Norm was great. He was an old guy I met when I worked in the home. We used to play chess if I was on nights and it was quiet. Norm always had trouble sleeping.
He used to beat the pants off me more often than not. He never seemed to have any family to visit, but he had a lot of friends. They came every week to bring him strange shaped cakes and weird coffee, it was like gravy-no wonder he couldn’t sleep.
When Norm died I was really cut up about it. When you work in a home you sort of get used to death but Norm was a bit special. He never moaned, even when it was obvious he was in pain. His chubby little face used to light up whenever anyone spoke to him, he was a sweetie.
I went to his funeral, it seemed only right. They had his chess set all laid out at the front of the church, it made me cry. One of the friends asked if I would do one final favour for Norm because they were all too old. He asked me to take Norms ashes to where he wanted to be.
I thought they meant he wanted to be scattered in the park or down by the canal where he liked to sit, so I said yes. When they sent me a ticket for Iceland I almost fell over backwards. But I had already agreed so I had to go.
Off we went, me in business and Norm in his little pot beside me. I patted it once or twice without realising what I was doing. We were met at the airport by Orri who told me he had a car outside. So me and Norm got in and we went for a ride, a long one.
Finally we stopped half way up a mountain. Orri pointed, he’s not much of a talker. It was bright but bitterly cold. I shoved Norm in my pocket to stop him from freezing over. I didn’t want the jar cracking and bits of Norm all over me!
I guessed they wanted me to release him to the four winds, so I made ready when I found a suitable spot. I went to undo the lid when a hand touched my shoulder. There were four of them. It looked as if they had sprung from nowhere.
They were wearing robes that wouldn’t have kept out a stiff breeze. Their ears were pointed and they looked effortlessly cool and in charge. They bowed without saying much. The one who had touched my shoulder smiled and told me that they would take Norm from here.
Then they marched off up the path again and disappeared somewhere in the rocks. Orri just laughed when I told him. He said not to worry, and that they weren’t really very chatty. It seems that Norm wasn’t from Manchester after all, he was from another dimension and so were his friends.
They had chosen to live in the human world but wanted to go home for their eternal rest. It was the beginning of a whole new career with the Huldufólk the hidden people. Interdimensional beings who visit our world.
Apparently this was also a job interview. Norm had recommended me. Now I am their courier. I take the oldies home when their time has come, and I fetch stuff for the Huldufólk
They cannot get enough Sellotape or Bluetack. Goodness only knows what they do with it all. It’s the same with Liquorice and shoe polish. They pay me well and I’m happy to help.
I deliver messages and take the news back. The main one I deal with is Arbiniadus, he’s ok. Once or twice I have been allowed a peek into their world. It looks pretty. Arbiniadus has promised me a proper look round one day.
If anyone asks me what I do I just say courier. The Icelanders are pretty used to me bringing stuff with me. It’s amazing what a little kindness can lead to. I wish I could thank Norman but I guess maybe this was his way of thanking me.