Home » Flash fiction » Short story snippet: “The Fourth Wall”

Short story snippet: “The Fourth Wall”

Named thus because I basically just poked into my head to see what my characters were up to in there.


“I’m bored”, he says, running a hand through his red hair, somehow shining like molten copper though there seems to be no natural source of light in this place.

“Charles, Loki is bored”, the girl says, hovering a foot off the ground, out of habit than any real need.

“Why should it be my responsibility to keep Loki entertained?” Charles says, clearly flustered and more than a little annoyed.

“I believe it was you who said that you didn’t trust us not to get pulled into some scheme or other”, the vampire says casually, inspecting his finger nails, neatly trimmed and given a glossy coat of creme colored nail polish.

“Yes, please do something about that elder god of yours”, a woman says sullenly, sitting cross legged on the other side of the room, elbows propped up on her knees. “I think we can live without the last bit of fun he conjured up.”

“I thought it was kind of funny…” the boy pipes up, sitting close to the woman, stretching  out his arms in a very feline gesture.

“It was not funny”, the man next to them says icily, curling up where he sits, wrinkling up his face in disgust, causing the spiderweb of scar tissue across his face to pucker up.

“I thought you looked cute”, another man says, sneaking a hand, the left one, the one that is not metal and artificial, up the scarred one’s back.

“I simply thought it fitting that all of you…matched when it came to your abilities”, Loki says, grinning widely. “In fact I was wondering if I might be allowed to see what I can do to my own fellows…”

“Loki, no”, Charles says sternly, shooting the god a cold look. “It wasn’t terribly funny the first time you turned those two into animals.”

“I didn’t turn them into animals”, Loki said and pouted. “I merely granted them the same shape shifting abilities that you and I possess.”

“My…condition isn’t voluntary”, Charles said, shooting Loki a dark look.

“Anyway”, Loki continued waving a hand in the air. “It hardly is my fault that it took them so long to realize that they could change back into humans.”

“Yeah, we all noticed that”, the woman spoke up again, her dark, messily braided hair seemingly standing on end, her eyes two dark jewels, glinting dangerously.

“Ohhh…Maybe she will stomp Loki again”, the girl said excitedly, shooting a few extra feet up in the air.

A whinny echoed through the air and Sleipnir appeared, the air shimmering around him. Loki reached up to stroke the eight-legged horses neck.

“You don’t want that nasty woman stomping on me, so you”, the god coos in a way that makes the vampire wrinkle his nose.

The horse snorts and tosses its head before it melts into the shape of a large dog, curling up on the ground. With a grumble the woman retreats, receiving a comforting hand from the scarred man, briefly disentangling himself from his partner.

The tension sits there in the room, like the air just before thunder strikes, electric and tangy. Eyes meet, flicking here and there, somehow always finding their target in the red haired man, the god, who is amusing himself by creating fleeting shapes out of burning light between his fingertips.

Then the boy creeps forward, blue eyes large in his face, his body shifting and then he is a cat, or to be precise an ocelot kitten, with golden brown fur and a pink nose. He sniffs at the grey dog, that is actually a horse and the dog lets out a yelp, getting up on all fours. Warring instincts can be seen in the animal’s eyes until it finally decides that this feline is more friendly than anything else. The tail wags in a strange way, for a creature that looks so wolf-like and the cat plays along, running back and forth, darting under the dog, then to the side, until it finally leaps up on its back.

Horse instincts take over then and suddenly it is a large horse that the feline clings to, a horse rearing up in panic, knocking back Loki and the others before it takes off, hooves clattering against the ground, the cat holding on for dear life, yowling, the prick of claws only making the horse panic more.

Everyone shoots into action, yet in a hesitant manner. No one really feels brave enough to get in the way of a panicked horse that has twice the number of sharp hooves to wave through the air, striking perhaps an unprepared person hard.

Loki moves, hands held up and his eyes glows in the dim light of the place. Though some of them might have tossed around words like “god” before, it is only know that they see that yes, yes this is a person with lots of power, even if they were born of this mind.

Glowing, burning hair, shimmering light, Loki moves in front of the stampeding horse and  just like that the horse stops dead in its tracks, blowing hot air through its nostrils that sends strands of red hair flying.

“There now, is there really something to cause such a fuss about?” Loki speaks calmly, gently stroking the horse’s muzzle, velvety soft. “It is only a little kitten who wants to play.”

The god smiles, holding out his other hand, gesturing for the terrified feline, urging it to come.

It takes a few seconds, a minute, but then the feline lets go its claws and comes, pad, pad, padding across the horses neck, then leaping down onto Loki’s shoulder, clinging to it as his wild brothers might cling to a tree branch. The god strokes the cat, scratching the soft fur around its neck and soon the only sound that can be heard is the harsh exhalations of the horse, calming down now, and the low purring of the cat.

The horse lowers its head, snorts, then walks off a few steps, sleepy and lethargic, while Loki gathers up the cat in his arms, then deposits him in the arms of the woman.

He smiles at her, a gesture without any of the mischief you can usually find within his emerald eyes.

“I should think that is enough excitement for the nonce”, he says and returns to his corner.

The room seems to collectively exhale in relief.

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