Great Hites # 25

Originally posted Oct 30th 2008

 

Thank you to Ann Hite for the extra voices. Enjoy!
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The Finding of Mt Olympus
By Jeffrey Hite

March 21 9:30 AM Eastern Standard Time.
“I’ve found it!” Larry shouted standing up in his cubical so that we could all see him. “I found Mount Olympus.”

“So? Why not Atlantis, Larry? Hundreds of thousands of people have found Mount Olympus, most notably the Greeks. It’s an actual mountain in Greece you know. “. Sue rebuffed him from the next cubical over, not even bothering to get up.

“What?” I blurted out while standing up for the first time.

“Mt Olympus, you know the home of the gods come see…” he said, ignoring Sue and beckoning me over.

I hesitated; going over into Larry’s cubical was a bit like stepping into a fantasy world and more often than not, not one you would really like to visit. His normal variety of fantasy was not something I really liked, but Greek myths were a passion we both shared.

“Come on it will only take a sec,” he said when we saw my hesitation. “It’s here on the map.”

“Alright, I’ll bite.” I said entering his cubical. As expected it was a dizzying array of posters, drawings and fantasy character figures. They were everywhere: on the desk, on top of his test systems, on the keyboard tray, even on the phone and his monitors.

“Hey, where did you get those?” I said pointing to the two Apple thirty inch cinema displays.

“Never mind that, they’re mine.”

“And you brought them to work?”

“Yes, yes, I needed them to look at the maps and satellite images. Look here.” he said pointing to the center of the display on the left.

“It looks like a bunch of mountains.”

“Right, let me zoom out a bit so you can get an idea of where they are.” He grabbed the mouse and scrolled out so that we could see the whole land mass. It was, of course, Greece. Then he zoomed back in. “Here, do you see that?” he said circling a spot on the map with his finger.

“It looks like a mountain, just like all the rest around it.” I liked Larry. He was a good guy, and despite his fascination with the fantasy world, he was a brilliant technician but I was beginning to regret this trip to Larry Land.

“Right. We are looking at the official topographical map. Now if I switch to satellite view.” He clicked and the image changed.

“What’s the joke? We’re still looking at the same peak.”

“Yeah, but look closer. Do you see that shadow?”

“Yes.”

“Look at the peaks around it. Do any of them look like that? In fact, have you ever seen a peak that looked that perfect except in drawings?”

I looked at the image and he was right. There was nothing around that looked like the shadow and it did look particularly perfect.

“Now watch this.” He changed the angle of the view so that we were about 45 degrees from the ground. “Look, look, do you see it?”

“My God!” On the screen all the other mountains had flattened out as in most two dimension pictures, but the shadow stood up straight, an almost perfect cone. “Wow! That is really cool. I wonder what that is? It has got to be some kind of software glitch.”

“No, it’s not. I tried it on this other program too. See?” He switched applications and there it was again. “The last one uses fly over views from aircraft, this one uses satellite photos.”

“Right, well maybe it is one of the other peaks that just looks distorted,” I said sitting back down in my cubical.

“Yeah maybe.” He didn’t say anything to anyone for the rest of the day, and when I left late that night he was still in his cubical. I sneaked a quick peek as I walked past toward the door, and he had both images up on the left display and a number documents up on his other one that didn’t look like the code that he was supposed to be working on.

March 29 8:15 AM Eastern Standard Time
Larry came in a little later than normal with his habitual cup of coffee in his left hand and big mailing tube in his right.

“More posters Larry?” Mike asked laughing. Larry, as usual, ignored him. He walked past and sat down in his cubical. I could hear him tearing the tape off the tube and pulling out its contents. I tired to ignore him. If it were new posters, putting them up would be an all morning affair and I had things to do. I couldn’t get sucked into it. Three new systems were going live in a week and I needed to make sure that the databases would actually work when the customers started making their queries.

“I was right!” Larry screamed twenty minutes later. “I was right, I was right! See, come look at this Rob!” despite the need to get the systems out I was more than a little interested. The Greek myths were something that had always interested me and, well, I really needed a break after the morning I was having. Sue and Mike both gave me sidelong glances and Dave, our boss, gave me a look that told me that I would be working overtime if those databases were not up and running.

“What, Larry?” I said.

“Look!” he said pointing. On his desk were a dozen or so maps of different types and one huge blowup of a satellite image. “I had a friend of mine at NASA get this for me. I owe him about three cases of booze for it but it will be worth it.”

“What is it?”

“Come on,” he insisted pointing at the image. I looked closer. It was a picture of the same spot he had shown me last week. The lighting was different but the shadow still stood exactly as it did before.

“Wow ,that is really cool. What do you think it is?”

“Damn it Rob, don’t you believe me? It is Mt Olympus. You know, the home of the gods.”

“Larry, that is not possible. It’s a myth.”

“All myths have their roots in some fact. In ancient times no mortal could find it unless the gods wanted you to. I think this is one of those things.”

“But why would it show up like this?” I said gesturing to the pictures.

“Because you can’t hide from photography. The eye you can fool, but not film. And,” he said smiling a little, “I think that maybe they want to be found or at least one of them does.” I sat back in the extra chair in his cubical. It was then that I noticed that Larry’s office had changed. There were none of the normal posters of his fantasy world. In their place were maps of every sort of the area around Mt Olympus. On some of them he had drawn in the cone with red pen. There were maps of ancient Greece, with clear overlays of the modern map. There were genealogy charts that followed all of the gods and goddess. He had taken the system roll-out schedule off his white board and replaced it with lists of supplies, travel plans, flight numbers and hotel names.

“Larry, what is all this?” I asked gesturing to the new decor.

“I have been digging up everything I could on this in the last couple of weeks, and not just on the Internet. I have done some serious book work on this as well. I have found some really great stuff.”

“What about the roll-out schedule? Have you been doing the development for that? I am a huge fan of Greek Mythology too but…”

“Forget that, this is huge. What if we could find our way into the home of the gods? Think of the things we could ask them.”

“Larry, we are going live with the first site in less than two weeks.”

“Is that all you can think about? Look at this.” He picked up a book about the stealing of fire from the gods. “This talks about how it only happened because Prometheus, one of the gods, wanted it to. Think about what it could mean.”

“But…”

“But nothing. This is huge.”

“Larry, what do you think you are going to find? What do you think you are going to prove?”

“I don’t know what I’ll find, but I’m going to find something. But right now I’ve got to go talk to Dave about some time off.” With that he got up and walked out of his cubical and headed towards Dave’s office.

“Larry, he is never going to give you time off now!” But he waved me off and walked right into Dave’s office.

They had a short argument that I can only guess at, but in the end Larry threw up his hands, came back to his desk and spent the next hour or so packing everything up.

“Larry, what are you doing?”

“I quit! Can you believe it? They would not give me the time off when I have found something this big. Dave said something about after the roll-out. But what if this thing disappears, what if this is a short time offer. What if it is only one god that wants to be found, like I think it might be, and the others find out about it and close the door. We can’t wait. We have to get over there now and check this thing out.”

“Wait a minute Larry. I can’t go. I have a job to do. We both do. We are grown men, we can’t just go running off on a wild goose chase.”

“You too? Damn narrow minded people, can’t even see past the end of your noses. You sound just like the rest of them!” was all that I got from him as he pushed past me and walked out.

March 29 10:45 AM Eastern Standard Time
“Rob,” I looked up to see Dave standing at my desk. “I hate to have to do this to you but it is going to be hard on all of us. Larry quit this morning, as I am sure you know, so we are going to have to divvy up his roll-out responsibilities.” Dave always had this way of whining that made my skin want to crawl. It was only worse when he wanted to give you bad news. It was as if he picked the most annoying voice to deliver the most annoying news.

“Dave, what did he say?”

“Something about finding Mt. Olympus and that he needed time off. I told him some time after the roll-out was completed, but he insisted that it had to be today. When I told him that was not possible, he quit. Just like that. So like I said, we are going to need to you do some over time.” there was that voice again.

April 11 2:13 AM Eastern Standard Time
I woke the sound of the phone ringing and it made my head hurt.

“Rob, Rob! Wake up man.”

I rolled over to check the clock, and winced as the receiver pressed against my ear.

“Larry?”

“Rob, I’ve found it! You’ve got to come see this. It’s here.”

“Larry, what are you talking about? Do you know what I have been through the last two weeks since you left?”

“Rob, screw all of that. Listen to me. This is huge. I’ve found it! The entrance to Mt. Olympus. I bought you a plane ticket. I need someone here to help me document this. You are the most detailed person I know. You have to come here. I mean, it is nothing like I expected. It is more than I ever imagined!”

“Larry, hang on a second. What? There is no way. What about Dave?” I was still half asleep and having a hard time understanding him.

“Rob, I promise that you will not regret this. Listen, the ticket will be delivered to you first thing in the morning. I have to go.” The line went dead.

I lay in bed for a long time, not able to get back to sleep. Half of me was cursing Larry for waking me up, half of me dying to see what he had found. I had to admit even with everything I had been through in the last few weeks, I was interested. I had been since the first day he had shown me. I did not quite know if I should believe him, but it was certainly interesting. Besides, although he was a bit odd with all the fantasy things, Larry was not one to really make something like this up. He always did his homework.

For a long time I could not decide what to do, but in the end practicality won out. If this ticket did show up in the morning I would just throw it away and go on like the phone call had never happened. Larry would have to find someone else.

April 12 8:42 AM Eastern Standard Time
“Rob, is that your fifth cup of coffee?”

“Yes, Sue, it is.”

“Going kind of heavy aren’t you?”

“I didn’t sleep well last night.”

“But it’s not even nine in the morning.”

“I have been here since five, Sue.” I was beyond aggravated with this line of questioning, and so made my way to my desk trying not to hear her last comment. She was the kind of person that always had to get the last word in.

I had no more than sat down at my desk when my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and was both relieved and concerned that it was an internal call. That meant that the customer was not having a problem with their newly rolled out system, but it could very well be Dave with a complaint that the customer had taken over my head.

“This is Rob.”

“Rob, this is Mary, you have mail and it is marked urgent.”

“Thanks Mary. I will be up in a little bit to get it.”

“It needs a signature, and it is not marked with Untide’s name. You know the policy about not signing for personal things.”

“Yes, yes, I know,” I said with as much annoyance in my voice as possible. “I will be right up,” she hung up the phone and I headed for the front desk.

“Not going for more coffee already are you? You are going to give yourself an ulcer, you know,” Sue was at it again and I did my best to ignore her.

When I got to the front desk, Dave was standing there and he didn’t look happy. Apparently Mary had called him right after she got off the phone with me. Or maybe right before. One look at the delivery guy, and decided it must have been before. Mary and Dave looked like a firing squad.

“Thank you.” I said taking the envelope from him and checking that it was addressed to me and not Unitide.

“Just sign here.”

“Thank you, I said handing the clipboard back to him.

“Rob,” Dave was using that voice again. “You know the policy about getting personal mail delivered to the office.”

“Yes,” I said turning around. suddenly felt like a little kid who got caught stealing a cookie.

“What is this all about, who is it from?” I had not looked at who it was from but I knew it was from Larry. “Rob? Who is it from?” Now he was getting on my nerves.

“What difference does that make?”

“You are not supposed to be getting mail at the office. It is a distraction. Hand it over and it will be on my desk when you are ready to go home.”

“You are kidding right?”

“Come on hand it over.”

“Like hell.”

“You had it delivered here, it is company property.”

“Go to hell Dave,” I said as I walked back to my desk.

“Rob!”

Who did Dave think he was? Wasn’t it illegal for him to take my mail? I would have to look it up when I got back to my desk.

“Rob, we need to talk about this,” He must have taken the other way around because now he was standing at the entrance to my cubical.

“What is the deal Dave, why all the fuss over a letter?”

“It’s from Larry isn’t it?”

“What is the difference?”

“Do you know why the policy is what it is?”

“You know, I never really understood that. You think that grown men and women are going to be distracted by getting mail? We are not three-year-olds Dave.”

“It is what it is, you can have your opinion, but there is more than that. We think Larry could be a security risk since he knew our roll-out schedule before he left.”

“Bull! Larry never cared about what we were doing here, he was here for the paycheck and you know it!”

“He knew the schedule.”

“What did he tell you before he left?”

“Give me the letter Rob you can have it back after work.”

“I am not a three-year-old,” I said raising my voice a bit so that everyone else could hear. “This is total bull. You have no right to take my mail where ever I get it delivered. I have given ten years of loyal service to this company, and you want to treat me like I am a child. Fine! You want the letter, take it.” I held it above me head waving it slightly. Dave reached for it but came about six inches short. I smiled at him and walked past him into my cubical. I picked up my jacket and keys with my free hand and pushed past him again.

“Where are you going?”

“Same place Larry did. I quit!”

“You can’t!”

“Watch me.”

A few minutes later I sat with my head on the steering wheel, my heart pounding and hands shaking. What was I going to do now? I was on my way home to get my resume up to date, when I remembered the letter. It was sitting on the seat next to me. I felt like it was calling to me, tempting me to open it. I didn’t even want the damn letter and now I had quit my job over it.

“What was I thinking? I wonder if it is too late to go back in.” Still the letter was calling me. I reached over and opened it. Inside was a set of plane tickets, a thousand dollars in cash and a note.

-Rob,

The tickets are for a 2:30 flight so you will have to hurry once you get this. Don’t worry about packing. If you need any clothes or anything you can use the money in the envelope. I will pick you up at the Athens Airport.

Larry

“Now what?” I had his money. I was glad that I had not run the entire letter through the shredder or given it to Dave. “But, now what?”

April 13 7:30 Am European Summer time
This morning I found Larry standing in our hotel room. His towel still wrapped around him, a set of maps in one hand and a slice of bread and lox in the other. He didn’t notice me for a few moments.

“You eat that?” I said, making my way to the coffee pot.

“Oh, good morning Rob. Sleep okay?”

“Yeah, where are we? It was pretty late last night.”

“We are in the Olympic national park, south of Mt. Olympus. Here, let me show you.” He carried the map to the table with the coffee pot spreading it out. “Here is Mt Olympus. It is about 2917 meters tall. Now here is the GPS unit I bought. See, it has the ability to save previous locations so you can find your way back. Now I know that it is accurate to about one hundred feet. See, the latitude, longitude and elevation of this place is here, and this is what the GPS shows.”

“Wow it only appears to be off by about twelve feet.”

“That would be because we’re one floor up. Last week, I climbed up to the highest point on the map, here.” He pointed first to the map and then to the GPS the numbers all matched. “Then using this enlargement of a satellite photo I found this trail right here.” He said pointing to a thin white line on the photo.

“Okay I see it.”

“I followed that path for about ten minutes, and it was pretty steep. Since this is a picture and not exactly the same scale as the map, although it is close, I would guess that I stopped about here and took a GPS reading.”

“3024 meters.”

“You know that that means don’t you?”

“Yeah, I means you found a point higher than anything recorded.”

“No. It means that I found the home of the gods!”

“Larry!”

“Rob, listen to me. When I was up there as soon as I found the trail, everything around me seemed to be shrouded in mist. At first I didn’t really notice it, but the further I went the denser it became.”

“You are high enough up that you could have been in a cloud.”

“I thought so too, but then when I turned around I had a really hard time going back down the path. There were even parts I felt like I was going up again, and I can promise you that when I was going up there were no downhill parts. It was like I kept getting turned around, but the GPS unit said I was going the right way. And here is the kicker: as soon as I was back down at 2917 meters, no mist, no cloud, nothing.”

Could it really be possible that he had found what he was looking for? That he had found the fantasy world he had been trying to find all of his life?

“So?” He said breaking me out of my thoughts.

“So, what?”

“Do you believe me?”

“Larry, I’m here. You have given me some pretty hard evidence, but I want to see it for myself before I totally agree.” I could not believe the words that were coming out of my mouth.

“Good. This morning after we get dressed, we’ll go into town and get outfitted with some supplies. It is a two day hike to the top. You will be glad of all those times I dragged you to the climbing gym with me.”

April 15 3:30 PM European Summer Time.
“The path was just over here.” Larry said as I trailed behind him a few feet. We had reached the peak only a few minutes before.

“Hang on a second Larry,” I sat on a near by rock and caught my breath. “Larry, I had a thought. What if we get up in the mist like you did and we can’t find our way out?”

“That is why we have the extra supplies. They should last us a few days at least, and longer if we get really lost. But I don’t think we will get that lost. We have the GPS unit, and can just keep following it until it eventually leads us out.

“Eventually? that is not very comforting.”

“Everything will be fine. You’ll see Rob. Ah, here it is!” He was pointing to a little worn spot in the rock. “This is it, just like I told you! Now we just follow this a little ways and we are in. Ready?”

“I have an idea.”

“Let’s tie the climbing line it to something down here in case we need to find our way back. Then we can move it up the path when we run out.”

“Wow! How low tech of you my friend, but I am game!”

I tied the rope to the base of nearby boulder and we started up the path. Within seconds we were enveloped in a fog so thick, we could hardly see each other.

“Okay Larry, end of the rope. I will go back and untie it. You wait here and tie your end off,” I said a few minutes later.

“Fair.” He said as he looked around for something to tie it off to.

I picked my way along the path and as Larry had said at points the path seemed to go up and down, even though when we had come in it was most certainly all uphill. When I finally made my way back down to the base the fog had indeed cleared. I untied the rope and made my way back up the rope, winding it up, as I went so that it would not get snagged on anything.

“Rob? Is that you?” I heard Larry voice just a few feet in front of me.

“Yes.”

“Did you hear that?”

“What? You calling to me?”

“No, before that.”

“I didn’t hear anything. What was it?”

“I thought I heard someone talking.”

“No, I didn’t hear anything.” When I was close enough to see him we stood still and listened for some time, but we didn’t hear anything.

“You know something weird?” Larry said breaking the long silence. “When you were walking away, you went down the path, but there were times that I watched the rope, go way up like you were going up hill. Just like a told you.”

“Yeah, it was very odd.” I was starting to feel more than a little nervous. “Did you tie your end off the line off?”

“Yes.”

“Okay then let’s keep going.”

“Right,” he said taking the coil of rope from me and heading up the path, but he could not hide the slight quiver in his voice. Whether it was from excitement or nervousness, I could not tell.

“I will go back this time. You look a little wiped out.” Larry said when we reached again reached the end of the rope. It had taken us longer this time as the path had begun to wind and we had to find places to loop the rope so that we would be able to follow it back if we needed to.

“Thanks,” I said as I watched him walk back in the direction we had come. In truth I was more than a little tired. I tied my end to the nearest rock and sat down on it.

“Why are you here?” a voice from the mist said.

“Larry?” He didn’t answer. I pulled gently on the rope and I could feel him moving away.

“Why did you come? It has been so long.” The voice said. The voice was soft and sweet and definitely not Larry’s. Then I heard something moving nearby and it sounded like a big animal, but it was coming from a different direction than the voice.

“Who’s there?” I said, no longer able to hide the fear in my own voice. There was no answer. I yelled for Larry again.

“Coming,” he said from only a few feet off. “What is it?”

“Larry, the voice you heard before?”

“Yeah?”

“Tell me you heard it again.”

“No.”

“Larry there is someone out here with us. And I think they might have brought an animal with them.”

“Come on, lets keep going.” he said, a little more calmly than I felt.

“Larry, I am not afraid to admit, I am more than a little freaked out.”

“Come on, it will be alright.”

“You have nothing to fear.” the voice said again.

“I heard that,” Larry said.

“Me too.” We looked around but could see nothing in the mist.

“Let’s keep moving,” He said. I again handed the coil of rope to him and we walked on, the voice urging us on now and again.

“I’ll go back this time,” I said when we reached the end of the rope.

“Don’t go back,” the voice said. “You are too far now.”

“Rob?”

“What?”

“Did you see that?”

“No, what?”

“I’m not sure but it was a huge shape.” We watched the swirling mist for a few minutes but saw nothing more.

“I am going back to get the rope,” I said after a few moments.

“No!” came the voice, more insistent this time. “You will not be able to return.”

“You mean we can’t leave?” No answer, but now I saw something moving in the mist. “I am not going on with out the rope,” I said to Larry.

“I know I made fun of you before but I totally agree with you now.” With that I headed back to untie the other end.

“You have come so far,” the voice said, sounding as though it was weeping.

“Who are you?” I asked, but there was no reply.

In a couple of minutes I found the end of the rope. I untied it, turned around to go back and bumped into something. It was softer than rock, but just as solid. I backed away and felt something brush against me.

Whatever it was, it was moving around me to prevent me from going either forward or back. I fought to keep calm and tried to see through the fog, but could see nothing more than a large vague shape and feel the occasional brush of what felt like hair against my skin.

After what seemed like an eternity the voice spoke again, “You cannot return to your friend. He has passed beyond you.” This time it had more firmness than before, but it was still soft.

“What do you mean?”

“Follow the beast, it will show you the way out. Do not attempt to come back. It will be guarding the way.”

“What about Larry?”

“He is with us now.”

“What does that mean?” There was no answer. “Hey, what does that mean? What have you done with him?” Then I felt a huge body pressing against me. It was covered in hair and more than a match for me. “Wait!” I yelled, but it did no good. The beast was forcing me down the path. I screamed for Larry until my voice was gone, but the beast never faltered and soon I stood alone on the top of the mountain. The air was clear and I could see all around me.

I tried to go up the path again and again, only to find the huge beast there.

That was three years ago. I have written down every detail of what happened to us, thought it will make little difference as no one will believe it. I have tried many times since then to go back, but each and every time I did the beast was there. I heard from Larry only one more time. I returned to the mountain ten days after our first encounter. This time the beast was accompanied by a smaller creature. It appeared to be a sprite of the kind that Larry used to keep on his desk. It did not speak, but handed me a small scrap of paper.

Rob,

I have found it.

Larry


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Great Hites # 21

Originally Posted Oct 8 2008


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This weeks prompt came from Mur Laferty’s news From Poughkeepsie. Learn more at Murverse.com

Time Traveler
By Christopher Hite

Date: Tuesday March 19th 1945
Time 2:30 Pm
Place London, England

So many times he had walked this road and so many times he had come upon, battle tanks, damaged planes and dead bodies of men who had fought for freedom from the Nazis. But the war was over, and there was nothing or anyone to worry about. Nothing but the black smog of the burnt gun powder, that came of the guns.
It was as if he James Henry Jr. was the last person thing alive. james walked the road for many miles until he stumbled on a device that looked oddly like a rock, but he could not be sure. he pushed a button and ZAP!

Date: Tuesday March 19th 2010
Time 2:40 PM
Place London, England

James found himself in the same place that he started from, only it looked newer. There were skyscrapers as tall a hundred suburban houses put together. Oh well it must me my imagination. He moved on. The place that he called home was up ahead. It was a really a building that had been destroyed by bombs during the war. He soon came to a building that looked like his, but it was some how different, in a way that he could not put his finger on. It had been repaired of course and painted white, had doors of glass, but there was more to it than that. He looked down at his shoes. His clothes were different.
A man rushed out of the building, and said quickly, “The meeting was suposed to be started already. But because you were late, we were late to start.”
“But, but,” James said.
“No buts,” said the man who had come out of the building. “Lets go,” he said pulling his arm.
“Ouch!” James said. “My name is James Henry.”
“No matter,” said the man.
“let go,” said James “I came from the year 1945. What year is this?”
“This is 2010,” said the man urgently pulling on his arm. “I come from the year 1920, but still they don’t believe me.”
“But I…” he was hauled on to an elevator. he thought, I wonder if I will ever get home.
They entered the meeting room, and greeting them was a jumble of noise. “Welcome to the meeting,” the man at the head of the table said. “My name is Phil Smith. Sit down and enjoy one of our doughnuts, and some coffee.”
James found a seat and happily enjoyed a Boston cream, one of his favorites, it hit the spot because he was starving. When the meeting ended he left the building and he immediately found the time remote, and pushed the button on it. ZAP!

Date: Tuesday March 19th. 1945
Time 2:50 PM
Place London, England

He returned to the destroyed building, knowing that one day it would be inhabited by people again.


NOTHING IS NEW AGAIN
Robert Jahns

The Beamer office building rose majestically over San Francisco’s skyline. The owners insisted that recycled steel beams be used in construction. Bright steel and blackened glass captured the bright September day’s light. It was 9:00 a.m. A thousand workers were there this Tuesday.

FLOOR 74. Hal sat at his desk, searching for a clue to solve that elusive program problem. His mind drifted toward his stray thoughts. His eyes slowly, quietly closed.

FLOOR 35. Alice was a good manager, perhaps with too much dedication to her people. Promoted to the job she always wanted, her task was now to cut the staff by ten per cent. Tears fell as she reviewed the hefty list before her. She lowered her head to the desk, cried,then dozed off.

LOBBY LEVEL. Sammy O’Neal was not an educated man. He knew how to work hard and his bosses were pleased. After an hour’s fight with an ancient floor buffer, Sammy stopped for a short rest. He sat heavily into a wooden chair, slowly pouring his coffee. He slept peacefully.

First was heard a low and constant rumble.

Was this an earthquake? Was the city falling into the ocean?

No one knew for sure until the planes hit the tower.

Then, they too slept.

Mine!
By Jeffrey Hite

“Geeez Susan, I’m sorry I was late,” Neil said walking to her office. She signaled for him to close the door. “The directions that they gave out on Friday were horrible and I got lost. But I was only fifteen minutes late, I didn’t think that warranted a closed door meeting.”
“Come on Neil, you know that is not what this is about. I wanted to show off my new office.” She stood and spread her arms “Look I can’t touch both walls at the same time.”
“It is pretty big.”
“And look at this view,” She said turning around to face the window. “How is your office?”
“Not as nice as this one, but much better than that rat hole they had me in in our old place.” They watched the ducks in the pond out the windows for a few minutes.
“Neil, since you have a guilty conscience I do have a problem for you to work on.”
“Susan, you know my work load.”
“It is not a big deal, just something I want you to look into when you have a few spare moments.”
“Alright, so what is this little project you want me to do?”
“Simple, my desk lamp is missing.”
“Oh come on Susan…”
“Now wait a minute,” She interrupted his protest. “It is not the only thing. The C.E.O’s favorite coffee cup, and a few other people have reported things missing.”
“You know those things could have just been lost in the move.”
“Well that is where this starts to get weird, they were all here yesterday when the management team and I moved in. I talked to the Custodian this morning, and he said that the things might be in the mine. I don’t have the slightest clue what he is talking about, and well, I know you are into the weird stuff.”
“You know just because I have a suit of armor and go to the renaissance festivals, does not really make me into the weird stuff, but fine. What is it you want me to do?”
“Simple, talk to the custodian, find out what he is talking about and get our stuff back.”
“Fine. Sounds like fun.” The phone rang and he showed himself out of the office.
He made his way back to his office mumbling the whole way. “How do I get myself into these things. I don’t even know how the heck to find the custodian.” But he knew that if he didn’t do what Susan had asked there would be hell to pay. He turned his computer on and watched the emails spawn in his inbox.
Hours later as he made his way out of the building he remembered Susan’s tasking. He spun around and tried the door, but it had already locked.
“You forget your key?” The muffled voice of the older man in coveralls came to him from behind the glass doors.
He had forgotten about the passkey to get into the door. So he nodded. The old man opened the door and let him in.
“Are you the building custodian by chance?”
“That would be me, name’s Bob,” he said holding out his hand. Neil took it. It was rough and showed the signs of a life of manual labor.
“Neil.”
“What can I do you for Neil?”
“My boss, Susan said that some things were missing from our new office, I think she talked to you this morning about it.”
“Ah yes, that is one pretty lady,” the older man said wistfully.
“Well she wanted me to get the things that were missing back from you.”
“Oh, I ain’t got them. They’re down in the mine.”
“Well, can you take me down there so that I can get them?”
“I tried to explain to your boss this morning, that ain’t gonna work. You can take them back, but once the are down in the mine they will stay there.”
“What are you talking about?”
“It happens some times with these new buildings especially when they get to be a couple of years old. See, they are like little kids. They take things that catch thier attention.”
“A building can’t do anything like that. A building is made of steel and concrete. It can’t take things.”
“Suit yourself. You believe what you want to believe. What do I know, I am just the custodian,’ he said mumbling and shaking his head.
“Look, just take me to this mine and let me get our stuff back.”
“It won’t do you no good.”
“It’s our stuff.”
“Fine. Follow me.” He lead the way down several sets of stairs to the sub basement.
Finally they stood, in a dark corner of. Before them was a small collection of things, arranged neatly on the floor. Above the items was the word ‘mine’ scrawled on the wall.
“There, that is my boss’s lamp and the C.E.O.’s coffee cup.”
“Look, I’m telling you that is a bad idea. You can take those thing, but she might get upset. It would be better to just go get yourself a couple of replacements. I ain’t never seen one that was this possessive. She’s got herself a temper.”
Neil ignored him and walked back up to their offices. He put the desk lamp on Susan’s desk and the coffee cup in the kitchen, it looked like it needed to be washed any way.

*****

“Neil I need you to come into my office.” Susan’s voice came from his phone, but instead of her normal calm, it had a definite edge to it.
“Be right there.”
“Come quick!” He set the phone down and walked over to her office in time to hear Susan’s scream.
The scene in the office was utter chaos. Paper and furniture were everywhere. The cord of the desk lamp was tangled around Susan’s neck and her face was beginning to turn red.
“Help me!’ she choked.
“Mine.”
“What?”
“Help me! Help me get this thing off me.” She scratched at the cord.
“Mine!”
“Who said that?” He looked around for who or what was pulling on the other end of the lamp and strangling his boss.
“Mine! Mine!” He managed the get his pocket knife out and cut the cord.
“What the heck is going on here?”
“The lamp, it started to fall off my desk,” she said through shallow gasps. “I tried to grab it, but then the cord got wrapped around my neck.”
“Did you hear that?”
“What?”
“The voice, it kept saying, mine.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Never mind I better go check on Bill.” He rushed out of her office and down the hall to the executive suite.
Bill’s receptions smiled a greeting until he rushed past her.
“Wait you can’t go in…” That was all she got out before he opened the door.
Bill was laying face up on the floor with a mark the shape of a coffee cup on his forehead. The cup lay broken on the floor next to him.
“Mine,” the voice sobbed. “Mine, mine, mine.”

*****
Neil walked out next to the stretcher with Susan on it. As the walked across the lobby, Bob came up to them.
“I told you to leave it alone. She has got one heck of a temper. And being two she thinks everything belongs to her.”
“Mine,” Neil whispered.

The Shaman

Originally posted on July 11th 2008
Sorry Folks there is no audio to go with this one. Despite the fact that there is no audio, it has always been one of my favorite stories.

This is day 2 and I hope with a better story.

The New from Poughkeepise Day # 72

Scenes Thursdays:

I went out to visit the prayer grove yesterday. It used to be a prayer tree, a holy yew where we hung our wishes to the gods. But ever since the local youth were conscripted to go to battle, the tree has expanded to the grove that surrounds it. I saw the shaman there, yesterday, on her knees, weeping. I stood to the side respectfully as she wrote her prayer on the parchment and kissed it, whispering a prayer. She’s unmarried and childless, so I don’t know who she was worried about, but as she’s usually the calm one, blessing our prayers as we hang them.

She left the grove without seeing me, and I went in to hang my own prayer, next to hers. Curiosity got the better of me, and I read what she wrote.

The Shaman

“Molly, get the kids we have got to go!” Dennis said shaking his wife awake.

“What? What are you talking about? Go where?” She said rubbing the sleep out of her eyes.

“Never mind where, we just need to go and now.” Dennis ran around the house picking up things and stuffing them in a bag. “Come on we have to go.”

“Dennis, you are not making any sense. What’s going on?”

“Look Molly, we have to go! You need to get the kids up and ready to go or we are all going to die. Now come on!” Molly stood up and walked into the other room and roused her kids. She had never known Dennis to act so odd, but he was not one of those people that gave into panic so something must be really wrong. She got the kids up and dressed them in their traveling clothes.

Five minutes later they were all standing in the main room of their three room home when Dennis burst in.

“Good, you are all ready to go now lets get out of here.” he picked up his daughter and walked out of the house. Molly and their son followed close behind. They were halfway to the village square when Molly grabbed him by the arm.

“Dennis, you have got to tell me what is going on. I am not going to take one more step until you do.” She planted her feet and waited.

“Molly we don’t have time for this, and I can’t talk about it right now. It is too dangerous.”

“Where did you go this morning?” She asked still not moving.

“The prayer grove.”
“Did you see an invading army coming or something? Because if you did then we should warn the…”

“No, please Molly, we can’t stop, and we can’t talk about it here. We have to get out of town.” She could see the anguished look on his face, and decided that for the time being that she would follow him.

“Dennis, you better be right about this, it is market day and we are going to loose our spot and not have enough money.”

“Market day will not matter.” He said walking faster. Ten minutes later they cleared the edge of town. The sun was just coming up and they could see a few people trickling into town.

“Ok, that is it I go no further without some kind of explanation.” She said when they were a hundred yards past the town wall.

“Alright, alright, but keep your voice down. Their still might be people around.”

“Dennis what is this about?”

‘Look Molly,” He said putting his still half sleeping daughter down on the ground. She groaned softly but then rolled over in the grass. “This morning I went to the Prayer grove and Abby was there.”

“Abby, you mean that red-head that sells the candles, Dennis what did you do? You know her father will kill you; I will kill you if you…”

“No! Not her, the shaman, please keep your voice down, look we could all get killed if others find out.”

“What? If others find out what!” She demanded.

“Look, Abby was there, she was leaving a prayer, but she was crying, you know like the widows or mothers who lose their sons, but she is not married and has no children so why would she be crying like that. She left her prayer, left the grove and she acted like she didn’t even see me. It was so weird. I mean more weird than she normally acts.”

“So you were there to leave a prayer, what’s the problem?”
“I was so startled by the way she was acting, and… and I just glanced at it.”

“What did you do?” She asked fear welling up in her for the first time. “You looked at her prayer? That’s not allowed! They could stone us if they found out.” She grabbed her daughter from the ground and pulled her to her feet.

“Look Molly, I’m sorry but there is more.”
“What more could there be, you read someone’s prayer! You put us all in danger. We’ve got to go!” She said pulling the two kids behind her as fast as she could walk

“That is what I have been telling you. But it was what her prayer said that has me worried.” He picked up the little girl and helped Molly pick up the pace.

“I don’t want to know what it said. If you read it was bad enough.”

“Molly you have to know.”

“I don’t want to.” She was almost running now tears steaming down her cheeks. How could he have been so irresponsible. Even in the next town they might be found out and they would still be stoned to death. And then there was the war going on. They would have to run from that too. It was likely they would die no matter what they did.

“Molly!” He said grabbing her arm. “Listen to me. It said, ‘Save us!'” Molly stopped dead in her tracks.

“Save us?”

“Yes.”

“You did the right thing. Now lets go.” The both walked as fast as they could without running until they saw the the light behind them. Then they ran. As the light grew brighter they found a place to hide, and prayed that they were far enough away from the town.

The heat was intense even a mile away, but she had to take a look, The fireballs rained down from the sky hurled by the gods. They obliterated the town and everyone in it. The last person standing was Abby. She stood in the middle of the town, arms raised to the heavens in thanks. then a fireball came down and incinerated her too.

When it was over they stood and looked at the remains of the town. Not a blade of grass was left standing. They turned their backs to the rubble and walked to the next town. All the could do was hope that theirshaman was not looking to be saved as well.

Creative Commons License
The Shaman by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.

The Mediator

This story was originally post on July 10th 2008

This is day one of the News From Poughkeepsie Challenge. Just 29 more to go. This one was a little bit of a surprise when I checked Murverse this morning and found this topic I knew it would be a bit of a challenge. It was fun to write, but don’t expect me to start writing scripts for the My Pretty Pony cartoons any time soon.

The New from Poughkeepise Day # 70
Settings Tuesdays:

The world of My Pretty Pony is one beset by war and strife. Their society started innocently enough, with the branding of the young ones with cute icons, but later those brands became akin to gang signs, and the ponies would group together based on nothing more than signs. Astronomical signs vs water signs was a particularly bloody war, and the heart signs vs rainbow signs was tense, but stable, until recently. It breaks my heart to look at them and know the bloody past. The gang members keep branding new foals to keep the cycle of violence up, and it will take a talented mediator to end the decades-long hatred.

And if you are looking for a shirt to complete your pony Collection look no further

The Mediator Audio.

********

Five sets of ponies stood in groups around the forest glen. In the center was a table, that was what the mediator had requested. But as of yet he had not showed and he was over an hour late.

“This is getting old,” Surefoot said, shaking his purple blue mane.

“The only thing old here is you,” Came a shout from the astrosigns group.

“That is right hide behind your friends, don’t bother to show our face. You astro’s have always been cowards.” He spat the words out and swishing his ultra long blue tail.
“We came here to make peace Surefoot and you know it. Now stop.” Rightfeather said, his mane was long and green but streaked with gray.

“That is right old man,” Surefoot said moving a little more into the clearing lifting his tail so that it would not drag on the ground. “You would not want that young foal to get blood all over this pretty table.”

“Enough!” Rainbowcloud said stomping his fore hoof and tossing his blue mane “We have come here for peace and you do nothing but fight.”
“Oh great the rainbows think are in charge here.”

“Not in charge just level headed. If we are to make peace then this is not going to help us.”

“What do you know of peace Rainbowcloud,” This time from the Heart camp. “You led the massacre in the glen three years ago. You killed innocent ponies as if their lives meant nothing.”

“Hearts are never truly innocent. They are born with the sins of their fathers on them.”

“And the Rainbows are any different,” Another voice from Heart camp. The two groups drew so close to each other that their flanks touched.

“You Hearts are all the same, you talk but are not brave enough to show our face.” Rainbowcloud said stomping his hoof.

“I am not afraid of you Rainbowcloud.” said a voice from behind. A pony pushed his way to the front. He was no bigger then then rest of them but they all gasped as he came forward. His tale was almost completely cut off and this mane was tattered. He had a brand but it was obscured by dark lines.

“Goldheart, we thought you were…” Rightfeather trailed off

“Dead, no I was not dead, but I have been among the gods. I was once the most beautiful of all of you, and the first to go to war. But the gods have punished me for my vanity and my lack of respect for their creations.”

“You are the mediator?” Surefoot snorted.

“Yes.”

“But you are a heart how can we trust,” He was cut off as Glodheart charged him knocking him down and pining him under his front hooves. Several of the Hearts cheered but, Goldheart rounded on them and kicked and bit several of them.

“You can trust me only to kill those who are not here to make peace.” He said panting over a heart pony that he had knocked to the ground. “My life is over. The gods have so proclaimed it, but it does not have to be the same for you. Come all of you, gather around the table and we will talk peace.”

“But, Goldheart, why a table, ponies have no use for tables?”

“Because this is the way the gods do it. They gather around a table to discuss things of importance. And this is of the greatest importance.” They all moved around the table and began to discuss a peace deal.

Then all was frozen, as Suzie reached down and picked up Goldheart. “Oh poor Goldheart. You were so pretty.” She said petting what was left of his tail. She walked out of the room holding her beloved pony. “Mom Timmy has been in my stuff again!”

Creative Commons License
The Mediator by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.

Seeing Ghosts

Originally Published May 18th 2008

Well I have made it to week two.

This weeks prompt comes again from Mode Room Press. See their link to the side.

Imagine a man who has visions of ghosts
With a terminal illness
beyond the window is a Sylvan scene
the scoundrels line the wharves
while the insomniac holds a candle in the dark.


Download and listen to Audio for Seeing Ghosts

Seeing Ghosts.

Jacob has seen things all his life, but it was not until recently that he had known what they were. It was on his fifty second birthday that he was diagnosed with what he called terminal lung rot. As he walked out of the Doctor’s office he saw something pass in front of him, just for a moment, and then it was gone. He followed it with his eyes not wanting to see anything in the real word, and it formed a few feet off and stared at him.
It was a man in a striped suit of the kind that was popular a few years before. He carried a briefcase in his left hand and had a ancient looking cell phone in his right, that until he has spotted Jacob he had been talking into.
“Damn thing gets horrible reception in the city,” The man had said.
“They always do.” It was then that Jacob saw it. There was a hole in the mans suit… No not in his suit, right threw him.
“Just got the Diagnosis did you?” The man said noticing Jacob stare.
“What?”
“You just found out about the impending end right? Am I the first ghost you have seen?”
“Yes,” he answered not quite believing the conversation.
“Well you will see a few more of us. It always happens to people who are in tune to the universe. As soon as they know they are going to die things start to come into focus. But do try not to stare, I don’t mind but there are those that find it very rude.” He smiled at Jacob then and walked through the wall in to the office building.
That had been three months ago. It was hard not to stare at some of them, the ones that carried parts of their bodies around. The severed heads where the hardest. That was why he had to leave the city. Every where he turned there were more of them, men, women and children, all a with their particular method of death exposed to the world. He could not stand it any more. But the worst the absolute worst were the wharves. He made the mistake of going down there one evening to get some fish for dinner. There where the usual scoundrels until he looked closer and noticed that many of them had knife or bullet wounds. The sailors that had died at sea, skin green and fish eaten. The Slaves whose bodies had been dumped in heaps hanged or whipped to death, There were even a few men with bucket shaped concert around their feet. All of them seemed to know that he, unlike the rest of the population, could see them and so they spoke to him. He had to get out.
He had, had a hard time getting the financing, too many people already knew he was going to die and had nothing to leave behind. His real estate broker had even been able to see the dead as well, and they warned her about him. He thought at first this would be to his benefit having someone else that could understand his plight but she was as uncaring as the dead. In the end he was able to buy a house in upstate New York, out in the country away from most people. The scene outside his windows was beautiful, the farms and pasture land all around, but even here there was too much history. He did not see as many of the gruesome deaths, the killings or the maiming, but there were enough, the farm accidents and the older ones, from the fur traders and the native Americans before that. So long as he stayed in his home most of the time, he was ok, most of the time.
That was before the nearby farmer had come by. He was an older man, with a grey beard. Jacob was suspicious at first, but when he saw not obvious method of death, he let his guard down.
“Welcome to the area, my name is Brown, live down the road just a bit,” He said holding out a plate of cookies. “My wife baked some cookies.” Jacob reached his hand out tentatively and when his hand didn’t pass right them he was relieved.
“Thank you.”
“Sorry I have not come down sooner, but kind of a busy season. planting and all.”
“I understand,” He said relaxing quite a bit, he had not talked with some one in a while who was not a ghost.
“This land that your house is on used to belong to my father, but we sold off some of it a few years back and they split it up and built houses. At least it is not a subdivision.”
“I certainly understand that. I have seen enough of those.”
“Well listen I need to get back to work, but if you ever need any help around here, let me know. Oh and don’t tell my wife about the cookies, she don’t know I took’em and I ate about half of them on the way down here,” he said smiling mischievously. “The doctor says I have to stay off sweets but I don’t listen to them any more.” Jacob watched the man leave, walking down the driveway and across the field. He ate one of he cookies and truly enjoyed it. It had been on of the best human contacts he had made in a while, and for once he was not seeing a ghost.
“Brown works for me,” The voice behind him said. The plate fell to the floor and shattered as the spirit pushed his way through Jacob. “Surprised you didn’t see that he was one of us, but the plate and cookies probably threw you off.”
Standing before Jacob now was without a doubt death itself. He looked just as the stories had described him with one difference, the cowl was not totally covering his face and Jacob could see into it’s eyes.
“Don’t worry that you can see my face. Today is not your day, but it will be soon, so it is of no consequence. I use Brown to help me find people like you. People who can see the dead. I can use people like you. Think about it. have you ever seen another dead holding a solid object? I gave that to him. His weakness was the cookies… so I gave them to him. in turn he scouts for me. He finds the ones I can take early, the ones who will work for me and the ones who won’t.”
“What do people do for you?”
“What does death do? They kill for me of course. They take the walking dead like you and hurry them along and a few they refer to me, like you.”
“He kills people?”
“He can’t do that, not really, but he can interact with the living in ways that makes things happen.”
“Why?”
“Because he does not want to be stuck in hell… All the other dead you see live for ever with the pain of their deaths. They take their pain with them to the grave. Think about it Jacob, but not too long, you can’t decide once you are dead.” He disappeared then and he stood alone in his hallway, shattered plate on the floor.
That night he said in his bed, the candle by his bed, not able to sleep. He could hear all the voices of the dead in the area now, and he could feel death. He knew that death would never leave him now. Sleep would never come. He held the candle tightly in his hands trying to ward off the dark, and cried.

Creative Commons License
Seeing Ghosts by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.

GreatHites 1 – Adam and Eve

Originally post on May 15 2008

This prompt comes from Mode Room Press. See the link in the PROMPTS section to the side

Describe Adam and Eve breaking up

With a handful of poultry feathers

Such love one has had at times like these

A gypsy wagon comes traveling by

While a virgin discovers love


Download and listen to Audio for Adam and Eve

Like Lilith before her Eve loved Adam. Then again there was no one else for her to love, with the exception of Lilith, and she was a demon now, past love of her own or being loved, except as one loves all of Gods creations. Now there were just the two of them and the animals, and there was love between them. Love that you can only know before you lose that virginity, the virginity if ignorance and bliss. There was nothing but love. This afternoon that had all changed.

Before this afternoon, there had been no knowledge of lust or desire, but now they knew both. There was no anger or jealousy either, but now they were there too. And Adam was gone. He had seen her with the serpent, she had offered him the apple, and they had seen each other for the first time. There was lust and passion, as there had never been before, and all the things that came with them. It had lasted hours, or was it days, it was hard to tell but when it was over, there was the knowledge that it was over. He had left to find food for them both.

She had found him an hour later with a bird in his right hand and some of it’s feathers in his left and, and realized that he was using the same passion to prepare their meal as he had used a hour ago, when he had made love to her, and she left him. She had wandered though the garden with no where else to go, the garden was everywhere and everywhere was the garden.

She came upon a track in the garden, where there should have been none, but as the garden was everything, she thought little of it, and decided to follow the track. The trees closed in around the track and made it impossible for her to leave, but as all the creatures of the garden were under the control of man, and she was, after all made from man, she knew she had nothing to fear.

Then she remembered the warning, “Eat not of the tree of knowledge of good and evil lest you shall die,” and she was afraid. In moments she heard a noise. It sounded like horses and of talking between her and Adam, but louder and as if there were more men and women. Then there were the sounds she did not recognize. She stood in terror for the first time in her life, there was no where for her to hide, she did not know how to hide, but she wanted to do it away.

Eve stared down the track in the direction of the noises and trembled, held in place by fear. Soon a group of horses connected by straps to a large object made of wood, that had round objects that it roll along on came into view. There were other horses that were ridden by men and women sat or hung on to the thing being drawn by the horses tethered to it. She knew at once, without knowing how, that this was a wagon and the people were gypsies. They wore brightly colored cloth covering their bodies and heads. The men stared at her. She could feel their eye roam over her naked body, with the same lust that Adam had had for her, but with none of the love that he had. These men just lusted for her body and not for her.

The women stared at her too, but their stares were ones of disapproval. They looked on Eve with shame and embarrassment. She saw in their eyes the need to cover herself. She did so with her hands at first, and when he realized this was of little good, she grabbed a fig leaf and pulled it close to her. They passed by her with only the noise made by the horses and the wagon breaking the silence. She ran then. Fear coursed through her, the fear of her nakedness, the fear of the gypsies, the fear of the animals and the fear of death from them all, and through it all she ran.

The track seemed to go on forever, but she didn’t stop, though she felt pain, that she had never felt before. She looked at her feet as they stepped on rocks that dug into them, and wondered at why they had never done this before. Then came the blinding paid of her head striking something heard and she fell over. Fear of death overwhelmed her, then. Though she did not understand what death was, she feared it, because God had warned against it.

It was the soft touch of Adams hands on her skin that convinced her to open her eyes and stop crying. When she did she saw only love in his eyes. Not the bawdy looks of the men on the horses, or the disapproving stares of the women on the wagon. She knew then that it was only at times like these that love can really be expressed.

She held Adam and cried until the tears would no longer come and his love for her was something she could feel. When they finally pulled apart she noticed that like her, he was covered in a leaf, and that there he been tears in his eyes as well.

“I looked for you Eve, but I could not find you. Then I followed this road. I saw a thing, people, on horses and a wagon. The men made me feel shame and the women stared at me almost like you but there was no love.”

“I saw the same thing, and then I ran and I ran until I hit something with my head.”

“I think you hit me,” he said rubbing the lump on his head that she now saw for the first time. They held each other then, until they heard God calling to them from down the road.

“I do not want him to stare at me like the Men on the horses.” Eve said

“Nor do I want him to look on me with their scorn. I think we should hide.” This time there was a place for them to do so, and they moved into the trees and hid until they could see God.

Eve noticed right away the way he looked. He no longer looked like herself and Adam, somehow he looked greater, more brilliant and in all ways untouchable by someone like her. They had touched him many times before. They often had walked hand in hand in hand through the garden, but now the idea of her hand in his seemed somehow beyond her reach.

Adam held her hand in his, and said “We must stay hidden. He must not know what we have done,” and she knew that he felt the same things that she was feeling.

Creative Commons License
Adam and Eve by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.

Mister Johnson – The Very minor god.

character sketch Monday:

Alexandra is a strange girl. When she was born, so was her personal god – Mister Johnson. This was no guardian angel, but an actual god came into being. The God of Alexandra. She would hold no gods before him, and she would pray to, worship, and sacrifice to him. He had the body of a heron and the face of her mother’s third grade teacher, which upset her mother considerably when she found his visage burned into Alexandra’s morning toast. She is a good girl, trying to follow his seventeen commandments (including Thou Shalt Not Eat Fat Free As Long As Thou Keeps Thy Weight at a Reasonable Level) and find small rodents to sacrifice to him. She was a kind girl and always tried to go for the sickly ones. She quickly realized that her cat, Midnight, also knew of her god, and would bring her sacrificial mice to help keep her god happy.

But when Alexandra was 17, she displeased her god, and she felt his wrath.

The New from Poughkeepise Day # 76

Mister Johnson – The Very Minor god

When Johnson, or Mister Johnson, as his one and only subject called him was called into being he knew two things: first that he had only one subject, Alexandra, an otherwise normal little girl, and second that he was a very minor god. Alexandra made up for being his one and only subject very well. She was always faithfully completed penance with never a complaint, she even did extra from time to time. All in all what more could a god ask for. From time to time he would check with the other gods and none of them had as successful a track record he did, one hundred percent faithfulness from their subjects. He was the envy of all the other very minor gods. Not one of them even came close.

This made him proud, and in return he took good care of his faithful subject. He made sure that she never got sick, she never so much as stubbed a toe. He even gave her special powers from time to time. When that brat Thomas Middleberg pulled her hair and teased her in second grade, Mister Johnson made sure the she could catch him on the playground that afternoon, despite the fact that he was much faster than her normally. That was why on the day that it happened it was so very devastating.

The second of July had started like any normal day for Mister Johnson. Alexandra had woken him with her morning prayer. She sang softly in the way that he had taught her, and he was very happy that her voice was starting to take on the qualities that maturity would bring. It was a soft and soothing way to wake up.

*****

Today she was going to ask Tom Middleberg to the Sadie Hawkins Dance. She had fallen for him many years ago when she had chased him down on the playground. He had kissed her on the cheek that day so that she would not hit him, saying he was sorry for being rude to her. From that day forth she had a crush on him, but he had paid her little attention. When she had found out that the school was going to hold a traditional girl asks the boy dance, she had begun to pray.

*****

Today was important for another reason. Today was the day that he was going to fix the one thing about his existence that had always bugged him. He was going before council to present his record and get his status elevated from very minor god to minor god. But, in truth he had much higher aspirations.

“Mister Johnson,” the head of the council said. “We have seen your record, and it is positively glowing.” A round of here heres would follow. “It is in the judgment of this council that instead of the normal adjustment from very minor god to minor god, that you be elevated to the level of major god. And because of your incredible achievements you will be given control of the entire southern hemisphere.” Clapping and cheers breaking out as he finished the proclamation.

“Johnson…Johnson” The man with the annoying little voice as calling him again. He stood up and made his way to the little barred window.

“I’m Johnson,” he said.

“I will need proof of that.” Johnson pulled out his very minor god ID and showed it to the annoying little man.

“Oh, you are a very minor god,” he said never making eye contact and shaking his head. “You will have to come back on Wednesday, the council only takes up
very minor god issues on the third Wednesday of February on leap years.”

“But I have this appointment, and a spotless record.” He said holding out his slip and record.

“Let me see that.” he said snatching it from Johnson. As he did his dirty fingers left smudges on the nearly glowing record. Johnson felt is blood boiling at this. But he controlled himself. “Oh I see you are that Johnson. Yes, yes have a seat the council will see you in a little while.”

*****

Alexandra, like her god, was not having the best of days. She had asked for and gotten the things that she had wanted from Mister Johnson, but the extra height and other endowments she had been given were making here a little awkward. She did her best to compensate, but she was still having a little trouble. Oddly enough when she had prayed to him for a bit of grace he had not answered her. No matter, she would go it on her own, but she had decided to put the encounter off until the end of the day when she had had more time to work on her balance.

*****

“Johnson!” The annoying voice said.

“Yes?”

“The council will see you now. If I were you I would turn off your prayer catcher, in the off chance that it goes off in there it will reflect badly.”

“But what if my subject needs me?”

“As always if your prayer catcher is off your subjects’ prayers will go to pray mail that you can pick up later. But emergencies will be routed through the switch board here, and we can interrupt you if it is really important. But you better hope that
doesn’t happen.”

Johnson reluctantly turned off his pray catcher, but as he did he noticed that the signal was non-existent. He wondered how many of Alexandra’s prayers he had missed. He truly felt empty without them. He made his way to the council chambers. The two huge doors were made for the much older and larger gods, and he had to struggle to get one of them open enough to get in. When he finally got in, his toga was wrinkled and his record had picked up a new crease as well. He thought about trying to straighten them but felt the stares of the council upon him. He walked quickly forward and handed his paper work to the clerk, who looked at it in dismay. She checked her paperwork against his twice before taking to the huge bench where the nine super elevated gods sat. They looked casually at his record, passing it quickly from one to the other.

“It says here that your record is clean Johnson.” the least of the super elevated judges said blandly “That is rather impressive.How have you managed to keep your subjects happy?”

“Alexandra has few demands, and I have carefully taught the proper prayers and they are coming along nicely as she grows.”

“Ahh but how do you teach that to all of your subjects with no discontent? Surely there must be some that don’t like you.” Second most elevated judge said. This was not going as he had imagined.

“Well that is the thing, I only have one subject.”

“One!” Bellowed a particularly large god. They all passed his record around again examining it more carefully this time.

“How did this happen?” He asked the head god. There was silence among them and some very knowing glances were exchanged. Finally the head super elevated god spoke.
“Johnson, it appears that there has been a mistake. A god, even a very minor god is normally not given the care of just one subject, that is normally the dominion of the guardian angels,” He paused looking at the record again and frowning. “Hmmm… it says here that you have even given powers to the girl from time to time. That is not normally allowed, but otherwise you seem to have done a remarkable job with her. We are going to review your case and…”

Just then there was a knock at the chamber doors. The Clerk obviously annoyed at the interruption hurried to answer the door. There was a brief exchange that Johnson could not hear then the clerk came forward and handed a prayer mail recorder to Johnson.

“Well, you have interrupted us… Let’s hear it, if it is that important.” The head god said. Johnson, mortified of what it might be tried to figure out how the device worked. Alexandra had never had an emergency before. The worst thing that happened to her were nightmares and he could usually take care of them before they got bad. Then he remembered Thomas and the time he had pulled her hair. Just then he found the play button and pushed it.

“Mister Johnson,” her young voice sung with obvious strain. “Why have you forsaken me. He dumped me I hate you, ” The final came with such force that it shook the recorder in his hand.

When the echo died down the head god shook his head sadly and said, “This changes things a bit you understand.” He handed Johnson’s now considerably less that perfect record back to the clerk. Johnson looked down at it. It now had an ugly red scrawl across it, ‘Guardian Angel training needed.’ He took it a walked slowly out of the chambers. She would pay for this, he thought.