Chapter 6 — February

Character perspective: Rune

On a late Saturday evening, Rune pauses in front of the front door to his family’s house, then turns away, walks through waist-deep snow to the edge of a forest, hesitating only a moment before walking into the tangle of trees. He stumbles through the forest, feeling drawn by a force he doesn’t understand, and his mind wanders through memories from earlier that day, as well as less recent times earlier in the month.

Rune remembers losing every bout at a fencing tournament that morning, and his mind drifts to a fencing practice several weeks ago, when he criticized The Bird as the two attempted a drill. He also remembers his excitement as his relationship with Annie became more intimate, but at the expense of his long friendship with Butch.

Finally clearing the forest, Rune walks onto the banks of a large artificial lake residing above a hydroelectric dam, continuing to follow his mysterious summons. He then recalls inviting Rex into his family’s home, and offering him an epee which Rune’s aunt had picked up at a yard sale, which Rex finally accepted with great reluctance. His mind then jumps to less pleasant memories — Annie showing up unexpecantly at his door, and his quick dismissal of her; Rex giving him a warm card of gratitude for the epee, and the open contempt he had displayed for the card; a bitter conversation with his father about Rune’s interest in fencing, and the youth’s future.

Rune’s walk along the lake is interrupted by the sudden appearance of northern lights dancing in an irregular rythym in the dark night sky; this reminds Rune of how Jezz, a young woman he had met earlier that night, had marvelled at these lights when she had driven him home from a party they had attended at Double-J’s apartment. For the first time since leaving the party, he feels the blows he’d received when Double-J had suddenly attacked him, sending Rune and Jezz away.

Hearing the hum of the hydroelectric dam’s turbines, Rune stops, his legs finally tired from walking. He looks up at the lights, and believes he sees a celestial figure descending down towards him. Confused and amazed, Rune sinks to his knees and believes he hears the figure, some kind of sea goddess, singing to him, beckoning him to join her. With a combination of disbelief and disgust, Rune dismisses the sight before him and turns away, walks back through the woods and finally returns to his home.