Icelandic for "prologue"
Grimser once wrote:
“the island is the whole world in the twilight of the sky.”
And, for once, the Icelandic poets got it right.
For on a tiny, lava-infused, frigid island in the north Atlantic, there is another world.
The story you are about to read is based on actual events. Though it’s doubtful you will believe it........
To pay attention, I invite each holy generation,
Heimdall's sons, great and small;
I will proclaim the mysteries of the Father of the Chosen,
Ancient traditions of the heroes that I learned in the past.
The last day of winter holiday was almost worse than starting school the following day.
Half the day was wasted dreading the day to follow, until there isn’t enough of the day left to do anything.
And Sabrina Stuart was suffering from just that.
School was starting the following day but she couldn’t do a thing. All of her friends were out of town, it was raining cats and dogs, and, as if that wasn’t enough to soak her already wet blanket, she was still on restriction for mouthing off to her mother.
Brina rolled over on her bed, sighing into her pillow, and wishing it were the beginning of her winter holiday again.
Or, she thought drearily, that I went a more orthodox school.
Brina rolled her eyes mentally at her own complaint. She loved her school, especially its “special” system.
Pala High School was located in the heart of Reykjavik and boasted a di-mester schedule; Students attended classes from August to November, then had a winter holiday from December to January, and resumed classes again in February until May.
Second dimester was starting tomorrow.
That meant no more lazy days of sleeping in and taking photos all afternoon. Brina’s days would be filled with Ancient Civilizations, Math, Biology, French IV, English, and Gym.
Oh God, Brina thought bitterly. Gym.
There was a knocking on her door and her fourteen-year-old brother, Hale, stuck his head in the door. “Dinner,” he stated and then disappeared.
Brina nodded to no one and sighed, trying to remember if her mother was the one cooking that night. Their housekeeper, Helga, in addition to looking after the house and Brina’s other two siblings, George and Maura, was also the primary chef of the Stuart house. But, Brina’s mother, a psychiatrist, had gotten it into her head lately that being a good mother translated into making dinner.
Daria Stuart might have been an accomplish psychiatrist, but, as a cook, she left......something to be desired.
Brina stepped down the stairs and peered into the dinning room.
George, all two years of him, was squirming in his highchair as Helga worked to seat Maura in her booster seat. Hale, sitting down in his seat without any assistance, smirked at Brina. They often commented about the age difference between them and their siblings. It made them closer, than usual brother and sister, because they were often left to their own devices with the younger two were attended to.
Brina couldn’t imagine not having siblings. Her best friend, Norie Malin, only had an older brother, who was away at Princeton. She lived only with her father in their apartment.
This was an extremely foreign concept to Brina. She couldn’t imagine not have other people — hearing them milling around, or talking. It was always very quiet at the Malin house.
Brina wondered if that contributed to Norie’s....odd demeanor. There was something unique about her, indeed, though Brina sincerely doubted that solitude was the culprit.
Brina smiled back at Hale and sat down herself. She swallowed; if Helga was out here, it could only mean one thing........
Daria Stuart bursted through the swinging kitchen door, a steaming tray in her hand. She was grinning from ear to ear, announcing that she had just baked something delicious.
Delicious. Right. Brina cringed inwardly. Outwardly, she smiled encouragingly, enabling what she was coming to realize was a false hope.
Her mother set the tray in the center of the table and proceeded to scoop out the contents on to each place. As a spoonful slid onto her plate, Brina bravely looked down at it.
It was green.
God only knew what the rest of it was. Brina supposed if she had tried to identify it, she might have been able to.
But she couldn’t get past the fact that it was green.
She looked up and connected eyes with Hale. His eyes conveyed his own distrust of the dish in front of them.
Brina looked down the table to see her father sitting at the head. When had he snuck in?
Mathias Stuart was district judge. He worked incessantly, and, as Brina had come to notice, tended to avoid the nights when her mother was cooking.
Ha, she thought. Let him see what the rest of us have to deal with.
The dish in front of Brina was a odd consistency. She stanched back the urge to tilt her plate to see if it would even move; she didn’t want to hurt her mother’s feelings.
Misty, the Stuart’s sheepdog, was sleeping in the corner. Brina tapped her foot to rouse the mut and lured her to the table.
She only intended to feed her helping to the dog, but, as with many of her plans, this went terribly awry.
Misty, being a particularly dim witted dog, ate not only what Brina inconspicuously held out to her, but proceeded to leap onto the table and devour the tray.
And for a moment, Brina believed she may have just saved them from eating a disgusting meal.
Then Misty vomited all over the table.
Maura starting shrieking and Hale declared it “the most disgusting thing he’d ever seen.”
Brina’s mother, calm in any sort of emergency, quickly sent everyone back to their rooms. As she ascended the stairs, Brina heard her dialing the phone.
Two hours and two pieces of delivered pizza later, Brina lay in bed. It was pathetic she knew. Hale wasn’t even in bed yet.
But she could think of nothing better to occupy her time with.
She heard rain pattering against the window — a little early for Iceland, but, hey, that was global warming for you. She closed her eyes and let the rhythmic patterns ferry her off to sleep.....
Someone was calling her name.
Brina opened her eyes, but she knew she was dreaming. Her room was dark but there was something in the corner, someone hidden in the shadows.
It was calling to her again. Brina tried to get up, to see who was calling her, but suddenly her blanket weighed more than she could lift.
The hoarse whisper kept saying her name. Brina clawed at her blanket, trying to push it aside, but it wouldn’t move. And the more she struggled, the tighter the blanket became. Soon she was entangled in the blanket, but it wasn’t loosening any.
Brina pushed against her pillows, and they gave way to her head like clouds.
And then she was falling.
Things were passing her as she fell, but she couldn’t get a clear picture of what they were. Brina could see light rays coming from behind her and she felt heat on her back.
The light was getting brighter and the heat was growing as she fell faster and faster. Objects were still spinning around her and she was getting dizzy.
The heat was almost unbearable now and Brina knew that she wasn’t far from the bottom of whatever tunnel she was falling through.
Brina closed her eye and braced herself for the impact.
But, surprisingly, there was no harsh impact, just two long, strong arms that caught her and held her close.
Brina felt the heat getting further away, and she opened her eyes. But the light that met her eyes was so bright and unforgiving that she had to clamp them shut again.
And this time, when she opened her eyes again, she wasn’t dreaming anymore.