Laura was standing on the toilet lid when she heard the doorbell ring. Rolling her eyes at whatever Fate decided THIS was a good time to send visitors, she checked the location of her nemesis, then carefully stepped down. It didn't react, so she chanced a slow motion side shuffle toward the stairs. She lost her nerve halfway and ran/jumped/screeched the rest of the way before slamming the door shut. Shuddering, she headed to the front of the house to see who’d interrupted her showdown in the guest bath.
No one was visible through the peak hole. She backed away from the door, muttering about inconsiderate teenagers ringing doorbells before running away. Old ladies have better things to do than answer doors with no one there! She could have been doing something about that interloper in the bath tub!
“We didn't run away.”
She jumped. Where had that voice come from?
“Is it a mouse?” a second voice asked.
Unnerved, she edged away from the wall. Those muffled voices sounded like they were coming from there. “Is what a mouse?” she replied.
“The enter-loopy in your tub. Is it a mouse?”
“It’s not a mouse,” the first voice cut in. “Little girls scream at mice and she’s a grown-up like Mrs. Cunningham. It’s pro’ly a cockroach.”
“Is it a cockroach?”
Warned by the kid speech, Laura looked lower and found two pairs of blue eyes peering at her through the mail slot. She stood there, blinking at them, for a long startled second before marching back to the door. She flung it open to find two small, very dirty boys hunched down in front of the mail slot. The larger one had shaggy blonde hair and was smiling hopefully. “It is a mouse, ain't it.” The smaller boy with dark brown hair that looked like he cut it himself elbowed him.
The sight of two strange children alone on her front was enough to spire her out of shock. “Where are your parents?”
“Mother is at work,” the smaller boy said sullenly.
“Our Dad’s in Montana. He’s from there originally and after Mother kicked him out so she could hook up with a different guy, he had to go back to his real family.” About half way through, the smaller boy started elbowing the blonde speed talker, but it made no impact.
“So anyway, Dad said we could call him anytime we need anything. And we’re hungry. Can we use your phone to call our dad?”
“Why not call your mom, since she’s closer?” Laura asked carefully. Before retiring, she’d spent forty-three years as a social worker. She could tell that all was not right in the home these boys lived in just by looking at them.
“We don't have a mom,” the dark haired boy said. “We have a mother.”
“Anyone can be a mother but moms care about their kids,” the blonde agreed cheerfully, unaware that he was breaking her heart with his casual acceptance of his situation. The dark boy did notice, though.
“It's ok, lady,” he said, trying to sound as chipper as his brother and failing. “We got a great dad. He loves us.”
“If you let us use your phone to call our dad, we’ll get rid of that fruity loop,” the blonde said.
Confused, Laura shook her head. “Fruity loop?”
“That thing you were trying to take care of when we rangged the doorbell. Mrs. Cunningham said we are good at catching bugs and mice and things. We’ll kill it for you if you let us use your phone.”
“Mrs. Cunningham is who is supposed to be watching you?” she asked.
“She’s our teacher,” the dark haired boy said. “She kind of watches us when we’re at school. But there’s no school today.”
“Yep! Teacher serving day today!” the blond chimed in.
Finally, Laura understood something of what was going on. “You two are twins and are in Mrs. Cunningham’s first grade class at Terrace Elementary and you aren't in school because it's an in-service day!”
“Yep. I'm Thor and this is my brother, Loki. But Mrs. Cunningham always says we should use our realm names. I figure Mother didn't ask me if I want to be called Coby or if Loki wanted to be called Brett, so that means we can call ourselves whatever we want. So I'm Thor and he is Loki.”
“Well, ok, Loki and Thor--”
“Thor and Loki,” the boy corrected. This earned him another elbow in the ribs from his brother, which was again ignored.
“How about you guys come in side. It's a little too cool to be outside without a jacket, even if we are in California. I'll fix you some lunch then call Mrs. Cunningham.”
The boys both looked horrified, the first time they had the same expression since this bizarre conversation began. “We can't take food for nothing,” Loki intoned quietly.
“That would be pity,” Thor agreed. “We’ll go kill that thing in your tub in trade!” To her horror, he pulled a black taser out of his back pocket, then dashed past her, brandishing it like he was facing a horde of Mongol invaders.
The dark haired boy, Loki, sighed heavily. “We better follow him before he hurts himself.”
Before she could get to the bathroom door, there was a scream of terror, a loud zapping notice, a flash of light, all at once. With visions of dead children running through her head, she peered around the corner, just in time to hear the blonde crow in triumph, “Take that, you evil doer! Never mess with a thunder god! We gots the power to summon lightning!”
Beside her, the dark haired boy sighed again. “Yes, Thor, we see you killed the spider.”