Ossuary



Dr. Clifford Gates sat on the ground on the site of his latest archeological excavation in southwest Sicily, and pondered the irony of his situation. Before him was a find that would shake the foundations of anthropology and the scientific community, and be the crowning glory of his long career. The world stood on the brink of nuclear war, however, and the timing was completely wrong to reveal what he had uncovered. 

Dr. Gates had found an ossuary deep in a Sicilian cave, a container for bones. The one he had found was unusually large, housing the remains of an extraordinarily gigantic specimen, an individual he had judged from the femur to have stood at least twenty feet high. Even more remarkable was the fact that the skull of the discovery possessed only a singular eye, a bony orbit located in the center of the forehead. Gates held the massive skull in his hands and marveled at what he had found; a Cyclops, a gigantic creature described in Homer’s “The Odyssey,” and presumed prior to this point to have been a fanciful creation of mythology. The reality of this creature’s existence in life was absolutely breathtaking, and would reveal the presence of a world previously only imagined. If the Cyclops had existed, what else from mythology might have as well?

But the timing of this discovery was all wrong with the world about to descend into the madness of a global nuclear war. Dr. Gates ordered the ossuary sealed up and returned to the depths of the cave which had shielded it for thousands of years. If civilization survived the nuclear apocalypse, he would return to claim it. If not, perhaps another future generation would.



As Dr. Gates withdrew his team, he was unaware of being watched from the depths of a surrounding forest by something enormous, and possessed of but a large singular eye. The Cyclops had endured undetected for many thousands of years, and its race had every intention of continuing to do so…

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The Familiar

 

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The sorcerer Hieronymous stood by an interior window, considering from the parapet the angry mob advancing on his Bavarian castle, his black cat, Bane, perched on his shoulder. It was a standard group of irate townspeople bearing torches, pitchforks, and assorted agricultural cutting implements. They jabbered excitedly among themselves, moving quickly as a group up the long, winding pathway in the dark.

“Why can’t they leave us alone, Bane?,” the wizard asked rhetorically. “Why do they persecute and seek to destroy that which they don’t understand? — Well, we’ll prepare a reception for them, yes we will indeed!”

Hieronymous hurried to his book of black magic, the cat retreating unconcernedly to a comfortable small pile of straw in a corner of the stone floor. Ancient pages of text in arcane languages flew under his fingertips as he researched a spell, quickly targeting one. “Hah, Bane!,” exulted the sorcerer. “Let’s see how they like this! ” The wizard raced to his window, holding aloft his bony arms and gesturing while he uttered mysterious, guttural phrases in Babylonian. Dark clouds gathered, and rained stones down on the villagers. They cursed, shielded their heads with clothing, and hastened their advance.

The sorcerer’s expression darkened as he retreated to his book of black arts, again rifling through its pages while Bane the cat yawned and stretched. “I’ve used this one before!,” he exulted as he hit upon one encantation. Sparks flew from the fingertips of Hieronymous as he gestured and chanted at a broomstick, which clattered to the ground, sprouted wooden arms and legs, and stood upright before multiplying to two, four, eight, and sixteen ambulatory figures. Hieronymous hurried to equip each broomstick with a flask of acid or foul-smelling substances before sending his inhuman army through the door to confront the legion of townspeople. The broomsticks flung their odious fluids upon the villagers, who shrieked their protest but met the wooden abominations with axes and firebrands, splintering and burning them until they were immobile and moved no more.

Hieronymous switched his efforts to reinforcing the heavy oaken door which barricaded his workshop, dragging benches and ironwork racks to buttress it. The villagers, however, had reached this perimeter, and smashed a heavy log against the door as others of their number applied axes to the heavy planking, the noise causing Bane to shift and open his eyes as if irritated. Knowing that even the massive door would eventually yield to the assault, Hieronymous prepared his final defense; a powerful confounding spell. As the thick door groaned and splintered, Hieronymous shouted in demonic languages, weaving a rich tapestry of magical incantation that almost seemed to hover in the air before descending upon the townsfolk in a miasma-like haze. The local folk, however, apparently lacked much in the way of minds to confound, and the spell seemed to have little influence upon them.

You shall not suffer a witch to live!,” cried the apparent leader of the invading group as his followers raised their cutting instruments to strike Hieronymous dead. The sorcerer made a move to dash to his cloak of invisibility, thinking to elude his tormentors. It was then that a powerful and commanding voice came into his head, a telepathic communication.

Stand aside!,” ordered the voice. ” I’LL handle this! ” The black cat, Bane, vaulted from his bed of straw, moving towards the angry mob. A kind of blue effluvium surrounded the cat, who reared onto his hind legs, his form stretching and expanding as he underwent an incredible transformation into a Smilodon, commonly called a sabre-toothed tiger. The former housecat flashed his seven-inch long maxillary canines at the now cowering humans and roared, the deafening sound reverberating in the enclosed area.

“Hello, boys!,” grinned Bane. “Let’s party!, ” he proclaimed, gaping his jaws ninety degrees and flinging himself at the humans like an avenging wraith. Ripping wounds were swiftly inflicted on human flesh by canines and claws as the Smilodon fatalis brought a swift end to the invasion of his lair, the few villagers surviving beating a hasty retreat from the castle.

His rout of the villagers complete, Bane morphed back to the form of a harmless housecat. “Forgive me, mau, beseeched Hieronymous, employing the Egyptian term for cat meaning seer. “I have failed you, and disgraced the black arts!”

Bane looked at his apprentice patiently. “You have practiced the magical arts for a mere three hundred years,” he noted. “You cannot be expected to have the abilities that will come with maturity.” With that, the cat settled on his bed of straw, leaving his apprentice to clean up the mess of blood and body parts…for rank has its privileges, and it can sometimes be difficult in the world of magic to determine who is the master, and who the disciple…

Cry of the Nephilim…

NephilimIt’s not easy being a Nephilim; you’ve got no place to rest your oversized head, being dammed in heaven and earth and all. I guess I could go to Hell; great company, but lousy climate…at least I hear they’ve got a great band.

Ah me…I didn’t ask to be born, ‘ya know! Mother was ravished by a fallen angel, one of about 200 good ole boys who split away from Number One in the long ago, and made whoopie with the daughters of men, much to His everlasting consternation. Must have partied hearty, though, ’cause yours truly and a bunch of other blokes resulted. Trouble is, being part demonic and part human gives you major identification problems, to say nothing of the “fitting in” thing…and I’ve got no bloody therapist!

Ever try buying clothes off the rack when you’re over nine feet tall?! – – No, I suppose you haven’t.  When all of your threads are custom-make, you’re talking some serious bucks, too. I was a natural as a basketball player or football quarterback, but found that I could only do that so long before the overly-curious caused me to move on. Being a freak necessitates a nomadic life style, and it feels like it takes all of the moving I can do just to stay in one place.

Whack jobs pursue me, too. The religious ones want to execute me on the spot and call me an abomination; what do ‘ya think that does to my self-concept?! Then there are those who think that aliens were my father…if one was, I wish he’d beam me up! The Almighty got so perturbed with the existence of the Nephilim that some say that’s why he wiped out most of us together with men in Noah’s flood  (Russell Crowe made a fine Noah, didn’t he?).  Anyways, fallen angels again hit on mortal women after the flood, and so here I am. — As Rodney King said, “can’t we all just get along?”  At least the Almighty said he’d never again destroy the world by flood.

He never said, though, that he’d never use earthquakes, and we seem to be having a lot of those lately… it makes me start to wonder.  With my luck, I’ll probably be in California when it slides off the Pacific coast.  I didn’t ask to be born; if I had, the answer probably would have been “no.”- – Why do I suffer so at the hands of the Deity, and those who call themselves normal?- – Is it normal to hate? Just who is the real monster here? Some of us seem born to suffering, as the sparks fly upward…*sigh.*

The Last Diablero

coyoteThey say that the last diablero, a type of evil male witch, was killed in 1942 after having killed dozens of villagers with his sorcery.  This could not be tolerated, and so the villagers acting as a group took the sorcerer by surprise one evening, binding him and burning him alive.  Although the stake he was tied to was made of fresh wood, there were no ashes, and nothing was left following the burning except for a large pool of black grease.  The locals say that it is best not to speak of such things, and discuss it only reluctantly in hushed voices…

Wandering in rural parts of Mexico at night to learn more of such mysteries and whether diableros still walked among men, I came across a large, black dog that appeared to be strangely transparent.  Looking at the creature, I could see clusters of stars and even galaxies swirling within him, an entire universe in miniature. The dog froze and stared at me for a few minutes, then appeared to lose resolution and fade away into the night.  I shuddered and turned towards home, pondering the meaning of what I had seen. 

I slept deeply that night, and the morning was well-advanced before I awoke.  Emerging into the dazzling sunlight, I squinted and went in search of one of the village elders to see if he could make sense of what I had seen.  When I found one of the old men, he took me into his abode, listened to the story of my strange encounter, nodded knowingly, and gave me a concoction to consume which contained peyote. 

“Your journey is far from over,” the viejo or “old one” advised me.  “You must wander further in the desert for the answers which you seek.  I believe it is there that you will begin to understand,” he advised me.

I thanked the old man and embraced him.  As day wore on into night, I prepared a small pack and began my journey, my perceptions strangely altered by the peyote which I had ingested.  Advancing into the desert, I saw a number of coyotes, and somehow was able both to understand and converse with them.  Crows perched at various locations at my steps progressed, and seemed to be watching me.  Somehow, I seemed to share a kinship with all life that I encountered, and feel at one with it.

As dusk approached, I beheld a luminous coyote who was much larger than any of the others that I had seen that day.  He emitted a self-generated light which seemed to pulse and intensify as I followed him to the edge of a cliff, stopping in the darkness just in time before I fell fell from the precipice. 

“Be not afraid,” the coyote said from within my head.  “You know what you must do!,” he admonished, glowing brightly.  “Take the leap of faith!”

Trembling in the presence of this supernatural being, I closed my eyes at the brink, extended my arms, and fell forward.  The air rushed against my face as I fell towards certain death; the fall would certainly not be survivable.  Miraculously, however, I did not not fall far, for I opened my eyes to discover that my arms were now wings, and covered with black feathers!  I had transformed into a crow!  Exuberant, I soared effortlessly through the air, and could see for miles around me.

I descended to the ground surface, and by force of will shape-shifted into a coyote.  On four legs I returned to the village to greet the new day, shifting back to human form so as not to alarm the villagers with my approach.  They were sleepily going about their early tasks of the new day, but I could see all of their auras now; they appeared as glowing eggs of varying intensity with slender tentacles of light extending from them. 

I knew then that I was the last diablero, and embraced my destiny.  I would live long, see far, and know much.  And although my powers came from a dark place, they were not who I was, and did not define me.  I smiled at the villagers as they unknowingly moved about, eager to explore both my animal and my divine natures…this incarnation would be different!

Days of Future Past…

AnubisThe jackal-headed god Anubis raised a hand-held anti-grav, and trained it on a stone block weighing hundreds of pounds, causing it to rise effortlessly in an invisible beam.  He guided the precision-hewn block to a gap in the wall of the pyramid under construction, and settled it carefully and quietly into position.

The human overseer in charge of coordinating the efforts of hundreds of men regarded the remarkable event as something forever beyond his comprehension, yet an everyday manifestation of the power of the visitors from the sky.  While the overseer had been given dominion over men, he knew that the gods in turn had dominion over him, which was part of the wonderful and proper order of things.  Only the great Pharaoh was the worldly equal of the gods, and would one day return to them.  It was a great privilege to be building Pharaoh’s eternal domain, a monumental undertaking that would occupy the attention and efforts of thousands of men for about twenty years.  The gods from the sky had arrived in the silver disks prior to the generation of his father, and taught the sons of Egypt many wonderful things.  Execution of those great undertakings such as the building of a royal tomb had given men purpose, and bound them together as a nation and a society.  

The god Anubis in turn regarded the thousands of humans who labored to do the bidding of the gods.  Glancing at what appeared to be a golden bracelet on his arm, Anubis recognized that it was time to recharge his holographic projector by which he maintained the appearance of the jackal-headed deity.  It wouldn’t do for the Egyptians to see him in his real physical form, which was much less inspiring.  Far better was it for those of his mission to key into the religious mythology of the populace, appearing to be their animal-headed deities and gaining the ready and willing compliance of the people.  The masquerade additionally amused the traveler through time and space, who rather enjoyed playing Anubis. The stone reliefs of him that they carved into walls would endure for thousands of years, giving him a practical form of immortality.

As he dematerialized, Anubis summoned another crew member who would appear to the Egyptians upon his arrival as the falcon-headed god, Horus.  He who impersonated Anubis beamed to his starship in the vast desert which was cloaked to the eyes of the ancient men.  The Egyptians  would never realize that he and his crew were in effect the distant descendants of themselves, having deployed light to warp space and travel backwards in time to where they might begin to organize their remote ancestors to make the evolutionary strides that would someday enable them to reach the stars, becoming in a way like the gods that they had once worshipped.

And Anubis smiled at the thought of those days in their future as he stood in his own distant past…

Anomaly

The Dig

Dr. Chan the paleontologist furrowed his brow and mopped beads of sweat from his forehead.  The newly-excavated Tyranosaurus Rex skeleton was highly unusual, with several remarkable features that couldn’t readily be explained.  The T-Rex appeared to have died violently, but that was hardly unusual for his species, a carnivore who often defeated large prey for his meals when he couldn’t scavenge.

What was unusual was the fact that the specimen had apparently suffered several
severe blows to the head, resulting in puncture-type damage to the cranial bone
structure.  The angle of the damage indicated also that the blows had come from
above, as if something had descended upon the fearsome predator from the skies.  
Even more strangely, the large skull of the T-Rex, even in its fossilized state,
showed indicators that the creature had additionally suffered burns sufficient to
cause charring to the bone surface.  Collectively, the injuries still discernible
upon the skeleton of the predacious dinosaur had almost certainly resulted in its
death.

Now the area in which the remains were discovered was not known to have experienced volcanic activity, nor was it believed to have been forested during the time when burning might have occurred to the bone.  There was simply nothing known to have existed in the area at the time which could have caused the damage.  Dr. Chan, however, had a theory as to what might have caused the insults to the remains of the dinosaur.  It was an explanation that presently could not be proven, but one which he nonetheless strongly believed because of his cultural heritage.  He could not offer this explanation because of fear that he would be ridiculed and professionally discredited, even though his explanation was supported by the mythologies of many cultures around the world and throughout time.

Dr. Chan, you see, believed that the formidable T-Rex had long ago engaged in battle with a dragon, and lost.  An earlier, more naive generation had regarded dinosaur bones as the remains of dragons…perhaps someday, the bones of the dragon would truly be found…

Dr. Chan smiled, and held onto his faith…it is said that faith is the “evidence of things hoped for,  the substance of things not seen…”