Friday, November 04, 2005

In His Final Hour

The old god lay dying, the last of his celestial life-force finally fading away. It had been centuries since he had felt strong, and many more since he'd felt anything like his old self, when the fate of nations rested in his hands, and the lives of mortals depended on his whim.

But those days were long past. Most of his pantheon had died long ago, or been absorbed into others and changed their aspect. He had hung on, but now it was finally over. His only lament was that he would be alone at the end.

"Not alone, Zeus. Not while I'm here."

Zeus sighed, but couldn't help the smile that turned up the corners of his mouth and caused the ragged wisps of a once-luxurious beard to twitch.

"Jesus," he whispered. "You would minister even to me?"

Jesus smiled at the old god and shook his head. "I have not come to minister, simply to sit by your side and ease your passing." He sat down next to Zeus in the ruins of the Olympian palace and took the elder god's gnarled and spotted hand in his own.

Zeus nodded, his weak smile spread further across his lined and gaunt face. "You're a good boy," he said.

Jesus said nothing, simply patting Zeus' hand.

For a time, neither said anything. Then...

"Your father," Zeus rasped, "must be pleased at this."

"Why so?"

A thin wheezing laugh came from Zeus' cracked lips. "Come now, boy. One thing everyone knows about your father is how much he hates to share."

Jesus shook his head. "It wasn't like that..."

"Yes it was," Zeus said. "But I don't begrudge him that. We Olympians didn't like to share, either. " He closed his eyes and sighed. "We did so much harm in our time..." his words came like a faint breeze. "We were so... petty... at times..."

"It was a different age," Jesus said. "The people demanded different things from their gods. Look at my father. He's hardly the same god he was in his early days."

Zeus smiled again, this time directly at the young messiah. "You're right, of course. Still," his eyes clouded over, and his mind drifted back over the millennia, "sometimes I miss the old days." Ancient glories flashed in his eyes then, and a small spark crackled across his fingertips. "I was revered as the mightiest of all the gods. Men lay sacrifices at my feat, and took up grand quests in my name. Women bore my seed and heroes sprang from their wombs. In those days..." his eyes dimmed, and his hands began to shake. He sighed again. "But that was then. Now... well..." he leaned his head back against the pillow and closed his eyes again. "Now if you ask the average person who I am, they'll tell you I was a supporting character in a 10-year-old television show."

"And comic books," Jesus offered, trying to make the aged deity feel better. "You still show up in Wonder Woman from time to time."

Zeus flashed him an annoyed glare. "Thank you," he growled. "I feel so much better."

Jesus shrugged. "Just trying to help."

"Well, don't."

They were silent for a while.

Zeus stirred and looked over at his guest. "Sorry," he said.

Jesus waved the apology away. "Not at all," he said with a smile.

Zeus nodded and lay back down. "Tired," he said. "And cold..."

Jesus got up and wandered around the dilapidated amphitheater. Finding a tattered curtain, he brought it back to Zeus' bedside. "Here you go, Zeus." He went to cover the old god with the curtain. "This should..."

But the old god was dead. His sunken eyes stared blankly into nothing.

Jesus covered him anyway. "Goodbye, old man," he whispered. "I'll miss our conversations."

He reached out and closed Zeus' eyes, then turned and walked away.

Later, a great bolt of lightning struck the dead god where he lay, sending the last of the Olympian gods to the final peace of oblivion.


Sar said...

Hmmm. That was actually kinda depressing, Chris. No bizzare, freakish ending either. Hmmm.

Kat said...

Great writing as usual. I thought it was kinda sad. Poor old Zeus.
I also noticed your Jesus is consistant in all your stories. I like him.

purplesimon said...

LMAO! Wonder Woman. Oh, thanks Chris, that's made my morning. Especially as Wonder Woman in on my cable network later today. I am going to watch it, see if Zeus is mentioned.

Oh, that was hilarious. I didn't think you'd inject any humour in to that story, but you did - brilliantly, I might add.

Great work.

purplesimon out...

Lisa said...

I absolutely love your diety pieces...

Rae Ann said...

I like this one's gentleness. You've got such a great range, chris.