Fall Of the Gods
My Father used to tell me stories.
Stories of Gods and Monsters. Stories of men and their idols. Stories of humanity, and its endless struggles for freedom.
How much freedom we are granted in this life.
How easy it is to take that freedom away.
For ten years this jail has kept me. Tomorrow I am free.
My Father was not old when he died. It wasn’t tragic, in fact, it was rather expected. They wouldn’t let me go to his funeral. All sons are meant to see their Fathers die. Perhaps it is fitting that I never saw him past 50. Fathers are, after all, meant to have the chance to see their sons live. I never had the chance for life.
Life is memorizing the same 6 by 8 foot room.
Life is realizing today is the same as yesterday. Or the same as the day before that. Or perhaps, two days ago? Oh how long is 24 hours. As the congruences of my days blur into each other, how can I measure the length I have lived?
Life is living the same day 5,000 times over again.
Life is finally being free to choose how to live.
How many lives could I have lived had I but been outside these walls?
My Father used to tell me stories. Stories of Gods.
A tortured beam of its electricity tore its way to the ground behind the Warrior.
He stared down at the raging torrent of the falls.
“This is where they died,” whispered the wind.
This was where the Gods were left to rot.
Thrown into the belly of the great waterfall to be banished. To look toward a new religion, the old Deities were denounced and exiled.
This was their prison.
Ten years ago they found me, sitting in my own waste, chained to a bedpost.
The skin around my ankle was burned raw from the makeshift manacles my Father locked around me.
Prison is not only of the body but of the mind. Father knew this. Here I knew it, even with the show of bars and guards of the detention center. These bars aren’t what keeps the prisoners here. The prisoners only believe these bars keep them trapped, and so these bars do. All one need do to make a man a prisoner is convince him he is imprisoned. Place him in an empty room and tell him there are bars- eventually he’ll believe it. Once he does, he will never be able to leave.
The dull grey sunshine had shone into the black room, onto the grime between rotting floorboards, as dust floated in the rays through the abysmal window. He gave me a room with a window. I used to run my hand over the tempered translucent plastic. The window was barely the size of my outstretched hand.
Freedom was only two inches of reinforced pane away. I’d tap the window. The silence roared.
I waited, the God of my own Isolation.
The expansive pit filled thick as the sky mirrors the waters. Seething clouds orbited high above as he looked down to the bottom of the hundred foot drop, water dancing with a charcodontic grace.
The sky boiled overhead with the wrath of the AllFather.
The Warrior sighed off the journey it took to arrive at this moment.
The battles he’d fought. The lands he’d crossed. The experiences he’d had.
His breath deepened with the vast size of the scene before him. He prepared to descend into the abyssal pit, with the deep pool awaiting his arrival. This was his purpose. His legacy. His birthright.
This was where his adventure truly began.
Only after I was led out of my small corner by the bed did I realize the full hell of my situation, in all of its true Damnation. I walked out, the officers’ hands on my shoulders beside me, for I could not walk of my own stunted strength. Even as I was led away from the chains of my Father, I knew the burn around my ankle would never cease. This pain would trap me for as long as I breathed in the same world my Father had.
I have lived a life of two prisons.
Life here is one of the order and the chains I am bound to. This detainment, structured and regimented, but chains nonetheless. They cannot make me anything I am not. They can only contain what I am. Father made me this way, and I will never be anything otherwise. So many people in this world, all doing something different. All doing something they’ve chosen. That right was stripped from me at birth. Father ensured that.
My Father unchained me only once. One day, my Father took me up a mountain. He entered the house that day, fervent in his movements and nervous in his step. His voice quivered about “neighbors” and “watching” as he passed my room. My eyes gazed lifelessly onto Father as he came near and suddenly unlocked the shackle from my ankle heaving me onto my feet. Father choked me into an ill-fitting winter coat.
Without choice, into the car I went. We drove off. For hours I watched my own body, anxious for the living to begin, as the car droned on, climbing upward.
I watched the flash of the trees, the plains, the mountains. My legs pushed against the front seat, strained on the floor beneath me, flexing against the doors keeping me trapped. Through barred windows and locked doors I saw possible futures torn from my life.
Through switchbacks and winding gravel side roads, I sat, waiting for some destination to reach us.
We stopped in the cold, stark peak of the hills. Distant clouds promised rain.
Several hundred yards away was a great roar. We’d arrived aside a waterfall.
He led me out closer to the edge. He took steps in front of me, looking above the raging water, off to the storm on the horizon.
There, my Father told me a story.
One Thousand Years ago, the Missionaries came to this country.
They brought with them a new God. Needing to dispose of the Deities of old.
The savage Gods were thrown into the Great Falls. The townspeople watched as they were banished, imprisoned for all eternities.
The Gods lay there. Banished, but not forgotten, and for a millennia the Immortals held onto hope and awaited the return of the people.
Then a Warrior returned for them.
Hope is a dangerous thing to hold onto. Even for Gods.
The storm approached.
My Father was distracted by the flow of the rushing falls, as rainbow faded in the spray. I felt my legs carry my body toward from him, toward the edge. Lightning crawled along the underside of anvil clouds, their reflections glinted off the distant water, reflecting blinding flares of emerald into my eyes. The edge was slick from the water’s spray.
Thunder split the sky as the storm drew even closer.
The Gods waited.
Hidden, as their Warrior came closer to freeing them. So long had their lives been robbed from them.
My Father continued on, eyes closed, not speaking to me anymore. The storm began around us. I felt the wildness of the nature around us. How it taunted me with its random power. The storm’s fury unleashing around us, I felt myself even more trapped behind my Father. In the midst of the untethered strength and natural selection of choice in the storm, the orchestrated chaos, the environmental violence, I stood behind my Father. The wild freedoms of nature’s wrath juxtaposed the prisons of my life. The prison my Father made.
My Father used to tell me stories. Stories of Monsters.
The sands of the lakeshore below the falls parted under his step. The black void of the falls whirled before him. As he neared them, primal roars screamed from the waters. An enormous grey serpent reared its many scaled heads.
The water crashed and spilled off the side, following unending currents, winding and churning toward the back of the waterfall. The crashing of the water filled my ears. My Father’s voice is barely audible between the wind, rain, and water.
“The Gods hiding.” I contemplated my Father’s tale.
Better to hide hope than to lay it bare.
No. Not hiding.
The wind ripped around the Warrior and his wyvernous enemy.
“Guardians,” it hissed.
Not hiding. I know what they truly are.
Guardians to a prison of the ages. Basilisken jaws unhinged as shards of rain pierced the ground around the falls. The Warrior stood against the serpentine World-Eater to free the Gods.
Better to have died with hope.
Better to have died free.
But how can one have died free, if they only lived imprisoned?
I needed that freedom.
The Maker of my prison slowly turned to me.
A gaping smile slashed across his gargoyle face revealed rotten teeth.
Surrounded by the vastness of the wilderness, all the grace, wrath and beauty of nature around me, away from the penury of those chains that once held me, I felt his entrapments drowning me in isolation. Like rocks before the storm, I stood, looking at him in the face. His dull eyes now blazed wild with the unhinged craze of a torturer. His lust for power, the darkness of his psychosis had begun to envelope me, clawing into my nostrils and suffocating my lungs.,I was frozen. I needed to breathe.
The storm inhaled, holding in its fury for just a moment. The air was still. The silence was thick. In his hands, he held salvation. Warhammers yet to be bloodied.
Staring the end in the eye, his heart paused.
His lungs reared, his body coiled. Ready for battle.
The song of the storm died in my ears. The shearing rain paused in the air. His smile burned into my mind. His taunting- his daring. He saw into my paralyzed helplessness. He stole uncountable lifetimes from me.
The calm of the moment was ruptured by a curdling howl as the Warrior’s throat echoes the chants of his people.
I needed freedom.
I needed to breathe.
I needed him dead.
His leap toward the beast was concluded, along with the silence, as his hammers collided with the first head of the Mighty Serpent.
He smiled as I pushed him…
My Father’s death wasn’t tragic. In fact, it was rather expected.
My Father used to tell me stories of Gods and Monsters.
But he never told me which were which.
Ready he stood, to free his Gods.
What I wouldn’t have given for my own freedom.
He broke the chains.
Behind the curtain of the Waterfall, he stood in front of the entrance to the Prison of the Gods.
He entered. There waited a throne.
The Chair waited for me, just as it did for a decade, when I walked in. It stood, sparking, ready to deliver me into freedom.
To have lived his life fighting. To fight for that freedom.
To have killed for that freedom.
My Father kept me imprisoned in life.
A Throne for the Gods. A Throne to send the Gods through him. A Throne to send him to the Gods.
After ten years, my Father freed me into death.
He opened his eyes.
All he saw was the lightning.
The Priest shook his head as the switch was flipped.
All he saw was the lightning.