I died. I mean, died died. That’s a new one, frankly. I’ve missed out on the real thing a couple of times now, and hey, lemme tell you, its no fun. I remember getting sick. I remember Jalil changing the clothes on my forehead, April doping me up every few hours. I remember you pacing. I remember the second I stopped breathing, how it went all black and white, and then Technicolor, and then I was here.
Weird, huh? All those times I could have kicked off in battle fighting the good fight, dying the good death, going to Valhalla, and I die in bed. And I end up here, in Helgardh. Beneath Yggdrasil’s third root, near Hvergelmir and Nastrond, beneath Niflheim. This lovely establishment is, of course, run by our dear friend Hel.
It’s a weird place, Helheim. Roof made of snakes that drip poison, rivers of blood, nothing to drink but goat piss. Call it a hell for a reason, I guess. On the outskirts is the River Gjoll, which, aside from being dick-shrinkingly cold, is filled with knives. And the only way across the river is a huge-ass bridge guarded by a giant. Giantess? Hard to tell. Still ugly. Still really, really big and dangerous-looking. So you could say I’d pretty much accepted my fate when you showed up.
The instant you stepped into Helheim across that bridge, we all knew. I felt it. Like thunder. Like someone had pumped ambrosia straight into my veins. Like dying all over again, only in reverse. You looked bright, and beautiful, and alive, and even now, dead as I am, numb as I am, I still remember how much I loved you.
Hel came storming out, her bloody little dog Garm after her. Ready to tear you to shreds and add you to our numbers. I didn’t know if I wanted that or not. To have you here with me in this place, or to just let you go on living. Romantic tradition insists I let you go on with your life, but hey, we all know I really am that selfish.
I don’t know what you said, or did, but it made her afraid. Made her maggoty little eye twitch in her rotten little head. And I’m all for that.