Sean could barely keep from gasping when he first saw Vilhjálmur Stefán emerging from his room. Mary and Sean were in the living room of Þora’s basement flat. Sean recognized features in the boy that were very similar to pictures of himself at that age. The toddler was shy at first but lost his reserve when he looked at Mary. He walked right up to her and lifted his hands in the universal sign for ‘up’. Mary obliged and when he was in her lap they stared at each other for several seconds. Þora, who until this point had been very uncomfortable, involuntarily smiled.
“Someone’s found a friend.” said Þora.
”Mama. Mary, mama, Mary” said Vilhjálmur, pointing to Mary.
“Now how did you know her name, litl one?” said Þora.
“We are connected souls,” said Mary, “He can read my mind.”
The door bell rang and Þora answered it. It was Þora’s uncle, Hilmar, who had been aware of the child’s powers and was keen on meeting Sean and Mary.
“You must be Sean—” said Hilmar, “—and you are Mary, of course. I am Hilmar, Þora’s uncle.”
Hilmar removed his jacket. he was wearing a t-shirt which was adorned with the logo of an old on-line game.
“If you tell me the name of your avatar,” said Mary, pointing to his shirt, “I’ll tell you mine.”
Hilmar was taken aback by this and gave her a sheepish grin.
“So you are familiar with The Other Realms?” he said, “I was known as Biggi Baddi, and you are…?”
“Ah, Biggi, the grand master! I was Alleystar,” said Mary, as she set Vilhjálmur down on the floor, “The Other Realms was my creation.”
“You are a legend,” Hilmar said, “What happened? Why did you disappear? The Other Realms turned to shit after you left.”
“I received an offer I couldn’t refuse,” said Mary, “In real life. How about you? What are you up to?”
“I’ve started up a branch of The Old Religion: Paganism. The time is right, the need is there. The Old Religion was suppressed by bloodshed. The New Order will come about with Love.”
“You do understand that this child is part of this?” said Mary, “It is no accident that Sean and Þora met,” Mary could sense that Hilmar had some awareness of the New Order, but was not on the same level as her, or, for that matter, Vilhjálmur, “Will you excuse us? Hilmar and I need to be alone for a few minutes. Hilmar, come, we can talk in the kitchen.” They left the room, leaving Þora and Sean with Vilhjálmur.
It was 3 A. M. in Seattle. Jo had not been sleeping well since the murder of Madame Tara earlier in the week. She was slated to start her new job as a barista that day. Although she had to get up early, she didn’t want to get up quite that early. She was also worried that her ex in Spokane may have found out where she had gone. He had told her that he would kill her if she left and Jo had taken him at his word. As she was lying in bed, wide awake in the dark, she heard the unmistakable sound of the backdoor lock being tinkered with. With her roommate out of town and Madame Tara dead, there should be no one else using that door. Jo felt under her pillow for the .38 caliber revolver which she had owned ever since her prior relationship went bad. She heard the lock click open and, holding her breath, could discern the sound of footsteps—faint, as if made with soft soled shoes—and she drew back the hammer on the gun, muffling the sound of its cocking with her pillow. The sound of the footsteps came nearer. When they reached the carpet in the hall, Jo could no longer hear them. The outline of her open bedroom door framed the dark hallway that was beyond.
Suddenly, a silhouette of a man filled the doorway—a figure with a strangely shaped head. The head turned toward her and then, with a rush, he was in her bed: on top of her, placing his hands over her mouth. She felt a plastic rim pressing against her teeth, and a bitter taste entered her mouth. Jo emptied the revolver into the man’s midsection. The man lurched and with a surprising burst of strength, Jo rolled the man to the floor and leapt out of the bed. Running out of the room, she dashed into the bathroom and locked the door. There was a burning sensation in her mouth and she spit into the sink. She rinsed her mouth with mouthwash. Only then did she take a breath. She could hear the man softly moaning in the other room, followed by a louder groan. Then it was quiet. She waited for several minutes before she got nerve enough to open the bathroom door. Quietly going into the kitchen, Jo got the biggest knife she could find. Returning to the bedroom, she turned on the light and saw the man lying on his back on the floor, apparently dead, lying in a pool of blood. He had a night-vision apparatus on his head, and there was what looked like an asthma inhaler in his hand.
It was not her ex.
Mary had Hilmar sit across from her at the kitchen table. She began to probe his mind, gently at first, but when she realized that he was receptive, she began to communicate with him with by thought.
“So, you possess the awareness,” she began, “You realize that we are part of an enlightenment—you, me, Sean, the child. There are others, Our time is coming.”
“Yes, is it really true, are you the chosen one?” thought Hilmar.
“I am the vessel. The next generation will transform the world,” Mary thought, “We must prepare the way for the Goddess reincarnate, as well as her consort.”
“And how shall we know her, and where shall we find him?” thought Hilmar.
“The consort is in the next room, with his father and mother,” thought Mary. “The Goddess incarnate is here, within me.”