Friday, June 12, 2015

Story Seed - The Return

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The Temple was closed to visitors. No longer a place of worship, but instead a house of history and culture, it sat quietly in the night. Candles and braziers of fire had long been replaced with strips of LED lighting and cunningly wrought imitations of the artifacts of yesteryear. Regal statues and edifices, now worn with age and neglect, resided behind velvet wrapped ropes, or thick protective glass. The priests and priestesses stood still and silent, immobile mannequins dressed in reproductions of garments depicted in friezes and carvings. Their dead eyes alone bore witness to the temple on this evening.

Deep into the structure the idol of ancient worship sat, its features worn and broken and weathered through with cracks. A once powerful figure in stately repose, its age lent a tired air and an impression of resigned age. The golden thunderbolt that had once been gripped in the form's right hand had disappeared so long ago that none now remembered it, and with it the hand that bore it. The figure's beard and hair, once neatly curled, was broken, misshapen and unkempt like that of a vagabond or hermit.

Outside the darkness momentarily fled under the assault of a bright flare of blue-white light. The silence broke at the sharp crack and lower rolling rumble of thunder. For the barest moment the disheveled figure of a man could be seen wearily limping across the grassy lawn that surrounded the temple. Dressed in rags the man's head hung from his neck as though it were too heavy to lift, and from his head hung long greasy twirls of knotted hair. A scraggly beard fanned out from his jaw and down over a beige stained t-shirt. A flabby paunch stretched the tee more than it could cover . A long coat, filthy and torn, hung from stooped shoulders and dragged behind mismatched worn boots.

Oblivious to the surrounding the vagabond approached the temple as rain began to pelt down, turning the quiet in a dull roar as rain steadily fell in ever increasing quantity. The vagrant approached the doors and found them unsurprisingly locked. Hunching his form against the beating rain he smashed the doors inward with the bulk of his body behind the force of his shoulder. Any sound was drowned out by the sound of rain and the man simply pushed onward into the dry interior. For a moment the cry of an alarm wailed into the night but that too fell silent as power to the building failed, plunging the interior into full darkness.

Now only an outline barely visible against the faint light let in by the windows the man continued to shuffle deeper into the temple. At intervals he stopped and seemed to stare at exhibits. Mumbling incoherently he would always push onward, limping onward to the next shadow enshrouded relic, encroaching ever closer to the great seated figure. At last the transient stood before the ancient idol. The man drew himself up and at last raised his head, pushing lank strands of hair from before his eyes with one hand.

Outside the rain continued, driving harder, punctuated by flashes of lightning and claps of thunder that shook the old stones of the sanctuary. As each flash momentarily illuminated the interior of the temple and cast light upon the great statue the man before it drew himself up a little taller, set his shoulders a little straighter. He seemed to gain strength from those scant views. At last as the winds outside buffeted the broken doors, as the rain pelted the area in wet and raucous noise a thunderbolt lanced down from the heavens and struck the temple.

Defying physics it passed through that ancient stone and coruscated through the interior, passing through where the statue's right hand would once have been before striking the nomad with the the force of nature itself. Outside the storm clouds evaporated like cold water on a hot skillet revealing the majesty of the heavens above as the temple burst into divine light, shining like a beacon into the darkness of the power deprived city. Inside, the drifter was gone, replaced instead by a figure of august power. Gripping that fateful thunderbolt in one mighty fist Zeus reclaimed his divinity.

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