Flipping the Switch
Chapter 5: Loki
Author's Note: hello! i hope you have been enjoying my story thus far. as you may have noticed by the last chapter, i have returned! im so sorry it took me this long to update, seriously it's been like two years since the first chapter was written. but im back on it again...i never forgot about this story! i've been having a lot of fun writing this and im super excited to take it in the direction that i've been planning on ever since i first started this. i also really really appreciate all the feedback i've gotten. you guys are great! i hope you like the cover i made hehe. anyway, i also hope you like this next chapter...expect to see the next one shortly!
oh and for the record...sorry possible spoiler alert...any references to mythology that i have made aren't necessarily all accurate. it's just to help the story.
I wanted to sleep. I wanted to sleep so bad.
"Didn't you say you were hungry? Here." Astrid tossed a granola bar at me as we began driving down the winding road of Berk Heights.
But my mind was too occupied with the situation at hand to feel tired.
"You can eat it in here. Just don't make a mess."
The drive was long. And quiet. As we cruised through wealthy suburban paradise, I let my mind wander as I watched grand, beautiful homes with perfect green lawns and big trees go past us.
I really hoped that this would end soon. That we would find the solution, a quick fix, and that it would all be over.
Unfortunately, something in the back of my mind told me it wasn't going to be that easy.
What was going to happen to us? What about my band? We were playing our first real show in two weeks, and at the fucking BoneKnapper nonetheless, the most sought-after venue to play in if you were in a stupid little local band like me.
And what about school? What if we were still stuck like this by Monday?
Astrid's voice- or- my voice, broke the silence.
"Did this guy like, have a nametag or anything? The janitor, I mean."
"Holy shit, he did," I replied with a mouthful of oats before quickly swallowing. "I just can't remember what it said..."
"Oh come on, Hiccup."
When we got down to the big boasting gate of Berk Heights, it opened automatically and led us out back to the real world. With normal looking houses and normal looking lawns lining the streets, no more mansions. The mall was only a few miles away. I finished my granola bar and tucked the wrapper into my pocket.
I thought hard. I remember the janitor's nametag having a really weird name on it. It was short, too.
"Flip the switch, Hiccup. Flip the switch!"
The old man's voice resonated in my head. Almost as if it were haunting me. I cringed a little.
"I'm sure I'll think of it. Maybe."
It hit noon by the time we got to the mall. There weren't many people out, probably because it was still early for a Saturday.
"This better work, Hiccup. I've got a cheer competition to practice for."
I rolled my eyes as we walked towards the movie theater.
"Okay, sure. And if it doesn't, I'll just flip a switch and change us back instantly. No problem."
"Oh yeah? Well it obviously it worked the first time," Astrid snapped at me, stopping in her tracks to give me a threatening glare. "When you 'flipped the switch' then!"
"You think you're the only person with important shit to do? I have a gig coming up!"
"Well then maybe you should have thought about that before you like, messed with magical wizard janitors and screwed both of us over!"
A mother and her child walked past us, shooting us weird looks.
I glanced around. "Hey- calm down," I replied softly. "I don't want us to attract too much attention."
Astrid's shoulders rose and fell as she released a short breath.
"We're gonna figure this out, alright? Just- act normal. Be cool. Can you do that? At least while we're in public?"
She squinted at me and then groaned. "You are so annoying."
"I'll take that as a yes."
When we arrived at the ticket booth we were greeted by a shaggy, dark-haired burnout that looked like he hated his life. I'd probably hate my life too, if I had to work at the movie theatre at twelve o'clock on a Saturday. "Uhhh. How can I help you," he said flatly.
I was about to respond when Astrid pushed me aside. "I'll handle this."
"Hi, can we speak to a manager, please?" Astrid said with an insanely superficial sweet voice. The fact that it was my voice made my fucking skin crawl. "We have a question about one of your employees."
"Uhhh, the general manager doesn't work today, sir," he replied, scratching his chin beard. "Is there, uhhh, anything that I can do?"
Astrid lifted an eyebrow. "Did you just call me sir?"
I elbowed her. "He certainly did, Hiccup," I said through gritted teeth.
She looked at me, bewildered, but then her face returned to the fake smile once she came to the realization she wasn't actually a girl anymore. "Oh. I mean- uhm- yes. My good friend Astrid and I would like to speak to one of the janitors that works here. He's like an old man or something."
The burnout behind the ticket window blinked at us. "Uhhh, we have two cleaning ladies. And, uhhh, they only come in the mornings."
"Cleaning ladies?" I asked.
"Are you sure? I was here last night, and I ran into a janitor in the men's room. An old man."
"Uhh, no old dude. And no one cleans the bathrooms at night. Do you guys wanna like, come back tomorrow or something?"
"We are so fucked."
I paced back and forth in my bedroom while Astrid sat on my bed, her knees pulled up to her chest with her arms wrapped around them. A million different feelings weighed down on my chest. Among them were helplessness, frustration, and confusion.
"What are we gonna do?" Astrid groaned in response.
"I don't know. I gotta think." I slumped into my swivel desk chair. That movie theatre didn't even having a fucking janitor. So what did this mean? Was the old man I had encountered last night actually a ghost? A demon? Had he put a curse on me and dragged Astrid into it? Because I had talked about her? What had I done to deserve it?
My stomach was a heavy pit of guilt. I was almost nauseas.
I turned towards my desk and opened my laptop.
"What are you doing?" Astrid asked.
I scoured the Internet for possible answers, stumbling upon all kinds of information on different myths, legends, and supernatural phenomena. Soon enough Astrid had scooted over to the edge of my bed, next to my desk, to get in on the search for an explanation.
"This is all fairytale bullshit," I groaned after maybe half an hour, on the verge of giving up. "I can't find anything."
"There has to be something."
"This is a joke, right? Is the universe fucking with us? Is this all part of a huge trick being played on us? Because it sure seems like it."
"The gods must hate me. Or, whatever it is that's out there. The gods are playing a trick on my pathetic teenaged soul."
Astrid scoffed at me. "A trick? You think 'the gods' are playing a trick on you?"
I opened my mouth to respond with another snarky remark, but suddenly stopped when something else came to mind. "Wait a minute."
She furrowed her eyebrows. "What?"
I turned back to my computer and typed gods play tricks into the search bar. My eyes then scanned the results that pulled up, and almost instantaneously they landed on a link that stood out to me. Loki: God of Mischief and Trickery.
"No way," I breathed, opening the webpage.
In Norse mythology, Loki is the god of mischief and a notorious trickster. Despite his playful and seemingly cowardly persona, he is crafty, clever, and malicious. One must beware of Loki, for he is a shapeshifter and can take on the form of any earthly being, especially when he wants to toy with helpless mortals. A favorite trick of Loki's is coaxing the unspoken desires out of unsuspecting humans and then using those desires against them. He is not to be trusted. Be careful what you wish for.
I squinted at the screen and then looked around for my cell phone. When I saw it on my nightstand, I went over and snatched it up. The last message I received was from that weird four-digit number. 5654.
Be careful what you wish for.
My body was suddenly gripped by an icy chill. When I matched the numbers to their corresponding letters on the keypad, they were able to spell out L-O-K-I. Perhaps it was a coincidence. Perhaps it wasn't.
The name on the janitor's nametag was Loki.