I was still fuming when I returned to Croft Manor.
I dismissed Winston and retreated to my bedroom. I needed a peaceful atmosphere and plenty of time to think. I was trying to plug into the mind of a Norse god, after all. I racked my brains for hours, scanning book after book. My short supply left me fruitless after three hours of thumbing every page and analysing every symbol, diagram and myth, fatigue took over. I decided it was time to release the tension of days of traveling, and ran myself a bath. The splash of water against the white acrylic was already beginning to soothe, and the exotic smell of candles brought me great peace. I pressed a small switch next to the tap, cueing soft classical music. The bathroom was my favourite room in the manor, the only place where I could truly escape.
I slid into the invitingly foamy bath. As I sat, soapy water sloshed over onto the floor. The water gently cradled my raw skin and I breathed an almighty sigh of relief. Lying back, I began to recall past adventures. One minute I was swinging from vine to vine in Peru, then standing in awe of Buddhist sculptures. The maze like designs of the Great Pyramids. Gorillas, various enemies clad completely in black. The pace suddenly became much slower, and the Louvre Museum was now the backdrop to my recollections. Finally I saw man, with black short hair, fine stubble, and a cigarette in the corner of his mouth.
My eyes flew open. What the hell was he doing in my head, again? I had not seen the wretched man for seven years, and he was dead. Why now where thoughts of him returning to me? I had no idea. In my awakened state I quickly realised the bath had become a chilling luke warm, and the music had stopped. Hastily, I stepped, damp and dripping, out of the bath and toweled myself. Glancing over at the clock, I saw it was almost eleven o'clock. My eyes felt suddenly heavy, and I paced slowly back to my room, slipped on my nightdress, and clambered under my duvet. My eyes were soon pinned down by sleep, and I began to dream.
I'm running. Breathing heavily. Behind me Dobermans snapping at my heels. A chase. A window appeared at the end of a long corridor. A jump. Then a flash. Eckhardt. Von Croy. Mademoiselle Carvier. All shouting, accusing. Then the Louvre. Glass cabinets guarding precious artifact. The hall deserted. Suddenly footsteps. I pull my pistols from my halters, and gingerly step back. Warm hands running down my arms, sending pleasant shivers through my body. One gun thrown to the floor. A gentle rub on the stomach. Then the other arm. Another pistol clatters to the floor. But for some reason I don't care. The situation seems familiar. I know why. I turn to see my suspicions confirmed.
He caresses my face, I feel his warm breath on my skin, and he is nearing my mouth. I prepare myself for the moment our lips touch. Ever closer, my body is tingling. Almost there. I can smell his last cigarette, but I am not repulsed. His blue eyes meet mine, he leans in. A violent buzz pulled me from my blissful dream world to a painful reality. If I had had Thor's Hammer on my person at that moment, I would have smashed the damned alarm clock into oblivion.