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Today's Story by Benjamin Wachs

The Northmen said it all will end in fire and blood and no one will survive.


In the cold northlands they believed that the sun and moon were chased by wolves, which is why they ran across the sky and were often out of sight.  When I see a sunset like this over the ocean, I think that perhaps this is the color of the blood of the sun, running down to earth from the mouth of a hungry wolf.

The Northmen are the only people I know whose religion doesn’t have a happy ending.  Everyone else offers at least the promise of salvation, at least to the elect few, but the Northmen said it all will end in fire and blood and no one will survive.

It happens that way because the enemies of man are legion … the dead of Nifelheim and the dragons who gnaw at the roots of the world tree and the giants of the mountains.  But it also happens because the family of Gods could not keep their house in order.  They could not help but laugh at their adopted son, and he demanded a price for each snicker, and no one ever backed down.   Had Loki been embraced, or had he not taken each joke to heart, the fires never would have leapt over the cold oceans, the sun would not have gone out, and the world would not be broken.

My son has the face of an angel.  Yet he has defiled my study and stolen what I hold sacred and sold it to my enemies.  He has struck his mother.  He has ruined his sister’s credit.  They tell me it is a personality disorder, they tell me it is drugs, but I look at his beautiful face and I see the sunset over the ocean and I can only think that he is being chased by wolves.  Beauty like that always comes with demons – gods always have monsters.

Perhaps if I had loved him better, none of this damage would be done.  Perhaps if I could forgive him, I could prevent the end of the world.  I cannot say that history hasn’t warned me.  If.  If.  If.

But that’s mythology.  Nature tells me that the sun always goes down.


Benjamin Wachs has written for Village Voice Media, Playboy.com, and NPR among other venues.  He archives his work at www.TheWachsGallery.com.

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