Friday, December 20, 2013

The Legend of Hjarnes Island - Chapter 3

Chapter 3: A mysterious drawing

”I am sorry to see you leave.”
Professor Haymann had been the closest thing to a father Britt could have ever hoped for.
”And I am sorry to leave, Britt.”
He was clearing his desk in what had been his office for the past 24 years at the university of Yale and he was clearly as frustrated as she was, although he did his best to hide it.
”But those who govern this place felt otherwise.”
By ”those who govern” he meant the magistrate and the university board, who had finally decided that his theories were too much of a public burden.
Haymann was a man holding on to his views and since they could not persuade him to hold his tongue and at least research the most awkward of these theories on his own time, they had seen no other option than to let him go.
He put the last folder in his briefcase and sighed deeply while looking at Britt. ”So,” he said, ”this is it. Thank you for all your help.” He reached out his hand and she took it.
”I am the one, who should thank you,” she said while trying not to show her sorrow too much, ”the past 3 years have been the most exciting of my life. And you have always been there for me.” He put his other hand out and held hers with both of his.
”Britt,” both his words and eyes said, ”you mean more to me than I can tell you. I will miss you and you are always welcome to come visit me.”
Then he let go of her hand and grabbed his briefcase.
”I will forward my address to you as soon as I arrive.”
As he left, Britt stood there for a moment, then went to the window and looked out. He put all his things in the trunk of the waiting taxi and just before he stepped in, he looked up and waved a heartily good bye. She waved back trying to smile, but could not overcome her feelings and confusement at the whole situation. Why couldn´t he take her with him? Or at least tell her, where he was going?
She watched the taxi drive away and then turned around. The office looked barren without the pictures and diplomas on the wall. With a deep sigh she sat in the chair and took in as much as she could of what was left of Haymanns presence. Her left hand was fiddling with the knob of the desk drawer as if it had a life of its own. She turned the chair a bit to the side and looked out the window. How would she cope when Haymann would no longer be standing at her side and helping her making hard descisions?
She heard a clicking sound as the drawer knob twitched and a wooden plate beneath the drawer popped out. She took hold of it and pulled it out a bit. Nothing was on it, but there had to be reason for it to be hidden there. Her hand struck something underneath the plate, so she took it out and flipped it. A piece of paper was folded and glued to the plate. She ripped it off of the plate and opened it. There was a drawing on the paper; A circle with two lines at equal length drawn as a cross from the edges of the circle.
I´ve seen this before, she thought, but she couldn´t remember where. All she could think of was that it had something to do with Scandinavia.
Well, I´ll forward this to his new address as soon as I hear from him, she thought to herself, then stood up, got her jacked from the hat tree by the door and walked out with the note in her pocket.
***
It had been almost three weeks and yet there´d been no word from Haymann. Britt usually wasn´t the type for worrying and though she had been trying to convince herself that it was just Haymanns well known tendency of forgetting even the simplest things, she´d had this nagging feeling that something was wrong. Three days after Haymann left, a group of men in grey coats had shown up at the university and turned his office upside down. They had left as quickly as they arrived and the janitor was well occupied repairing the broken wall panels. Haymanns desk had to be replaced as it was ripped to pieces leaving only the legs in two pairs with their respective halfs of the desk attached.
But more than anything else it was the accumulation of little strange things she had experienced for a few days that made her decide to act. Sometimes, when she knew she was alone, she´d had the feeling that someone was watching her.
At first she dismissed it as being the grief making her imagine things, but after a while, she told the magistrate about it. His face had turned white and he simply refused to talk about it. Or about Haymann for that matter. While it was obvious why he didn´t want to talk about Haymann´s theories; in fact he had never wanted to; still she didn´t understand why Haymann´s whereabouts and actions were suddenly off limits. It had always been one of the magistrate´s favorite interests and he´d usually be more than keen to spit and course at Haymann´s behaviour. Up till two days after Haymann left in the taxi, the magistrate had acted as usual and every lunch break he would deminish the work of his former collegue. But suddenly he didn´t want to talk about Hayman whatsoever?
This morning she had left home and now she was waiting at the subway station. The train was late due to a suicide attempt down the track and she decided to call the university to let them know she was late.
What? Oh, no... My phone... forgot it at home.
She had to go back to get it even it meant she was going to be even more late. Her whole life was in that phone: calendar, contacts, everything. As she was walking down the street to where she lived, she noticed a red van parked by her house with the engine running. Four grey coats came rushing out from her house, jumped inside the van and left with sqeeling wheels.
She waited for a few minutes before entering the building and taking the stairs to the third floor. Constantly looking over her shoulders she went down the hall way to her apartment. The door was open a crack and the lock had been ruined. Someone had been in there, probably the grey coats. She opened the door and looked inside. Her furniture was scattered all over the place, paper and books were spread across the floor, clearly taken from the shelves and tossed over the shoulder. They´d been searching for something, but what?
She had a feeling it would be best not to stay there too long and decided to not even begin packing a bag. Instead she just grabbed her phone and left while calling her collegues to tell them that she would miss the morning meeting.
She finished the call as she came out to the street, threw the phone in a garbage can and went into a shop to buy another one, then punched the number of the one man, she could think of, who may be able to help.
“Britt? Hi!” Johannes sounded absolutely thrilled, “So good to hear from you. What are you doing these days.”
She couldn´t help smiling at his Danish accent. So clean and clear. Like most Americans, she loved that accent.
“Hi, Johannes, good to hear your voice,” she said her eyes constantly keeping aware of her surroundings, “Listen, I don´t want to be blunt, but I don´t have much time. There is something I want you to look at. Can we meet?”
“Sure,” he answered, “but isn´t Professor Haymann the better man to ask?” She felt sad.
“That´s not an option right now, Johannes. He´s gone missing. You are the only one I can trust.” There was a short silence, before he cleared his throat.
“Okay.. ehm.. so... what is it, you want me to look at?”
“Well, it´s basically a drawing.”
“Why not just scan it and send it in an email?”
“I can´t get to my computer, Johannes, we need to do this in person.”
“Allright, Britt, what do you want to do?”
“I´m getting on the next available plane to Copenhagen. Would you meet me at the airport?”
“Anything for you, Britt. Let me know when you will be in Copenhagen and I´ll meet you by Lost Properties, is that okay?” She agreed and tossed the phone in a bush nearby, then hailed a taxi.
***
“Rumors have it, that you´ve had quite some fun down there?”
Loki looked up at Sif as she spoke. She had always had that dry sense of humor. She knew very well, that Loki wasn´t all that keen on his job down on Earth these past 200 somewhat years.
“Oh, yeah!” he said with a smile full of home cooked food, “Tremendous fun!”
Sif returned his smile and put more food on the table. In many ways, Sif was what you might call an old fashioned housewife. She loved to cook and especially if the men enjoyed her meals. She was always the first to volunteer for practical work such as washing and cleaning - even in areas that were particularly dirty. Still, one would be a fool to underestimate her. And she had a temper every Aseir knew wisely to react to accordingly. Just like Loki, Sif wasn´t Aseir. She was a Vane, a race from far away, whom the Aseir encountered severel millenia ago. In fact, the Aseir and the Vanes had been at war with each other for more than a century, before they finally resolved the conflict and made a non-aggression pact. To ensure lasting peace, the two races had agreed to exchange a group of important people from each race to live with the other race. Sif was one of the first of these emmisaries and she moved to Asgard, where she met Thor and they got married. She and Loki were good friends, but that hadn´t always been the case. In the beginning she really didn´t care much for him, possibly because the Yetten had given her people so much grief in the past when unprovoked attacks and raids with senseless killings had deprived the Vanes of many good men and women. The Yetten were ruthless and made no discrimination in their actions. Not even children were spared. So, at first she didn´t even want to say hello when meeting Loki on the streets of Asgard Centropolis. Loki had been wise and just kept greeting her kindly and helping her out, whenever he could. He had even done chores that male Yetten usually wouldn´t even consider touching. And eventually she thowed and began speaking to him.
With time they became friends and now Sif was maybe the only one besides Thor, who had Loki’s undevided loyalty. In some ways, she could even do or say things that Thor couldn´t. Sif was the one person who could really reach Loki to the core of his soul. That is: if he had one, which was still, after all those years of service in the Aseir fleet, a subject for debate with the crew when ever they thought Loki wasn’t listening.
That was a mistake, though. Loki had a special ability: he could change his appearance whenever he wanted. So, from time to time, when he had a feeling they were spreading rumors about him or in any other way speaking ill of him, he would change his form to a lamp post, an animal or, if on a space ship, maybe a console button or a panel. Sometimes he would make himself flat and wrap himself around a pillar to listen to what people were saying without them knowing he was there.
Sif sat across the table to keep him company.
“Loki?” she said, “can I ask you something?” With his usual nag for stating the obvious, he informed her that by asking she had already asked a question.
“You´re sooo funny, Loki,” she responded sarcastically, “I heard someone say you posed as a dog trying to court a girl down there... is that true?”
“Please, Sif,” he replied, “I would never do such a thing... besides, it wasn´t a dog, it was a cat...” He paused for a bit to see her reaction. She was still smiling. Then he grabbed another piece of meat and got to his feet.
“And it was all in the line of duty...” he said as he was leaving the room to go make his oral report to the executive staff...