Prologue I can feel you falling away No longer the lost, no longer the same And I can see you starting to break I'll keep you alive if you show me the way
He was driving over three hours. The road and its landscape kept going through him as he increased the car’s velocity. The blue eyes fixed on the road were just twenty percent of his concentration, once the other eighty had another occupation. As informed by his GPS, in a little while he would arrive, but his impatience was so strong that he couldn’t refrain from cursing to the air. He felt nervous and with the torn heart since the moment his father told him about his brother. He just couldn’t believe it until see him and ask for explanations. It’s not like he didn’t trust his father, he was fully aware of how serious the man was when asked him to go to the office to talk about the last call he received. Thor wasn’t pleased with one call. His firm fingers drummed around the steering wheel and another sigh escaped, making his shoulders fall. Why was everything always with him? Why was everything so unfair with someone who deserved nothing else than happiness? His heart ached just for imagining he would see him again, almost five years after his leaving. The pain for being abandoned didn’t exist alongside with the worries which rounded him and, as the first houses were emerging far away on the landscape, everything only grew worse. His hands were shaking and his feet stomped stronger on the accelerator, reaching 100km even when the slab said to reach only 60km. The small houses were now getting bigger as he approached and, seeing a little movement in the place, decided to slow down. People were running to the beach on the right side of the road, smiley and excited with the fact that they could enjoy the last days of summer. It was hot, of course, Thor felt that inside his smoking with perfect cuts, made exactly for him. The grey necktie lied on the side assent and some buttons of the white shirt were open. From some kilometers he could see the houses becoming more and more united and after them there were some buildings. He was arriving the center of the little town.
His eyes wandered through the new place, noticing its simple beauty and less chaotic then the capital. It looked calm, even with the constant movement of the tourists which were having fun in their vacations. He understood why that place was chosen. Looked to the GPS which informed the proximity with the place, but the point didn’t reach what seemed to be an alley. He slowed the velocity and saw that, in reality, it was an inclination, a stone street full of tourists getting in and out of stores. Cars didn’t ride there. He drove in a slow velocity until he found a place to park his car and in a hurry he was already out of it closing the door, but before going to the bustling street, he stopped and came back to look at his reflection on the dark glass of the car. He was wearing social clothes, for he didn’t have time or patience to go home and change. He took out the grey jacket and opened the car again to throw it aside with the necktie. Rolled up the bar of his social white shirt until his elbow and realized he was still shaking. Obviously he was nervous and wondering why he cared about his appearance in a time like that. It didn’t matter, of course, but he felt like a rag because of the hours he spent driving from the capital to that interior. Ran his big hands through his blonde hair and turned his back to the car, climbing on the sidewalk and following the movement of the people who passed for him all in smiles. He didn’t know exactly how his brother’s store looked, but he knew it was in that street. When started to go up the slope, his eyes saw the entries of typical restaurants for a South region, with a cozy aspect, like mother’s arms open to everybody. He saw little trinkets stores, pressed between medium-sized real estate sales buildings, clothes and more restaurants. The streets were bustling, noisy and smelling like the tropical fruits that were being sold in open-air stalls. It looked like tourists’ paradise, not to mention the sea located on the other side of the long and only avenue that crossed the small town. He was searching for a bookstore, but he couldn’t find it. On the way, he went through an ice cream parlor that made him smile because of the infant excitation in the place. He was almost in the end of the ramp when a building stole his attention. The bookstore made him stop, and he sighed. Remembered of his parents’ house, full of books, also, but not rare exemplars, from the first edition, which were not made to be opened and read. There were old, marked books, and some new and shiny pocket romances, all mixed in a vortex of stories, on the shelving. And this recalled him of all the pain he would have in facing all that. He looked to the upper part of the showcase, where was written in gothic characters scattered in the glass the name of the store. “Asgard Books and Tidbits”. Well, this was becoming more and more familiar. Coffee, books…
It was what resumed and completed Loki’s personality. “The secrets of Asgard” was the name Thor and Loki gave to the house’s private library, for both had god’s names and everything was some kind of joke of their father, Odin, who had the name of the main god of Norse mythology. He stepped on the store and felt in the air flowers and spices fragrances, and heard a soft music played in the background, with flutes and harps. Everything seemed magical, the way Loki liked. Books, in a feast of colors and shapes, were lined, in dark blue painted shelving. Upon his head, small lights hung cascading from the ceiling, like shooting stars. The counter cash was an old oak cabinet, all notched with winged fairies and growing moons. A woman with dark hair, peaked in its ends, was sitting in a bank behind the counter, lazily browsing a book. Looking up, fixed her silver-framed reading glasses. “Good morning! Can I help you?” “I’ll just look around, if there’s no problem”. “Sure, feel free. If you need something special, just tell me”. Seeing that the attendant returned to her book, Thor started to wander around the store. On the other side of the room, two generous poltroons were facing the fireplace. On the table between them was a lampshade whose base had the shape of a woman with a cloak over the head, both hands united and raising to the top. On other shelving, were various trinkets, small colored stone statues, crystal eggs, dragons. Thor circled through them, going by books at one side and lines of candles at the other. He was becoming more and more nervous, but, in his mind, practiced some words he knew wouldn’t come out if he went straight to the owner of the establishment, his brother. In the back of the store, a flight of curved stairs took to the second floor. Climbing, he found more books, new types of trinkets, and a small coffee shop. Half a dozen of varnished wood tables were put next to the front window. Along one of the sides, there was a balcony made of glass, showing an impressive amount of pastas, cakes, sandwiches and a small cauldron with the day’s soup. Coming closer, he heard voices across the door behind the balcony, which was open. “Jane, this is ridiculous, and completely irresponsible!” “No, it’s not! It’s John’s great opportunity, and a way to get out of this shit of city. We want to take the chance!”
“The possibility of a test for a play that could be or not produced, and besides that it’s out of the Broadway circuit, it’s not a great opportunity. None of you two will even have a job, when you get there. You won’t even…” “We decided already, Loki!” – cut Jane – “I told you I would work only until noon today, and I worked until noon already”. Thor straightened and blinked a few times. Loki? “But you only told me this in less than twenty-four hours!” – his voice showed the impatience, which only who knew him perfectly well could notice. A voice a little stiff, very pleasant. Unable to avoid it, Thor came closer. – “How, the hell, I’ll be able to keep the coffee shop working, with no one to cook?” “You only think of yourself, right? Can’t even wish us good luck!” “Jane, it would be the case of wishing a miracle in both of your lives, because that’s what you’ll need in New York. Listen, wait a bit… don’t go away like this, puffing in anger or resentment”. Thor sensed a shadow moving towards the door and moved aside. However, he stayed on the listening ray. “Then be careful, Jane”. – Loki’s voice now seemed tired and he was surely sighing in the moment. “Okay” – a sniffed voice could be heard. – “Sorry, really. I’m sorry for leaving you in this situation, so suddenly. But John has to take this chance, and I need to be with him”. Thor managed to crouch down between two shelving right on the time that a woman, crying, ran from the back, behind the balcony, and went downstairs still running. “More trouble…” Thor heard, coming from the room. Streching his neck to look, he blinked automatically, admired. The man standing in the room behind the balcony was like a vision. Thor couldn’t think of other word for his brother. He had straight, short hair, differently from his eighteen years, when he used them in the shoulder-height. He was wearing casual clothes, a long-sleeved shirt rolled up to the elbow and jeans. The emerald-like green eyes flashed, showing a contained, strong character. Salient cheekbones, thin lips pressed in a nervous line. The skin resembled… Thor always heard someone comparing his brother’s skin to alabaster or porcelain. He was taller and a bit stronger.
Loki had changed. Thor looked to the tables around, in the coffee shop, to see if any of the customers was as gaping as he was. But nobody seemed to notice the man of contained, strong will and with an energy that circled around him as it was a cold sea. He stretched his neck a bit more to have a better view, and the green eyes changed their direction and fell unexpectedly over him. Immediately, Thor widened his eyes and took some steps back. Loki looked at him as if he wasn’t surprised and as if they had seen each other on the previous night, but they didn’t see themselves for more than five years. The heart in his chest accelerated in an uncontrollable way when the tall figure of his brother lifted a part of the balcony and came towards him. “Brother…” - murmured Thor. “I knew you wouldn’t take long to come”. – said Loki, observing his brother’s surprised expression. “Follow me”. And for Thor was only left to follow him. His steps were soft and slow, going back by the stairway to the bookstore floor. Thor didn’t know what to say, not now, but seeing him walking through the illuminated corridors which were full of books made him remember their childhood, the way the black wires waved as he ran excitedly to the father’s library. He rushed his steps and, at the moment Loki was going to touch the knob, Thor stopped him. He received a questioning look from those shining green orbs. He swallowed while taking some distance, having all his brother’s attention. “Is it true?” “I was going to talk to you inside” – Loki answered, serious. “Loki…” - asked Thor, the blue eyes searching for some weakness in that serious countenance, even knowing it was hard to find. “Is it true?” Loki sighed, closing, for mere seconds, his eyes and when he opened them again, a grim smile emerged on the thin lips. “That I will die?” Thor shuddered with the use of such realistic term that he was trying to ignore. “Yes, it’s true.”