I'm used to working around other men for months on end but when you struggle to speak a single Norse word about the only thing you might can find is a good Norwegian woman. Except, on an oil rig there are no women. Just me and some guys. In case you were wondering, that’s not my thing.
Luckily, due to a severe mechanical malfunction we’d been moved back to Oslo. I took a cab to the outskirts of town near a large woods. Something called Helvetehor.
There’s a nice bar here. Seemed like a good, laid-back place, plus I’d heard it was frequented by what I do want -- women. Attractive women. Something I needed... like right then.
I went up to the bar and ordered a beer. It was a bit more sour than I preferred but it would get me started. There were plenty of women -- and one old man. I sat down at the bar and scanned for those that might notice me.
I turned to take another sip from my beer and someone sat down beside me.
I turned and, to my disgust, found the old man.
“You’re an American aren’t you?”
“You assume that pretty quickly.”
“You sound like an American. I didn’t assume shit. You shouldn’t either. I see you looking at these women. Don’t bother. You don’t want them.”
This old man is funny.
“Really? I take it you’ve had personal experience in that?”
He glared at me and snorted.
“No? Then buzz off, grandpa. I don’t need your dating advice.”
“Aye, take care but the hands of the Huldra take the willing.”
The man stumbled out and I was left alone.
What the hell was he spouting off about anyway? What in the hell is a huldra? Damn, I need another beer. And a shot.
At least the bartender seemed attentive.
The hours passed and I was getting drunk. The sun was down, now that it had been up for very long to start with. I heard the door open and an attractive blond came in. I say, I guess another attractive blond, but unfortunately the others weren’t too keen to talk to me. There was one but she only stared -- and not in a good way. She was now glaring at me from the corner of the room.
What the hell did I do?
I turned my attention to the girl next to me.
“Can I just have some vodka?” she asked.
The bartender served her up a shot and she slammed it.
Her accent was familiar. She was American too, I’d say from the Northeast. Boston maybe.
“Hey,” I said. I knew it was cheesy but it was something.
She smiled. You’re American”
“Working in the north, ya know, oil.”
She gave me a coy smirk “Cool, I’m here on a story for a magazine. I’m alone other than my camera guy but I was trying to find something a bit more fun to do.”
I have something fun for you.
That blond pushed her way between myself and my fellow American.
“Sorry,” she said in a seductive way. “I’ve been watching and when foreign you should try foreign delights. Not cheap, sad things like her.”
I love this accent, wow. Maybe it’s like Russian, I don’t know.
The American girl turned and stomped off.
Ha! I think she’s crying. What can I say, I guess I am an asshole.
It was love -- or maybe it was a mix of the alcohol and her sweet scent that drew me away from the bar as she led me out the door.
“Let’s get away from here.”
I laughed as she laughed and tried to hide her smile. Her eyes moved up and down me. I grinned almost foolishly and with a jaunt through the snow she took me into the woods. I thought at first maybe her car was parked at the nearby recreation area but we went deeper. I stopped.
“Where are we going?”
She stood straight, her legs together. Her tight skirt formed around her body and her cleavage poked through a short coat. I looked at her as she scanned the area. There was something on her back that I hadn’t noticed before. It looked strange.
Had she been running backward or was I just that drunk?
She pushed herself against me.
“I know what you want. I know what all men like you want and I give it to you.”
“Oh yeah?” I breathed heavily.
Her fingertips glide down my stomach. Something slippery moved up my leg but she kissed me before I could look down. I threw my arms around her back to feel her body but… her skin was coarse. It felt oddly familiar but even in my drunken state knew I shouldn’t be feeling. I glanced around at the trees.
That’s what it is. Am I pushing her against a tree?
Her hands gripped my waist and I gasped.
A tearing pain shot through my stomach and I coughed as a roughness pushed straight up through my throat. She let out a shrill sound and her eyes turn red.
“Filth of a man,” she said in a ragged voice, “I give you your release!”
I tasted blood and the world spun as I fell to the ground.
She withdrew something from my body.
Have I been stabbed? Shot?
I’d never felt this kind of pain. She turned. Her back was tree bark and a bloody tail whipped behind her as she disappeared into the approaching storm, my blood melting into the snow.
Footsteps crunched nearby and the old man from the bar came into view, laughing, a shovel in his hands.
“I told you the Huldra take the willing!” He dumped snow on me and the light faded, the coolness oddly comforting.
What the hell is a Huldra?
The old man snorted. “Stupid boy. He wanted something local but didn’t study his lore. Third one in two days. These woods are getting full and my old back is sore. She doesn’t pay me enough for this.”