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Chest of Hope Ch.22

Flashes of lightning, swept the heavens as thunderclaps brought the spectators to their knees. Arnold Johnson, gasped as he beheld the modest giant grow, into a startling titan. Mister Odie, towered over the field at fifteen feet. His hair swirled around his face, as sparks showered over his blood red tunic. He held his hand erect, as his voice eclipsed the tempest.

“MJOLINIR!” Boomed, the ominous titan.

The word echoed throughout the country side, as the group covered their ears. Willie held his face to the oak, and began saying as many prayers he could remember. A light-stand within the trees, exploded as the next followed until the field went black. Only the fires reflected the ice blue eyes, holding everyone’s attention. A crash filled the air, as the barn doors splintered and a strange object came hurtling into view. The cube twisted and turned. It emitted a rainbow of dazzling colored light, on its path to the field. The people recognized the old wooden chest as it stopped above the out stretched hand of Thorran Odhinsunar. Leather straps opened and began weaving themselves around the wooden slats, as they formed a handle. As the interior of the chest was exposed to the night, all watched the Living Metal in awe, as it formed the striker of the hammer. The leather bound itself to the metal as the three articles of animal, vegetable, and mineral, joined their essence, and slowly descended into the outstretched hand of the giant.

Thomas shook his head, as he readied his pistol and fired. The bullet was instantly vaporized by the flash of bluish lightning, which surged from the hammer. The voice of the titan made Johnson wet himself. “Vengeance is mine, saith the lord. That truth cannot be broken. For it is the Law of the Gods!” The hammer, glowing eerie green, produced strands of lightning, that snaked their way among the people. This living chain held tight to the captures as it caressed the captives. “They, who use Holy Symbol’s, for unholy purposes, must pay for blaspheming!” Thorran roared. Swastikas, burst into flame, as the men screamed with agony. The lightning, tightened its grip as the sheets were consumed in fire. “For attacking this sacred land with your hatred and black hearts, I declare the Final War!” The titan brought his left hand around the handle as his eyes narrowed. Mjolinir turned scarlet red, as the bolts flew to their targets. Where a Knight had stood a moment before, only a pile of ash remained. “My retaliation, is also swift against my enemy’s temples. Where they speak lies to the masses!” Thorran spun the hammer with the fury of a cyclone. He released it to the heavens, and the clouds parted with its passage.

Two men stood at the bar of the Duck ‘N’ Buck, enjoying a beer. They cared little for the music that sounded from the jukebox or for the other customers. These men, were on their way back to New Orleans, after a trip to St. Louis. They had stopped to stretch out the long miles, before continuing home to their families. They believed, at first, that a photographer had taken their picture, as the flash occurred. That thought departed quickly, as their eyes adjusted to the dark of night. The structure around them had been reduced to a fine powder, as were the other occupants of the bar. “Ah, did you get change for the twenty?” One man asked his friend. “Lets, ah, write it off and, ah, GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!” The friend responded, as he ran for the only automobile that was not a smoldering slag in the parking lot.

Mrs. Miller was sitting across the street from the church, as she played her hand of bridge. A flash illuminated the room and her partner went to the window to investigate its source. “My! We must be going to have a storm.” Mrs. Miller commented, as she checked her cards. “Honey. The storm just had you. The church is gone.” Her partner stated, flatly, as she stared at the vacant lot. Mrs. Miller rose and stepped to the window. She saw the lot and the drifting powder on the ground. She quietly returned to the table, sipped her tea, then fainted across the playing table.

The bonds vaporized from the captives as the hammer returned, seconds after its launch. Adam ran forward to his father and sobbed. “They killed my Pa. They killed Grandpa. When will it ever be right?” Cissy came to her husband, and stared up to the titan. “Is there anything you can do for him?” Cissy asked, as she held Adam to her breasts. The saddened blue eyes slowly closed, as the giant shook his head.

Soft clapping was heard, as a wispy cloud formed on the field. A slender man walked from this cloud and surveyed the gathering, with a strange smile. “You have played the game well, brother. You followed every rule, to the fullest. It does appear that you have lost some of your pieces. Was it worth the cost? The Rooks, the pair of bishops, and let us not forget your Black Knight, that now rests by your feet.” The man’s words stung the ears of the titan as he scowled at the figures. “If this is your game, brother. The next, will be played upon your bones!” Thorran growled. “Nay! It was not my game at all. Those here did not my bidding, nor, ask for my counsel. They followed nothing, and so they shall, till the end of time. No court will hear their pleas, nor, give them comfort. They were the voids. Abhorred, by nature and the gods. I must leave and ready my board, for our next challenge. There have never been any challenges here in Mid-guard. These, are too easily led astray, by lies and false hopes. I don’t admire sheep. Until we play in the Great Hall. Remain strong, my brother.” The man finished, as his form disappeared into a cloud. “Stay strong and crafty. Loki, my brother.” Mister Odie said, in shallow thought of the game.

“So what’s now to become of my sister’s husband?” Lotty’s voice, brought him back to the field. “Don’t you go on about, no will of god, and all! We’s have heard enough of that already!” Lotty continued, with hate in her tone, and fire in her eyes. “You might as well just step on me, but I’m not changing my mind about whites. No matter how big they get. Seems as they still come around and make our life hard, and our pain deeper. Now what’s you going to do about all this? Mister muckily-muck, and all your high talk.” As she raved at the giant, his eyes blazed anew. “Now hush up, girl. You shouldn’t be talking to him that way.” Willie said, as he tried to pull Lotty back to the others. “Just as I’s figured! Come and go as they please and the hells with poor ole black folks!” Lotty continued, as Willie escorted her to the fire. They jumped, as the titan bellowed his next word.

“ODIN!”

His roar, made the oaks tremble and the ground vibrate. The clouds parted as the moon reappeared. A large golden eagle spiraled out of the darkness, followed by a pair of ravens. The eagle landed and transformed into a figure, dressed in a dark cape and broad brim hat. “Present yourself with honor.” The man said, with his head tilted up to the titan. The titan shank before this figure and bowed slightly. “Why have you summoned me?” Odin demanded, in a strong tone. “I have completed your task. However, I ask favor, this time.” Thorran answered softly. “The caller lays at my feet. His sacrifice was not to be.” Thorran added. “I see no summoner, laying here?” Odin spoke, as he observed the body. “He had the statue!” Thorran announced, with puzzlement. Odin scanned the crowd and pointed to one. “There! Come forth, Summoner. Come and stand by me.” Odin said, with less harshness, to the boy.

Adam walked slowly forward, not knowing what to do. Mister Odie smiled at him, and he quickened his pace. Adam stopped and peered up at the other man, this man had only one eye, but it held him fast. “This is the Summoner.” Odin said, as his hand fell on Adam’s shoulder. “I didn’t do anything, honest Mister Odie, I didn’t!” Adam protested, meekly. “Oh? You were not the one, who held me close and wept upon my eyes? You were not the one, who sought my counsel, and my favor? You did not ask for me to send help, for all who needed me?” Odin asked, the boy as he knelt before Adam. “Be careful boy. Wishes do come true!” Odin finished, with a broad grin. As Odin stood, his eye leveled on the smile of his own son before him. “Favor, is of no need. Your law has seen to that.” Thorran stated, wily. “What? What’s this you speak of?” Odin asked, cautiously. “To grant a wish, of such greatness, binds you to all sides. It is your Law.” Thorran answered. “I see you have played, too many games, with your brother. You have learned the magic of words, too well for me, not to be on guard in the future.” Odin said, with his eye piercing the smile. “Be so warned, and, of the wish?" Thorran countered. “All right! Be quick. I grow tired of this game.” Odin spoke, as a raven overhead cawed. “This man, will live a long and strong life, before we greet him at the hall.” Thorran pronounced, as he regarded Jim. He stepped over toward the bodies of Paul and Tamry. “These are the vessels. They will be made whole again.” Thorran stated, frankly. Odin peered down at the pair. “Baldar? Nana? How is this done? Hel kept them close to her heart.” Odin said, as he knelt and touched the faces before him. “Her brother of flesh, holds her favor, he was influenced to use that favor.” Thorran answered, as he flexed his arms around the hammer. Odin laughed, as he stood. “These, will be taught fully of the game. They will grow, and the gods will be strong once more.” Thorran said, as he walked to Matt and Maureen. “These, are also special for us.” Thorran said, as Odin knelt to the bodies. He regarded the talisman, covered in blood, on the man’s chest. “I see why they are special. Anything else? Should I raise Atlantis? It would take them, half the time, to destroy it with the toys that are about in this century.” Odin asked, as he stood. Thorran didn’t reply, as Odin cast his hand to the sky. A bolt of golden lightning shot fourth and a spear appeared in his grasp. Holding ‘Gulnar’, Odin touched the bodies of the dead, with its point. The aura of light encased each, then slowly faded. “Do not stay here long. We miss you at the hall. Something else, tell that cat to come home. Freya forgives all.” Odin said, before he transformed into the eagle, and rejoined the ravens, as the trio soared out of sight.

Jim awoke to find Cissy by his side. He jerked around and asked weakly, “Where’s the Knights?” “They all went. Dis times, for good!” Willie shouted, with a laugh. “The only sheets we’s going to see around here will be the ones on the cloth’s line.” “Thank God for that.” Jim said, as he started to stand. “You mean. Thank the Gods!” Cissy corrected, and Jim stared at her for a moment. His eyes swept over to the fire, and he staggered when he saw Paul and Tamry, standing next to Matt and Maureen. “It was all a dream!” Jim declared, and Willie laughed again. “It was a nightmare. How do you feel?” Paul asked, as Jim held his hands over the warmth. “I’s all right. My head hurts a bit, I thought you four were dead.” Jim answered, as a small smile parted his lips. His eyes went wide, as Matt stated, “We were!” “Don’t look so surprised. I’m not happy about being back in a body myself!” Maureen said, as she held up her arms. “What’s you talking about?” Jim stammered, as the scenes of the fire fight, replayed in his mind. “She’s telling you the truth, Pa. You got shot trying to save Mister Odie. Don’t you remember?” Adam asked, as he reached for his father’s hand. “Ah, Is’ ‘member Thomas, and that pistol all right. I’s think, I’s was by that tree and . . . ?” Jim recalled the blue eyes staring down at him. “If’n I’m dead folk. Hows be it, that my mouth is talkin’?” Jim questioned, the foursome. “Thor’s friend brought you back to us. He’s only got one eye, but he’s really nice.” Adam said, and Jim glanced to his brother. “Now boy. It’s about time. You stop with them fairy tales and comic book thoughts. That be just like Paul Bunyan. Made up for bed time tellin’.” Jim told Adam, as the boy shook his head. “Brother, this story, ain’t for bedtime no mo’. It going to be told at breakfast, lunch, and course now, at the dinner table!” Willie declared, as Jim frowned at him. “Willie, you’re as bad as this boy. Believing in such nonsense. Everybody knows, Thor is just a myth and that hammer of his is just, ah, just . . . ? I’s thought. Ya’ll have blond hair!” Jim said, as Mister Odie appeared behind Willie, holding the hammer, as small sparks of lightning danced across its mirror finish. “Recall the words. Writers change details, to suit their moods. The hue of a mane says nothing about the steed.” Mister Odie responded, softly. “Thorran, thank you for granting us more time together.” Matt said, as his touched Maureen’s shoulders. A quick nod was given in return. “Did you mean it?” Maureen questioned her husband. “Of course I do! Mean what?” Matt answered, as he pulled her closer. “That you will always love me.” Maureen answered, with a wanton smile. Matt grinned and gave her the same quick nod. “That’s what you said! Right as you died in my arms.” Tamry exclaimed to Paul. “Wait a minute, my heads beginning to pound. Somebody tells me about those Knights. Where’d they get off to?” Jim said, as he stooped next to the fire. “They didn’t get, with anything. They did leave behind something that will make the soil rich.” Mister Odie said, as he held then let drift from his fingers, the white powder, that had once been Arnold Johnson. “The Bond! You broke the bond that held their molecules together. That’s how the lake was still there, but gone simultaneously.” Paul stated, as he glanced to Tamry. “What about the fish?” Tamry questioned, blankly. “Longing Horn and Swiften Hoof. The sacks they carry. Much can be placed in the Bags of Holding. You have perhaps heard the story of one feeding from such a bag, or maybe, the term basket was used. Mortals have to use what they understand. It serves for the story.” Mister Odie explained. “Just how does this serve the story? What do I do with the rest of my clothes?” Tamry asked, as she motioned to herself, then Paul’s bodies. “Lordy! I knew there was something strange about you two. With all the goings on round here, it didn’t matter much.” Willie said, as he studied the pair closely. “I don’t care what size they are. I’m glad they’re alive.” The Judge said, from next to his friend, Doc Holiday. “Dammit Paul! Find those glasses for me. I’m missing the whole point of this.” Doc said, as he fumbled around the grass. “Healers are hard to find.” Thorran commented, as his attention shifted to the old man. The hammer glowed, and a ring of sparks embraced the doctor’s face. When they stopped, the doctor gazed up to the giant. “I can see! I can see? Paul, my eyes are as good as new.” Doc Holiday stated, as he rose to survey the group. “Wife, get my bag, these people need our help.” Doc said, as he examined Luke Holland and the Price family. “As for your needs.” Thorran said, with a turn to Tamry and Paul. “Both of you, need never worry for material things again. Paul, as my lawyer and envoy, you, along with your wife, will be the guardians of this Embassy. With that, its greatest honor and wealth.” “Yet, the responsibilities to the earth, mankind, and the gods, must always be of the greater importance. Do what you must Paul, to make the papers understood. The wealth in my account is freely given to you both to help the needs of the three.” Thorran stated, as Tamry slowly realized what was being given to them. “Mister Odhinsunar! That’s too much money for anybody! We wouldn’t know how to deal with, or we might fall into the trap it sets.” Tamry stated, as she clung to Paul for support. “Aye! For you to see the trap, is good. I do not place a sword into the hands of a child. Touch the hammer and understand.” Thorran answered, as he held Mjolinir before them. With hesitation, first Paul then Tamry, laid their palms on the weapon. “Beloved Wife! I have waited an eternity to gaze upon your beauty.” Paul said, as touched Tamry’s cheek with his free hand. “I too husband, have awaited your return.” Tamry spoke, with great emotion. “Judge, I’s doan understands. Is they already married?” Jim asked, and the judge shrugged in response. “Aye! Long before the fall of Bifrost, did they share company. They now share that again. Balder the Bold, and the Lady Nana, his wife.” Thorran announced, proudly. “Walk-ins! They hold the spirits of the fallen and the knowledge of both.” Maureen said, as the giant and the couple issued nods of agreement. “Nevertheless, that still does not mean we will forgo our vows of love in this era.” Paul said, as the pair embraced.

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