In Chicago, the cold wind howled in between the skyscrapers that seemed to be scraping the heavens.
How amusing, he thought, have not these mortals ever heard of the Tower of Babel?
A church in the distance struck ten and dark clouds crept along the raven black sky as a tall man walked towards the ringing bells. Movements in the nearby trash cans seemed to be rats, cats, or other small animals trying to find a scrap of food on this cold January night. The fires that were set up to help people cook food in a traditional holiday market fluttered out, while cold pigeons huddled near it. Some of the birds had already burned off their tail feathers in their quest to be warm.
Pathetic, the tall man thought as he flicked his fingers and the fire raised and singed or burned alive the birds that were nearest the fire. The coldest and weakest ones were the ones to die; these were the ones which deserved to go, according to the man.
A family walked by, carrying bags of leftover food of the supper they had just eaten. Two adults, parents, and two children, a younger and older sister, walked on the same sidewalk as the man. The parents were talking and made a joke which led to the whole family laughing. The man turned his green eyes to the oldest of the sisters. She ceased laughing at once and stared back with her blue eyes at the man. Her smile faded quickly and she put her hand on her sister in an act of fear. He smiled a cold smile at her and she moved closer to her parents. The family passed by the trickster without an incident.
The father shuddered "I think it's getting chillier out here!" He said as he zipped up his coat.
"Yeah…." The oldest sister said as she watched the man walk away afraid he would turn around.
Finally the trickster arrived the place he sought. The church stood tall and regal in the cold night. It was old, created after the Chicago fire as a symbol of hope and renewal, a phoenix out of the ashes. It will do, the man thought as he stepped inside its welcoming doors.
He walked slowly up the aisles to the center altar. A crucifix was carved into the altar, made out of pure stone; it looked as if it had been carved from one rock. The son of God lay on the cross with thorns placed on his head with tears on his face weeping for humanity out of love. Oh this religion, the god of mischief thought, too much forgiveness, not enough punishment.
A preacher came out of the right wing of the church. "Hello, may I help you? It's quite late for someone to be here at this time of night…"
"Are you the one I am supposed to meet here?" The trickster spoke.
"I'm sorry? I'm just about to leave if you need to talk abo…"
His sentence was cut short by the sharp white cracking of bones in his neck.
"No, the one I am to meet would not address me as such." The man said as he stepped over the body of the dead preacher towards the altar. "Though I wish that the one who is to meet me would speak up, lest he meet the same fate as the dead holy man."
An awkward shuffle came from behind him. A short unimpressive man with dirty blond hair and brown eyes came closer towards the man. "Ah, *cough* yes. You called me?" He stopped before the dead, whose mouth was gaped wide and spit was starting to leak onto the red carpet.
The man stood facing towards the crucifix. "Yes, you are the one known as Charles Gaison, is that correct?"
Charles Gaison gulped, hoping the man wouldn't hear it. "Y-y-es. I heard you calling to me when I was asleep. I-I thought they were dreams, and I well, I suppose they were. But, the things you showed me. Could you really give me all that?"
"Do you know who I am?"
The man with the long dark green coat had still not turned around, but Charles knew his face and his name. "Yes. You are Loki."
"Good. Then you should know that I have the means to do what I say."
Charles worked his hands together, hoping that the god of mischief would not see him doing so. He looked at the dead preacher. "I just, I don't know why you bothered to call me here."
Loki turned around. Charles felt his green eyes boring into him, and a cold smile played on his lips.
"Yes, why would a call a small pathetic mortal like you when I, Loki, have all the power and magic imaginable? Charles Robert Gaison, aged 36. Married at age 23, divorced at age 28 unhappily. Works at a corporate building as a floor manager and suffers from a minor depression. You see, I know all about you, and I called you here specifically. The answer is so simple, even your mortal mind can comprehend it. I need someone to work on the outside, someone as boring as you can walk through life without causing ripples in the stream. Someone like you can get information for me without alerting the higher authorities here to you actions."
Charles looked to the ground, then back up at Loki locking eyes with him. "And how do I know that you will actually go through with what you have promised? I mean you told me I would be rich and have power, over my idiot of a boss, and, that I can get my wife back. I know you are the god of lies, and well…."
Charles knew as soon as he asked this question that it was the wrong way to go. Loki's eyes turned dark and his smile turned into a deep angry scowl. Charles then was pulled forward towards Loki and was grabbed by his face.
"You think that I would turn back on the deal?" Loki said as Charles struggled. He was face to face with the trickster and was held up above the ground and his feet flailed for solid ground. "Why? You are nothing to me; I could kill you right now and find another boring man like you. Why you ask me this question is an insult. You should be proud to be in my presence. Do you wish to end up like him?"
Loki gestured to the preacher who lay on the floor and whose neck was twisted at an odd angle. Flies were starting to land in the pool of spit that had accumulated on the floor. Charles looked at the preacher with wide opened eyes and looked back to Loki.
Loki smiled as he said, "Now, if I were you I would beg for forgiveness before I turn you over to Hel just like him."
"No no no no! I-I-I I'm sorry! I'll do as you ask! I'm sorry! Forgive me!" Charles said as he struggled to stay upright and calm.
With a sneer the god through the man to the ground near the dead preacher. Charles felt his face and body making sure he hadn't broken anything, though he knew he would be in pain for the next few days.
"Be grateful I did not break any of your bones. You mortals are so fragile, it is almost amusing. And yes, I will compensate you for your actions in my upcoming plan, but only if you follow them exactly as I tell you." Loki spoke as he turned around to face the crucifix once more.
Charles slowly stood up trying to hold back his groans. "So, what would you have me do?"
"Nothing as of the moment, but your instructions will come in the next few days, have no doubt about that. This was merely a first meeting making sure I have chosen the right man for the job. I think I have."
Charles stood around nervously, hoping that no one knew that he was here. If the police walked in now, they would find the body of the dead preacher and the blame would surely be placed on him.
"You may go. I will call on you in a few days." Loki said slowly.
Charles quickly buttoned up his coat and turned to leave. Loki reached out towards the face of Christ on the cross. He looked at the whole crucifix.
"Just a minute Charles."
Charles stopped, hoping that Loki had not changed his mind and had decided to kill him. "Yes, Loki?"
"You are a Christian man, yes?"
Off put by the question, Charles hesitated to answer. "Well, I used to be. I was raised in a Lutheran family and made to go to Sunday school every Sunday. Why?"
Loki touched the face on the crucifix. "Your whole religion is based on the concept of forgiveness. Do you think that your God would forgive one such as me? And don't just say yes or no, tell me the truth or I will smite you where you stand."
Charles hesitated then spoke slowly, "No, I don't think so."
"As I thought." Loki said as he crushed the head of Christ.