Nøkken : The Water Spirit
The Truth Be Told
And yet something deep within him began to grow like a cancer, eating away at his joy and serenity. At first he was not sure what was bothering him, but as the fall harvest ended, and the long winter months began, Åndeløs had time to ponder what was disturbing him so. And time can be both a blessing and a curse. In this case it was a curse that plagued him every minute of every hour !
Each day, despite the weather conditions, Sefa went out to the graves of her mother, father and husband. And every time that Åndeløs watched his human wife grieve their loss he felt what amounted to near physical pain. For it was he, in Nøkken form, who had caused the deaths of her entire family. Åndeløs tried to persuade himself that he had somehow atoned for those deaths by saving her son, but the guilt of his actions covered him like a disease, and it cut deeply into his mental well being. Every time when she returned to the farmhouse, after tending to their graves, he found it more and more difficult to look her in the eyes.
If that was the only feeling causing him discomfort he might have been able to hide it under a veil of false happiness. But just as the thought of being with Sefa had once lured him out of the pond and into her arms, now the water, of which he would always be a part of, was calling to him in such a way that an urge to be one with it again was building inside of him.
Sefa noticed the changes in Åndeløs almost immediately. At first she thought that being shut in for the winter was affecting him, but it seemed that something else was bothering her husband as well. As he paid less and less attention to her, she began to wonder if he had already grown tired of her. Though they were still intimate with each other, both the frequency and passion had lessened noticeably. And what bothered Sefa the most was her husband's inability to look her in the eyes, and tell her what was the matter when she asked.
As Yule came and went the tension in the farmhouse began to grow until it became something that could not only be felt but seen as well. Arguments between Åndeløs and Sefa became commonplace, and many times spilled over to include Haki. These disagreements, as Sefa described them to her son, usually only ended when all three were separated, and remained in different rooms, until the intensity of the situation had blown over.
To avoid such confrontations Åndeløs began to spend much of his time outside of the farmhouse. For hours on end he would sit in the freezing cold down by the pond staring out at it's half frozen surface. Sefa would occasionally come out and bring him a warm drink, a hat, or a scarf, but she often returned quickly to the house feeling that she was unwanted and intruding into whatever it was that he was doing out there.
When Sefa caught her husband talking to the Bäckahäst, Vandykker, in a strange language that she did not understand, she finally decided it was time to sit down with Åndeløs and have a frank discussion about what was going on between them. That night, after she had cleaned the dinner dishes and put them away, she placed the dish towel on the hook, and stared long and hard at the closed bedroom door. Her husband had retreated to the bedroom after supper, as he often did lately, and it seemed to her that he used the door as a barrier to separate himself from her. Sefa narrowed her eyes, took a deep breath, and walked over to the bedroom door. Without knocking she opened the door, and peered inside. What she saw simply added to her confusion, and made her even more determined to get answers to her many questions.
Åndeløs was sitting in the dark peering out of the window at the dam, and the pond beyond. The water seemed almost to be calling to him as it slowly froze over in the bitter January night air. The sudden closing of the door woke him out of his stupor and caused him to turn to see who had entered the room. He was not surprised to see that it was his human wife.
Sefa went over to the table, picked up the match box, and pulled one out. As she struck it against the side of the box her eyes caught those of her husband's, and for a moment they stared at one another. Then realizing that the match was burning down to it's end Sefa raised the globe and lit the wick. After turning the switch, which raised the wick and increased the light, Sefa spoke to her husband.
" We need to talk ! I want to know why you have been acting so strangely lately ?! " she demanded to know.
Åndeløs looked up at Sefa with sad eyes, but he could not look directly into hers. His guilt had become such that he felt a great shame when looking into them. He tried to think of something to say, for anything would have been better than the deafening silence, but at that moment he could not find the words . Finally ss he was about to speak, Sefa, with tears in her eyes asked :
" Don't you love me anymore ? "
Åndeløs shook his head.
" I love you more today than I loved you the first time I saw you ! " he told her adamantly.
Sefa ran over and knelt down in front of him and took hold of his hands.
" Then what is bothering you,.... please tell me the truth ?! " she implored the man she loved.
Åndeløs stood up and gently pushed Sefa's hands away.
" Yes ! And you deserve the truth,.... no matter how horrible it is ! " he told her.
Still unable to look at Sefa, Åndeløs went to the window and stared out into the darkness.
" I have done bad things to you, and you have returned my treachery with love and compassion. Yes ! I will now tell you the truth ! " he told her with a hint of anger.
" Bad things ! " Sefa questioned nervously.
Åndeløs took a moment to collect himself before continuing.
" I am not what you think I am. You see me as a human, but what I am in reality is a shape shifting Nøkken, who has lived in the brook, on what you call the Lillebekken farm, for many millennium. At first I fed on animals. Deer, Elk, and even bear. But then you humans came here, and your souls were so much more filling than the beasts of the forest,.... I killed your mother, your father, and your husband,.... and I would have killed you as well if I hadn't fallen so deeply in love with you. " he explained to her.
Sefa wanted to hear no more. Her mind was a whirlwind of thoughts, and she could not think coherently. Sefa turned and left the room, slamming the door hard behind her. Tonight she would sleep in her son's room, and maybe tomorrow she would try to understand why Åndeløs had made up such outrageous lies !
- End of Chapter 11
- Next : Chapter 12 : You Can Go Home
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ) , © Copyright, 2017.