“That’s crazy.” Charlie realized he was speaking as much to himself as he was to Rune. “It’s just a story, not real life.”
“Just a story.” Rune leaned back in his metal chair, and smirked. “It’s not real.” Rune waved his hands in the air above him and looked about, as if he were directing Charlie’s attention to their surroundings. “Have you ever heard the legends of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes?”
For all Charlie knew, Hawaii was a world away, as far away as heaven. He shook his head.
Rune folded his hands on the table in front of him. “I was in a D&D campaign once where the principle deities were from Hawaii. It sounded interesting, so I took out a book from the library about that mythology. Interesting stuff — Pele’s one of the stronger gods, natural considering how powerful volcanoes are. I’ve got a thing for volcanoes — ” Rune touched his red hair, then stared up at the ceiling as he continued, as if he were reading a teleprompter positioned above Charlie’s head. “Pele was known for being, shall we say, promiscuous — she’d take a lover, who would become a god of an island, and when she’d get tired of him, she’d leave and take up with a younger god.
Rune now looked directly at Charlie. “Know what I read in that library book? The legends said that when Pele left a lover she would go east, away from the setting sun. Funny thing is, scientists have discovered that volcanic activity, the flow of magma under the Hawaiian islands, goes from west to east. The islands on the west have extinct volcanoes, and the only active flow is on the biggest island, the one furthest east. And, couple hundred miles east of that island, they’ve detected another volcano below the ocean’s floor that’ll erupt in a couple hundred years.
“So my point is, the Hawaiians thought they were creating this story about Pele’s sex life, but didn’t know that their story was actually describing how science works.” He tapped his fingertips on the notebook. “So maybe stories are not just stories, and maybe, maybe, the line between stories and the ‘real world’ isn’t always so clear.” Rune looked up at Charlie. “And maybe it’s not so crazy for me to wonder if you’re thinking Mike’s become this ‘Ginger Man.'”