Odin tries to describe how he is feeling to his wife, on a mobile phone with a dodgy connection.
“I feel like I am on the verge of a panic attack.” The word ‘verge’ echoes.
She tells him to take a walk.
“I am taking a walk. I’m on the way to the store to get a sandwich for the crows. Here’s Huginn already.” Perched atop a Peugeot, a grey crow the size of a duck watches Odin walk past.
Odin buys a chicken sandwich and some honey-roasted peanuts, because he wants to see if the crows will eat an entire sandwich, and wants to have something left over for his own lunch in case they do.
He sits on the bench and in less than a minute, all three crows arrive. The black one, Muninn, is the cockiest. Odin puts a piece of sandwich on the bench beside him, then turns and tosses pieces to Huginn and the third crow, a smaller grey one. When he turns back, Muninn is already dismantling his sandwich a couple meters away.
Odin has to throw the third crow another piece because Huginn took the first two.
The third crow has no name.
Eventually all the crows have food.
They eat all of the first half, and most of the second, of Odin’s sandwich. Odin eats the peanuts.
It is an unnaturally quiet, grey day and Odin’s heart is beating wildly. He has no idea why.
What say the hanged?
The universe was made from the body of the giant Ymir almost fourteen billion years ago. It is thought to be flat, but you know what else used to be thought flat. It is 46 billion light years in radius. Beyond that, who knows.
Beyond that, the multiverse.
Beyond that, everything else.
Beyond that, an infinity of possible things.
An infinite number of worlds just like this one, and worlds slightly different, and worlds way different.
Worlds in which you see a strange, tall, black-haired woman at the store and try not to stare. Worlds in which you see her, and say hi. Worlds in which she brushes you off. Worlds in which you have coffee. Worlds in which you never see her again. Worlds in which you become friends.
Worlds in which pieces of an airplane land on your house and you are interviewed on the news.
Worlds in which you buy a used hat and don’t get headlice.
Worlds in which you bake an apple pie for Thanksgiving without a recipe, from start to finish.
Worlds in which you go outside in the dark to throw out the garbage and step on a hair brush instead of a garden clog and think a hedgehog is hiding in your garden clog and chuckle at your mistake.
Worlds in which you are full of electricity and don’t know why.
Worlds upon worlds upon worlds.