Another story with my urban fantasy characters. The title is a play on the name of the amusement park they visit, which exists for real in the city of Stockholm, called “Gröna Lund”. “Gröna” is pretty much the color green in Swedish.
It had been an abnormally warm day for late August and Stephan would not shut up about how sweltering it had been to remain huddled up inside the van until the sun had set low enough that he could emerge and join the rest of them.
“You did remember to lock the van, didn’t you?” Charles asked, concern leeching into his voice.
Stephan snorted and tossed the werewolf the keys with one deft motion. “Of course, what do you take me for, some damned fool?”
“Stephan, my friend, he simply takes you for…well, you”, Loki drawled and ran his fingers through his red hair, though it seemed no force on earth could make a single hair fall out of place.
Melanie giggled. “Stephan, I should tell them about the time you got yourself locked inside-
“You shut up this instance, girl!” Stephan cried, glaring daggers at the girl.
Charles had to clear his throat noisily to make the group pay attention to him.
“Children…” he sighed. “Did you want to go to the amusement part tonight or not?”
They practically dragged the poor werewolf towards the entrance gates, howling and hooting like a group of preschoolers on a field trip…Which this kind of was, in a way.
At least there was one good thing about being the leader of such a strange group of people, Charles reflected as he handed over his debit card to the cashier. Not all of them counted as people who had to pay the entrance fee, while others…
He glanced over at Loki, looking about three years shy of growing a beard, peering up at him with impossibly big eyes.
“Y-Yes, two adults and one child”, Charles got out when the impatient woman, who looked old enough to be his daughter, if not granddaughter, asked him again who he was paying for.
“I don’t see why you’re so upset with me”, Loki said later, when he’d grown back to his proper size and age. “I saved you a fair bit of money.”
“Wow, Loki, what if you’d been stuck like that?” Melanie chirped. “You wouldn’t have been able to go on any of the good rides!”
Stephan blinked. “Oh…I have the best idea ever…”
“No”, Charles said flatly. “Whatever you were thinking…No.”
“We need to loosen up our friend here”, Stephan said companionably to Loki, while he slung an arm around Charles, who was counting backwards from ten.
Loki grinned in a way that made sirens go off in the werewolf’s head. “Oh, I am in full agreement, dear Stephan.”
Later a sullen looking vampire was nursing a beer he couldn’t really enjoy while the other two men were holding something very different.
“Of all the things you mortals have conjured up over the years, this is one of my favorites”, Loki purred as he broke off another piece of green colored cotton candy and stuffed it in his mouth.
“I think you should have remained a child”, Stephan muttered, while Charles smiled in a sly way, carefully consuming his own cotton candy mountain without getting too sticky.
Melanie occasionally shoved a hand through the sugary mess, to try and absorb some of it through osmosis in the air.
“It really tastes green”, she sighed as she drifted off, kicking back like a swimmer doing the backstroke. She’d hovered over the cotton candy and popcorn kiosk for a while, and she had returned speaking of butter mountains and corn fluff in the sky.
“I wonder…” Stephan began. “Could you absorb alcohol like that?”
The vampire held out the mug of beer and Melanie peered at it for a few seconds before she absorbed the whole thing inside herself, Stephan’s hand and all.
Stephan howled in disgust, Loki laughed and Charles checked the time again, to see how much longer he had to endure this. The park closed at 10 pm and the time seemed to have slowed to a crawl. At least the park was crowded enough that no one seemed to really notice them and their strange behavior.
Soon enough Loki had consumed all the cotton candy, Stephan had ranted and raved himself into a temporary silence and the ghost had drifted off to sleep, curled up in the lap of the enormous teddy bear that was the grand prize in the shooting gallery.
While Stephan and Loki were debating what would happen if anyone won that teddy bear, Charles tried to resume command of his smaller flock and handed out the ride tickets he’d purchased.
“You have the same number of tickets, so spend them wisely” he said. Maybe he could use his on the calmer rides…Maybe after three goes through the tunnel of love or the Ferris wheel he’d have his pulse down to a rate where he’d not fear a change despite the lack of a full moon.
“Oh, let’s do the Ghost Train”, Stephan said with eyes glimmering like a child on Christmas, scanning the line of people already in line for it.
“Charles, did you feed the vampire before we left?” Loki drawled, licking residue sugar off his fingers, daintily like a cat.
Charles followed Stephan’s gaze towards a group of young women in line, chatting loudly amongst themselves and clenched his jaw.
“Stephan, you can only ride if someone rides with you”, he said sternly.
The vampire deflated slightly. “Really?”
“Don’t worry, you can ride with me”, Loki said and winked, nudging the vampire.
Charles paled. “No, absolutely not.”
And that was how Charles ended up riding the Ghost Train with Stephan, neither of them very happy with the arrangement.
“Bah, I don’t see how that was very scary”, Stephan said testily as they emerged from the blackness and the fake monsters.
“I haven’t gone on the ride before, so I wasn’t prepared!” Charles croaked, nearly stumbling as he got out of the car.
Loki was grinning at the pair as they got out. “I think Melanie’s gone loopy.”
The God led them to where Melanie had relocated herself, the entrance to the Tunnel of Love where she was bobbing along with the fake wooden boats as they emerged at one end and entered with new passengers in the other.
“I’m a mermaid!” the ghost girl cried. “I’m the lizard queen!”
“No one can see you, darling”, Loki said and grinned. The ghost didn’t seem to hear, or care.
“I don’t see why we can’t leave her there”, Stephan said. “No one can see her and she’s not bothering anyone.”
“Stephan, may I remind you how you feel when she passes through you”, Charles said, glaring at the vampire.
Stephan glanced back toward the Tunnel of Love, at the faces of the passengers as they got off the ride, looking like death warmed over.
“They can sense her alright”, Charles muttered.
“Al right, we get in, pick her up on the way out, yes?” Loki said, tilting his head to the side.
“That should hopefully work…” Charles began, and then quickly found himself pulled towards the entrance, by Loki himself.
“You already went on one ride with Stephan, now you need to go on one with me”, the God purred, his hand clutching Charles elbow like a lover.
Soon Charles mutely found himself sitting in front of Loki in the boat as they slowly entered the gloom of the tunnel.
“You know, this used to be a story tunnel!” he croaked. “Then one year it burned down and they rebuilt it as this.”
“How fascinating…” Loki said and Charles swore he could feel his fingers on him, tracing a pattern downwards, searching for a gap in the clothing. When he felt Loki’s hot breath in his ear he yelped so loud he was shushed by the couple in the boat behind them.
“We’re doing this to get Melanie”, Charles managed to get out, clutching the sides of the boat so hard his knuckles went white.
“Oh, but we should enjoy ourselves in the meantime”, Loki said and grinned, fingers ghosting against his hands. “You’re so uptight, Charles…Just relax.”
Charles tried to formulate a protest to that when they found themselves pushed out into the light of the million light bulbs that lit the evening outside.
“Well, there is our little drunken ghost friend”, Loki said; suddenly back to business, pointing out the form bobbing in the waves ahead of them.
“Melanie, why don’t you come with us?” Charles asked, trying to keep his voice level. “There are more fun places than this.”
“I dunno if I wanna…” the ghost said, pouting at him.
“Come on, girl”, Loki said. “You know I could make you.”
There was a dangerous glint in the God’s eyes and Melanie actually looked scared. If anyone watching thought it looked strange how the two pulled something invisible from the waters in front of them, they didn’t notice.
After Loki had left Melanie at the Free Fall ride, encouraging her to ride it again and again, the rest of them decided to settle down by walking through the hall of mirrors.
Five minutes later Loki had managed to ruin the thing for everyone else, by unbending and morphing all the mirrors into normal, plain looking glasses. Charles had no energy left to be upset about that.
“Oh, I know what we should do for a final thing”, Stephan offered. “We should try that new-ish roller coaster where you go up all high and then twist around and around.”
“Oh…That does sound like a magnificent idea”, Loki said and stroked his chin with one hand and gripping Charles arm with the other, to prevent him from running away.
“Is…That not really high up in the air?” Charles croaked.
“It is”, Stephan said. “It’s what makes it look so much fun!”
“I…” Charles began.
“You don’t have a problem with heights, do you, old friend?” Loki said with a mischievous glint in his eyes.
Charles jaw worked but no sound came out, the roller coaster looming ahead of him like some monster out of his nightmares. Funny, because he thought he was pretty chummy with most monsters he knew about.
Later, after they had pried Melanie away from the Free Fall, Loki said he had screamed so loud that he’d popped one of his ear drums.
“Don’t worry, he assured Charles as they were getting back in the car. ”It will grow back soon.”