Possible names include: Snow, Hunger, and Trapper’s Moon. Mani indicated that He would like me to use “Hunger”, though I make no guarantee He’d want someone else to do the same. The following is a piece of sacred fiction.
. . .
“Look”, someone points, “The moon’s so bright tonight”. The group looks up at the sky, a faint smear of clouds doing nothing to hide the almost full circle. Mani glances down at their World, “They’re not going to be full until tomorrow night”.
Hati sniffs the air, shakes his head, and continues walking, “They must not be smelling what they’re drinking”.
“They’re just celebrating and being festive. Not all parties happen under Sunna’s watch”.
A peal of laughter floats up to the two, and the horses twitch their ears. Hati sniffs the air again, “Desperation with just a hint of hunger”.
“How can you smell that they’re hungry?”
“It’s in their voice, the laughter. They’re hungry for something, but I bet they’re looking in the wrong place”.
“What does hunger even smell like?”
“Sherbert. Everclear. Whatever’s in that drink down there.”
Mani waved his hand through the surrounding clouds and let a small wispy collection coalesce in his hand. It shone in the moonlight, mirror-esque, and flashed down to the party below. A human was struggling to stand, laughing uncontrollably.
“Oh, we know them, Hati”.
“It’s not a rowdy blot, is it?”
“No, one of our college students”, Mani held the cloud mirror down for Hati to see. The wolf shook his head, “They’re testing their inner Wolf. If they stop at two cups, they won’t feel it in the morning”.
“I’m pretty sure that’s their third”.
“Look at their eyes”, Mani swirled his fingers around the edges until he could only see the human’s eyes in the mirror, “You should see the point where Wolf tries to protect them”.
Mani squinted as a black blur swept behind their eyes, not quite within the humans’ realm of sight, “Yup, blacked out”.
“We should check back when the veil lifts. Wolf should keep them relatively safe”.
Mani set the cloud mirror next to him in the wagon, and they rode on along the starry path. Occasionally he glanced down at it – “They’re rolling on the concrete and laughing non-stop”, “Someone called for EMS”, “Oh dear, they told someone they wanted to die”.
Hati shifted uncertainly in his gait, “How long have they been at the hospital?”
“Close to two hours now. Their body’s forcing everything out, and that’s not going to happen quickly”.
Mani flashed the cloud mirror to Hati, who grimaced slightly, “Those humans are lucky they can’t see all that black, sludgy crap”.
Mani shrugged, “It’s never fun to watch someone bring up munrþoka – the chunks of sadness stuck in the depression, the anger, the worthlessness. I don’t envy Nidhogg in that, but I don’t think the humans feel lucky”.
A small voice came through the mirror, “I’m sorry – this isn’t the Opening you guys wanted to have – I just wanted to feel – ”
Hati whined slightly, “Can’t you smell the hunger?”
Mani shook his head, glancing to his left at the edgy wolf, “I can keep things under control if you want to visit them”.
Hati jumped from between the clouds and down to Midgard, walking briskly after the car leaving the hospital. He followed the small group inside and waited until the human had been situated on a couch to approach them, “Little one?”
The human shifted slightly as a friend took their boots off, already starting to fall asleep.
“Don’t eat yourself to feel full, okay?”, Hati nudged their head, “You can’t hurt yourself to fill the void”.
They were already in a deep, alcohol induced sleep. Hati sighed and rested his chin on their shoulder for a moment or two, “Feel better in the morning, Little Wolf”.