The gate

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The gate

Postby Panther » Fri Oct 06, 2000 10:09 pm

Walking in the dusk that consumes the twilight in the forest, I pause to contemplate the possibilities that await.

I had followed the waters of the mighty Acheron to find my way here. Cerberos has waited patiently for my arrival ending this long journey, so we pause to drink from the Oath River, Styx.

As we drink, Charon's hearty laughter reminds us where we are. I glance up in time to watch the boatman shove off, jingling the two coins I paid for the journey in his hand. The finality sinks in.

A cool breeze raises the hair on my neck, yet the air is completely calm. I scoop another handful of the blood-warm water in a feeble attempt to quench this thirst.

We stand and turn to the path only to be startled by a blind prophet. Teiresias cuts my hand and drinks the blood, his payment for the prophecy we soon hear.

I am told of my impending time crossing the fields of Asphodel. A boring thought made worse by the revelation that I won't be allowed to drink the waters of Lethe.

The prophet laughs as he fortells various possibilities. If I win this game of chance I can cross Asphodel and travel to the Elysian Fields.

Slowly, I lower my hand and place it lovingly on Cerberos' nearest head. He enjoys the attention and nudges me closer to the gate. I continue down the path that beckons my attention and strengthens my resolve. The mighty dog walks beside me and licks the blood from my hands as he simultaneously scans the area.

I must enter the gate and Cerberos must remain here. I rub his head to a low rumbling growl. He yelps his desire for me to stay. As I bend and hug him, he bites my shoulder, careful not to infect me with his poisonous drool. The teethmarks will stay as a reminder to return here for him.

I venture forth wondering why the prophet has neglected to discuss this particular aspect of my fate...

[This message has been edited by Panther (edited October 06, 2000).]
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The gate

Postby Panther » Tue Oct 10, 2000 8:54 pm

I continue through the gate. The path is wide and clear, yet shadows and darkness abound. I wonder if the dimness ever changes here. I hear the gates click closed behind me and know there is no turning back. The thick vines grow closer together forming walls that guide my way down the path.

I turn a corner to find a large mirror standing in the center of the road. The monstrous reflection that peers back at me mocks my inner feelings. I haven't the time to play these psychological games. I side-step the mirror and continue on, only to find that I'm still facing the same mirror from the same fifteen foot distance... Repeated attempts produced repeated results...

I slowly approach the mirror, realizing that this is the first test. I stare into the eyes of the reflected monster who is mercilessly laughing at me. I demand that he move, and find only further taunts... I strike my mightiest blow! Not at the reflection, but at the mirror, which shatters into thousands of sharp shards covering the path in a dazzling display of dangerous, jagged and glistening contrast.

I venture deeper into the maze, knowing that any outward sign of frustration will only please and encourage the dark god. I make a mental vow to endure by any means necessary... I recall a childhood tune and start to whistle it flippantly.

Suddenly, he appears. Angry, moody, vengeful...

"Can we talk this over? Will you open the gates and allow me freedom?"

"Why should I give you freedom? You have chosen to enter my domain."

"I was thrust into this place by circumstance and knew that we had to talk."

"Talk... an overrated mode of communication. I much prefer torturing you with your own past!"

"I have no regrets. You can't torture me with decisions that I might change now. When I made those choices, it was the right thing at the time... NO regrets."

"You expect me to just unlock the gate and let you leave? Not without a fight! You are mine now!"

"I have no wish to fight you, but if a fight is what you desire, a fight is what you will get. Would you like to open the gate, give me the key, or shall I take my dagger and cut your heart out before I take the key?"

"YOU? A mere mortal? HAHAHAHAHAHA!"

As I withdraw the blade from Hades' chest, his stunned look is etched into my memory. I quickly bend over and grab the key he has dropped and race back towards the gates...

As I reach the gates, I realize that they are already open and waiting. Passing through, I give Cerberus a quick pat on the head. His roar stops me in my tracks. I spin on my heels and kneel down... not knowing if the key will fit. One key for many locks! Hades, you're pretty clever or you shop at Home Depot!

I head for the landing, hoping to find the ferry waiting. Cerberus is licking at my hand and the wound from the prophet has reopened. I can feel the blood dripping...

The bright light is blinding. I recoil from the pain in my eyes. Is that an angel?

It isn't an angel at all...

a nurse carefully fluffs my pillow and admonishes,

"Lie still, you've gone and pulled out the IV..."
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The gate

Postby Panther » Wed Oct 11, 2000 6:11 pm

I open foggy eyes and try to adjust to the light. The blurry image of a nurse appears before me and offers comfort through her smiling eyes.

"You get to go home today."

"Home? Oh, yeah... Home..."

"You sound disappointed."

"Not at all. The food here *****."

"You never ate here... OH, I get it... smart-aleck."

Climb into a wheelchair, rolled down the hallway, into the elevator, out to the curb.

I putter around "home" for a week and finally realize that "tomorrow" I get to go back to "work". Nice job, good friends, loving family, safe home, sweet pets...

The hours tick by slowly... painfully...

Finally, it's time and I lay my tired head back onto the pillow.

Suddenly, I fall completely awake!

Panting for breath, I feel Cerberus standing against my leg! I look over my shoulder to see the gates of Hades closed and locked.

The boat creaks as it takes us from the shore. This isn't a passage that most people make... returning from the depths.

More adventures await me when I arise from the underworld and in the back of my mind I remember the strange land of my dreams. Mundane compared to this life, but I've been told that we all dream of such easy existences as a means for our minds to escape the rigors of this life. Interesting that I remember that world so vividly.

A serpent slithers onto the boat and strikes at me. Cerberus roars and barks wildly in warning and I react just in time to avoid the attack. I have only my dagger to fight the mighty beast and the battle is begun! Cerberus catches the beasts tail and bites to no avail. I stab at it's eyes while avoiding the razor-sharp teeth. Charon chucles his amusement...

With Cerberus' help, I am able to push the wounded serpent back into the water... gone but not dead... and certainly not forgotten. I catch my breath and chance a glare at Charon, who simply shrugs his shoulders.

Our journey back up the river has almost ended, so Charon slows down... waiting for payment before we dock. I'd spent my only two coins for the first passage and stood with my mouth agape at my lack of foresight! How would I pay to return home? After passing so many tests and trials, am I to be damned for lack of two small coins?

Charon reaches over with a sigh and yanks my earring out. Payment recieved. We dock at the landing and Cerberus and I depart. As we step from the boat, I can hear that familiar jingling sound. I pause and look back. Charon is bouncing his hand inside his pocket mixing my earring with his other bounty.


What is that noise? I roll over and push back the sheets to see my cat playing with an earring... he gives it a slap and it jingles across the floor. Hmmmm... where'd he get that? Oh, yeah... Today, I go back to "work"...

I paw the alarm off and head for the shower...
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