Hildr Ostergaard

When Hildr’s older cousin had earned his Rank 3 badge, he’d patted her on the head and told her that either one day she would discover her true calling in battle, or she’d give up and go back to the farm.

In retrospect, she supposed that he was being condescending. But Hildr was not prone to resentment. And now that she was sitting next to Umi Kiritaeke, who used four-syllable words that Hildr had never heard before, who scooped up a pond merely by shifting the weight of her dainty body, and who drank cold tea with her eyes half-shut as she rested in the shade, her cousin’s motivations couldn’t have mattered less.

Moulded like a doll, yet calm and confident. Denied the constitution of a warrior, yet awe-inspiring.

Firstly, she had to find a way to speak to Umi Kiritaeke.

And secondly, Hildr had to become strong enough to stand at her back, always.

High School Boys and the Battle of Brick’s Hill

The road was free of cars at 3:30pm and only a distant, lonely train on its elevated track punctuated the quiet of the suburb. They were marching up an incline past two houses which had been recently dismantled. So there were piles of yellow brick across the street, while on their side the sidewalk was bordered by a stretch of green, the grass threaded by a bike path which looked like it had gotten lost on the way to somewhere.

Lana: overly casual, “It’s crazy that its taken me this many years to realize that the little pockets in push up bras are the perfect spot to keep that tampon that I’m going to need around x o’clock.”

Rob: “The hell, Lana?”

Lana: “What?” innocently, as if she hadn’t planned that little speech.

Yves: “Ahaha-ha,” he laughed uneasily, “you know, guys -”

Kou: “Of course its a push-up,” he muttered acerbically.

Lana: “Hey!” Rounding on Kou. This is not where she thought her tidbit of wisdom was going. “Everyone wears push-ups! How else do you think we’re supposed to approach the ridiculously high standards set in people’s minds by billboards like-”

Rob: “For King Kai’s sake, shut up Lana.”

Lana: “-that one?!?!” she cried, pointing wildly.

Kou: to Rob, “Nice one.”

Lana: “Seriously?”

Yves: already too carried away to remember that he was trying to change the subject a moment ago, “Oh man, remember when Goku and Piccolo had to get their licenses?”

Kou: “Timeless…”

Lana: a loud harrumph.

They were almost at the top of the hill when,

Rob: “So I count ahead another thirty days or whatever so I know when to avoid you next, huh?”


Thus began the battle of Brick’s Hill.

Translation – Crépuscule sur verre

Twilight on Glass

She tempted me with wine, cake, and grapes. I found her in the hemisphere of fronds and glass that made her sun room, her crystal world above the ravine.

Disquieting, gamine looks – a suspiciously solicitous manner! Between crumbs and cream and many sips I gave in, asking what she wanted.

The birds around the greenhouse took to the air in a tumult.

I said, “The world, it lives on, and here you are surrounded by sunbursts, rain, leaves, until the end of days.”

Contrary, her eyes sparkled. But she admitted, “It’s true – I have every season, and at the same time, that which pleases me. Maybe flowers, as jewelry among the snow.

“And yet, where are the delusions of our lush centuries gone by? Give me the man who errs, who chases all the mania of myth. That which the few children today would never believe.

“Yes, I want credulity, surrounded by its fairies and beasts. Give me phenomena still unexplained. Give me the universe without map, and thus without end.

“I want a magician – no, I want to be the magician myself! Humor my caprices, Theo, and give me that piece, Theo, for fear of being cursed!”

Since she had scarfed the last of the pastries, my only recourse was wine while she laughed at the silence of glass and sky, of grass and earth, of the twilight of man.

At last, “That’s all?” I demanded. And she inclined her head.

I left half full, despite all the desires that had been elaborated. At that moment my only thought was:

“It would have been easier in springtime.”


Elizabeth Cook, 2016