— a weave of Scandinavian folklore

Alexis Falk


Helene is gone again, and I struggle to my feet. Why did I think it was a good idea to go to a summer camp, again? No one answers.


Halfway-house of Souls
Henrik Falk, father
Simona Falk, mother
Helene Jansson, foster-sister (deceased)


What's your name
Alexis. Falk, if you want all of it, I guess
How old are you
I turned seventeen in April
What do you look like
Wavy nut-brown hair, eyes that shift in blue, green or grey depending on my mood. Normal height, I guess
Where were you at the start of the story
Packing, getting ready for summer camp. Some kind of chirpy, cheerful “let’s get troubled teens back on their feet” crap, but eh, I even get paid a bit
What did you want, when the story started
To make it all go away. Though, maybe not Helene. I know she’s dead, and that she’s a hallucination, but I miss her so much
Who are your parents
Do I have to …? Okay. My mother Simona is a paranoid schizophrenic who’s in an institution for kidnapping and murder. I don’t know where my dad is. He walked out on me and mom when I was five, right before I was put in the system because mom’s bug-fuck crazy
What was your education like
Eh, schools. I guess I learned the basics, at least
Do you make friends easily
Does the “crazy killer’s daughter” make friends easily? Yeah, right
Do you have a best friend
I did. Helene is—was—close as a sister to me
Can you get people to do what you want them to? If so, how
Not really, no
Do you have scars? Where did they come from
Are we talking mental or physical? I’ve got plenty of both, from mom’s religious torture, and … well, myself
Can you navigate without getting lost? To what degree
I don’t know. I guess I didn’t suck at it in school
Can you bake a cake
Do you know how to perform basic maintenance on a car
Is there something you do that most other people don’t
I can throw my voice
What is the most formative moment in your past
Walking into a foster home for the first time, and realising that the only one who’ll fight for me is me
Do you have any phobias
I’m afraid of drowning, of being locked in small spaces, and … well, of certain Judeo-Christian symbols
What are some of your bad habits
I pick my nose and bite my nails
Do you have a moral code? To what extent are your actions dictated by this code
I swore, once I got away from my mother, that I would never wilfully hurt anyone, and that I would do whatever I could to protect people from getting hurt. It’s gotten me beaten up by bullies from time to time, but better me than the weaker kids


1st draft, tense/pov will change

The light touch of her fingers on my cheek sends jolts of electricity scurrying across my skin.

“You have to hurry and pack. He’s coming to let you know that you’re leaving in fifteen.” Helene’s teasing lisp carries the slight whine of her mid-Swedish dialect.

I fold the shirt carefully. “You’re quite the nag for a hallucination, you know.”

“I’m only looking out for you, Alexis.” She bites into her lip, brushing a strand of wet, brown hair out of her eyes. “We’ll always be friends.”

“I wish.” I close my eyes as I zip up the bag.

“Alexis, are you ready?” My current foster father knocks on the door. “We’re leaving in fifteen, and you need to eat something.”

Helene is gone again, and I struggle to my feet. Why did I think it was a good idea to go to a summer camp, again? No one answers.

After scarfing down breakfast and waving my good-byes, I left on the train for Middle-of-nowhere-hede, two hours north of Gothenburg. The seat is narrow, and under me the engine rattles and moves.

I wake with a jolt as the robotic voice calls my station, gathering my few belongings. The cheerful Sia Starholm—what exactly is her role, apart from recruiter?—waits on the platform, but not alone. A slender punk, with light-brown skin and a black mohawk, taps his fingers on his loose jeans, and a freckled girl with golden braids stands patiently with folded hands.

“Alexis, over here.” Sia waves with a broad smile on her round features. “Yngve and Karin, this is Alexis. We’re still waiting for two more—Slava, over here!”

Slava has black hair down their back, and a trimmed black beard. Their hips sway just slightly as they approach us, and a smile twitches on their lips. “I’m Slava.” They have a slavic intonation, but perfect Swedish. “To stop you from wondering: I am non-binary. My pronouns are they, them, themself.”

Karin looks stunned at the revelation. I hold out a hand.

“Cool. I’m Alexis. My pronouns are she.”

Slava shakes my hand, squeezing it a moment. “Nice to meet you.”

“And Jahid makes five.”

I glance in the direction Sia’s watching. Jahid is about my height, with russet brown skin and black curls. He waves and shifts the position of his backpack.

“This is where the summer party is?” His white teeth shine in his face, and his black eyes glitter with mirth. I think I’m going to like him.

“That’s all, yes.” Sia pushes a hand through her black hair, leading us towards the van. “There’s lunch ready when we get to the house, and you can explore after lunch.” We pack our various bags and suitcases into the back as she talks. “We’ll go through the rules and procedures right before dinner, but the key one is respect. Listen to each other, respect each other, and respect each others differences.”

Yeah, right. Except for Slava, what kind of weird differences could we have? Yngve is the typical swaggering guy, Karin is cute but shy, and Jahid seems pretty normal too.