I turn the corner at Falconer Street and crash into someone running full-tilt the opposite direction. My elbows scream in pain as they rake the ice. I roll to my knees, cussing and grunting. Mist seeps from a nearby storm drain. It’s one of those nights where the city lights reflect off the flying snow and the clouds, nearly as bright as day.
The dude who ran into me is still standing. A bear of a man; bearded, broad, leather-clad. “Tyr! There you are,” he rumbles, swooping down and effortlessly hauling me to my feet with one arm. His other arm is carrying a sword. Shining. Sharp.
“Whoa, whoa!” I say, backing away.
He opens his mouth to speak, then stops when we hear the pad of many feet, coming fast. The big guy runs in the direction I came from, shouting at me to follow, and I do. My arms burn from my fall. A pair of howls rip through the snow and dance in the wind, deeper and more bloodthirsty than one I’d heard in any movie.
“Don’t look back,” the man says.
We duck around and into the alley behind Penny’s Pawnbrokers. The older guy whirls around. He’s got a gaping shadow where one of his eyes should be. His half-gaze lingers on my hands. “Your sword, Tyr?”
“Nevermind. We hold our ground,” He says, shoving a long dagger hilt-first into my hand. “You take Garmr, Fenrir is mine. The others shall be here soon. What I wouldn’t give for a sturdy oaken shield on my other hand, eh?” His good eye lights madly beneath his brow.
“Listen man, I don’t know what–” I stop talking because a pair of shadows block out the streetlight glow. Blue-black fur, matted. Slavering jaws. Teeth.
“Fenrir is mine,” the one-eyed old man repeats before closing the gap between himself and the wolves in a wild leap. His broadsword cuts through the falling flakes. I run before the blow lands. I hear the thud of steel against hide and flesh, the snarl and snap of battle. They die away behind me until the only noise is the crunch of snow beneath my feet. I know how that story ends.