Loki did not have a troubled childhood. His mother was distant, but that was the way she had always been and so it did not hurt. She was quiet, but she gave him what he needed. Food, shelter, clothing. His father hardly entered the picture; he lived in a different country where he did some work that involved a black briefcase and an array of neckties. Both his parents were tall, blonde, and angular--things that they passed on to him, a cool kind of beauty.
At some point in his adolescence, Loki imagined, he might have wanted more from his parents. He might have liked it if his mother had leaned down to kiss him more often, or if his father had tucked him in, but the older he grew, the more these things seemed trivial and like children's stories. He never slept with a stuffed animal, but it had taken him longer to learn how to talk than the average toddler, and he often muttered German curse words at the other children at his school when they picked on him, leaving the teachers confused and the kids chatting amongst themselves about demon possession.
Eventually, though, Loki became aware that he was missing something. He exercised often, so his body was in very good shape--skinny, yes, and still quite pale, but there were muscles beneath the milky skin to rival any boy at his school. His grades were excellent and he rarely missed questions on his tests. He tried being on the track team and outran the other members so easily that he was bored; he tried playing an instrument but found it took too long to learn and the clumsy notes of others annoyed him; he tried an array of drugs and alcohol but did not like to be sick or to see the world waver around him; he even tried sex, with both boys and girls, and found little satisfaction in the act itself, although he was quite interested in the way different people reacted to it.
The only thing that put any passion into him was art. He would draw dozens of sketches of his classmates, particularly at moments that they wouldn't find flattering--Jimmy when he got a boner while giving a presentation, for instance, and Tisa when she bent over in her skirt to reveal rather tattered undergarments--but could never perfect a self-portrait. He couldn't usually stick to one subject for long, and soon ran out of things to draw. That was when he met Christine.
Christine was unlike any girl he'd ever seen before. Every pore of her body seemed to produce light rather than reflect or absorb it. She had glossy hair and smiled at almost everything. She often came to school with socks that didn't match, but never seemed worried about it. He drew her writing in her notebook, eating lunch against a tree. He studied the way her fingers held a pencil, a strand of hair, and, much later, his cock.
He drew Christine until his arms were tired and smudged with charcoal, and then he began to paint. There were so many things to notice--her eyes, all the different shades of her skin, the creases and folds of her clothes. Christine was flattered by his interest in her and was very kind to him, but eventually she became tired of simply modeling, insisting on a deeper relationship. When he had sex with Christine, he didn't feel as though he was marring himself with something dirty; he felt like he was having as close to a spiritual experience as he could ever have. He wanted more.
And soon, Loki figured out he could take more. He could, with a little prodding, have Christine pose any way he wanted. He could make her seem vulnerable or slutty; he could tie her to bedposts and paint her as she writhed around. He was more innovative when they had sex, and when it started to seem like too much to her--anal was fine, but anything involving pig's blood was definitely not--he would twist her arm or hit her in a place that wouldn't be seen by others. In a way, he enjoyed her tears as much as he had once coveted her smiles.
At some point, however, the freshness and joy he had once found in Christine disappeared. She began to look like any other girl he had drawn; she had lost her spirit. Try as he might, Loki could not bring it back. She would not even cry for him. He dumped her unceremoniously, was not surprised when he found out that she committed suicide two weeks before graduation, and went on the hunt for other people like her, people who could make him feel whole, if only for a while.
The thing was, Loki could not keep these people happy. He craved breaking them as much as he craved their joy; he did not favor one over the other. He went through a chain of boys and girls, capturing and killing them with careless ease; it seemed that, as spirited and alive as these people came off, they were all searching for something, all missing a piece, just as he was. Perhaps, he reasoned, it was his destiny to eliminate these people. After all, it was better for him to relieve them of their sorrows than for them to wander through life in such a state.
And so Loki came across Faye, a beautiful girl with her heart in her eyes, a big piece ripped out of the middle, and he was immediately drawn. She had more fight than most, but it was only a matter of time now before she was finished and he had to look for another soul to appease him.
Loki was thinking about all this as he sat at a table outside a cafe, sipping coffee and scanning the people walking by, when he saw two such souls. The girls were talking and giggling, their arms weighed with grocery bags; one was tall, with rounder hips and breasts and richly colored skin, and the other was shorter, when a dark pixie haircut and a slim body. He was beginning to wonder at his luck--two at once!--when he noticed something strange.
As the girls walked, as they laughed and reached to touch one another's arms, something in the air around them shifted. Even while he watched them, their souls seemed to be stitching together, slowly working their way back to whole. Flowers seemed to shimmer in the footsteps of the short-haired one, and wings wavered at the taller girl's back.
This intrigued Loki--never had he seen anything like it--but he realized that he did not have time to dwell. Faye would be coming soon, and today just might be the day he would be able to break her--to own her--to have, for a fleeting moment, her spirit in his hands.
He put his cup down on the table, briefly noting that he should try to find the nymph and angel girl again later, and left for his studio.