By: Kate MacDonald


The driving rain was beating against the small window of my retreat near Loch Achilty in the Highlands as if trying to gain entry. That was not just a figure of speech. The countryside all around me was basking in the warmth of a summer's day, but the Norse God of rain was aiming this storm directly over my cottage.

Managing to upset the powerful god Freyr had been easier than you might imagine. Firstly, one writes an article on Norse mythology disparaging the ancient beliefs and secondly, one compounds the error by decrying the powers of Freyr's father, the Sea God, Njord.

Who could have known that not only did the gods walk with us, but they also read Wikipedia? The first time I realised there might be a problem was yesterday. I left home and within a mere minute, it was as if a bath of water had been poured over me. I was drenched by a heavy rain shower that then followed me along the street but affected no one else.

When passers-by started to take their phones out and aiming them at me, getting back home became a priority. After an hour or so, I poked my head out of the front door and was met by rain. Still one annoyed Norse god then. I shouted, "Stop", to no avail. All around my house, and my house only, the patter of rain was almost beginning to sound like music.

I decided to pack, book a ticket to Strathpeffer, call a taxi to Waverley Train Station and just run. It started to become quite expensive when the train arrived at my destination, though. I took a taxi to the local shop from Strathpeffer station, then asked the driver to wait while I bought provisions. It was a very short distance from the taxi to the shop doorway, fortunately. The speed I ran at must have made me look like a maniac.

I was fast enough to make sure only a few drops of rain hit the pavement, luckily. I bought lots of bread, pate, cheese, and wine—basic survival rations. Then another mad dash to load the spoils into the taxi. Then there was the drive up the hills to the cottage to clock up on the meter. It was worth it, though. The driver pulled up under the overhanging porch so that no explanation about a personal rainstorm was needed. First things first, I built a fire, very satisfying, and an art unto itself. Then I assembled a snack, a large snack, it had been a long day.

It's amazing how fear affects people. Some would have found it impossible to force themselves to swallow even a morsel. I, on the other hand, ate like a condemned person. Not the best simile under the circumstances, but apt, very apt. It may have helped that the food was accompanied by vast quantities of wine. After stumbling into bed, I slept well. The morning found me as overcast as the sky above me stayed. Oh great. Freyr was still an unhappy god then.

A simple breakfast of two painkillers was washed down with a refreshing glass or two of pure rainwater. No need to move, an arm out the window sufficed to collect the necessary liquid. Still annoyed it seemed. Now, how was this problem going to be resolved? Was it possible to go back to the article on Wikipedia and simply erase it? It could be done, but would it be enough to placate an angry god? He may well have been embarrassed that his mates might have read the said article.

They would be waiting to see what terrible vengeance Freyr was going to mete out. A shower of rain would seem a little inadequate to most of them. The worry now was how bent on revenge would Freyr be? I also had to factor in how much angrier my running away would have made him. I should delete the article straight away.

Just as I reached for my laptop, there was a loud knock on the door. No one should have known about this place. It had been left to me by my ancient Auntie Morag. She had been a recluse for years and had not encouraged visitors. There was one person/deity, who would have had no problem locating my whereabouts, of course. Heaving a huge sigh at the inevitability of the trouble ahead, I reluctantly opened the door. Just as expected, a huge, heavily bearded figure loomed over me, blocking out the sky.

Amusingly, it wasn't only the size of the god doing the blocking—mostly, it was the huge pink gingham umbrella being held by the god. I didn't think that snorting with laughter would be the best way to go, though.

Forcing an expression I hoped would convey abject contrition, I was taken aback to hear a grunted, "Damnation, you're a woman" This was followed by, "Invite me in, would you, it's raining out here"

Stepping back, a frigid frisson of fear caused me to tremble. It wasn't so amusing when confronted by the reality, not the imagined. Freyr, seeing my reaction, frowned.

"Don't faint will you?" he said, "I am angry, but I won't harm you. Consider yourself lucky you're a female"

What? No way. I almost told him he couldn't differentiate between men and women like that anymore. Then sheer self-preservation stopped me in time. Better to be patronized than pulverized.

He strode into the cottage, almost knocking over a spindly little table and sat on the couch. His sheer size made it look like an armchair. He glanced around the room, then said in a deep and very attractive voice unfortunately laced with sarcasm, "Nice place you've got"

Realising that this was not the time to go all "Homes and Gardens" about Auntie's taste in decor, I shrugged.

"My, my, a woman who knows her place, refreshing," Freyr stated in a self-satisfied tone. "It is a great pity you didn't apply that ethos to the written word too"

Now that was too much, it was impossible not to speak up in defence of women everywhere, wasn't it? That might well be, I thought, but looking out for one woman might be the best plan for the moment.

How to make things right? Pander to the massive ego that I expected lurked beneath the trendy tailored suit? I surprised myself by thinking how much more a cloak, boots and a laced-up gilet would suit this brute of a man. Keep your mind on getting out of this in one piece was my next thought. Time to pander. I explained, in as soft and tremulous a tone as I could muster, how contrite I was.

It had been a moment of madness, a pitiful attempt to curry favour with a much-admired college professor. I glanced up to see a look of approbation where an angry frown had been before. Hello, that looked promising, I thought.

All hopes were dashed very quickly when Freyr muttered, "Spare me the Am Dram moment, please"

My, he had integrated quickly—more Eighties than Noughties, but kudos nonetheless. But he looked angry again.

I gulped, not necessarily acting this time. I had suddenly realised that I was alone with this very irate god. I had left home without telling anyone where I was going. I worked free-lance, so there were no workmates to notice my absence. The only weapon to hand was the poker in the fireplace. Useless, given the size of the man. I might have made a dash for the wide-open spaces, but what would be the point? This god could fly!

His next words were so unexpected, my legs gave way and I dropped—luckily, there was a chair behind me. Dignity intact the next thing was to try and understand what had just been said. I remembered hearing a few things through the ringing in my ears.

Rain, written apology, dinner. What? Dinner? Surely not? No, no, no. As an emancipated woman, it would be advisable to apologise: I accepted that. Erase the offending article? Obviously, but sacrifice myself to this person/god in the guise of a dinner date, never.

Well, I might modify that with, never say never. There is a lot I would do to aid the fight of women in the workplace, but there is a lot to be said for working from within too.


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