinding beam of light blasted in front of him.
His body went flying in the air as he tumbled down the other side of the hill. Clutching his chest, he wheezed heavily as he struggled to breathe.
He lifted his bloody head to see what sent him soaring through the air when his eyes widened in shock.
Leonard didn't understand what he was looking at. It seemed like four shadows bathed in gold stood a few feet from him. The ground beneath their feet had been scorched all the way down to the core.
Fear rose in his throat like bile as he saw their skin shimmer to the shade of the killers that were chasing him.
Their mouths moved. They looked to be speaking to each other, but Leonard couldn't understand a word they were saying. He saw the one closest to him stare at him and Leonard felt his stomach drop to his butt.
He tried to crawl backward as the man walked up to him. His long dark black hair curtained his face and fell to his naked shoulders. His eyes were a strange golden color that left Leonard mesmerized. The man opened his mouth to speak, but still, Leonard had no idea what he was saying. It didn't sound like any language he had ever heard before, but it wasn't as if Leonard had traveled to many places to know either way.
He panicked as the man crouched down and grabbed his chin.
"P-please! Please! I 'ont want no trouble, suh! I'm j-just-" Leonard stammered. But he abruptly froze as the man's finger rubbed against his throat.
Then he opened his mouth to speak.
"This mortal speaks the Germanic language of... English."
His voice was deep and soft with a hint of smooth Greek. Intimidating yet soothing all at once. The strange man looked at the other three as he held Leonard's chin. "Adapt," Coeus said simply.
Leonard watched as the other three naked men rolled out their necks and flexed their limbs.
"English... interestin'..." Grannus said softly in a light voice with a hint of Gaelic as he analyzed the lines on his hand.
"...boring would be the more appropriate term..." Veles quipped. The light roll in his R's emphasized his Russian accent.
Leonard furrowed his brows in confusion when he suddenly heard the loud mob behind him.
They had finally caught up.
Leonard panicked with fear. This was the end.
Coeus stood to his feet and looked at the mob curiously. He furrowed his brow with intrigue as he took in their guns, torches, baseball bats, and thick rope.
Leonard had no idea what to do. Which group of white men would kill him first? Or would they fight for the pleasure?
"Who the hell are you?" one of the men from the mob barked.
"I believe it is talking to us," Vidar, the large, muscular man with short blonde hair said gruffly in a deep Scandinavian accent.
"Listen, here!" another man from the mob snapped. "I 'on't know what you fellas doin' out here in this here woods, all naked and shit."
"They probably what them call... ho-mo-sexuals," another man snorted.
Grannus raised an amused brow.
"That's what you are, ain't you? Y'all pro'bly 'em city folk. Sleepin' wi' 'em other ho-mo-sexuals and niggers like that one, ain't ya?" the first man mocked.
The four men just stared at the mob as if they were newly discovered animals.
"Okay..." the head of the mob muttered. "Well, listen. We ain't got no business wit ya. Just give us that there nigger boy and we be on our way?"
Leonard scrambled back as he watched Coeus walk up to the head of the mob. The men of the mob immediately pulled out their guns and aimed them at him.
"Ai! You back up on now or I swear to god I'll blow yer motherfuckin' head off you son of a bitch," the man snarled.
Coeus raised an intrigued brow and went to grab him when the gun went off and hit him square in the shoulder.
Leonard's eyes widened in shock as he watched Coeus look down at the bullet in his shoulder. He dug into his arm and pulled out the bullet as the wound closed. Coeus eyed the bullet curiously as the mob stared in complete shock.
"What sort of material is it, Coeus?" Vidar asked casually.
"It seems to be some variation of... metal substance," Coeus speculated. "Ah... I see now. It is a bullet."
He flicked it to Vidar who caught it midair and analyzed the bullet between his fingers.
"Humans... so primitive," Vidar snorted. He aimed his fingers and flicked the bullet back at the leader of the mob sending it straight through his skull.
The rest of the mob shouted before they aimed their guns and started shooting.
Leonard screamed in shock as he tried to scramble away from the chaos. He glanced over his shoulder and saw Vidar grab a man's shoulder and rip his arm from his body like he was ripping a piece of toilet paper. Blood sprayed in the air with the body parts that went flying in every which direction.
Leonard tried to crawl away as body parts fell around him like it was raining from the sky. Blood seeped into his hair and coated his skin as he tried to get as far away as possible.
His asthma worsened as he clutched his chest, struggling to breathe. Collapsing on the ground, he rolled over on his back and wheezed. With every breath he took, he felt his heart being squeezed tighter and tighter as his vision started to blur.
"...what's this now?"
His strained, bloodshot eyes slid to the right, and saw the naked man with long curly red hair walk up to him, sprinkled with blood.
Grannus crouched down next to him and looked down at him with the most unsettling pale blue eyes.
Leonard twitched as Grannus' hand sifted beneath his shirt and grazed his skin.
"Be still, human... I want to see if the mortal anatomy has stayed... consistent..." Grannus said to him calmly.
Leonard's eyes widened as Grannus' fingers dug into his chest. He let out a blood-curdling scream as Grannus' fingers split through his skin and dug deep until he could feel him beneath his rib cage.
"...that's interestin'..." Grannus said curiously.
Leonard nearly passed out from the pain until his breathing slowly started to regulate. He inhaled and exhaled as Grannus removed his fingers. He had never been able to breathe so easily in all his life.
"Must you touch him like that?"
Leonard looked past Grannus to the pale naked man with long platinum blonde-hair standing behind him. An irritated scowl painted his face that was as white as snow. His distinct sharp blue eyes nearly sent Leonard into a panic. It felt like he was looking into the eyes of the devil.
Grannus looked up at Veles and grinned. "Is that jealousy, dear lover?'
Veles snorted. "Does a predator envy its prey?"
Grannus smiled as he looked back down at Leonard. "... he's quite beautiful... isn't he?"
Leonard croaked as he saw Veles' skin darken. His eye color shifted. His hair shortened and darkened and his body and face mutated to look exactly like him.
"Would this please you better?" Veles said mockingly.
Grannus chuckled amused. "...you're so sensitive, Veles."
Veles rolled his eyes as they slowly morphed from brown to sharp blue and his body shifted back to its original form. "VIDAR!" he snarled. "Would you stop making those mortals scream? It's irritating."
Vidar ran his bloody fingers through his blood-stained blonde hair as he looked at all of the dismembered corpses on the ground.
"Did you enjoy yourself?" Coeus said with his eyes closed as his fingers dug into the soil.
Vidar grinned as he nodded his head. "Worry about finding our destination, Coeus."
Coeus opened his eyes as his golden irises shimmered. "About 200 miles from here."
"A kiss may be grand, but it won't pay the rental on your humble flat..."
Norma leaned against the wooden pillar at the back of the crowded Gentleman's Club. With her head tilted to the side, she watched with a lulled gaze as the beautiful woman on stage sang.
"Men grow cold as girls grow old, and we all lose our charms in the end..."
She quietly sang with the lyrics that she already knew word-for-word. Not just because of how many times she had seen Sandra perform it on that stage... but because she had fallen in love with the lyrics herself.
"But square-cut or pear-shaped, these rocks don't lose their shape. Diamonds are a girl's best friend."
The men sitting at the round tables hooted and whistled as Sandra spun around in her shimmering skirt. Her long creamy white legs teasing her audience as her heels kicked in the air. Her long blonde hair flowed behind her as she sensually moved her body to the music.
Norma let out a wanting sigh as she imagined herself on a stage like that. To be adored as she belted her heart out.
But Sandra was everything that Norma was not.
Sandra was a slim white woman with silky blonde hair and eyes that sparkled like the seas Norma always dreamed of sailing.
Norma, on the other hand, was a dark-skinned black woman with kinky 4C hair that didn't last an hour after being straightened. She was more than twice Sandra's size, yet clearly not big enough to be noticed by the audience she served... who rendered her... completely invisible.
She wished she was invisible to at least one white man...
"NORMA RAY IF I HAVE TO CALL YOUR FAT ASS ONE MORE DAMN TIME!"
Norma turned around and saw her manager behind one of the counters, tapping on the wooden tabletop.
"Sorry, Mr. William," Norma apologized as she walked up to the counter.
"Stop apologizing and take these drinks to the group of gentlemen at table 33," William ordered her.
Norma let out a frustrated sigh as she irritably snatched the tray of drinks and worked her way through the maze of tables. She came to a group of 6 white men at a table scattered with playing cards. Smoking and laughing as they watched Sandra on stage.
"Here you go," Norma said placing their drinks down.
Not a single soul bothered to look at her as they continued their conversation. Norma sucked her teeth and rolled her eyes as she turned to leave when she felt something hit her in the shoulder.
She saw a burnt cigarette land in her blouse before she looked at the man who threw it at her.
"Get me a scotch, will ya?" the man said dismissively.
Norma's nostrils flared as she took a deep breath. "...right away, sir..."
At the end of a long shift, Norma wrapped her coat around her body and headed towards her manager's office. She saw several other colored women leaving as Sandra batted her eyes at a few men trying to speak to her.
"Here's your earnings. And for you... and here you go," William said handing an envelope to each of his workers. He slid a small envelope across the table to Norma.
After picking it up, Norma realized her envelope felt a little lighter than usual. She opened the envelope and looked inside.
"Mr. William, this can't be all of it," she said. "I worked a full 9-hour shift. I didn't even take lunch."
"Maybe don't daydream so much next time," William said dismissively without looking at her. He handed a thicker envelope to Sandra.
"Thanks, Willie," Sandra smirked at him. She pulled her fur coat around herself and smiled at Norma. "Have a good evening, Normal."
"It's Norma," Norma said sucking her teeth as she turned around and stormed outside.
Norma's shoulders stopped tensing up once she crossed the border from the white town she worked in to the busy
streets of her hometown. Jazz music floated in the air as she pulled into the parking lot next to her family's apartment.
She got out of the car and grabbed her bag.
"Evening, Ms. Ray!"
A bright smile decorated Norma's face as she waved at her neighbors. "Hi, Danielle! Hi, Lisa!"
She walked down the sidewalk and turned the corner when she bumped into someone and dropped her keys. "Oh, shoot dangit! Sorry," she said going to bend down.
"Don't worry, I got it."
Norma's cheeks warmed up as a handsome man with brown skin and short kinky hair bent down to pick up her keys. He stood up and handed the keys to her.
"Thanks, Terrance," she smiled up at him.
Terrance grinned at her as his dimples complemented the softness of his brown eyes. "Late shift tonight?" he asked in his husky voice.
"The usual," she rolled her eyes with a smirk. "I swear ain't nothin' more exhaustin' than workin' fo these damn ungrateful, entitled white folks."
Terrence chuckled. "You tellin' me. That's why I'm gone start me my own car shop. Every damn car shop be chargin' colored folks twice the price they charge white folks."
"Meanwhile, we out here makin' half what they do, workin' twice as hard," Norma said shaking her head.
"Right? But just you wait, Norma. Couple paychecks from now, you'll see it in big red letters... Terrence's Auto Body Shop for Colored Folks."
"Kinda long, don't you think, Terrence?" she teased.
Terrence grinned. "Maybe. But shit, if they get to make , shops exclusive... so's I."
Norma smiled. "I can't wait to see it."
"Good. And then maybe we can get this old hoopty fixed up," he said gesturing to her car with his chin.
"Excuse me?! Boy, I know you ain't callin' my car a hoopty!"
"Norma Ray, I could hear that old bag a metal jinglin' and janglin' down the street a mile away," Terrence teased.
"TERRANCE!" Norma gasped dramatically as Terrance laughed out loud.
"I's just playin' witcha, Norma," he said, gently touching her cheek.
Norma bit her bottom lip as she met his gaze. He looked at her lips before he cleared his throat. "... you have a good evening now... Ms. Norma Ray..."
"Evening, Terrance..." she smiled warmly as she watched him walk off. She touched her cheek, just to feel his lingering presence before she smiled to herself and headed towards the apartment building.
"DARRELL! THIS THE 5TH TIME YOUR RAGGEDY BLACK ASS DONE CHEATED!"
"How many times I gotta tell you, Eva? Just cause your dumb ass lost don't mean I cheated. You just suck!"
Norma shook her head with a chuckle as she stepped into the small apartment. She spotted her oldest brother sitting in the corner of the kitchen scribbling down on a piece of paper. He looked up at her and smiled.
"Hey there, baby girl."
"Hey, Jordan," she smiled as she hung her coat up. "I see they already at it."
Jordan snorted. "Chile, they been at it for 2 hours now. I'm surprise they ain't woke Pops up."
"How is he?" Norma asked.
Jordan shrugged as he looked down at the paper. "...his condition ain't change, Norma..."
Norma swallowed hard as she let out a slow breath. She knew Jordan hated when she asked about their father's condition, because unlike her... Jordan had lost hope in any improvement of their father's health.
"What you workin' on?" she asked, trying to break the awkward silence.
Jordan's face split into a wild smile as he held up a piece of paper. "My application for the Fire Department."
Norma's face fell. "...Jordan..."
"Now, I know what you gone say," Jordan said quickly. "I already applied 4 times-"
"And got rejected... 4 times. Jordan, you know that fire department ain't neva gone hire no negro."
"Okay, but listen, it'll be different this time, Norma," Jordan argued.
"Remember those classes I took this summer? And, and I've been volunteerin' for the past months. Even the chief knows me," Jordan said.
"The chief? That white man that look like death run over twice?" Norma asked with a raised brow.
"Yea, that's the one," Jordan chuckled. "Give 'im a break, Norma. Man is stressed from his job. Savin' people and whatnot.
That's gone be me, Norma. I feel it."
Norma gave her brother a sad smile. "I have faith in you, Jordan."
Jordan smiled when suddenly a large crash came from in the living room.
"Y'ALL BETTA CUT IT OUT BEFORE YOU WAKE UP POPS! DON'T MAKE ME COME IN THERE, I WHOOP ALL Y'ALL ASSES!" Jordan shouted.
"SHUT UP, JORDAN! YOU AIN'T MY DADDY!" Eva shouted back
Jordan's mouth dropped as he shot up from his seat. "GIRL, WHAT THE HELL YOU SAY TO ME!" he snarled as he stormed
into the living room.
"OK WAIT! JORDAN! I WAS KIDDIN'! WAIT! STOOOOOP! NORMAAAAA!"
Norma stepped into her father's room holding a tray of soup. She quickly closed the door shut to drown out her siblings' bickering in the living room.
She walked up to her father sleeping in bed. His chest rose and fell as he wheezed every time he breathed out.
Norma sat the tray of soup on the night table next to him and got down on her knees next to his bed. She gently placed her hand on top of his as she looked at his aged and weary face.
"...I thought about mama today..." she said quietly as her thumb gently stroked the back of his hand.
"I thought about... how you and mama used to... used to take us to see Auntie Dee by the bayou when we was kids... and you taught us how to swim... how mama was so mad when we tracked water in the house..." Norma chuckled sadly.
She swallowed hard as she saw her father's eyes slowly open before he turned to look at her.
"N-Norma?" he said weakly as he tried to touch her face.
"Hey, pops," she smiled as she held his hand to her face.
She gently put his hand down and grabbed a chair to sit on so that she could feed him. "I learned 'nother song today at work," she said to him as she carefully pushed the spoon into his mouth. "Want me to sing it to ya?"
"If you can hear it call... there's a river called the river of no return... sometimes it's peaceful and sometimes wild and free! Love's a traveler on the river of no return... swept on forever to be lost in the stormy sea..."
A tear slipped down Norma's cheek as she sang softly to her father. She had barely gotten through half the bowl of soup before he was knocked out again.
She wiped the tears from her face before she leaned over and kissed the top of his head.
"I love you, pa."
She stood to her feet and walked out of the room with the rest of his food.
Norma turned around as her sister ran up to her. Her eyes widened to see her sister's hair had been straightened and dyed a whole shade lighter. The bustier she wore pushed up her breasts as her high-waist jeans accentuated her small waist and curvaceous hips.
"EVA RAY!" Norma gasped.
"You like?" Eva asked as she did a little twirl.
"What's all this for?" Norma asked.
"I have an audition tomorrow for one of them laundry detergent commercials," Eva smiled.
Norma raised a brow. "And you gotta look like an escort to advertise laundry?"
"Norma! You hafta think bigger than that! Firs', it's laundry detergent... then it's starrin' opposite James Dean as his leadin' lady," Eva said dramatically.
"Mmm, okay okay. There's just one problem there, baby sis," Norma said.
"Oh yea, what's that?" Eva asked.
"This!" Norma said, holding up her wrist.
Eva sucked her teeth as she snatched her wrist out of her hand. "The world is changin', Norma. Colored gals are on TV now."
"Colored gals are on TV playin' maids and slaves, Eva. Not leadin' ladies and especially not to no white man."
Eva shook her head. "Why can't you just support me on this, Norma? You know it's been my life-long dream to be an actress."
Norma sighed. "Alright... I'm sorry, Eva, it's just... I ain't want you to be disappointed."
Eva smiled sadly. "I could really use my big sister's support."
Norma smiled. "... you look good, Eva."
"Thank you, but that's not the kind of support I'm talkin' 'bout. My audition is smack in the middle of my shift at the retirement home tomorrow-"
"And I just need you to cover the first two hours!"
"EVA! IT'S MY DAY OFF!"
"Come on, Norma! This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me!" Eva pleaded.
Norma pinched her nose as she let out a frustrated sigh. "Fine."
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You're the best sister eva!"
"Girl, I'm ya only sister," Norma said sucking her teeth.
Norma dropped her car keys into her purse as she walked up to the red-brick building. She readjusted her white button-up blouse and lifted the curls of her hair.
Norma was the one who got Eva a job at the retirement home so that she could work fewer shifts and take on an extra job at the Gentleman's Club. Although they couldn't afford to get their father proper care, they learned what they could at the retirement home and stocked up on as much materials as possible without being caught.
She wasn't sure if the shift supervisor would allow her to cover her sister. Normally, they would have to provide a week's notice. For Eva's sake, she hoped this time would be an exception.
Norma stepped into the building and headed towards the locker room when she heard someone yelling behind her.
Norma turned around and faced one of the managers dressed in a dress suit. "Good Morning, Ma'am."
"I thought you were off today?" the woman asked.
"I am, ma'am. But I'm covering for my sister, Eva Ray," Norma said politely.
The woman eyed her suspiciously. "You just breakin' blatant policy to cover your sister's hiney?"
"No, ma'am, she had an emergency, and-" Norma started quickly.
"Whatever," the woman said waving her hand dismissively. "The patients can't tell you, colored folks, apart anyway. Just don't mess nothin' up or both you and your sister are fired."
Norma scoffed as she curled her upper lip. "Yes, ma'am," she muttered as the woman brushed by her.
Norma shook her head as she headed to the locker station. After getting herself situated, she grabbed her sister's assignment clipboard for the day and started her rounds.
Working in the retirement home was a love-hate job for Norma. She was naturally a caregiver. When she came upon these elderly white folks, she couldn't help but see her father in their place. She treated them as she would want him to be treated.
Sometimes it came easy. When they were quiet.
It was when some of them opened their mouths that she had the most difficulty maintaining her professionalism.
"Where that house nigger?"
Norma took a slow and steady breath as she grabbed the small pill jar from the night table and opened it. She poured two pills into her hand and grabbed the glass of water.
"Miss Eva Ray... had an emergency." Norma handed the elderly woman two pills and a cup of water. "I will be takin' care of you this mornin', Ms. Rind."
The elderly woman grunted. "I like the light one better..." she muttered in a deep southern accent.
"Well, you'll have to settle for this lovely dark-skin one today." Norma plastered on a fake smile. "Please make sure to drink all your water. You hungry?"
"No," Judy snapped at her bitterly. "I wan' see my daughter but she 'on't come 'round here no mo'."
Norma twisted her mouth at the sadness that glazed over in the elderly woman's pale grey eyes.
"I gave that girl everythan'. An' how she repay me? Throw my old wrinkly ass in a damn retir'ment home with a bunch of niggers. She stop carin' 'bout me," Judy choked out.
Norma sighed. "I'm sure that ain't true, Ms. Rind. I'm sure your daughter cares about you very much."
The woman scoffed as a tear slipped down her aged cheek, creased with wrinkles. Norma watched Judy's hand shake as she tried to sip the water.
"Here, let me-" Norma started as she tried to help her.
"Don't touch me ya damn monkey!" Judy snapped angrily.
Norma's nostrils flared as she quickly retracted her hand. "Alright then, Ms. Rind. Since you can't play nice, I'm gone leave you alone to be as bitter and miserable as you want. I'll be back with your breakfast," Norma said, sucking her teeth. She turned on her heels and left the room before Judy could say anything else.
As Norma walked out of the room and headed towards the kitchen she saw a strange man casually walking down the hallway as if he were exploring the place for the first time.
He had a long tan coat that fell to his calves. His crisp black suit complimented the polished shoes on his feet. Norma barely got a glimpse of him as he casually walked by her. The only thing she managed to catch was his strikingly bright curly red hair that fell past his shoulders.
Norma stopped at the kitchen counter and hit the bell. "Is breakfast for Ms. Judy Rind, ready?"
"You gone have to wait a few minutes. We backed up this mornin'!" someone shouted from behind the counter.
Norma let out a labored sigh as she leaned on the counter. She glanced to her left and saw that the strange gentleman had stopped in his tracks. His light blue eyes were staring directly at her.
Her eyes widened, startled by his gaze as she quickly turned her head in the other direction. She pretended to play with her hair as she counted the seconds before she slowly glanced over her shoulder and saw that the man had disappeared.
Judy swallowed down her pills and drank the water as it spilled down her mouth from her shaking hand. She felt a dark and hollow feeling in her chest as she thought about her daughter.
She looked up when she heard the door open and blinked in confusion when she saw a young handsome gentleman with bright red hair tied in a bun behind his head step inside.
"You my nurse or somethin'?" she muttered.
The man gave her a small. "No, Judy. I am not your nurse." His voice was soft and soothing, like a melody that drifted between the pale walls. There was a hint of what seemed like an Irish accent but it was too deep for her to identify.
"Oh..." she grunted. "I thought you was one of them negro girls who won't leave me the hell alone."
Grannus tilted his head to the side as he looked at her curiously.
Judy felt unsettled by his stare. "Well, if you ain't my nurse, who the hell are you?"
"You're dying... aren't you, Judy..." he said softly.
Judy's eyes widened as the skin underneath her chin moved from how hard she swallowed. "Y-you a doctor?" she asked.
Grannus walked up to her and smiled so beautifully it made her heart beat twice as fast. "... in a way..."
Judy shivered as Grannus gently grabbed her hand. She breathed heavily as he gently caressed her wrist. His piercing gaze elicited pearls of sweat to roll down her face.
"You suffered a stroke..." he said gently. "Two... that must have been hard."
Judy nodded as a tear slipped down her cheek.
"No family, Judy?" he asked kindly.
Judy shook her head. "M-my.. my d-daughter... sh-she... she wants nothing t-to do w-with me!" she sobbed.
Grannus furrowed his brow as he gently caressed her cheek. His eyes searched hers as more tears spilled down her cheek. "...you're very lonely..."
Judy choked out a sob as she touched his hand on her cheek. "I've done... things. B-bad thangs... th-that's...why mah daughter don' wan' be 'round m-me."
Grannus nodded his understanding as he continued to caress her cheek. "No mortal is without sin, Judy..."
Judy looked up at him as his gentle caresses soothed her aching soul. "...do... do you th-think she'll... she'll ever forgive me?"
Grannus looked up thoughtfully before he met her gaze again. "...probably not, Judy. Your life is insignificant and you will most likely be forgotten."
Judy looked at him startled as she saw his pale blue eyes flicker. She felt a burning sensation against her face and went to cry out when he quickly grabbed her throat.
"No noise, please, Judy," he said softly as he covered her mouth with his other hand. "The sound you mortals make can be quite grating."
Judy's eyes bulged as blood started to leak from her ears, nose, eyes, and mouth. She struggled to breathe as her skin cracked. "W-why?" she choked out in fear.
Grannus tilted his head and looked at her as if he were confused by the question. "...because I am hungry, Judy," he said as if it should have been obvious.
Judy watched in shock as Grannus' eyes flickered again. She could barely make out his facial features before the blood clouded her vision.
Grannus threw his head back and let out a deep sigh as if he had just finished a satisfying meal. He released Judy's neck and fixed his coat.
He looked at himself in the small mirror on the wall and watched as a couple of his grey strands of hair slowly transitioned back to a fiery red. "I guess that will do for now..." he said with fatigue.
Norma counted the items on the tray of food as she carried it back to Judy's room when suddenly she bumped into someone. The bowl of oatmeal nearly fell when a hand quickly caught it before it could hit the floor.
"Oh, sweet baby Jesus!" Norma breathed out in a panic as she put her hand to her chest. "I'm so sorry! I'm so so sorry. I should have watched where I was going. I-"
"It's alright," she heard the soft voice say.
She looked up and nearly stumbled backward in surprise. The man she had seen prior stood before her. And now that she could see him up close, he almost didn't seem real.
He looked at her intently as he handed her the bowl of oatmeal.
"Thank you," she said apprehensively as she took it from him. She immediately averted her eyes from his gaze. "Excuse me."
"Just a moment," he said quickly blocking her.
Norma looked at him startled. "Yes, sir? Can I help you with somethin'?"
Grannus eyed her curiously. "...your name?"
"Um," she said confused. "Norma. Norma Ray."
Grannus furrowed his brows in confusion. "Norma?"
Norma curled her lip in annoyance. She did not like the distasteful way he said her name. "Yea, Norma. And?" she said with a bit of attitude.
Grannus immediately smiled, and it put her completely on edge.
"Pleasure to meet you, Norma," he said taking her hand.
Norma looked at him like he was crazy as he kissed the back of her hand. The moment his lips touched her skin, she felt he goosebumps on her skin raise.
Her mind flickered as the scene before her transformed into a beautiful garden littered with flowers of every color. Birds chirped in her ear before they were drowned out by the sound of erotic moaning. Her moans.
She felt grass beneath her naked skin as she looked up into the bright orange sky above her. Norma felt a strong pair of hands grip her wide waist as she felt something warm and wet glide against her heaven.
Her fingers sifted into soft silky hair before she looked down and saw a head with bright red hair moving between her legs. Norma whimpered as she felt the erotic sensation of lips moving against hers. A hungry tongue flicked against her puffy lips dripping with want. The head between her legs looked up at her and a shockwave of deep desire shot through her as his light blue eyes gazed at her. His pink plump lips kissed up her thigh as he held her gaze.
"Mo Ghrá..." he groaned as his tongue dragged up her thigh.
"OH MY GOD! MS. RIND!"
Norma snapped out of it as she jumped startled. Several people rushed by her and into the room a few feet ahead of her. She looked around for the strange gentleman she bumped into, but he was nowhere to be found.
"MS. RIND IS DEAD! SHE'S DEAD!" one of the nurses blurted.
Norma's eyes widened in shock as she dropped the tray to the floor. "...what?"
Norma sat in her car and slowly exhaled.
The day was beyond exhausting and lasted longer than she wanted. She felt a heavy tugging in her heart that left her feeling... empty.
Ms. Judy Rind was a racist, bitter, old woman, but... still... Norma couldn't help but feel somewhat bad.
The physician said she suffered another stroke, but Norma had never seen a stroke that left someone as bloody as Ms. Rind was on her deathbed.
She was already pissed that her sister didn't arrive to finish off her shift like she said she would. But she was too exhausted to argue about it. She'd save that whoop-ass for tomorrow.
Norma struggled to get out of her car as she trudged to her family's apartment.
"Hey, Norma... long day?"
Norma glanced to her side and saw Terrence working on a random car. She gazed at his physique for a brief moment before she smiled at him simply.
"Aren't they all..." she said with fatigue.
Terrence gave her a comforting smile. "Don' worry, Norma. It'll get better."
Norma smiled at him gratefully. "Thanks, Terrence."
She barely opened the door to the apartment went it flew open and her younger brother Darrell looked at her panicked.
"What's wrong, D?" she asked.
"Jordan, didn't get the job," Darrell said quickly.
Norma shook her head with a sigh. "Surprise surprise."
"He went to go tell of the fire chief!" Darrell blurted.
Norma's eyes bulged. "THAT FOOL DID WHAT?!"
Norma pulled up to the fire department and flew out of her car. She ran towards the building, praying to God her brother didn't do something stupid.
"HELLO!? HELLO!" she said banging on the door.
The door flew open and one of the white firemen stood in front of her, looking down at her with a raised brow. "Can I help you?"
Norma panted as she fixed her coat. "I'm ah- looking for Jordan? Jordan Ray?"
The fireman snorted. "We ain't got no coloreds in this department."
Norma licked her lips. "H-he. He applied. Today."
"Like I said," the fireman said irritably. "You won't find no coloreds in this here fire department." He slammed the door in her face before she could ask another question.
Norma rubbed her temples as her mind went into overdrive. Part of her was relieved that her brother wasn't here trying to pick a fight he'd surely lose. The other part of her was terrified of where he might actually be. What he might actually be doing. He had wanted that job so badly. She imagined he was beyond upset.
She hopped back into her car and drove off in search of him.
After spending over half an hour searching for him, Norma finally got a lead from one of his friends that they last saw him at a bar on Sidney Lane.
She pulled up to the curb and heard loud music coming from inside the bar. She could already see her brother through the window waving his arms like a maniac.
"Sweet baby Jesus," she groaned as she hurried out of the car.
The bell jingled as Norma opened the door to the bar. The place was scattered with people smoking and drinking as chatter filled the air.
But no one was louder than her brother.
"AIN'T NOTHIN' WORSE...THAN- THAN- THAN BEIN' A DAMN.. A DAMN NEEEEGROO IN THIS HERE COUNTRY!" Jordan slurred angrily as he waved his half-empty beer bottle in the air.
"Oh god!" Norma groaned as she rushed up to him.
"I'm betta than half all a y'alls! Half of half of y'alls aint e'en on my level! My level?!" Jordan said banging his hand on the counter.
"Jordan," Norma said grabbing the bottle out of his hand. "Look, I know you're upset about the job, but this ain't it, J. Come on we gotta go home!"
"AH, HERE! HERE WE GO! MY SISTA NORMA RAY! SHE SMARTER THAN ANY WHI- MAN BUT WHAT SHE DOIN'? WAITIN TABLES!" Jordan shouted.
"Jordan, would you shut your gotdamn mouth before you get yourself shot?!" she snapped at him.
"'Specially you!" Jordan said pointing at a group of men sitting at the corner of the bar. "Y'all peckawoods look as dumb as the sky is blue!"
"JORDAN!" Norma said slapping him in the face. But Jordan just burst into laughter as if she had told a funny joke.
"What the hell you say to us, boy?" one of the men threatened as he stood up.
"Nothin'! He ain't say nothin', sir. You know what? He's just crazy," Norma said standing in front of her brother.
"I said yo pale, stank ass is as dumb as a brick. Wha? Y'all can' hear neitha?" Jordan cackled.
Norma glanced over her shoulder and looked at Jordan wide-eyed. "Boy, I swear if these white men don't kill yo dumb ass, I WILL!"
She quickly turned around and smiled at now two white men standing in front of her. "Y'all hafta forgive my brother, he's off his meds. He straight out the loony bin. Mama done dropped him on his head too many damn times. That's why his head look like that. Poor soul."
"Norma Ray, you foul as hell talkin' bout my head like that!" Jordan cackled.
"Fool, I'm tryna save yo dumb lopsided head!" she snapped angrily at him.
"How 'bout you two get on outta here before it's too late," one of the men threatened.
"Too late for what? The short bus? Oh no, peckawood, that's all you," Jordan laughed.
"You gotdamn-" the man swung at Jordan who stumbled out of the way.
"Oop! Too slow!" Jordan laughed. His laughter ended short as a furious fist met his face, sending him straight to the dirty bar floor.
"Jordan!" Norma said trying to grab him. But just as she grabbed her brother, she felt someone else grab her arm. "Hey! Let go of me!" she snarled, trying to push the guy off of her.
She saw another guy kick her brother in the face as his head flew back.
"STOP! PLEASE! JORDAN!" she shouted.
A loud abrupt crash startled the patrons. Norma watched as the guy that kicked Jordan fell to the floor. A large man with short blonde hair and razor-sharp blue eyes met her gaze. He wore dark blue slacks and a black polo that strained against his firm biceps and pulled at the threads over his bulging pectoral muscles. Norma looked at him with severe confusion. There was no way he was from around their town let alone their state. Was he even American?
"You people are so... loud," Vidar muttered in a deep-gruff voice as he dropped the broken beer bottle.
The floor beneath his feet shook as he stepped over the man and Jordan's body and walked up to Norma.
Norma shivered uncontrollably as she stared up into his probing eyes. There weren't many men that made her feel so small. This man made her feel like an insect.
He tilted his head to the side as if inspecting her before he looked at the man behind her.
"Who gave you permission to touch her?" Vidar snapped irritably.
Norma screamed as Vidar's large hand flew past her head and palmed the head of the man holding her. She heard a loud smash followed by a disturbing crack before the man's arms dropped from around her.
Norma glanced behind her and saw the man slide down against the wall leaving a trail of blood behind his head.
"Anyone else?" Vidar asked looking around. Several men backed up without saying a word.
Norma looked at Vidar bug-eyed and confused as he walked over to Jordan's body. He stared down at Jordan knocked out on the ground before he looked at Norma.
"He still breathes. Do you want him, elskan mín?" Vidar asked.
Norma looked at him completely perplexed. "Uh... what?"
"This inebriated creature. Do you want him?" Vidar asked again.
Norma struggled to speak as she looked at him confused by the way he spoke. "Um... yes? He's my brother."
Vidar shrugged. "Okay." He crouched down and picked up Jordan's limp body in his arms. Norma looked at him startled as she followed him out of the bar.
She ran up to the car and quickly unlocked the door before she opened it. She moved to the side and watched as Vidar tried to stuff his body inside.
"Careful with this head, please," she said cringing as Jordan's head hit the window. "Dangit... well his stupid ass is drunk anyway..."
Vidar moved out of the way for Norma as she leaned over and checked his pulse. "As long as he's still alive... dammit, J..."
With a sigh, Norma pulled out of the car and closed the door. She turned around and nearly screamed to see how close Vidar was as he towered over her.
"Jesus Christ is Lord! You're huge," she said startled.
Vidar narrowed his brows in confusion at the words that came out of her mouth.
"Um... you must not be from 'round here..." she said. "Cause ain't no white man doin' what you just did for a colored man like my brother."
Vidar squinted his sharp blue eyes. "These people are beneath you, elskan mín..."
Norma looked at him strangely when he raised his hand and gently cupped her chin. The moment his thumb stroked her cheek, she felt the air leave her lungs.
The scene before her shifted as her body violently jerked. She could feel dangerously hot flames of fire licking against her skin. Her body jerked again as she felt two large hands wrapped tightly around her waist. Her soft luscious stomach was pushed up against a firm chest.
Her legs were tightly wound against a naked muscular waist as her body jerked again. She felt him so deep inside her she could feel him in her stomach. She let out a breathless gasp as her fingers dug into his short blonde hair.
Sweat trailed down every part of her body and she couldn't tell if it was from the fire that surrounded her or the intense way she was riding this strange massive man beneath her.
She felt his nails drag down her back as he pumped deep inside her. She looked down at him and held his face between her hands as she looked into his bright blue eyes.
"Ek elska þik..." he bellowed as he violently slapped her backside.
Norma heard the sound of glass breaking and snapped out of it. She saw one of the bar owners yelling at the patrons that had picked a fight with her brother as they started to sweep up the broken glass from the floor.
She looked around for the strange man that had helped her, but he was nowhere to be found. She quickly hopped into her car and drove off before they spotted her and her brother again.
"Come on, Jordan," Norma groaned as she tried to pull her brother out of the car. She barely managed to get a leg out before she collapsed on top of him.
Norma struggled out of the car before she looked over her shoulder and saw Terrance walking towards her.
"Terrance," she said relieved. "Would you mind? This big dummy out here pickin' fights. I don't have the energy."
Terrence chuckled. "I gotchu, Norma."
Norma moved to the side as Terrence grabbed her brother by his legs and pulled him out of the car. She grabbed one of Jordan's arms and hooked it over her shoulder as both of them walked her drunken brother up the stairs.
"He must've had a rough day," Terrence said.
Norma sighed. "...just... another day of disappointment."
"Another day of bein' a black man..." Terrence frowned.
Norma glanced at him and noticed the sadness in Terrence's eyes. "How's the car shop comin' along?" she asked.
Terrence looked at her and gave a small smile. "... it's gone take some time..."
It broke Norma's heart to see that the light he had in his eyes before had dimmed somewhat.
She opened the door to her apartment and Terrence took the lead inside as he placed Jordan's body on the couch.
"Thank you, Terrence. It means so much to have your help," Norma smiled as she walked him to the door.
Terrence turned to her and nodded. "... you have a good night, Norma Ray..."
She turned around and saw her sister Eva rush into the kitchen. She fell to her knees and looked at Jordan with a frown.
"He was just... tryna drink his disappointment away," Norma sighed.
"He shoulda come find me. We coulda drank togetha," Eva frowned as she wiped her brother's face with a towel.
Norma sighed. "...you didn't get the part?"
Eva looked at Norma teary-eyed and shrugged with a sad smile. "You was right, Norma."
"Oh, baby girl, I didn' wanna be right," Norma sighed as she walked up to her sister. She sat down on the floor next to her and pulled her into her arms. "These white folks ain't ready for your talent anyways."
Eva chuckled as she wiped a tear away. "You not mad at me for missin' my shift then?"
"Girl, I'm mad as hell. But I'mma hug you and comfort you first before I beat yo ass."
"NORMA!" Eva laughed.
Norma grinned as she kissed her sister on the cheek. She struggled to her feet and headed towards the kitchen.
"Other than work and trackin' down our suicidal brother... how was your day? Better than mine I hope," Eva said as she continued to clean off her brother.
"Judy Rind died," Norma said opening the fridge to grab a bottle of water.
"Oh thank God. Couldn't stand that old bat," Eva said.
"Norma, she was mean as hell! I hope she dinin' with the devil," Eva said dismissively.
Norma chuckled as she shook her head. She went to take a sip of water when she paused. "I met this... strange man at the retirement home... at least I think I did. He disappeared though. And then another at the bar. He fought off these white men Jordan's dumb ass was tryna pick a fight with."
"A white man helped you fight off... other white men?" Eva asked.
"Girl, you know my black ass wasn't fightin' nobody. Just hollerin' and screamin' preparin' myself to see my Lord and
Saviour," Norma snorted as Eva laughed.
Norma looked up thoughtfully. "I had a... a daydream... I think..."
Eva looked at her confused. "You daydreamin' now?"
Norma looked at Eva slightly panicked. "Eva, I done had two random dreams about me kissin' white men!"
"CHILE! You betta pray to Jesus and ask Him to cast out them white devils!" Eva blurted as Norma burst into laughter.
Norma casually walked around the Gentleman's Club passing out drinks. Not an ounce of acknowledgment of her as a human being. But then... that was to be expected. Especially with the gorgeous Sandra on stage.
She scratched her head and sucked her teeth as she carelessly slid a glass of rum across the table at a man casually playing cards.
"Look at the hooters on that one," one of the men grinned as he watched Sandra on stage.
"I bet she's a wil' one," another snickered.
Norma curled her lip in disgust as she turned to leave. She nearly bumped into another table and spotted a gentleman sitting there by himself. He had long black hair that curtained his unnaturally attractive tanned face. His fingers methodically stroked the fuzz on his chin as his sharp amber eyes behind the thin frame glasses on his face stared at her unwaveringly.
Norma looked at the man startled. His all-black dark suit made him look just as mysterious as he did suspicious. But despite how handsome he was, Norma knew nothing good came from catching a white man's attention.
She gave a quick nod and grabbed her empty tray as she rushed back to the bar.
"Round of whiskey shots for table 18," Norma said to the bartender. She turned around and leaned against the counter as she took a deep breath. Her eyes scanned the crowd when she noticed the same gentleman watching her from across the room.
"What in the hell is wrong with this nosy ass cracka," she muttered to herself as she turned around to the counter.
She grabbed the full tray of whiskey shots and headed towards table 18. After leaving the drinks on the table, she made
her way back to the bar when the strange man in the black suit subtly waved her over with two simple fingers.
Norma breathed out and gathered her courage as she walked over to greet him.
"Evening, sir. Welcome to Willie's Gentleman's Club. What can I get for ya?" she asked.
Coeus looked up at her curiously as he tilted his head to the side. "Norma Ray... is it?"
Norma was not only startled by the fact that he knew her name but by the strange accent in his deep voice. "Um... how did you-?"
"I heard that man beckon you... several times," Coeus said nodding to her manager in the corner of the club.
"Oh," Norma chuckled with relief. "Yes. That is my name."
Coeus stroked his chin with his thumb as his eyes slowly raked over her form. Norma took a tentative step back, startled by the ravenous look in his gaze. She had never in her entire life been looked at like that before.
"What have you been doing all this time... Norma Ray?" Coeus asked casually.
Norma was confused by the question. "Uh... livin' with my family? Workin'?"
"Why are you here?" Coeus asked again.
Norma shook her head slightly. "Because I need a job to make a livin'," she said as if it should have been obvious.
Coeus squinted his eyes as if trying to understand her words. She got lost in his sharp amber gaze as her shoulders relaxed. "I guess... I like the environment... the music..." she added a bit more tenderly. "I like to sing."
Coeus' eyes immediately lit up. "I want to hear you sing."
Norma snorted. "And I wanna vacation in Hawaii, but we don't always get what we want now do we?"
Coeus grinned wildly at her abrasive attitude, showing all perfect white teeth. He gestured with two fingers and Norma looked at him confused when her manager walked up beside her.
"Forgive me, sir, is this girl here botherin' you?" William sneered at Norma who rolled her eyes.
"The exact opposite. I relish her presence. I want to hear her sing," Coeus said keeping his eyes on Norma.
Norma looked at him like he was stupid. "Sorry, sir, but we don't let no colored folk on that sta-" William started.
Coeus cut his eyes at William. "I said... I want to hear her sing." His amber eyes flickered. William stared at him absentmindedly before he quickly nodded.
"Right away, sir. Norma, get on that stage right now," William snapped at her.
Norma looked at her manager startled. "Wha-?" But William was already headed towards the front of the Club, beckoning Sandra to stop her performance.
Norma glanced back at Coeus who smiled at her charmingly. She furrowed her brows in confusion before she started walking up to the stage.
"Now, what's this all about Willie?" Sandra snapped angrily.
"Norma's performin'. Go powder yer nose or somethin'," William said shooing her.
"NORMA?!" Sandra gasped.
"Bitch knew my name that time..." Norma muttered with a smirk.
Sandra scowled at Norma as William pushed her into the crowd. "Get on up there, Norma. An' don' screw it up!" William snapped.
Norma quickly nodded as she climbed up the stairs to the stage. She walked up to the mic and stared into an all-white, all-male audience that seemed as shocked to be looking at her as she was to be up there.
She looked at the band and swallowed hard. "Uh... play... I Just Wanna Make Love To You... Etta James," she said.
She heard the light music start to float in the air and suddenly none of this felt real.
But she was going to make the most of it.
"I don't want you... to be no slave.. I don't want you... to work all day... But I want you... to be true... And I just wanna make... love to you..."
Norma swayed her wide, curvaceous hips to the music as she got lost in the sensual rhythm of Jazz and Blues that floated from the instruments next to her.
Coeus leaned forward on the table, lacing his fingers together beneath his chin as he watched Norma attentively. His eyes shimmered as he saw the smile painted on her face widen as she belted notes that made the woman on stage before her sound like a children's lullaby.
"And I can tell by the way you walk that walk... And I can hear by the way you talk that talk... And I can know by the way you treat your girl...That I could give you all the loving in the whole wide world..."
Norma opened her eyes as she sang and was startled to see she was no longer in the Gentleman's Club. She felt the sensation of water falling over her head before her face was pushed up against a sheet of rock.
She struggled to breathe as she felt long fingers wrap around her throat. Her naked body jerked abruptly as her walls clenched around the thick shaft that throbbed inside of her.
Norma's hands flattened against the rock she was pushed up against and saw a larger tanned hand cover her own. Long black hair tickled her shoulder before a plump pair of pink lips peppered her dark brown shoulder.
Her body rubbed against the wet sheet of rock she was pushed up against. She felt a muscular torso behind her as her thick backside pushed against his pelvis.
She looked up and saw a beautiful waterfall cascading over her. His long fingers stroked her neck as his thumb tightened around her throat.
He took her earlobe between his teeth and whispered. "Αγάπη μου..."
Norma snapped out of it to the roar of applause. She blinked in shock when she saw several of the men at their tables clapping at her performance.
She didn't even remember finishing it.
She quickly scanned the crowd for the man who had asked for her to sing, but his table was empty.
Putting the mic back, she grabbed the hem of her dress and quickly rushed off stage.
Norma walked absentmindedly, still stuck in shock as she stared at the 100 dollar bill the strange man had left her. It was more than she had made in a month.
Between this encounter and the encounter at the bar and retirement home that all ended with strange dreams, Norma was starting to wonder if she was losing her mind.
"What in the hell is goin' on?" she muttered to herself.
She stopped short when she bumped into someone in front of her. "Oh, sorr- Terrence!"
Terrence smiled down at her. "Hey, Norma Ray."
"What you doin' on this side of town?" she asked.
Terrence shook his head in frustration and sharply exhaled. "I missed you."
Norma chuckled. "Terrence, I saw you just last night-"
"A little birdy told me... that you were interested in me..." Terrence said abruptly with a raised brow.
Norma looked at him wide-eyed. "Wha-! I-! Who-"
Terrence grinned. "I do believe I've rendered you speechless. Does that mean it's true?"
Norma swallowed hard. "I... might have... a little crush..."
She backed up until she hit the brick wall behind her and stared at Terrence surprised as he leaned one hand against the wall next to her. "Well, Ms. Ray," Terrence smirked down at her. "The feeling... is definitely mutual."
Norma's mouth parted in shock as Terrence leaned forward and hungrily pressed his lips against hers. Frozen at first by such an unexpected reaction, she immediately melted against him as she kissed him back.
She felt his hand wrap around her waist as he pulled her against him. His thick lips moving ravenously against hers.
"Terrence," she breathed out as she felt him grab her round backside.
"You haven't the slightest idea how much I've missed you," Terrence groaned as he buried his face into her neck. She gasped as he grabbed her ass with both hands and squeezed hard as he pushed his erection into her pelvis.
"I can't stop thinking about you," Terrence groaned. Norma looked at him surprised as he pulled back and slid his hand around her throat. His dark brown eyes met her gaze and for just a moment he didn't seem recognizable.
"How dare you leave me?" Terrence snarled at her. "Do you know how fucking difficult it's been without you?!"
Norma looked at him startled and heavily confused. "Wha-? Terrence, I-" She paused when she saw his dark brown eyes
momentarily flicker to a pale blue. "...Terrence? Are you okay-"
Suddenly, red and blue lights flashed around them as a siren went off in the distance.
"Oh no," Norma panicked. "Terrence, you have to get out of here-"
"FREEZE!" one of the officers said as he approached them.
Terrence rolled his eyes in frustration as he impatiently turned around. "What the fuck do you want?"
Norma's eyes nearly bulged out of her head. "TERRENCE!"
"What you say to me, boy?" the officer sneered.
Terrence snorted with a grin. "Boy? Such a tiny little insignificant creature... and you have the audacity... to call me... boy?"
"Tha's it," the officer said pulling out his gun. "Put your hands up, or I'll shoot your ass!"
"No, please! Please don't! Terrance!" Norma freaked as she tried to pull him back.
But several gunshots went off hitting Terrance in the chest.
"NO!" Norma screamed as tears fell down her shocked face. But her eyes enlarged when she realized Terrance was still standing.
Terrance threw his head back, laughing quite amused as the bullets fell out of his skin. The officer looked on in shock as
Terrence took two long strides and grabbed him by the neck.
The officer's eyes bulged as Terrence lifted him by his neck. His eyes shimmered a pale blue as a menacing grin distorted the features of his face. "Scream for me, mortal," Terrence sneered.
There was a loud, unsettling squish. Norma let out a bloodcurdling scream as she saw the officer's headless body fall to the ground.
Terrence turned around and saw Norma shaking like a leaf as she quickly backed away from him.
"Why are you shaking?" Terrence asked confused. "I thought you liked me like this, moja žena?"
Norma looked at him like he was crazy.
"Or... do you still prefer me... like this?"
Norma felt all the air leave her lungs as she saw Terrence's skin fade to a bright pale white. His kinky black hair turned completely white and fell all the way down to his waist. His dark brown eyes shimmered blue as his face and body completely morphed.
Her eyes instinctively crossed before she fainted.
"Why hasn't she woken up yet?"
"Give her time..."
"Veles, why must you be so impatient?"
"I shouldn't need to be patient for what's already mine."
Grannus tugged on Veles' long platinum blonde hair. "And yet for me... you patiently wait."
Veles squinted his eyes in frustration at the red-haired god before he cut his eyes at Norma's sleeping form. "Do pekla. Just wake her up already."
Coeus' eyes shifted as he saw Norma's body move.
She slowly rolled over as her face winced. She blinked her eyes open and stared up at 4 men staring down at her expectantly.
She let out a terrified scream as she tried to scramble back away from them. "WHA-! WHAT ARE-!"
"Be still, Αγάπη μου," Coeus said cautiously as he tried to calm her.
"What the hell are you talkin' 'bout? Who are you people?!" she panicked.
"See what happens when you don't follow our plans?" Vidar said to Veles annoyed. Veles merely rolled his bright blue eyes with aggravation.
Norma scrambled to her feet and tried to run away, but she didn't even know where she was. All she saw was grass and a dark sky. Not a house or building in sight.
"HELP! HELP ME!" she screamed as she started running. "SOMEONE PLEASE!"
She stumbled backward and fell on her butt as Vidar spontaneously appeared in front of her. She looked at him wide-eyed as his large frame crouched down to meet hers.
"Please, don't hurt me! Please, just leave me alone!" she pleaded.
Vidar growled in frustration as he looked up at Coeus. "Why doesn't she remember? You said she would remember."
"It still takes time. The mortal mind is intricate," Coeus said from behind her.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as Norma tried to crawl away from them. But Coeus quickly grabbed her leg and pulled her back to him.
"P-please!" she cried hysterically, trying to shield her face. "D-don't kill me. I- I h-have a f-family."
"We are not here to kill you, Αγάπη μου. We are here to take you home," Coeus said.
Norma paused and looked at Coeus confused. "...home? I- I live off of Livingston Ave-" she started.
Vidar grumbled with aggravation. "This disgusting planet is not your home, elskan mín."
Norma looked at him startled.
"And those creatures are not your family, mo ghrá... we are," Grannus said to her.
Norma shook her head in confusion. "Wha- wait-what?"
"Coeus, hurry up and explain so that we may leave," Veles said impatiently.
Coeus gently grabbed Norma's chin and redirected her gaze so that she stared into his eyes. "We are not mortal, Αγάπη μου. We are gods. We were attacked by our enemies and fought in a war that lasted 212 solar years. We were on the brink of victory. But during our last battle... you went missing. We have been searching for you for 972 years, Αγάπη μου. For almost a millennia. We finally traced your essence here... to this galaxy... to this... planet..."
Norma looked at Coeus in pure shock and confusion, not comprehending a lick of what he just said to her.
"I do not understand why she would be here... of all places... these creatures treat her kind like shit when she is a goddess," Vidar guttered.
Norma looked at Vidar bug-eyed by the last words to escape his mouth. "A- a what?"
"You are a goddess, Αγάπη μου," Coeus said. "And your name is not Norma Ray. You are Oshun. The goddess of life."
"You are our queen, mo ghrá," Grannus said to her.
"And... our wife," Veles added.
Norma's face contorted before she went cross-eyed and passed out again.