Read My Crap - The Wizards of Old

The Wizards of Old - by P.N. Neville

The warm breeze blew gently in through the triangular vent window of my 1966 Chevy K20, the familiar sound of the Quadrajet on the old 307 V8 hissing as I hit the gas pedal to climb up the hill from State Street headed east on 1st Avenue in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was a delightfully warm summer evening and I was headed to where my old friend Jon had been living for many years before his move to the east coast a few years ago.  Upon arrival, as it often goes in these alternate realities, I noticed that the house was a strange mixed up combination of all the old places he once lived.  Jon was sitting on the front porch enjoying a beer, he seemed eager to show me something inside, he greeted me with a beer as well as I followed him in.  Things inside seemed to be business as usual, just as I remember it being as we passed thought the living room into the kitchen.  I learned against the counter where it came to a corner between the stove and sink and enjoyed my beer as we made the usual chit chat about life, work, and such.  Once the beers got towards the end, Jon reached up and brought down a bottle of decent scotch from a small cabinet above the stove and poured us each a glass.

“So, I found something awesome, I think you’re gonna like it, but you have to promise me you won’t tell anyone else about this”, said Jon as he held up a cup of scotch awaiting a confirmation cheers. 

“Yeah, man, no problem”, I responded and completed the cheers.  The glasses clinked and we drank to this strange unknown new discovery.  I was now very curious, what could he have found that is that cool and why all the secrecy?  Did he find some old treasure?  A relic from the early days of the city?  Maybe it’s a skeleton!  That’d be neat.

Jon motioned to me to follow him and we proceeded out the back door and down the old wooden stairs that descended from the main floor of the house to the backyard patio area.  Things were similar in appearance, yet very different, the house now had a much bigger back yard, at least double the size and there was now a small greenhouse like structure in the corner of the yard where the fire pit once was.  It didn’t seem like anything special, a new shed maybe?  We headed to the structure and Jon set to work unlocking a large brand new pad lock he had installed on the door. 

He paused a moment and peered at me, “you promise, right?”, said Jon.  “Yeah, of course, what the hell is in there, dude?”, I asked as he pulled the lock from the ring.  “Check this shit out, man”, Jon said as we stepped into the building.

  “While digging the foundation for a shed I wanted to build, I broke into a small cavern here in the ground”, explained Jon.  It was amazing, there in the center of the room was a beautiful natural hot spring bubbling right out of a bed of multicolored rocks surrounded by a large white rock ring.  He had built the shed around it to protect it and keep it hidden from the public, he was extremely excited about it and the future possibilities.

“Dude, you found this?  Did you build the rock ring and the pool?”, I asked in amazement. 

“No”, said Jon, “it was just like this when I dug it up.  I just cleared out the soil until I hit the rock and just cleaned it off.  It came off so easily, I cleaned it up like this in a couple hours.” 

We both stood there in silence for a moment, taking it in, sipping the scotch. 

“Is it clean water?  Can we get in it?”, I asked. 

“Yeah, it’s better water than the city water, wanna get in?”, said Jon. 

“Hell yes!”, I exclaimed, “this is so awesome, dude!” 

We went back into the house and grabbed some swim wear, quickly changing to go enjoy the rest of the evening in Jon’s new found natural hot spring. 

The water was just right, not too hot, not too cold.  It was perfectly really.  I sat up against the rock ring, my arms splayed out over the top, my eyes closed, just taking in the comfortable warmth of the pool when in my minds eye I saw what looked like someone standing on the other side of the pool just staring at me.  It startled me and my eyes snapped open to no one.  Eh, just my mind playing with me, but there in the same cavern there was a strange shelf of bright white stone that lined the back of the cavern, something not at all native to the area and it seemed to have an energy to it, a presence, it made me a little uncomfortable and it always felt like that wall was the thing that was watching me.  It made me feel silly, it’s just a damn rock wall, so I didn’t say anything at the time, but the longer I stayed there the more the feeling was growing.  I couldn’t keep my eyes off of that damn wall though and it felt more and more like something was angry at my very presence and meant me harm.  Jon, on the other hand, loved to be in the hot spring and insisted that we stay and enjoy the crisp freshly brewed cider he had made.  He had placed a little refrigerator on a stand in the corner where he kept kegs of his brew and he was very proud of it.   I informed Jon that I wanted to head out and grab some food, as I was hungry, a little nervous, and kind of wanted to go home.  Something just didn’t feel right.

“No, you stay and you drink, dammit!”, said Jon in a festive tone.  “Relax, dude, everything is awesome here!  Let’s grill up some burgers and hot dogs, we have plenty of food.  Let’s BBQ.” 

Yeah, alright, why not.  I’m being a dork, screw the feelings, I’ll just simply put on my alcohol courage shield.  You can’t feel the feels when you can’t feel them!  Yet, again, I wasn’t so sure.  But, I let it go anyway, and grabbed a fresh cup of cider from the keg. 

“Hey, grab me another”, said Jon waving his red solo cup above his head.  I complied with his festive request and then plopped myself back into the warm crystal clear water.  It certainly felt amazing, better than any other hot spring I’d ever been to. 

I soon forgot any troubles I may have had and we drank and conversed long into the night, as we often did in the days of old, but still, every now and then I felt the urge to keep an eye on that damn white rock wall.  It was as if someone was standing over there, it kept drawing my attention as if it was waving to me. 

“Wall says, “Hello!””, I said in a joking tone. 

“What?”, asked Jon.  “Never mind it’s nothing”, I responded. 

Just then a ripple went through the water, like a small shockwave of someone getting in the pool with us.

“Do you feel that?”, I asked Jon. 

“Yeah, it’s good shit isn’t it?”, said Jon pointing to his cup of cider. 

“No, it’s something else, does it feel like there’s someone else here?  Trying to get our attention, over there in the back, by that weird white rock?”, I asked in a concerned tone. 

“What’s so weird about rock, man?”, asked Jon.  “It’s just a rock, what’s with you tonight?  This place is all mine, it’s on my property and everyone else can go to hell, so don’t worry.  The only other people here are Haruka and the kids and they’re inside asleep.”

“Alright alright, I was just wondering, I just keep getting this weird feeling, that’s all”, I said as I chugged down another cider, maybe sweet lady  booze will make me relax and I can stop staring at that damn rock. 

It worked, again I forgot about the feelings and just had fun.  Let the good times roll!  We partied nearly till dawn and soon I found myself nodding off in the water, I looked around and saw Jon was gone, it was just me in alone in the cavern now.  Even in my drunken state, that creepy feeling began to return, this time much stronger and much more urgent.  So I drug myself out of the warmth of the spring, grabbed my towel and phone, and stumbled into the house through the basement door.

It was certainly not what I had remembered the basement being like, here I was faced with a long hallway, it resembled an office building hallway more than a house.  There was a long black couch along the wall of the hallway covered in black pillows and soft fluffy black blankets, I don’t remember ever seeing that couch before, but I was super tired and inebriated.  So I headed toward it anyway, flopped down, and was out like a light.

I awoke with a startle in the pitch black hallway, I thought I had heard the basement door slam shut.  Who would be coming and going at this hour?  Maybe it was just Jon making sure I came in or checking on the kids or something, never mind, just go back to sleep.  As I closed my eyes, a light suddenly shown from the end of the hallway near the door and again, a shadow moves across my eyes.  I crack my eyes open slightly and look down the hallway, there is a figure standing at the end of the hall, and it isn’t Jon.  It was a strange looking man, like one of those renaissance paintings, short, fat and round, with chubby cheeks.  Like a little cupid guy.  I shot up from the couch, alarmed that an intruder had found his way into Jon’s basement.  I was about to speak when a voice flooded my head, at first it was like putting on headphones at too high of a volume, it shook my entire mind.  The power was head splitting, I grasped my head in pain, trying to cover my ears as if there was an actual audible sound, and as soon as I did that, the voice quieted to a normal level.

“Greetings, human!  Do not fear, return to your slumber.  You need not worry this night”, said the voice as I tried to come to terms with what was happening. 

I looked up at the face of the little entity and the face transformed, it was now a reptilian like figure with an eerie grin on its scaley face. 

“Enjoy your morning!”, it hissed as it ran out the back door snickering with a mischievous lizardy giggling.

Suddenly the lights flashed off and I was now standing in the pitch black.  It must have been a dream, what else could it have been?  It didn’t make any sense, so I reached down next to me in the darkness and felt the couch still next to me, relieved I laid back down and was soon asleep once again.  It was a restless night, that feeling of being half awake and half asleep, falling into strange dreams of old friends and times long gone, almost as if something was scanning my mind and experiences.  It was an uneasy feeling, the same feeling I had experienced down in the spring in the back yard.  But I was soon overtaken by sleep and into the peaceful darkness I went.

I woke to Jon shaking me, “wake up dude, dude, dude, what the fuck, dude?” 

I lifted myself from the couch and rubbed my eyes. 

“What’s up?”, I asked. 

“What’s up?  What the fuck did you do last night, man?”, roared Jon as my vision came into focus. 

All over the walls of the hallway was writing in black marker:

“Get You A Copper Kettle”

“Get You A Copper Coil”

“Cover With New-Made Corn Mash”

“And Never More You’ll Toil”

These words were scrawled all over the walls and ceilings of the basement. 

“What the hell?!”, I exclaimed, shocked at the sight I was seeing. 

“Dude, I didn’t do this”, “I swear to you, there was a guy in here last night, I heard him going in and out of the door, and the light, the light came on!”, I tried to explain as Jon looked on in rage. 

He didn’t seem to believe me and stormed out of the room. 

“Whatever, dude, you get to clean all this shit up”, said Jon as he angrily tossed an empty red bucket at me with a sponge inside. 

“Dude, I swear, I did NOT do this, why would I?  I would never do this!  You know that!”, I said as I pleaded my case. 

Jon just glared at me in anger and ran up the stairs, he had to get the kids off to school.  I could hear them running around upstairs, the sound of kids being kids. 

Feeling like a total douche, I filled the red bucket and began scrubbing the walls, remembering the little fellow that I had seen the night before.  Lucky for me, the script washed off the walls with ease, almost too easy.  It wasn’t marker at all, it was some kind of fine gray ash.  But why those certain words?  They’re lyrics from an old time folk song I believe.

“Hey, come check this out, man”, said Jon as he descended the stairs. 

He had pictures on his phone from the upstairs bathroom and a bedroom on the main floor which had the same words scrawled all over the walls.  Now he knew I couldn’t have done it, there is no way I would have made it up all the stairs, walked through their bedroom, and opened the doors without waking someone up.  The words were even scrawled over the ceiling, a feat that I would not have been able to achieve without a ladder. 

“At least it wipes off easily”, I said feeling relieved that I had been exonerated of the crime. 

“Let’s clean this up before my kids see it”, said Jon who began filling his own bucket. 

I agreed and we cleaned up the random strange folk graffiti, still confused on how it could have even happened.  After a couple hours of cleaning, I said my goodbyes to Jon and I was on my way home, I was tired and dirty from a night of party and ultimate strangeness and I looked forward to a hot shower and some lazy relaxation time. 

As I happily motored home, I noticed the old speedometer of my truck bouncing around as it sometimes does.  It came to my mind that I needed to pick up some white graphite to lube the speedometer cable so it doesn’t snap.  But just then I see this little guy walk out of the dashboard and under the speedometer needle, he reached up and held it in place where it was supposed to be.  It looked like the Tasmanian Devil from Loony Tunes mixed with Crash Bandicoot, that old video game character.  He looked over at me and smiled a big smile and gave me a large throbbing cartoon thumbs up. 

“NICE TRUCK, DUDE!”, he said before vanishing. 

I was never able to fully look at what was happening, as I was in the middle of driving and I didn’t want to wreck my truck.  What the hell?  Did Jon put acid in that cider?  I could have sworn that actually happened, but now there was nothing there and I never saw it again the rest of the drive home.

As it was at Jon’s house, my house was also a strange combination of places I’ve lived all throughout my life, stacked upon each other as floors in a giant mansion.  I must be doing good in this universe, because my multi-house was truly giant.  It was located up where I lived on the East Bench of Salt Lake for 14 years.  I walked in the house and walked to my elevator.  Elevator?  Yeah, strange, but I seemed to be used to it, none of this seemed the least bit strange at all.  My personal chambers were located on the 3rd floor of the giant palatial domicile, my room had two big white double doors with fancy windows inset covered by colorful curtains inside.  I opened the door only to have it slammed shut in my face.  I tried the other door, and once again, it slammed shut in my face with force. 

“Hey, who’s in there?”, I yelled at the door. 

No answer.  So I tried again to open the door and once again a great force seemed to slam it shut. 

“Hey, who’s in there?”, I yelled again, this time more urgent, as I was starting to get nervous, I already had quite the morning and wasn’t really in the mood for another strange encounter.  I turned around to walk away and go downstairs when I heard the door to my room just click open.  I pushed the door open slowly, cautiously looking around the room.  The blinds were all open and light streamed into the room making it feel bright and very inviting.  I looked all over the room, under the bed, in the closets, everywhere.  No monsters after all.  There’s just no one here, maybe the wind or the AC?  But all the windows were shut and locked and I don’t think the AC systems has enough pressure to slam a door in my face.  Tired of trying to figure these things out, I just flopped on the bed and popped on the TV ready for a good documentary about a ship or something of the sort.  I just wanted to take my mind off the strange events that seemed to be following me around ever since the day before., but I couldn’t seem to get comfortable, my head was itching and I felt like a gross pig.  Time for a shower.

I got up and headed for my bathroom, it was big, colorful, and very ornate.  It was just as I would have it if I had endless streams of cash, which I seemed to have because I can’t remember having to work or even thinking about a job in this place.  The shower was decorated with dark red tile with blue and green translucent blocks running up the sides in patterns, there were three separate shower heads that sprayed different patterns and angles, making the shower like a giant human carwash, I can’t imagine how much water that thing used, but I sure didn’t seem to mind.  The glass doors of the shower reached from floor to ceiling and set into the middle of the doors were intricate stained glass scenes of people playing music and other things I enjoy, obfuscating the view from the outside.  The light would come through the colorful blocks and throw little squares of color upon the walls and floor of the bathroom.  I cranked up the water temperature and stepped in for a nice hot shower.  I cranked up the full on car wash mode and stood there in the warm multi-stream, feeling the water slowly cleanse my greasy stenching body.  The events of the last 24 hours seemed to slip away like a dream and I instantly felt better.

I was washing my hair in the warm jets of water when I saw the dark outline of a person walk by the shower doors.  Shit!  I ripped open the shower door to see who it was and there was a woman standing in the corner of my bathroom, faced away from me, long black hair, and totally naked.  Then she vanished into thin air as the door to the bathroom bursted open and there in the doorway is a tall, furious looking man with eyes of pure evil intention.  I stepped out of the shower and grabbed a nearby towel bar in preparation to do battle with the enraged stranger, when he too, varnished into thin air.  Once again, my mind was overwhelmed by visions, a powerful signal, but looked much like an old VHS tape recording on an ancient TV, skipping up and down between Burts of static.  The image, now clearing, looking like the opening title sequence to a 1980’s sitcom, the names showing on the screen were Beth and Dan, masked over an aerial view of my big house.  There was cheesy music playing and the vibe seemed almost comical.  Am I going nuts?  What are these visions?  I’ve had dreams of an entity named Beth before and she is very unpleasant, I really hope it’s not the same one.

“Who are you?  What do you want?”, I nervously yelled into the open doorway. 

Again, nothing.  Then the bathroom door slammed shut with force.  Again, visions flow into my head, too powerful, almost mind blowing, I grabbed my head in pain, I felt my brain shaking in my skull, blood began to run from my eyes, my vision turned a bloody red and panic began to grip me, but instead I just turned and yelled, “Turn down the gain, will ya?  Jeez.” 

The signal seemed to reduce with my pleas and in my mind I saw two people, Beth and Dan.  They were showing me a story, they had lived long ago in a house that once stood where my giant mansion was now located and they were not pleased with what they have found here.  Where was their house?  What had we done with all their nice things?  But they’re long gone, aren’t they?  This was decades ago, how can this be?  I did not speak, but they heard me anyway.

“We’re not gone, we’re just dead”, said Beth with a friendly smile. 

“Dead?  Why are you here then?  Arn’t you supposed to be like, in heaven or something”, I said stupidly. 

She just smiled at me and said, “You’ll see, you will all will see.  There isn’t much choice now.  We’re here and will always be.”  Beth went on to explain an event that was going to be taking place here in the city. 

They had torn down a large chunk of the old houses in the Avenues near where Jon lived to make way for a giant new Walmart, but while excavating the site they ran into a long wall of strange white stone.  Well, it turns out that rock structure is the foundation of what once was a massive ancient temple complex.  This complex contained powers beyond our comprehension and was the center of a strange cult of wizards that often interacted with the dead and other universes and dimensions.  That area had been their center of activity in the ancient past.

In a flash, Beth suddenly appeared before me causing me to react and lurch backwards into the shower.  I slipped, slamming my head against the block wall on my way down, and everything went dark.  Light began to come into my mind again and as my consciousness returned I found myself hovering over the land like a drone, delightfully drifting over a gleaming white temple complex with many people in colorful robes carrying long glowing rods coming and going every which way.  In the center of the complex was an open courtyard with a large round pool filled with multicolored stones and glistening water flowed over them creating an energy field that I could even feel from above,  it looked like a large glowing spark that hovered just above the water and around it were two large glowing spheres of blue and green that seemed to chase each other in circles. 

This scene radiated a powerful energy, one that filled me with a primal fear, like a cave man experiencing fire for the first time.  There were four towers on the top of each corner of the temple and long ornate purple tapestries hung from the glimmering white stone walls decorated with many strange symbols and in a language I did not recognize.  All around me I could see the entire Salt Lake valley, a huge open green expanse between huge mountain ranges, the mountains seemed much bigger than they are now and had much sharper peaks to them, the sun was slowly setting in the west and the glow was beginning to spread to every corner of the valley.  I noticed that out west there was no lake at all, and no other settlements that I could see, just a large green valley.  Things looked far more lush, forested, and green than the desert climate I’d been used to in my time.  I felt my consciousness shifting once again to another location, there was nothing I could do but go with the flow of it all.

I found myself standing on the southwest tower of the temple complex, I was draped in bright orange robes and I knew I had come here as an initiate, there was a good amount of things that I just somehow knew, like that orange was the lowliest level of wizards, the initiate and life was not easy here as one.  You were openly mocked, used, abused, sometimes killed, and made to do humiliating and trivial tasks like an intern at a major recording studio, but if you could make it from orange initiate to yellow wizard, you were given great respect and your true training as a master could begin, you had to earn your color and then master that color before you could move up the ranks, but the orange initiates had to endure an undefined term of shame and humiliation, the length of time was up to your training leader, they were of the reds, those dressed in dark red robes and they carried a large glowing red rod.  These were truly heartless and cruel beings, at least to the poor orange initiates. 

I stood at the top of the tower and watched until the sun finally sunk below the horizon., what a bizarre place this is.  I knew I wanted to know more, I needed to find answers to what was happening back in my world.  I turned to walk down the tower stairs when I ran right into one of the reds, knocking him to the ground, his rod loudly clattering down the stairs where it smashed into the rock wall and broke in two, releasing a bright red smoke that quickly dissipated.  The once brightly glowing red rod turned dark as night, shriveled up, and then slowly crumbled into a fine grey ash, much like the ash I had found on the walls at Jon’s house the night before.  Well, now I’ve certainly done it.  Enraged, the red mage rose from the floor and with brutal force, he bellowed at me,

“FILTH!  Look at what your clumsy stupidity has caused.  You will pay for this.  Your very presence sickens me to my very being, if it were up to me you’d be getting a visit from Gregor and be fed to his pigs!  Now go and sweep the Opal chamber, peasant!  Out of my way!”, and he stormed off down the stone corridor. 

Relief washed over me, as it seemed that many orange initiates don’t make it very long and many are killed for simple mistakes like I just made.  I had no idea who Gregor was, but I sure didn’t want to find out.

It was dark inside the tower stairs, orange initiates don’t get rods, so we have to make do with what we have.  I felt my way along the walls in the dark, my eyes slowly getting used to the darkness, I could at least make out the stairs as I descended the twisting staircase.  I could see light at the bottom coming through a doorway, it was the glow from the giant swirling orbs in the center of the complex.  I emerged from the door and watched from the shadows as wizards of all colors came to kneel by the white pool.  They seemed to be drawing energy from the objects and were all in a trance like state, now was my chance to find the records room or something to help explain all of this. 

I quickly jogged across the court yard, being careful not to knock over any of the many rods that were leaned against the edge of the pool.  As I ran by I could feel a strong urge to go to join them and kneel at the pool, to also feel the powers, but I knew if I did I would certainly be killed, as an orange initiate at the alter pool would be like the janitor at the biology lab joining the scientists in doing genetic research.  I’m way out of my league here, I knew I needed to find this Opal room, if anything, just to sweep it and maybe survive another day without being fed to pigs or turned into fine gray ash.  Another day here?  How long had I been here anyway?  I had no concept of time in this place, all I could do is run.

I ran until I saw a pale light coming from a small building in the back of the complex, it seemed to be what I was looking for, it just felt right.  I slowly peaked into the doorway, yes, this is where I was supposed to be, this has to be the Opal room.  I didn’t see anyone inside, so I walked into the doorway, but behind me the red mage was there waiting for me. 

“I thought I told you to sweep this place, now get to it!”, he raged at me as he shoved a crude straw broom into my chest. 

I sat there looking at the poorly made broom for a moment when the red mage stabbed me in the belly with his rod.  It was like being branded, it felt like my insides were boiling. 

“The next time you will act quickly when I give you an order!”, shouted the red mage as I fell to the floor in agony. 

Once the rod was removed, the pain was gone, and so was the boiling.  But there was now a large red mark on my skin and a red stain on my orange tunic, the mark of punishment, it was normal to see orange initiates with multiple colored marks on their robes from the many punishments they have endured from other colors.  I now bore the red mark, one of the most painful and cruel of them all.

The red mage left the room and I began sweeping and inspecting the room.  There were very cooling colors here, that of light blue, silver, and white.  The walls seemed to emit this light from the top of the room where the walls meet the ceiling.  Along the back wall ran a long shelf of gray stone littered with books, scrolls, beakers, test tubes, and other implements of advanced wizardry.  I swept my way over to the shelf and began inspecting the books, one of them caught my eye.  I opened it and tried to read, but it was in that same language that I had seen earlier on the tapestries in the court yard.  I was putting the book down when I noticed the text had changed, it was now common English.  A self translating book, how handy!  I began reading and I was soon seeing a history of this place playing out like a movie for me in my mind. 

The wizards weren’t awful entities per se, not on purpose anyway, but they were and always had been extremely arrogant and very selfish, they had no specific grudge with the normal folk of the world, but if you happened to get in their way or speak out against their ideas of progress or planning, they would have little problem with doing away with you and your entire village or town.  Nothing personal, just business.  So, if you were asked to move, you moved.  Many people had lost their homes and lives to the expansion and carelessness of the wizard realm and therefore they were not well liked in the local community.  Occasionally, they would open the doors of the temples to anyone who would dare come and great parties and feasts were had.  But if you did join in the festivities, it was quite likely that the wizards may use you as a form of entertainment, like a meat puppet they could throw around.  It was infuriating and humiliating for the people of the villages who had just come to get something to eat, but the wizards just laughed and would pick another for their cruel games. 

As long as they stayed docile and went along with the plan, the wizards would keep your tavern in the finest of ales end the best produce anyone could possibly have.  It was a bribe to shut up about it.  This worked for many years, but after decades of loss and oppressive behavior, some of the villages had had enough.  They recruited the best men of the towns and villages that they weren’t currently at war with and attempted to lead an assault on the great temple.  The wizards were usually good to ignore the wars and simple minded tasks of the locals, but uprising would not be tolerated and the people would pay dearly.

The gates of the great temple opened, much to the surprise of the army before it.  It seemed to be empty, abandoned, as if the wizards had fled in fear. 

“Cowards!”, shouted the men as they began to celebrate a seemingly easy victory, but they had no idea what was to come. 

Now, out of the darkness of the temple poured legions of hellish filthy little beings conjured from places deep in the earth called, The Shammeral.  Let’s just say you didn’t want to be on the receiving end of a hoard of Shammeral, it didn’t end well for those who did.  They had a tendency to slay absolutely everyone in their path no matter who or what and they would not tire or stop until sent back below by the wizards.

  The Shammeral possessed powerful psychic weapons that instantly and brutally ripped the skin from the body in a split second and destroyed the mind of the victim, leaving behind a writhing bloody mess of unfathomable pain and insanity that thankfully didn’t live long.  The Shammeral would then collect the ejected skins and proudly wear them as clothing.  They had no thirst, except for that of blood, and no hunger or need to feed, as their bodies would slowly absorb the many layers of their enemies skin for nourishment.

After thousands of years of annoying privileged behavior, finally, the other races in the surrounding lands threw off their petty differences, stopped their wars on each others lands, and joined together as one to finally and forever defeat these obnoxious wizards.  It took decades of bloody warfare and the dead would be beyond count, but finally, the wizards would fall and their temple complexes destroyed and buried, never to be disturbed again.  They even went as far as to melt glaciers and redirect the rivers and streams from all over to slowly create the ancient lake Bonneville that covered this entire area in thousands of feet of water.  This insured the remains could never be found or disturbed again, as no one wanted to take the chance of the wizards power returning.  But over time, the lake slowly dried up leaving the Great Salt Lake behind and a whole lot of empty land.  The rest is history.

But if they were all destroyed, how am I here reading this in what seems to be the past?  This is obviously before the great uprising.  So they know? 

Just then a voice rang out in the room,

“Yes, we’ve always known, it was written long ago, our demise.  What I really want to know is who are you?”, and in came a wizard of at least 8 feet in hight dressed in bright green robes carrying a bright greed rod. 

I kneeled before him and spoke my words in a submissive tone, “I am but a lowly orange initiate, great master, I was just sweeping the Opal room, I will leave immediately.”

“No need”, said the green. 

“I am the Green Father and you are no initiate, nor are you one of the common folk, now rise and tell me who you really are, where you have come from?”

Fear shot through me, he knows.  He knows I don’t belong here. 

“Please great Father, you are correct, please don’t feed me to your pigs, I come from a time long in the future, a time when all of this is a human city called Salt Lake City, I come from that time period and I am not sure how I got here.”, I spoke slowly and clearly. 

The Green Father smiled in a friendly yet arrogant manner and said,“You are of the people of the Salt, yes we know of you and your time.  We will not exist in your world and that is meant to be.  Come, I will send you back to where you belong.”, “The red mage”, continued the Green Father, “He caused you pain, did he not?  I see his mark upon your cloak.  I’m impressed, even our kind have a hard time taking the burning fury of a red rod.  But worry not, he has already been fed to the pigs, they gnaw at his bones as we speak.”

“Oh, uh, okay then, it wasn’t that bad really, you didn’t have to, you know, kill him”, I said in a shocked tone.

The Green Father just chuckled to himself and said,

“Tt is done, pay it no more mind.” 

They sure like to feed people to the pigs around here, it seems like an awful way to die, but a great way to get rid of those pesky bodies.  I was certainly glad that the Green Father had offered to send me home. 

I followed closely behind the Green Father, the others now were beginning to awaken from their trance like states, watching me with questioning eyes as I walked through their sacred court yard.  They whispered to one other and wondered who I might be, the one that is being given the great honor of following the great Green Father.  We passed into another chamber at the opposite far end of the courtyard which contained a rectangular room with glowing blue walls, in the middle sat a great set of translucent blue steps atop two thrones sat, one of diamond and one of emerald.  The Green Father ascended the stairs and took his seat in the emerald throne. 

Moments later another tall being appeared in the room and took his seat in the diamond throne.  He was dressed in blue robes and carried a bright blue rod. 

“I am the Blue Father”, spoke the being. 

“Together we represent the power of our world, we are the beginning and the end, we are the ultimate, we are GODS!”, said the Blue Father in a menacing tone. 

“We are not Gods”, retorted the Greet Father, “We just simply are.”

Blue Father gazed at me with cold judgmental eyes, I could feel his icy gaze in my heart, it felt like he was squeezing it.  But the feeling ceased and he smiled kindly and said,

“worry not young fragile boy, I will not harm you, I’d like to help you.  But you must tell me of your time, tell me what you have found and how you arrived here.  I want to know everything.”

So I just started nervously talking, blabbing here and there, rambling off about the decades I’ve been alive what life is like, what is important to us, and what we want for the future of our race, which seemed to cause great fits of laughter from both the Blue Father.  I spoke of childhood, my passions, love of music, and my hopes and dreams.  I also told him of the hot springs my friend Jon had found and how things seemed to get crazy after I spent some time in the water.  The Blue Father then rose and left the throne room without a word.

The Green Father looked down at me with great concern,

“You must go, now, there is great danger in what you have told us here today.  If you have stumbled upon the ruins of this temple, you may have unleashed powers you cannot even fathom in your time.  It could mean the end of your entire race.”, “You say you bathed in the waters of the spring?”, he asked. 

“Well, I didn’t actually bathe in it, but yes, me and my friend Jon spent an entire night soaking in it and drinking beer, what is it?  Is it dangerous?”, I asked. 

He then pointed out at the white pond in the center of the court yard.  Suddenly it all made sense, all the feelings, the strange activity and encounters, we had absorbed some of that ancient power from the still flowing sacred springs, and us uncovering it was like turning on a firehose to full blast without anyone holding onto it, flopping all over the place spraying uncontrollable power all across the city. 

“You must return immediately and stop the flow before it’s too late”, spoke the Green Father as he rose from his throne, he then pointed his great green rod, and frustrating blackness began to wash over me. 

“Wait!  How do I……I don’t know how to….”, I tried to ask, I had so many questions, but before I could speak anymore words, I passed out.

I felt myself flying through a pitch black world, like a space eagle, it was actually quite pleasant until I felt myself smash into something.  I’ve been blocked, up against some invisible wall, it was a terribly uncomfortable feeling of being stuck, like I was being pushed forward by the heavy current of a river, but caught up against a large iron grate, unable to move due to the pressure of the current.  I opened my eyes and I was now upright, arms spread wide to the sids, feet crossed together, in a position much like Jesus on the cross, held in there in that position in a total inky black nothingness, I it was so hard to breath and as I struggled the worse it got, but slowly I could see a faint blue light in the distance and the outline of someone approaching me. 

The great Blue Father approached out of the darkness and he was holding me here in place with his glowing blue rod.  It was so cold, shivers rocketed through my body, again I felt a great anger and a vile hatred within my heart, I could feel his icy cold hand holding my heart in his palm.  All he had to do is squeeze and it would all be over with.  A heavy depressing sadness flooded my mind, maybe it’s just for the best, what’s even the point anymore?  Who am I to go against such power?  I can’t fight a God.  I wanted to just let go, be done with it all.  I just wanted to be back hanging out with my friends again, enjoying cider in a hot spring. 

Just do it already, squeeze, just get it over with.   But that isn’t what happened, I suddenly felt his grip release my heart and he stood, towering over me like a giant ancient Redwood tree over a small child.  His icy cold gaze now turning to an arrogant and smug smirk as he spoke.

“I have a proposal for you, boy”, said the Blue Father. 

“Go back to your world, go to your bed, go to sleep, let it come to pass.  Concern yourself no more, I will assure your protection during this transitioning.  The Green Father is weak and a fool, for he does not realize that this is our chance to rise again, to rule the great green valley once more and again regenerate our full strength.  He does not think we can change the books and that which was foretold long ago, but I can, I know I can, I have more power than any one of them, and I will show them all!  The Green Father will join us, or be destroyed.”

“There shall soon be a new world, boy.  We shall initiate your race into ours, those that survive the initiation shall have more power than they could ever dream of.  If you assist me in your world to achieve this, if you accept me as your one and only TRUE God, then you shall have all you could ever want, everything you have ever desired will be at your fingertips.  I can give that to you and more, much more.  You shall live high in our ranks as a Blue Master, you will never suffer the indignity of an orange initiate.    You shall have control over any that you wish, you shall have your own kingdom, you shall rule as a GOD, AS WE DO!”, he thundered like a raging storm into the darkness. 

“But hear me now, boy.  If you do not obey my commands, if you would choose to defy me and follow your weakness, I shall personally feed you to my pigs like the pathetic ball of greasy meat that you really are.” 

“Consider your choices carefully, boy.”

I awoke naked on the floor of my shower, oh my throbbing head.  Everything seemed to swim, I felt like I was in a giant fish tank going up and down on a forklift.  I stumbled out of the bathroom and landed on my bed.  Clarity began to come back as the words of the Blue Father echoed in my head.  “What a dream”, I said to myself as I headed down to the kitchen to get something to eat, but I was stopped on the stairs by the spirit that called himself, Dan.

“You have to stop the dig if you want it to go away”, Dan calmly said. 

“What dig?”, I asked, but I already knew. 

The Walmart, the excavation, it must be stopped or face the end of the human race and the world as we know it.  Couldn’t it all have just been a dream?  But unfortunately, this was no dream.  I had to act and act quickly.

Leave it to Walmart to destroy the world, as they had disturbed and uncovered the ruins of the great temple complex and had reactivated powers far beyond the comprehension of current man.  Doorways to other worlds had started opening and shutting randomly, letting in and out different beings and entities of all types.  Not all in the city would be so lucky to just be disturbed by the dead, if it is allowed to continue it will progress and other mischievous and far more malevolent entities will come in to our world to wreak havoc. 

Ghosts were beginning to appear everywhere, every house would soon be a haunted house, strange creatures began to lurk in the dark corners, and ancient horrors would dig out of holes in the ground, and thrive in the sewers.  Soon it would be total chaos and if we happened to accidentally summon The Shammeral, well, you can kiss humanity goodbye. 

Dan told me that I needed to go back to the hot springs that Jon had found in his back yard, that there was someone there that could possibly help fix things before it’s too late.  It had something to do with the water in the spring I had sat in and if we could reverse the flow back down into the ground and seal the hole, things might go back to normal.  This is also why I could see the dead and receive the transmissions I had been getting, I was still filled with the power from the sacred springs, but something had changed, I felt my experience with the wizards had calmed me and I felt more capable of handling the powers that remained inside of me.  I needed to go, I felt like I’d been laying in my bathroom naked for a week.  How long had I actually been in there?  I needed to get back to Jon’s place.

I walked outside just in time to see another one of those fat faced reptile guys driving off in my truck. 

“Have a good day!”, he hollered out the window at me as he drove off with my only transportation. 

Great, now my truck has stolen by a lizard.  So I called up a ride share service to come get me and a few minutes later a familiar car pulled up in front of my house, a light blue Dodge Shadow.  Wait, who used to drive a blue Dodge Shadow?  It all came back as I opened the car door.  It was my old friend Nate Andrews who died some years back.  He didn’t seem to recognize me, but I was stoked!

“Hey, dude!  How are you?  It’s been so long, it’s awesome to see you again!”, I happily said, 

“What’s life like?”, I asked with excitement. 

He just looked in the rear view mirror at me and shrugged like he could care less.

“Being dead?”, he responded coldly. 

“Yeah, what’s it like?”, I asked. 

“Boring”, Nate replied in the same monotone voice. 

He reached down and grabbed a pair of headphones from the center of the front seat and proceeded to drown me out.  He didn’t seem to want to talk about it at all and I guess I can’t blame him, but every once in a while he would glance back in the rear view mirror at me and smile, like he knew I was up to something.  Not much else was said during the ride to Jon’s house.  He dropped me off in front of the house and before I could say anything, he and his car just simply vanished.  Although it was a very brief encounter of few words, it was still good to see my old friend again.

It was dark, it felt late, the middle of the night.  I reached into my pocket for my phone, but it wasn’t there.  I must have left it in my truck, but I had a watch on instead, I glanced at down and it said it was 2 A.M.  It really was late, but I needed to make contact and find out what was going on.  I opened the back gate and found many people laying in Jon’s back yard, alive, but totally out of it, like they had been drugged.  It seems I had been gone for much longer than I had thought.  Jon had opened a public hot spring business in his back yard and there were people everywhere, on the patio, inside, on the lawn, floating in the spring passed out on giant rubber ducky toys.  None of them seemed very coherent, none of them could stay awake at all.  I opened the basement door and entered the hallway, I heard a toilet flush and my friend Jacob came out of the bathroom,

“It’s all yours”, he said as he passed me.

Just then, Jon came out of a room down the hall and rushed over to us. 

“You guys mind keeping it down, the kids are trying to sleep”, he whispered. 

Jacob just left out of the basement door and Jon motioned me outside as well.  He looked disheveled and tired, like he hadn’t slept for days.

“I thought this was going to be a good idea, the hot springs thing, I thought I could make some extra cash”, said Jon in an exhausted tone.

“But now there are people here all the time and I can’t get rid of them, as soon as they touch the water they pass out and I can’t wake them up, they’re driving my family nuts!”, he continued. 

Behind him I saw the shadow of a man standing in the dark corner of the yard. 

“Who’s that?”, I asked and pointed in his direction. 

“Who?”, said Jon, “I don’t see anyone, dude. 

“But things haven't been normal around here at all.  You wanna go have a smoke?”, Jon asked.

I walked with Jon around the house to the front porch and took a seat in one of the two chairs that were there.

“I never thought you’d start smoking again”, I said as Jon lit up a Camel from a freshly opened pack. 

“I’m not”, he said.  “I’m just doing what I need to do right now, in this moment, after this one, I don’t smoke anymore, got it?” 

He seemed annoyed that I had even pointed it out. 

“Want one?”, Jon asked as he thrust the pack towards me, shaking it ever so invitingly. 

The urge was strong, after all, why not?  This just may he the end of the world.  So I grabbed one from the pack, Jon handed me a lighter but before I could light it a familiar voice said, “Don’t do it, man.”

Another old friend, thankfully not dead, Ryan Hansen stepped out from the shadows. 

“Why would you guys start smoking again now?”, he inquired of Jon and I. 

“Because, man, the world might end here at any time, things are crazy around here, didn’t you see all of this?”, I said. 

“What’s so crazy about it?”, said Ryan. 

“You know, the ancient foundations, strange unknown powers, the dead walking around like nothing ever happened, time travel, burning hot rods, evil wizards, skin eating beings, people being fed to pigs, you know, all that crazy stuff.”, I explained.

Ryan just laughed and said “Well what’s the big deal?” 

I was a little shocked, and I responded, “Well we have to fix it, and I really don’t know what to do or how to do that.” 

Ryan chuckled and took a toothpick out of his pocket and placed it in his mouth, then said, “it’s no big deal, at all, just cover it back up.” 

He snickered again like we were complete morons and walked around the house.  I followed him around the corner to find he had vanished and was nowhere to be found.  But something caught my nose, a terrible scent, like sulfur mixed with rotting meat.  There was s yellowish smoke coming from the hot spring shed and the water had turned from crystal clear to a thick gurgling yellow paste that reeked of death.  I knew exactly what it was, the summoning of the The Shammeral, you could hear their high pitched voices and excited evil screeching in the gurgling mire as they rose from deep within the earth.  Time was short, if they get here, we’re all gonna be skin tuxedoes for The Shammeral.

“Hey”, said a voice behind me.  It was Ryan again and he was holding a shovel with a bright green handle in one hand and a blue towel in the other. 

“Here, dig, quickly!  They are almost here.  Or take this towel and put it around your neck and jump in.  It’s up to you.”, he said as the words of the Blue Father repeated in my head. 

Do I save the world as it is, warts and all?  Or do I throw in the blue towel and become like a God with everything I’ve ever desired.  But I already knew what to do, I grabbed the green shovel and began shoveling dirt back into the pool as fast as I could.  As I shoveled and shoveled everyone in the yard began waking up, standing up, grabbing a shovel and started to help me fill in the hole.  Soon everyone was with me, shoveling dirt like mad, and the hole was quickly filling.  As it filled I felt the power weakening and the veil between the dead and the living was beginning to reform.

There came a great crashing explosion as something ripped through Jon’s entire house splitting it in two.  It was giant metal object came to rest in the back yard near where we were shoveling the dirt.  It was a old steam locomotive, spewing frying hot stream and dripping with oil.  Shocked, we all dropped our shovels and backed away from the hellish contraption as somebody jumped out of the cab holding an old fashioned pistol. 

“Hold it right there”, “drop them shovels, drop em now!”, yelled the person slowly approaching with the gun.

“My name is Iron Jesse Walters and this here is my hill”, “none of you yanks gonna be taken my land, now get back!” 

As he slowly came into the moonlight I could see a mostly skeletonized man dressed in old fashioned train engineers overalls, a red scarf around his neck, and an old oily hat. 

I did my best to explain what we were trying to do, “Look, no one is trying to take your…..”,

“SHUDDUP!”, screamed Iron Jesse as he sharply cut me off. 

“I want all you yanks offin my property, now!”, “and quit diggin up my rails, God dammit!”, yelled Iron Jesse.

In desperation, I started towards the shovels again and Jesse fired a shot at me, knocking the shovel clean out of my hands. 

“Last warning, friend”, said Iron Jesse. 

“You ain’t wanted here, now GIT!”, and he began shooting at us at random while laughing hysterically.

“Run, Yanks, Run!”, he snorted in between fits of insane laughter.

Everyone ran into the front yard and then scattered into the night.  My heart sank, I felt sick.  What is this?  Why now?  What was the guy even talking about?  What were we gonna do now?  With every passing moment, I felt myself getting closer to the pig pen. 

“Welp, might as well have another smoke”, said Jon.  “It’s over now, there’s nothing else we can do.”

But Iron Jesse began moving his steam engine, back and forth, slowly moving it out of the wrecked house and in a swoosh, through the back yard and up into the sky, while completely driving all the dirt back into the hole all at once and packing it down with the crushing weight of an iron steam engine.  He has filled the hole and closed the portals. 

Me and Jon stood there in amazement and watch as old Iron Jesse made pass after pass over the Walmart site, completely filling in the excavated areas, totally reburying the ancient Temple Mount.  Jesse blew the old steam whistle as he made his last pass over the empty lot. 

He reached out the window of the cab and threw out a lit bundle of old fashioned dynamite and screamed, “WEEEEEEEHAAAAWWWW”, as him and his steam engine passed into nothingness in the moonlight over the mountains.  The dynamite went off with a deafening roar and all the houses that Walmart had destroyed were back and Jon’s house and backyard had returned to the way it used to be.

It turns out that our slow moving shovel work was never going to stop what was coming, we were just simply too damn slow and couldn’t make enough progress to close the portals completely.  Old Iron Jesse, as his last act in this world before he returned to the realm of the dead, was to save our sorry asses in his own, special way.  That was certainly unexpected.  I thought we were doomed and I would be fed to the pigs.  But not this time.

Me and Jon quietly walked back into the house, Jon got down the bottle of decent scotch and he poured us both a glass.