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Loki scowled down at the creatures on the long, wooden table.  

There was a smugness to them that was not merely annoying, but was truly offensive.  

And they were showing their defiance to Nora, clearly not recognizing that whatever she wanted he was determined she would have.  Not matter how potentially revolting the act of getting it for her might be to him.

She stood at his side, arms crossed, considering his victims, her lovely brown eyes narrow with thought. She stalked slowly around the table, staring at them from every angle as if hoping to find a weakness, a point of ingress.  Sighing, she perched beside their would-be prey, “This is going nowhere. I can’t figure out what’s appr-”

Loki interrupted her, “What do we think they might even be?” he asked, cocking his head.  This was an area in which he had little experience, and that which he had had, was unpleasant.  And so Midgardian.

Nora shrugged, “I don’t know.  Could be a ghost, could be a demon… I don’t know.  Do you?” Though she acted calm she was clearly frustrated that she was unable to persuade their ‘guests’ to tell her about themselves.

There was a brief flash of green, as Loki’s seidr formed about his hand.  With an elegant gesture he spread the power over the table beside those… things.  It coelesed into a series of knives. Large, one-sided daggers that had a brutal efficiency, perfect for chopping and any other heavy work.  Thin stilettos, their triangular blades unparalleled for the perfect thrust into even the most defiant flesh. Miniature flensing knives, flexible and yet razor-like.  There was nothing they cut that they could not remove skin from.

And on and on and on.  A nice cross-section from his extensive, much beloved, collection.

They glinted and shone under the industrial lights of the kitchen.  If he did not know that none of these particular blades he had chosen for this task were sentient he would have sworn they were positively eager to begin.

Loki himself was less so.  Contrary to the commonly held view of him, even to some degree by his treasured Nora, he did not care for this sort of work.  But his vanity insisted that when he did do something this distasteful he do it perfectly.  Beautifully, in a way.

Creatively…  For certain…

“Now, then,” he said, purring to his soon-to-be victims and ignoring the disturbingly eager look in Nora’s eyes as she bent forward to watch, “shall we begin?”

They neither moved nor made a sound.  Not even a faint, soft gulp.

He laughed at them, dry and ratcheting, “Eheheheheh…  Be quiet while you can.”

 

It took hours.  

Though they never spoke there was noise.

So much noise!

The fine, piercing noise of skin being entered by steel, and then the gelid, sucking quality of flesh being parted down to the guts.  The nearly inaudible ‘shrrrr’ as pieces were shaved away, and the almost comical yet sickening ‘pop’ as bits were removed and discarded on the now both sticky and slippery floor.

Loki found the smell almost as appalling as the sounds.  Nora simply sipped coffee and egged him on.

Who knew he had married a monster?

But the worst of it was the feel!  The splatter of it on his arms, staining his rolled up shirt sleeves, staining the vest of his suit with globules of this and that, all of which oozed down the fine wool.  Some of it, from the second of his new friends, even dared to touch his hair!

He made that one pay and pay again, leaving its face a tortured and screaming grimace.  When he finally stopped, lighting them both with magical fire that burned and burned but would not consume or kill he was as revolted at how soiled he was as he was at the act itself.

And he was itchy where their ichor dried on him.  How he hated itching and filth.

And the seeds!  The seeds were surely everywhere.

Where there any vegetation more foul than pumpkins?

“There you are, my treasure,” he said, gesturing with a blade towards his good work, panting slightly.  “One of each, a demon AND a ghost. Never ask me to do this again.”

Nora clapped her hands, and kissed him, “These are the best jack-o-lanterns ever! Help me put them in the window!” she commanded, picking up the demon.

SIghing, he complied, “Will anyone be able to see them from here?” he asked, motioning to the windows of his penthouse overlooking Lake Michigan.

“I’ll know they’re here.”  After some fussing to position them as she liked, she added, “You need a shower.”

Ah, his reward at last.  Reaching out, he put his fingers through the leather belt on her jeans and pulled her to him, getting pumpkin detritus all over her as well.  “A bath, rather. And you may wash my hair,” he whispered against her lips.

She nodded, “Oh, yes,” kissing him back.  Then, she leaned back, smiling widely and patting him on the shoulder excitedly, “And then we can make toasted pumpkin seeds!”

Loki shuddered.