chosen one

8/29: “I want to believe he’s the chosen one”

Jack likes to think that he’s the chosen one, but I’m not sure he knows the rest of the gods hope he is, as well. I can never discern how much of his pompous flair comes from deep vanity and how much comes from his natural jocosity. He says shit about how the world rests in his palm and he looks at you so knowingly, like he’s aware he’s being a total ass. But he never gives any indication of whether or not he’s joking.

I’m sitting with Kurki and watching this asshole twirl fire between his hands like it’s nothing. Oh, Jack knows we’re watching. He has a sense for that—for knowing how to attract attention and then how to exploit it. How to hold it and enhance it. So you go from one minute sitting outside with your bro casually watching this self-aggrandizing prick do something totally rad, and the next minute you’re leaning forward to watch him. Absolutely enthralled. Not gonna lie, I sort of hate him for it. Same reason I love him. Same reason I think we all want him to be a savior. He just seems like he’d have the knack for it.

“You find him fascinating, Kurki says. I glance over to him, the twin I always think of as the red one even though, being twins, he and Nosturi look exactly the same. There’s just something red about Kurki and something blue about Nosturi.

“Oh hell yeah,” I say. “Dude’s manipulating fire like it’s nothing. That’s like the most metal thing in existence. Shit, I wanna go over and offer him my title just based on principle.”

Behind the mask, Kurki’s ice-pale eyes are staid. He doesn’t blink. I’m pretty sure I like Kurki way more than he likes me, but that scenario has never bothered me in the past. I always call myself an extrovert and my mom always called me obnoxious. Maybe it’s a little of both.

“I believe he calls himself God of the Night Sky,” Kurki says. “So my brother has told me.”

“Shit, God of the Night Sky is the second most metal thing in existence. I’m ashamed.”

I hang my head, a grin spreading across my mouth. I peer conspiratorially at Kurki, pulling a strand of black hair up and around an antler, out of the way.

I’ve never seen Kurki smile. At this point I’m not certain it’s a shape his mouth makes. But this time I sense something a little pointed in his reserve.

“You really gotta tell me if I’ve got something in my teeth,” I say. “Otherwise I’ll never know.”

He tilts his head to the side, that focused gesture of confusion he and Nosturi share.

“You’re lookin’ at me like you want me to say something but I’ve got no idea what.”

“You expect something of him,” Kurki says.

It takes me aback. Hell, I’ve spent most of my leisure time (and let’s be honest, most of my time is leisure) with these assholes for years, and their uncanny percipience still manages to startle me. Kurki could look at you and tell you how you felt about the lunch you ate three weeks ago. He says these things without pity or emotion, too—not like Mr. Bleeding Heart Nosturi, who sounds like he’s about to cry from empathy if he has to discuss anything remotely unpleasant. Both of them give me this sense of searching—like they’re constantly trying to unravel the vagaries of human emotion.

Maybe that’s the only reason Kurki hangs around me. Like I said, pretty sure I like him way more than he likes me.

“I mean, I get the impression he’s kinda a pompous dick,” I say. “But I also get the impression that he’s gonna bust this world wide open.”

Kurki tilts his head the other way, looking exactly like some huge anthropomorphic bird.

“Don’t you get the feeling we’re all kinda—frozen?”

Kurk’s mouth turns into a delicate frown beneath his mask.

“Maybe I’m just looking for someone to remind me of a savior,” I say, spreading my hands. “But maybe he’s what we need.”

Kurki nods slowly.

“Perhaps.”

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