Jacob watched as Ray climbed through the window. He made it look so easy, like climbing from the second floor was the easiest thing in the world. But Jacob had been practicing. This time he was ready to go. As soon as the goblin disappeared, he slipped out of bed and looked down.
Ray was nowhere to be seen.
Jacob’s heart pounded as he climbed over the sill. He stretched for the elm branch. Everything looked so different in the dark, less certain, more dangerous. For a moment he thought maybe he should go back. But he reached out anyway and felt the elm tree’s rough bark.
Thor flinched. He knew that voice too well. He turned restlessly, trying to force it out of his head. But it was there, always there, in his heart.
Thor’s elbow hit the TV tray. He cursed, throwing a plastic plate across the room.
“Get out!” he shouted. “Go away. Just leave me.”
He didn’t mean it. Not really. But he was tired and the pain was no easier. Loki, that cursed son of an ice giant. He saw him hanging from Thanos’s hand, fighting for air, for life. He heard his brother’s hoarse voice:
“You—will never be—a god.”
His death was too sudden. Thanos had thrown his body at Thor’s feet, so still and broken in a way that Loki was never broken, never finished. It was pretend. It had to be. Thor had bowed beside his brother, praying for some trick, some miracle.
The moon is shining in the sky
The stars are twinkling down
The frost is glistening on the grass
And on the rooftops ’round
And I am sitting in my bed
And thinking of the way
One night turned all nights upside down
And made this Christmas Day.
No, not flowers. He liked flowers, but it didn’t seem right.
She sat, looking down at the quiet ground that was so unlike him. Davy had never been quiet. He had never stood still. Even in sleep, he was always tossing and stealing the blankets for himself. Peg’s mouth crooked in a smile. Darn it, she missed him.