Pagan Flash Fiction
We all have our own battles. Mine began in three phases the night my physical life began to slip away.
Flashback to before the coma. For eleven years, I served the Greek Gods, but the road to Olympos had been winding, confusing and treacherous for many moons.
I went into battle that morning to protect the ruins of an ancient Greek temple, and that's where I received the concussion. Protests and human barriers of the still devoted soon became entrenchments. Each shield and baton that struck my body took more of my will to carry onward. Then the stone was hurled and sent me into blackness. The doctors did not expect me to live.
I entered a vast desert. So hot even the sand burned my feet. A glimpse of a glittering oasis caught my eye on the horizon. But the sun was blazing close and relief was so far. I knew I would die here soon. Then he came, with grains of sand shooting forth like falling stars before his bare human feet. Blowing forcefully from his nostrils and stabbing the ground with his scepter, he struck my soul with his stare. "Khnum?" I whispered, his wavy horns reminding me of the fresh waters I so desperately wanted to reach.
The god of the Nile lifted his staff and pointed toward the oasis. Then he redirected its tip toward me, ready to thrust. I knew the choice. I dashed, Khnum charging in pursuit. The heat and sand choked my throat and burned my eyes, but the river came closer with each pounding of the desert floor. Surely I would soon see the tip of his scepter protruding through my stomach, but the muddy banks finally oozed between my toes as I fell to my knees and devoured the water.
I lifted my eyes to find myself in a thick forest surrounded by a rainbow of lotuses. They came from the ground and sat upon the streams that passed. They even descended from the trees and to my nostrils. But the peace and fragrance were temporary. The petals blew off and turned into sharp, shooting splinters. I couldn't dodge them all. My arms and legs were ripped. Then the shattered flowers came together and there she was, Saraswati, the Hindu goddess, playing her guitar, the soundwaves becoming beams of energy that invaded my head and began to drag me into a deep state of sleep and paralysis. I collapsed onto my side, tears flooding the blood-soaked soil as my eyelids came closer together. But I refused to accept such a fate. Slowly I pulled myself back up, every muscle to a standing position feeling like a knife. She stopped playing, her smile fading into nothingness.
I stood in a city, bright white all around, and a towering cathedral before me. But it was a strange city, for dead silence filled the air like a ghost town. Like a deadly arrow aimed to rip out my heart, a sword of fire zoomed by my head and encircled my body before lodging into the blocks beneath my feet. I sighed and looked behind me. "Long time, no see, Mike," I commented, as the archangel approached, his wings fluttering majestically in the sun.
"I used to be your closest patron," he reminded. "Spent many battles together, and now you've become ancient Greek," he smiled.
"Our days are long gone, angel," I replied. "You betrayed me."
"Well, details. Let's see how far you've really come since then."
Michael retrieved his sword like a magnet and charged. We threw fists and feet as I tried to avoid the death of the infernal blade, but I was eventually knocked to the ground. Michael raised his sword high, "What was that prayer you were always using?" he asked, "Glorious prince of the heavenly host, Saint Michael, protect me from evil!" His words echoed in the world around me as the fire from his sword left and encircled me.
Of all places, I could not remain here. I came back to my feet, leapt out of the blaze and grabbed the sword. We wrestled back and forth again. But this time, the prayer was mine, "Holy Athena, beloved daughter of the King of all Gods, remember my past devotion and please come fight for me."
I opened my eyes. Michael was gone. I could see my friends and family again. I had pulled through my hardships and made peace with my past. I was ready for my new life.