It had been many years since Nimue had been to the meeting chamber of the Olympians. She walked along the enormous hallway leading to the chamber doors. Multiple paintings of Greek figures adorned the walls on both sides depicting a sort of historical record of events. One painting seemed to show an image of the sun high in a bright blue sky with rays of light leading down to a beautiful mountain landscape. At the end of each ray of light was the image of a being that had light reflecting off of them. Nimue knew this was an artistic rendering of the Olympians coming to earth.
Another painting showed the construction of Mount Olympus and another seemed to show the creation of Atlantis followed by one final picture of the great city sinking beneath the ocean. At the end of the hallway was a large arched doorway that Nimue used to enter the chamber on the other side. The chamber itself had no walls aside from the one that held the doorway Nimue used to enter. The ceiling above her was held up by massive stone pillars. Straight ahead of her the floor stretched out nearly twenty feet and then dropped down. Nimue could see more clouds floating below her as she peeked over the edge of the floor. The sky that surrounded the hall was a mix of blue and pinkish colors. It was a beautiful sight to behold, one that she always treasured during her visits.
She turned her gaze forward as the clouds began to swirl and took the shape of five throne chairs. Gigantic figures, each one nearly a hundred feet tall began to appear and sat on the cloudy thrones.
Ares, the god of War.
Helios, the god of the sun.
Demeter, the goddess of the seasons.
Poseidon, the god of the sea.
Zeus, the god of thunder and lightning, and the most powerful of all the Olympians.
“Welcome Nimue.” Zeus spoke. “What news do you have to speak of?”
Nimue stepped forward and stood just a few feet from the edge of the floor.
“This has been coming for a long time.” She said with a smile. “I found him.”
Zeus leaned forward with intrigue.
“Not this rubbish again.” Ares protested.
“He is living on earth at this very moment.” Nimue continued. “I believe that the prophecy has begun and that now is the time to act.
“Do you have any evidence that he is the one?” Demeter requested.
“I have nothing to show certainty but ask for your trust in my selection.”
“You show confidence in a mortal.” Ares scoffed. “We cannot trust our future to them. They are as arrogant and self-righteous now as they were thousands of years ago.”
“The Ancients prophecy is being fulfilled.” Nimue continued. “Whether or not it is a mortal is of no importance.”
“The Ancients have not been seen or heard from in millennia.” Helios said. “Is their word even to be trusted? They weren’t exactly our allies.”
“We cannot risk it.” Ares suggested. “Hades is in prison far from their reach. Forget the whole thing ever happened and let us get on with our own existence.”
“No!” Nimue shouted. “Keeping Hades locked away does not solve the problem!
All of the souls that have been trapped by him must be freed. This has gone on long enough. We can no longer leave the humans to be forgotten as if they never existed. They deserve to be set free.”
“It’s only a handful of mortals. Look how their descendants treat the world we left them. I could care less if they all died out!”
“And Persephone?” Demeter asked Ares. “What about my daughter? She was trapped by that monster long before his exile. Doesn’t she deserve freedom from that beast’s control?”
“She chose her place at his side. She is accountable for her own actions.”
“She was corrupted by that silver tongue!” Demeter said angrily. “He twisted her thoughts and turned her against us. Were it not for the deal I made for her I’d have gone after her long ago!”
“Enough.” Zeus intervened. “You have all remained faithful to your promises. Even though our brother Hades corrupted his own soul we all have honored the agreements we set forth. It doesn’t discount the fact that we all lost something when we sat back and allowed Hades to wreak havoc on the earth. We stood aside and left the mortals to deal with something they couldn’t have possibly prepared for. After Hades’ exile we allowed the mortals to reign on earth like children. They are still young and still learning how to take care of themselves. I believe in the future they may even do better than we ever did.”
“We hid the truth from them for a reason.” Zeus continued. “However, Nimue is right. Continuing to ignore them doesn’t remove the weight of guilt I have for what our brother has done. Those people were sacrificed for our sins, our lust for power, and we are just as much to blame for Hades’ corruption as he is. It is our duty to mankind to do what is necessary to make things right again. Nimue, what is it you are to ask of us?”
“We need him. The mortal the Ancients spoke of.” She answered.
“What if you are wrong in your selection?”
“I think I have found the right man.”
“You think?” Ares asked. “Listen princess. The Ancients spoke of one, and I emphasize on the word ONE, mortal that has a slim chance of defeating Hades. Even the Ancients could’ve been lying. With all that is at stake do you want to take the risk?”
“The risk is well worth the reward should we succeed.” Nimue said. “I’ve made my selection out of faith. My heart tells me my choice is right.”
“Nimue,” Zeus began. “Our involvement in this goes against everything we have become, everything we have sworn against. What I will be doing, I have vowed to never do again. We all agreed that the mortals must not be interfered with. If I break my vow, and your choice fails, you know as do I, Hades will be free again to reign over the entire earth and he will seek vengeance on us for our part in this affair if it comes to that. Once this is done, it cannot be undone. You will be solely responsible for the outcome….”
“I’m aware of the consequences.” Nimue interrupted. “I will gladly take the repercussions should this fail, but assure you, you won’t regret this.”
Zeus took a long deep breath and looked to Poseidon who had been sitting in silence.
“Time to weigh in Brother.” Zeus said.
“If Hades is not defeated the gates of Elysian remain closed.” Poseidon spoke. “All those who were killed by him will be tortured for eternity.” He looked into Nimue’s eyes. “However, I can see in your eyes you truly believe in this man.”
“I do, Father.” Nimue said.
“If you have faith in him, I have faith in you.” He smiled and nodded his head. “I’m with my daughter on this one.”
Zeus smiled and looked toward the others.
“Is everyone in agreement?” Zeus asked.
All but Ares nodded their heads in favor of Nimue’s proposal.
“We will be breaking our own rules.” Ares said. “This will mean war for us all. I always enjoy a good fight, but you had better be right about this or all the blood spilled will be on your hands.” With that said, Ares nodded in favor of Nimue.
“Then it is settled.” Zeus spoke. “Are you prepared Nimue?”
“Athena, Artemis, and Aphrodite are waiting for my word.” She responded. “They will watch over him when he arrives. When the time comes, he will awaken, and his path will be presented before him.”
“Then so be it.”
“Let the hypocrisy begin.” Ares said sarcastically.
“This is the path to peace.” Nimue corrected him. “Something you’ll have to learn to enjoy it seems.”
She then bowed her head to the others as they each faded from the sky. Once they were gone, she turned and made her way to the exit with a smile on her face. She was ready to put her plans into motion. She felt she had waited long enough after all.
Parker finished his lunch and tossed the garbage in the nearest trash bin. He had another twenty minutes but decided to cut it short this time and return to work early. Suddenly his attention was brought to a lovely young blonde that he couldn’t help but recognize.
“Jamie?” Parker asked. “Jamie Clark?”
“Yes?” She asked as he caught her attention.
“Remember me? Parker Wallace, we went to high school together.”
“Oh right, Parker. Wow, how long has it been?”
“A little over ten years. You haven’t changed at all, you look great.” He said smiling.
“You haven’t changed much either.”
“Yeah, you’re still a loser.” She said with a laugh as she walked away leaving Parker with a blank stare on his face. He sighed and nodded his head.
“Yup. She hasn’t changed one bit.”
Parker never did have any luck with women. When he saw Jamie Clark, he could remember how she had made fun of him back in school, but he let himself believe for a few moments that maybe people change as they get older. Not this time it seemed. The radio attached to his belt screeched static and Kate’s’ voice came through. She had taken over Parkers’ monitor duties while he went to lunch.
“Parker, come in.” She said.
“I’m here.” He responded.
“Sorry to interrupt your lunch but do you have a minute?”
“It’s okay. I’m finished anyway. What do you need?”
“We’ve got what looks like a “lovers quarrel” over by the sporting goods store.”
“I’ll check into it.”
Parker hooked the radio back on his belt and made his way to the destination. Once there he found a young man, who was about his age, arguing with what Parker could only assume to be his girlfriend. The two began shouting as Parker approached.
“Whoa, you two need to calm down.” Parker said. “I think you both should take this outside. You’re disturbing the other customers.”
“This is none of your business pal, just stay out of it.” The angry man ordered.
“You’re making it everyone’s business.” Parker replied pointing at the group of people as they gathered around them. “There’s no reason to make a scene in front of all these people. Just take your friend and go settle this somewhere else.”
“Get lost rent-a-cop!” The man said as he shoved his index finger into Parkers’ chest.
Parker grabbed the angry man’s wrist and twisted it until he was on the ground in submission.
“You’re hurting my hand!” He cried out.
“I’m having a really lousy day so far and you’re not making it any better.” Parker said. “Now I’m going to ask again politely, take your business elsewhere or I’ll make you…” It was then angry man’s female friend decided to intervene.
“My boyfriend said to get lost!” She yelled as she balled up her fist and sucker-punched Parker in the face.
It was almost instantly that Parker went from being the hero to a lady in distress, to suddenly being rendered unconscious at the fist of said lady. There was a faint moment of confusion in his eyes before everything went black.
After regaining consciousness Parker noticed he had been dragged into the security room. Kate handed him a bag of ice with a somewhat sympathetic look on her face. He attempted to regain his composure while Lloyd and Kate, along with two other store employees’ in the monitor room, watched a recording of Parker getting decked by the girl. The two employees continued to laugh as they replayed the video several times before Lloyd insisted they exit the room.
“This is unacceptable!” Lloyd shouted.
“What did I do wrong?” Parker asked as he placed an icepack on his left cheek.
“You are supposed to display some semblance of authority, yet you couldn’t even settle a simple domestic dispute? You not only embarrassed yourself but you’re embarrassing me!”
“She caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting…”
“Save it! You are on a slippery slope here Wallace. Get your act together or I’ll have you working in the food court passing out samples!”
Lloyd walked out of the room and slammed the door behind him. Kate stood by Parker and gave him a soft pat on the shoulder.
“You alright kid?” She asked.
“I think she loosened one of my teeth.” He answered running his index finger along the inside of his mouth.
“Actually, she knocked one out.” Kate said handing him a napkin with a bloody tooth inside. “You spit this out onto the floor before you passed out.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me! What’s wrong with me?”
“There isn’t anything wrong with you son. Some people just aren’t cut out for this type of work.”
“I thought I was doing good back there. I thought, you know damsel in distress, I could save the day. Once again, I tried to do the right thing, but I get my lights knocked out by a girl half my size.”
“We weren’t all meant to be heroes Parker.”
“This is the kind of work I want to do. Policeman, fireman, security guard is fine, but why does stuff keep happening to me? It’s like I’m cursed or something.”
“Why? Because you can be too nice of a guy sometimes.”
“Doesn’t matter. I’ll probably lose my job before the end of the day.”
“Because of Lloyd? Kid, he likes to flex his authority and he’s got to go after someone, you’re just an easy target, but don’t worry. I won’t let you get fired for having a bad day.”
“It isn’t just Lloyd. I’m talking about my life in general. I’m in a get-no-where job making barely minimum wage. I have a crappy apartment. I’m almost thirty, and I’ve made it nowhere in life. I’ve tried, believe me. I’ve put the effort in everything I do, but it seems everyone is destined for something, but destiny doesn’t even know I exist. It just ignored me completely.”
“You’re still young. You’ve got plenty of chances to make a name for yourself.”
“I feel like I’m capable of so much more than this. I just don’t have the opportunities to prove it.”
“It’s coming Parker. Never give up hope. Good things happen to those who wait.”
“I’ve tried to be a good person all of my life. I always try to do the right thing and help people, but no one ever notices. Maybe I should be a jerk like Lloyd.”
“You can’t be a jerk.”
“Because it’s in your nature to do the right thing. I’ve seen you go out of your way to help those in need. One day, someone is going to take notice of those good deeds. I have no doubt that you’re destined for greatness, just be a little more patient.”
Parker was silent. It felt good to hear someone believing in him. Kate always did have a way of making him feel better about himself, but this time Parker wasn’t so easily comforted.
The rest of the day was smoother than the start. Parker had managed to stay out of trouble and avoided his boss as much as possible. Even going so far as to dodge him after work and avoid that writeup he was threatened with. He punched his employee code into the time clock and began his end of the day routine. After changing into his casual clothing, he made his way to the front exit of the store. People were running quickly to their cars, and some were even afraid to leave because of the storm. The thunder rolled across the sky as the wind blew shopping bags and empty soda cans across the parking lot. The weather had picked up considerably since that morning.
Parker zipped up his black rain jacket and pulled the hood over his head. He held tightly to his duffel bag as he darted across the parking lot through puddles of water toward his truck. He was thankful that he had a short drive home. He hadn’t had time to let his dog out before he left, so there were probably a few surprises waiting for him at home. There was a dog door but with the weather like it was, Butch was most likely hiding under the bed. Parker flipped his wipers on the highest speed as he pulled out of the parking lot. The rain was coming down hard and the cars on the road were limited due to the storm.
Lightning flashed in the sky as Parker headed for the bridge leading home. The bridge was multi-levels with the traffic on the top headed in one direction while the bottom level headed in the other. Parker was driving on the lower level and was halfway to the other side when suddenly the bridge began to shake, and he was forced to slam on his brakes. The cars in front of him were stopped while some were even trying to turn around to go the wrong way. He wasn’t sure if any of the cars ahead of him had crashed, but he could see people getting out of their vehicles to run away from something. He climbed out of his truck, not even bothering to shut off the ignition. People raced passed him as he waved someone down.
“What’s going on?” He asked as he grabbed a guy by the jacket sleeve.
“The bridge is shaking apart.” The guy said as he shoved Parkers’ hand and raced away.
Parker watched as people continued to run past him. The bridge began to shake again, this time it was strong enough to knock everyone off balance and sent Parker clinging to the railing. He watched as cars and trucks slid around him and into the side of the bridge. A couple of empty cars on the upper level busted through the rails and dropped hard to the river below. Parker managed to regain his balance and was shocked when he looked toward the sky. An enormous funnel cloud hovered just above the bridge. It was the oddest thing he had ever seen. Lightning wasn’t striking anywhere else but inside the cloud itself.
At the end of the bridge the top deck began to crack and collapse onto the one below. Parker held on tight as the bridge began to shake again as if it were attempting to knock him loose. After a moment it was calm again, only swaying slightly. He decided it was time to go and was about to join the other people and run for his life when he looked up and noticed a car just ahead of him. The front half had crashed through the rails and was hanging over the edge. After a second glance Parker could see the silhouette of someone in the drivers’ seat. Without hesitation he darted as fast as he could toward the vehicle. After peeking through the rear window, he could see his old classmate Jamie Clark unconscious.
He banged his hand on the glass shouting her name, but it was useless. He rushed to the back door on the driver side and pulled the handle only to find it locked.
He took off his jacket and wrapped it around his arm and with as much force as he could muster he jammed his elbow at the window causing it to crack, but at the same time it sent a steady jolt of pain up his arm.
“Cheesy peaches…” He shouted in pain as he rubbed his elbow.
He quickly tossed his jacket on the ground and repeatedly kicked the glass breaking the window but, in the process, managed to slip and fall onto his back. He received several tears through the leg of his jeans along with a few small cuts, but nothing severe. He stood up and reached into the car unlocking the back door. He struggled to reach Jamie, who was leaning forward against the steering wheel due to the forward slant of the car. Parker had no choice but to enter the car via the backseat. After retrieving his jacket and using it to slide the shattered glass into the floorboard he positioned himself behind her and cautiously leaned forward to stretch his hand out to her.
“Jamie!” He shouted. “Wake up!”
He was still unable to reach her. He leaned forward and reached between the driver side door and the seat to feel for the lever and lower the seat back into a lying down position. The car began to rock softly.
“Oh, this is bad.” He said to himself terrified. “This is really bad.”
He then started to reach for her once again, but the car protested at the extra weight and began to inch its way forward. He quickly reached down and pulled up the emergency brake hoping that by some miracle it would keep the car from rolling any further. He wasn’t sure if it had worked but the car was motionless. Jamie started to show signs of movement as she began to wake up.
“Jamie!” Parker shouted.
She raised her hand to a bleeding cut on her forehead and then looked forward to see the beckoning river below. She began to scream causing Parker to cringe a little at the sound like nails on a chalkboard.
“Seriously?” He asked. “Screaming isn’t going to stop gravity! No wonder you flunked science.”
“Parker?” She turned her head to see him pushing himself against the back seat hoping to balance out the vehicle. “What are you doing here?”
“Just thought I’d hitch a ride home; do you care to drop me off?” He asked sarcastically.
The car inched forward once more.
“Whoa, okay bad choice of words.” He shouted. “I’m trying to help you, just don’t move!”
Jamie leaned back in her seat as Parker stretched out his hand and placed it on her shoulder.
“Okay, okay. This is what we’re going to do. Give me your hand, I’ll slide out the door here, and then pull you out with me as quickly as possible.”
“Will that work?”
“Let’s hope so.” He said easing his way toward the door, but the bridge began to shake once more. The car rolled forward again, but this time it wasn’t stopping. The back end of the car began to rise upward, and Parker was thrown forward landing upside down into the front passenger seat. The car stopped moving as Parker slowly changed his position with his back resting against the dashboard. He looked out the rear window and could see a sharp piece of the broken railing had stabbed its way into the side of the car, preventing it from going over the edge.
The railing was now the only thing keeping them safe. The horn honked as Jamie used her hand to lift herself upward, keeping her from going through the windshield. If it hadn’t been for her seatbelt halfway holding her up, she would’ve gone through much sooner.
“Okay, new plan.” Parker said nervously. “Unbuckle your seatbelt and make your way toward the back. I’ll give you a boost up and you can climb out.”
He slowly changed his position once more where he could hold himself up with his legs and used his hands to help her do as he suggested. The time for playing it safe was over. He had to get her out of the car as fast as possible.
“Parker, I’m so sorry.” She cried. “I didn’t mean what I said.”
Parker glanced up at Jamie and gave her a nervous smile and a wink.
“Okay, easy does it.” He said holding onto her while she unbuckled her seat belt.
Parker boosted her up to the back door as she reached out. Suddenly the car shifted causing Parker to fall with his back against the dashboard yet again. Jamie held on tight and looked out to see the car edging its way over the side. The railing wasn’t going to hold out much longer. She placed her foot on the back of the drivers’ headrest and used it to push herself out the back door. Halfway in and halfway out she was then able to reach the bridge.
“Parker, I’m almost out.” She shouted. “Somebody help us!”
“Jamie! Just keep going.” Parker said as he watched her struggling to pull herself up. It was then he noticed the railing was about to break away. His eyes widened; she wasn’t out yet. He forced himself upward and reached out for her foot. With one last burst of adrenaline he used every ounce of strength he could and shoved her from the falling car.
She quickly rolled onto the bridge and turned back to help Parker, but the car was gone. She screamed his name and peered over the edge to see the ripples in the water below. The car had broken loose and fell taking Parker along with it. She screamed and shouted for him as two rescue workers grabbed her by the arms and pulled her away. The rain and the wind had stopped almost instantly. Now that it had served its purpose the storm was over. Hours passed by as people were escorted away from the area. Emergency rescue searched for survivors throughout the rest of the evening. Many people were rushed to hospitals with cuts and bruises but would make full recoveries. Day’s passed as the search for Parker and any others the storm may have claimed continued.
Weeks went by as the local news reported on the strange incident. It was soon discovered that throughout all the damage the storm had caused there had only been one person missing from the devastation. Despite all the efforts made by police, friends, and co-workers, the body of Parker Wallace was never recovered.