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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Live, Love, Lose - 51. Chapter 51

Karl could finally go back home after a few weeks of a long recovery. It had felt weird not to see the doctor around any longer after the hospital had been bombed that night. Even if he had only seen him two or three times, it had been enough for him to take a liking to the man, and he would have preferred it could’ve still been him to help him in his recovery.

He couldn’t get over the fact he had been there near him not long before he died. He had been unable to do anything. He had only been able to stare at him helplessly. And seeing the hospital almost completely destroyed... this had been a great shock too. He had had to be transferred to another building to be taken care of.

And it hadn’t stopped ever since, the bombings. They had just been lucky not to be hurt and die. If they kept doing it, they would end up destroying the whole city and killing everyone… That thought had been haunting him. He couldn’t shake it off his mind, every instant it was there, making his blood run cold.

“You should go upstairs and get some more rest. I will call you once dinner is ready,” Mrs. Hopkins told him after they had just entered the house.

But he was just feeling empty, tired of all this suffering and chaos. Why couldn’t it just stop?

Next thing he knew, Mrs. Hopkins was hugging him tightly.

“It will be alright. We will go through this all together, like the rest. We will not let anything happen to you again. We will not let anything happen to any of you. Ever.”

He didn’t find the strength in him to hug her back. She let go of him after a while and put her hand on his cheek, letting it slide slowly off it.

Then they parted ways without another word. He went upstairs sluggishly, and when he entered the bedroom he spotted George sitting on the bed. Their eyes met. And he suddenly felt a strange sensation overwhelming him. He was relieved to see he was alright, and not hurt like he had been, but it wasn’t that. It was something else that was mixed to it.

They just remained still staring into each other’s eyes intently for a while. But then they moved in sync, closing the gap that had been separating them for so long. Karl wrapped his arms around his neck instinctively, and George did the same around his waist.

They made love, totally forgetting the world surrounding them, forgetting about dinner and that terrifying chaos at least for a while.

During that night, his visions started again.

He saw Mímir have his very first tattoo made. On his upper back. A kind of geometrical design. It started with a straight black line that went from the nape of his neck down to the middle of his spine. Then it was another black line on the left side, shorter, and then one on the right side. Then the two lines on each side of the main one were connected together with other lines. One. Two. Three. Diagonal, straight lines. Each of them started on each side to join the other, forming a big diamond in the centre, itself made of four small diamonds.

It was a curious design.

Then he had another tattoo made, even more curious. This time it wasn’t on his back, but on the left side of his body, if you position yourself as if you were in his shoes, and if looking at him not from behind, then his right side. It looked like a series of characters that went down from his armpit to his hip. Seven. But their shape wasn’t round, they were made of straight lines just like for the other tattoo.

As soon as he woke up he went to the bathroom swiftly and checked first his back in the mirror, then his left side.

His upper body was bare and untouched. There were no traces of black ink on it.

He wondered what the purpose of these drawings was. And why should it be shown to him anyway? What was the point in it?

He stared at his face in the mirror for a long while. That Mímir Viking boy…who was he exactly? Was it just an invention of his brain or had he really existed? And why did he creep into his mind on a regular basis? What did he want from him? Why couldn’t he just leave him alone?

The longer he kept staring at his own reflection, the less he could recognise himself. It was like when you keep repeating the same word over and over again for too long, it ends up losing all of its meaning. And then you say: why choose this word to describe such or such thing and why not another one?

He had never understood that concept of words.

Yes, it seemed that he was looking at a stranger in the mirror. It was strange, to say the least.

As he kept staring he swore he could see that Mímir boy looking back at him with a smirk plastered on his face, as if he were only here to taunt him, silently saying : “I’ve got the control over your mind.”

Next thing he knew he was punching the mirror.

He was shocked as he realised what he had just done. The mirror wasn’t completely broken. It was still in place, but there were thin cracks everywhere.

He definitely couldn’t recognise himself. Never had he thought he had such violence in him...

Karl Jørgen Nielsen. This was who he was supposed to be. But these were only names.

He looked at the hand that had just punched in the mirror. He froze as he saw the blood on it. His other hand gripped his wrist and squeezed it. What had he done?

“What happened?”

He started at the voice he hadn’t expected to hear. He hadn’t meant to wake up George. He didn’t even dare turn around to face him. He was still frozen in his spot.

He didn’t have to wait for long for George to approach him and make him face him anyway. He looked at the shattered glass and then examined Karl’s hand. Then he stared into his eyes with an expression that could only mean he was in trouble.

“Why did you do that? What got into your mind?

Karl remained wordless. He wouldn’t know what to say anyway. He couldn’t explain to him what had been happening in his head. He would probably think he’s mad. He didn’t even find the courage to apologise for doing that. Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins would probably not be too happy about it. They had been treating him like their own son, and he broke their mirror. This wasn’t done. But he hadn’t meant to break it. It was…—

“Let me go put my clothes back on. And put on yours too.”

He sounded stern and angry as he said that. Karl was overwhelmed by guilt. He brought his hand to his face and bit the skin of his thumb.

After they both got dressed, George tended to his injured hand, and still looked angry.

“Don’t you think you have been injured enough already? Did you really need to punch that mirror? What is it? Do you miss not being wounded anymore or what?”

He could only stare at him in silence.

“And stop looking at me with that look!”

He looked down at his lap, hesitating to speak. Maybe he would regret his decision once he did. He could still wait and speak about it later.

“You know what? Your silence is only making me angrier.”

Karl glanced at him.

He didn’t know what would be best to say. It was much easier just to kiss and fuck.

After a while, George finished the work.

“I won’t say a word about it to Uncle Robb and Margaret, or Paul. But you’ll have to muddle through and make up a good excuse when they see the bandage on your hand and that their mirror’s broken.”

Their eyes met again.

“Unless we replace it before they can see anything.”

Karl remained silent, and neither of them looked away.

“You know what? Keep that to yourself. I don’t care,” he said as he stood up from the bed. “You’re on your own for this.”

Then he left the room without looking back at him.

He looked back down. He was regretting his silence.

***

He didn’t feel like going out that day. He had been away from the house for so long. Mrs. Hopkins went out to go and help those who needed it. The war had already destroyed so many houses. He had seen it on the way back. He just remained alone in the living room, sitting in the armchair, and just waited for the day to end. Only to have to face another one that would be exactly the same.

Mr. Hopkins went back home unusually early that afternoon. He was surprised when he saw him enter the living room.

He didn’t say anything, didn’t greet him, didn’t smile at him. He only looked concerned as their eyes met. Karl didn’t say anything either, and they remained like this for a while.

Mr. Hopkins approached him and sat next to him.

“I wish you had not got to see all these horrors. You are too young to witness and go through such horrendous things. But I am afraid you will not be able to go back home anytime soon…”

Home. He had started losing hope about ever going back for a while now.

He could feel Mr. Hopkins sliding one arm around his shoulders and bringing him closer. His body and mind were craving for affection, so he willingly leaned into his touch and let his head rest in the crook of his neck. It was good.

He closed his eyes, allowing himself a bit of rest. He had been thinking enough.

“We shouldn’t be thinking too much about it though. Let us occupy our minds before depression takes over us.”

He removed his arm, and Karl removed his head, and he stood up to walk away. But he went back soon. He went back with the chessboard in his hands. He put it down on the table.

“It has been quite a while since the last time we played together, hasn’t it?”

Karl smiled at him, and it seemed he hadn’t done so in ages, which wasn’t that far from the truth actually.

They played several games in a row. But as they were playing their fifth game, there suddenly was a knock on the door.

“I’ll get it,” Karl said as they exchanged a look.

He stood up swiftly, remembering his last move as he got to the door. He was surprised to see Jojo’s father on the threshold. He looked fine, but not happy…

“Is George here?”

Well…This was a bad start.

“No—”

He shoved him off the way and came in without being allowed to.

“He still hasn’t come back,” Karl said, hoping it would make him stop.

“What do you think you are doing?”

He was relieved to see Mr. Hopkins in the hall. Jojo’s father stopped to focus his attention on him.

“I’m getting George back.”

Karl could feel the tension between the two men.

“Go down the stairs immediately. Carl told you he hadn’t come back yet. Besides, no one has allowed you to come in. This is discourteous.”

“I don’t give a damn about good manners,” he said as he went down the few steps he had taken.

“I’ve had enough about George’s behaviour. Do you really think he was raised with good manners? He doesn’t show any kind of respect towards his mother. He even made her cry! And you think it’s normal! He’s been staying for too long here. It’s time he went back home now!”

His words were followed by a short moment of silence.

“You cannot force him to go back with you if he is not willing to.”

“And what will you do if I try?”

Karl didn’t like at all the look on his face and the tone he used. But he doubted he could do anything to help…

“You’re not his father, and you never will. He needs to stay with his mother.”

Mr. Hopkins remained silent for a little while, and next thing he knew he approached the other man. He didn’t know why, but he had a bad feeling.

“I may not be his father, and I cannot claim to have that wish to replace him, but at least I am related to him.” He paused. “You are nothing to him. And you will never mean anything to him, and if he does not want to go back to live with you and his mother, then perhaps you should start asking yourself the right questions. With this, you will be kind to leave us. We are quite busy at the moment.”

He pushed him outside, the man being seemingly too taken aback by his words to have any kind of reaction at all, and he shut the door in his face.

Karl was somehow stunned, but he smiled at him as they exchanged another look.

“Let us go back to playing, shall we?”

After playing a few more games, Mr. Hopkins showed him a book he took among the many ones he had in his library. Yes, he had a room just for books. It was huge. He had never seen so many books in his life. That was a room he had just discovered.

“I know Margaret started to teach you how to read, so I thought perhaps you would like to practice a bit. Have you already heard about Kipling?"

Ki…pling. That name sounded familiar, but he couldn’t remember when he had heard it.

So he just shrugged.

“His writing is amongst the finest types. But if you would rather practice with something else, you can take any book you want. At any time.”

Karl took the book he was handing him, and Mr. Hopkins smiled at him. They practiced together for most of the evening, and after dinner was over, Karl kept practicing on his own in the bedroom.

He was so focused on his task that he didn’t even notice George entering the room. And when he finally had, he just ignored him anyway. But Karl didn’t want him to ignore him as if they were nothing to each other. He didn’t want him to be angry at him.

“I don’t think I know who I am anymore…”

The words came out of his mouth spontaneously. But he didn’t even see whether it caught George’s attention or not because he wouldn’t look up.

Nothing happened for a while, so he just assumed George kept ignoring him. But he realised he was wrong when he felt arms wrap around his body. George didn’t speak, he just kept hugging him, probably hoping it would be enough to comfort him.

“Jojo’s father came. He wanted to take you with him.”

“I know. Uncle Robb told me about it.” A pause. “I wish I could have been here to see how he threw him out. Too bad.”

Karl couldn’t help the smile that formed on his lips.

His words were followed by silence.

“You’re reading Kipling? ‘didn’t know you were into that stuff.”

Was he thinking because he was a peasant he couldn’t want to learn how to read?

He didn’t want to have a conversation about that anyway.

“If you’re interested in reading, I can lend you my books. It’s much better than this crap.”

His books? Seriously?

“I don’t want to become a doctor.”

“That’s good news; because I’m sure you’d be a terrible one.”

Karl punched him lightly, not like he had punched the mirror. And they ended up in a tickling fight. Such an interesting way to pend the evening. And guess who won?

“Stop laughing!”

He could never get enough of it. He just wished it could be like this all the time.

Hello my dear readers :) 

Happy New Year to all of you!!! 🎊🥂🍾 I wish you the best for this new year, and hopefully we'll see the end of this pandemic 🤞

Lots of love to everyone ❤️

Copyright © 2021 LittleCherryBlossom26; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

How does Karl tell George about a ghost that haunts his dreams?  What is disturbing is that Karl doesn't try.  I am glad that Robert is a strong man and can standup to George's stepfather, then compassionate to comfort Karl.  At least Karl and George have resolve the misunderstanding from the morning.

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Carl is really troubled. His repeated dreams are telling him something that he can't yet explain.He knows he is not the Viking, but wonders who he is and why he comes to him.  I think Vikings used tattoos to symbolize things that matter to them and to display their fierceness and connections. Carl may be reminded of images from his life in Denmark. I hope this matter will be clearer.

George and Carl easily connect sexually. They both have issues and traumas to work out. They don't yet talk things through-and Carl still needs to learn .enough English. George jumps to conclusions. I bet his former  home life did not give him a basis for handling conflict or misunderstandings.

The pressures of war can add to their intense need for a satisfying sexual outlet. Sex can feel great and take their mind off worries and let them connect in ways both feel are welcomed

Robert wisely kept George's stepfather away and kicked him out. He must have been pushed by hs wife to bring her son back. He would not be a sound, supportive person to help George in his present condition. It is another example of how the bombing and war presssures families to do strange things, I think.

I am very glad Carl is being taught better English.He needs to better understand others and they need to understand him better. Robert should be a good teacher. Kipling wrote about war ,too.

Does George no longer want to be a doctor? If so, that sounds ominous.

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