Dreams for Sale

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The piece of paper on the bulletin board in Woolworth’s said, “Dreams For Sale – 212-2641-0977.”

Alfred Oates blinked through his thick glasses and took his new Reynolds Rocket ballpoint pen out of his jacket pocket.

He carefully wrote the phone number down in a little notepad he kept in his other jacket pocket.

The year was 1947, and America was bursting with opportunities for clever men and women. Good jobs were available all over the country. Everyone was making money, one way, or the other.

Alfred made a lot of money, but had a peculiar problem. He couldn’t dream. He abruptly stopped dreaming when he became a teenager. Since then, he read everything he could find about his problem. There was precious little on the subject.

He wasn’t sure why he bothered writing the phone number down. It was probably some con man. But he had to admit, it was a clever way to get someone’s attention. He lit a Cuban cigar and leisurely strolled down the street until he came to the brownstone he was living in.

A black doorman in a tuxedo greeted him with a smile and opened the door. He walked into the luxurious lobby and headed straight for the front desk to get his mail. There were two letters. He took them with him, and went up the elevator to his room.

When he got to his room he put his ear on the door for a moment then inserted the key. He could never be too cautious in his line of work. The elegantly appointed room had a small desk and chair near the large picture window.

The first letter was from his brother who stayed in the Army after the war and was stationed in Germany. The second letter was business.

He memorized a street address in Manhattan, and carried a small black-and-white photo of a well-dressed young man in his shirt pocket. His hat was tilted slightly forward in the photo and made him look dashing.

Alfred went to his hotel’s parking lot and got the keys to his brand new 1947 Blue Hudson from the attendant. There was always someone on duty 24-hours a day to watch over the expensive cars.

It took nearly a pack of cigarettes and six hours before the man in the photo showed up. As the man approached the front door of his hotel Alfred got out of his car, screwed the silencer on his pistol, pulled up a handkerchief to cover the lower part of his face, and walked up to him as the doorman was greeting him.

Two quick shots to the head instantly killed the man. The doorman was spared. He shrieked with horror, as Alfred calmly walked away. Contract filled. He walked for a few blocks then turned around and took a different route to his car.

When he got back to his place he used the phone in the lobby to call the mysterious phone number.

Hello,” the deep baritone voice said.

“Hi. I’m interested in buying dreams. I saw your ad.”

“My room is located in Harlem. It’s in the Historic Harlem Duplex down the street from Columbia University. When would you like an appointment?”

“Yeah…sure.”

“Are you busy tomorrow?”

“I could work a time out,” Alfred said.

“Go to Room 13, at 1:00 o’clock.”

Alfred got a dial tone before he could agree with the time. As he left the ornate phone booth he felt silly. How could he logically think someone could sell dreams? If nothing else he’d whack the quack for trying to fool him.

The door opened after the third knock. A tall skeletal looking black man in a three-piece suit greeted him, “Good Day, Mr. Oates! Please come in.”

“Odd,” Alfred thought when he looked around the room. There was only a large desk and two heavily padded chairs. One behind the desk, and the other in front of it. Where was the bed he wondered?

“Please…have a seat,” the tall man urged him. Alfred sunk into the padded chair while studying the man as he went over to the other chair.

My name is Moses Gardener. I sell dreams. Been doing it for a long time. You are probably thinking I’m a fake trying to take advantage of you. Don’t worry, I deliver the goods.”

Moses opened a drawer and took out a small bottle made out of purple glass. He sat it down on the desk between them. Alfred’s eyes were riveted to the little flashes of light it emitted.

Carefully, Moses pulled the stopper out and tilted the bottle until a single round yellow pill came out. He laid it down in front of Alfred and closed the bottle.

“Because you’re a new customer, I’ll only charge you half of what I normally charge; one hundred dollars.”

“What guarantee do I have this pill will work? Your asking for a lot of money.”

“You know where to find me Mr. Oates. Take it, or leave it.”

Alfred paid him.

“Make sure to take it when your tired and ready to go to sleep. This is not a sleeping pill,” Moses advised.

Alfred sat on the edge of his bed and looked at the pill. Once again he wondered if this was worth it? What if the pill was poison? Then Moses wouldn’t have to worry about getting a visit from him.

Suddenly he didn’t care. He had no family. No friends. He really wanted to dream again. Closing his eyes he popped the pill into his mouth and chased it down with a shot of expensive bourbon.

When the dreams came they were convoluted. Faces flashed by. He was a boy again playing baseball in a dirty sand lot. Swimming in a pool. Playing stick ball in the streets. Falling in love with his 5th grade teacher.

The next morning Alfred woke up with a sense of sadness. He wanted the dream to continue. After getting dressed for the day and eating breakfast he called Moses.

“That’ll be two hundred dollars,” Moses said as he pulled the purple bottle out of the desk drawer.

“How do you do it? Where do you get these pills? I sure wouldn’t mind in investing in them,” Alfred said, as he peeled two one-hundred dollar bills out of his wallet.

“It’s a family recipe,” Moses answered.

Alfred hurried back to his place, eager for the night to fall. This time he didn’t hesitate to pop the pill.

His dream started out with his first kill. The owner of a restaurant who owed money to the mob. He saw the man’s shocked look as he shot him. But instead of falling down, the man grinned at him. His sharp white teeth gleamed with an unnatural light!

Then a crying woman appeared. Pleading for her life as he leveled his gun at her. Children were crying for their murdered parents. Blood ran down the walls in his bedroom.

He couldn’t wake up. He knew he was asleep. That knowledge terrified him. Two men suddenly attacked him with billy clubs! He felt the blows and the pain shocked him. Then he was stumbling around in a graveyard, and saw a headstone with his name on it.

When he mercifully woke up the next morning he was trembling, sweaty, and angry. Moses didn’t say anything about nightmares. He wanted his money back.

But Moses wasn’t there. The hotel staff said there was no room number 13. It was an unlucky number. Didn’t he know that?

That night, to his utter horror, the dreams came back and most of them were bad.

As It Stands, there’s a fine line between dreams and nightmares.

New Intergalactic Circus Causes Controversy

 

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Staros – Andromeda Galaxy

Stian Field Grounds

“Step right up folks! See your first circus featuring wild and exotic species from the Milky Way.”

The long line moved smoothly. Families brought their children with them to witness the amazing sights. The atmosphere was full of excitement as Staroians swapped stories about some of the creatures that were going to be on display.

Publicity for the major event was heavy with side bar stories about the species that were being featured.

Opening day was the culmination of two years of searching for specimens throughout the Milky Way. With the guidance of trainers, the collected species were taught to do amusing things.

The circus was owned by Cosmic Entertainment, the largest entertainment corporation on Staros. The ringmaster, Sen-Set Hak, was the son of one of the owners. It was his job to put the show together.

As the audience swelled under the massive Big Top tent, a group of clowns from Pluto scampered around the center ring on all five legs, to the delight of the growing audience.

Two huge, and hairy three-legged Donarts from Venus were being led around the ring by a tall thin Venusian. He snapped his whip now and then for dramatic effect. His glittering green costume reflected light like a mirror.

Sen-Set Hak stood proudly in the center of the chaos. His bulky 15-foot frame was covered in colored gems that made his jacket and trousers glitter brightly. His top hat, made from the coat of a local mammal, was black with a golden band.

After the seats were full, dramatic music blared from hundreds of speakers. Sen-Set raised all three arms, calling for silence. The music abruptly stopped. The audience followed and waited silently.

“Welcome! Today you’re going to see sights you never imagined. Rare and exotic specimens from throughout the Milky Way are here today…just for your entertainment!”

The crowd roared approvingly.

“Allow me to introduce the Saturn Marching Band, featuring the planet’s best musicians!”

A tent flap opened and tiny musicians scurried out in unison. The tallest was two-feet high, and was the band leader. The little troupe paraded around the main ring in bright yellow costumes playing catchy tunes.

Suddenly two saber-toothed tigers from Neptune’s largest forest, ran into the tent and chased the band members around for a few minutes before their trainer called them off. The terrified band members scuttled out to roars of laughter from the audience.

Another tent flap was peeled back and four circus helpers pulled out a large cage made of a see-through material found in the mines of Mercury. Inside were two Martian warriors armed with crude wooden clubs.

Sen-set gave a signal and the two combatants went at it like honey-badgers from Earth. They were evenly matched. Both were six-feet tall with long brawny arms and short thick legs.

Their heads, which looked too small in comparison with the rest of their body, were covered in black hoods so they couldn’t see. Their fierce shouts and screams of pain entranced the audience.

The fight ended suddenly when one of them could no longer stand. The victor silently stood and waited for the audience expectedly.

A voice from the seats cried out, “Kill him!” Then someone else chimed in, “Kill him!” Soon, almost half of the audience was calling for the defeated Martian’s death. The victor took his hood off and obliged by smashing his opponent’s head in.

The blood stained cage was quickly wheeled out during the pandemonium in the seats. People were crying out that it was wrong to watch two species kill each other! Others said it was entertaining.

In the midst of the chaos a tent flap was pulled aside and a group of a dozen Earthlings charged out into the center arena where they did cartwheels and other physical tricks.

“For your pleasure,” Sen-Set shouted over the loud speakers, effectively ending the momentary controversy in the stands, “…we have a group of Chinese Earthlings renown for their gymnastics and acrobatic shows!”

The group hopped around like fleas on speed. Complex routines kept the audience riveted on their act. Their graceful strength and agility was appreciated by the athletic Staroians…many of whom had already forgotten about the brutality of the prior act.

Among the audience however, was a press pool covering the historic event. A popular reporter from a major newspaper in Staro’s capitol city of Werjet, was composing his article while the Earthlings went through their routines.

“Just what defines entertainment?” he asked, in the first sentence.

As It Stands, entertainment can mean different things, in different cultures, and worlds.

 

The Lone Wolf and the Space Cruiser

renderfin_by_adamkop-d9c9jw1The first company to offer public Space Cruises was Skyliner Corporation, in 2103.

The privately owned company was known for its innovations in space travel as a contractor for the U.S. military since 2078.

Space travel was becoming routine when the company’s first public space cruiser took its maiden flight in 2099. The 230 passengers consisted of family members of the entire team that built the giant luxury cruiser, and celebrities who paid top dollar to be on the historic flight into outer space.

The Captain, Joseph Van deMare, was a veteran space traveler who set numerous flight records during his career with the military. Skyliner’s CEO, Todd Knight, lured him out of retirement with the offer to make history, and a lot of money.

The two passenger levels offered a 360-degree view of the wonders of space. Every modern convenience was available to make passengers comfortable. The food, offered up by a 5-star chef was, as the company literature boasted, out of this world!

After the three-day cruise was over, passengers raved about their experiences. They made appearances on popular TV shows and shared their stories of awe and wonder. Some even claimed it was like a religious experience.

Afterwards, the designers and engineers went over the giant ship to see how it held up. One of the many computer techs found something in the software that troubled him. He went to his boss and explained his concern.

There were a couple of minor failures in the re-entry system software, and if not for the fail-safe system backup there could have been a disaster. All those happy passengers could have been roasted like chestnuts in a fire.

The board of directors agreed more work needed to be done before the next public flight. They also made sure no word got out about how close they’d come to a catastrophic event.

A year later the designers, the engineers, and the computer techs, patched the problems and added another back-up, to the first back-up system. Throughout this time controversy sprang up on social media platforms, and television, about man’s need to leave the planet.

Most agreed it was a good thing. Space travel for the masses might someday save mankind. Others thought it was blasphemy that people would want to leave the planet God made for them. Even for a short time.

Captain Van deMare stood on a platform next to the Space Cruiser, christened The Arc by the press, and the Milky Way Express by the owners, and patiently answered questions.

“Is it true there’s going to six weddings during this cruise?” a reporter from CNN asked.

“Yes. And I’ll be marrying them.”

“Any safety concerns?” another reporter from a local news station asked.

“If there were, I wouldn’t be going. This big bird (he slapped the side of the space cruiser’s hull) is indestructible,” he assured the reporter.

Watch it!” another reporter joked, “Isn’t that what the owners said about The Titanic?” 

“Well, that’s about all. I have to get ready now, we’re leaving in six hours. Thank you all for coming. I’ll see you again when we get back,” Captain Van deMare said.

DAY ONE

All of the passengers are having the time of their lives with the exception of one man, Abraham Klein. He’s sitting quietly at a table for two. Before him, an Autumn Vegetable Salad with Beetroot Dressing has hardly been touched.

He waits for God to speak to him. He’s ready.

DAY TWO

Alone in his room, Abraham pulls out the leather pouch from beneath his shirt. He carefully pulls the leather string and peeks inside – the miniature bomb’s shiny surface picks up the overhead light and he sees his face.

But no word from God.

DAY THREE

Abraham continues avoiding conversations with people. It’s lonely being God’s servant. He has a moment of guilt when he sees a new bride kiss her husband on the big screen. Their joy almost seems heavenly he thought, then caught himself.

No. He was the heavenly one. Soon to be one of God’s angels.

DAY FOUR

When the captain offered a tour of the massive space cruiser, Abraham joined in with the other passengers. His heart sped up. Was this going to be his opportunity?

Two levels below the second passenger level, there were three fusion reactors that powered the behemoth. As the curious passengers stepped out of the elevators, Abraham felt his chest, and the leather bag underneath his shirt burned.

Then God spoke.

Back on Earth

Press from around the world surrounded Skyliner Corporations headquarters.

The Milky Way Express had gone dark two days ago. Phone calls to, and from, the space cruiser suddenly stopped. Military space ships searched the route the space cruiser took, but found nothing.

As It Stands, this is my nod to the terrorists we face today. Especially to “Lone Wolfs.” 

 

The Voice of God

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“God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the second day” Genesis 1:8

You’re going to have to speak up Art, “ Flo advised him.

Captain Art Davis stood up, took a deep breath, and bellowed “I am God!”

“That’s better. I have it recorded now. Let me add it to your wrist speaker vocabulary. Where’s your robe?”

“Do I really have to wear that damn thing?” Art complained. “I can see the fake beard, but from what we’ve seen, these Neptunians run around naked. Maybe I should too.”

“You’re missing the whole point Art…we want to impress these aliens.”

“What do you mean by that?

“Listen Art, this is just Day Two. We’ve got a lot more to do.”

The Neptunians were huddled around a fire. Their leader, a short stocky biped with thick arms and a bald head, lit a pipe with a burning twig and took a long hit before passing it on.

His name was Alca, and unlike most Neptunians he was ambitious and sought power. The small band that he had gathered, and ruled, weren’t strong enough to take on the other tribes of Neptune.

Alca was a quick thinker. So, when he saw the two aliens (who looked remarkably familiar) get of their spacecraft one day, he didn’t run like the rest of his band. Instead he went to his knees, an uncomfortable positions for this thick legs, and bowed his head.

The two earthlings approached him. Flo nudged Art and he took his helmet off. “Good to know we can breathe in this atmosphere,” he said conversationally while walking over to kneeling Alca, who was trembling in fear and excitement.

“My name is Captain Art Davis, and this is Second Lieutenant Flo…”

Hold on Art! The recording remember?”

“I wish you’d address me with the proper military courtesy in front of others Lieutenant…”

Really Art? We’ve been sleeping together for two years and haven’t seen a human being since we went on this mission. Kinda late to stand on ceremony isn’t it?”

“Fine.”

Alca looked up at the two strange beings that appeared to be wearing some kind of shell and wondered if they came in peace?

Art pushed a button on his wristwatch and pointed at his chest, “I am God!” he bellowed mightily. The loud roar made Alca shake even more.

He sat up gingerly, and tapped his chest like a good Neptunian hound and said, “Alca.”

It took weeks of working with Alca, and his small band, but Flo managed to establish a crude system of signs and words. She impressed upon them that Art was the God of everyone in their world.

His voice was louder than any mere Neptunian’s. The very sound made them tremble in religious ecstasy.  They were taught that he had all of the answers to their problems. That his word was law. That his justice was supreme.

This went on for 12 cycles (7 earth years) as monuments were made by the Neptunians to honor their new God. All the while, Alca plotted how he could use God to further his aims. He started a cult that claimed to be God’s only true believers.

Finally, Art and Flo completed their mission and left Neptune to go on to their next assignment…Mercury.

As It Stands, earthlings as gods. Now there’s a funny thought!

The Golem of Bar Nune Wyoming

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Prologue:

1593, Prague

After the famous rabbi, Judah Loew ben Bezalel, created a Golem out of clay from the banks of the Vltava River to protect the Prague ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks and programs, he eventually immobilized the creature when the job was done.

The Golem’s name was Josef and his body was stored in the attic Genizah of the Old New Synagogue, where it stayed until needed again. Centuries passed…

2017, Prague

Rabbi Leopold ben Bezalel finished reading a book – The Golem: Legends of the Ghetto of Prague (English edition 1925) by Chayim Bloch’s (1881–1973) – and sat it down on the end table.

He was frustrated, but not about to give up on his search for his ancestor’s Golem. He discovered that the attic where the Golem was put had been renovated in 1883, and there was no evidence of the Golem there at that time.

Not even a pile of sand on the floor. For whatever reason the Golem must have been moved by someone Leopold concluded, after reading about a Nazi agent who went up in the synagogue attic during World War II and tried to stab the Golem but he died instead.

To Leopold, that suggested that the Golem was still in the attic regardless of the 1883 renovation where searchers couldn’t find the body.

Getting into that attic was a problem. It was closed up again after WW II and no visitors were allowed. It was still closed.

He looked out the window and watched the snow steadily fall on the towns main street. Bar Nune, population 3,209, in Natrona County, Wyoming had become a bad place for Jews to live. His congregation was constantly being harassed by neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.

The authorities turned their backs on what was happening. They were part of the problem. They weren’t interested in protecting Jews anymore than the neo-Nazis. Their hatred seemed to increase in the last year and their attacks against the Jewish population increased.

Leopold saw what was happening and was determined to do something about it.

It took every last bit of his savings, but Leopold came up with the money to fly to the Czech Republic. Once he arrived at Prague he went right to the Jewish Corner, which was once a ghetto, and looked up an old friend.

Rabbi Franz Philippson’s friendship with Leopold began two decades ago when he was a studying in a New York synagogue. For the observant Jew like Leopold, the study of sacred texts is a life-long task. The New York synagogue was famous for its well-stocked library of sacred Jewish texts.

The two old friends greeted warmly and Rabbi Philippson invited Leopold to stay with him. The house was within walking distance of the Old New Synagogue. The two men talked throughout most of the night.

The next morning after prayer services the two friends strolled around the small courtyard outside of the Old New Synagogue.

“So you see my dear Leopold, Josef was never in the attic. That story was created by historians who didn’t have their facts right. If you need Josef I’ll help you in the rituals that it takes to summon him,” said Rabbi Philippson.

“Thank you! What do we do first?”

“We go down to the banks of the Vltava river for clay. That is where Josef has been all along. Let’s go to my house and get the book of Hebrew incantations in my library.”

Hours later the two men were standing on the river bank and Leopold was gathering a lump of clay. When the Golem appeared he addressed it – calling it Josef – and hung a necklace with a plaque on it with the name of Shem.

“Remember my friend,” Rabbi Philippson cautioned, “On Friday evenings you must remove his necklace before Sabbath begins and let him rest.” 

Bar Nune, Wyoming 

Rabbi Leopold ben Bezalel walked out of the synagogue’s candle lit interior with a light heart. It was nearly a year since any of his congregation had been harassed with anti-Semitic remarks.

The population did shrink by about four hundred residents, but no one seemed worried about it.

As It Stands, on the fringes of legends and myths there are certain cryptic truths.

 

A Spy on a Saturn Battleship

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The command center board lit up and General Adams turned on an encrypted communication device and listened closely: 

“Major Mark Steel, US Army reporting

I haven’t got much time.

I’m hiding in the deep cargo level of a T722 Saturn Battleship bound for earth. I’ve been listening to bits and pieces of the deck officers conversations and it looks like this is the real McCoy…Saturn is breaking our peace treaty and have put together an invasion fleet!

I’m in the flagship Conquering Star.” Please advise. I’ll contact you again at 17:00.”

General Adams turned off the device and turned to his assistant Col. John Hedy. “Our worst fear has come true, John. Saturn is attacking us despite the peace treaty!”

Col. Hedy had cotton mouth when he asked the general what their next step was? The general knew it was time to call the president. It was up to him.

President Oliver Henderson calmly listened to General Adam then told him to prepare all of the US military forces for war. Then he called the president of Russia. Then China. Then England. Then Canada. The calls took a full day to make.

Only the Big Three countries, America, China, and Russia, had any kind of defense system against hostile aliens. It was still relatively new, and untried. The plan called for perfect coordination between the three countries for maximum defensive strength.

Earth’s defense system circled the globe scanning for targets for the massive laser arsenal to eliminate. Each country’s defense system had to be careful to change orbits so there were no collisions.

Each firing platform also carried Atomic Bombs, and Hydrogen Bombs attached to jet-drones that could be controlled from Earth’s command centers. The combined firepower of the defensive network was mankind’s only hope.

17:00

“Major Steel reporting

I heard two deck officers talking about how easy they expected this invasion to be.

I also heard one say Saturn’s Premier Warlord Sheth Zorneath is aboard this flagship. Apparently it was he who talked Saturn’s ruling Kellith-Ashur Lords into breaking the treaty.

What are your orders?”

General Adam’s deep voice was soothing and clear, “Mark we think we’re ready. What I need you to do is when the attack starts turn on your open emergency channel and wait for further instructions.

You don’t mind me calling you Mark, do you major?” 

“Not at all sir.”

“Ralph. My name is Ralph. Good luck soldier.”

The attacking space armada approached earth at cruising speed. Russia’s spy satellite spotted them first and relayed the news to the others. The fighting platforms made rapid sight adjustments as the fleet got within range.

An opening salvo from six American and Chinese platforms struck two of Saturn’s Aircraft Carriers, disabling, but not destroying them. The return fire from the fleet pulverized all six attacking platforms.

The rest attempted to regroup at different coordinates. Some were able to fire all of their ordnance before being destroyed.

General Adam’s hands were shaking as he flipped on the secure communication device connecting him to Major Steel. This was it! One last chance…

“Mark…earth is doomed. They’ve knocked out our defenses. Is there anything you can do?”

Affirmative Ralph! I’ve been scouting things out, and I’m sure I can get to the control room and sabotage this big tub. Tell my wife I love her, and we’ll meet again somewhere in eternity.”

Col. Hedy ran into General Adams office to bring the good news; “For some reason there was a star-shattering explosion and the enemies flagship was destroyed. The remaining fleet has fled.”

As It Stands, I enjoy reading and writing spy/hero stories.

The Gods Last Meeting

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Celestial music. Clear blue skies. Trees and flowing rivers heavy with fish.

A gentle breeze tickles the grass meadows where the gods are gathering. Their colorful flowing robes mimic exotic butterflies.

They’re coming from every culture in earth’s history to the Elysian Fields to attend an emergency meeting. The site had more room than the Christian God’s Heaven, Seven Heavens, Tian, and Valhalla.

The atmosphere is electric with powerful energies. A mighty horn blast suddenly gets everyone’s attention. All eyes fall on Odin as he walks into the center of the gathering. His one good eye ablaze with emotion:

“I’m sorry to say we’re all going to be forgotten by mankind soon. Every book about us will turn to dust. Every story will be forgotten. No one will ever call upon our names again in times of need.”

Zeus stood up and asked, “Who dares to threaten the gods!”

“Mankind,” Odin replied.

“How so?” Aphrodite asked.

“First off, let me say all of our fates are not the same.  Allah, Jesus, the Christian God, Vishnu, Shiva, and Devi still have many believers who worship them. The dwindling pagan population in the 21st century however, is barely enough to preserve the rest of us.”

“What about scholars? They read about us. They know of our numerous followers,”  Chalchiuhtlicue asked.

“The scholars get fewer by the day,” Odin explained. “Our real problem is that mankind is turning away from all religions. The ones that still exist are fighting a daily battle that is going badly for them.”  

 “How can this be?” Horus asked. “Mankind has always needed us.”

Hsi-Wang-Mu rose from his sitting position and stretched. “Has this not always been a concern?” he calmly asked.

“You speak the truth,” Poseidon agreed. “Why should we worry now?”

Odin looked at his fellow gods and a trace of sadness momentarily crossed his face.

“I didn’t arrive at this observation alone. For years Apollo, Mercury, Frigg, Isis, Thor, Venus, and I, have been studying these modern humans. They are rejecting the idea of a higher power.”

“But like you said Odin, they still believe in some gods, and we are still living in libraries worldwide,” Athena pointed out.

The gods that are still openly worshipped have been losing followers at a rate never seen before in history. As for libraries, they too are becoming a thing of the past,” Odin said.

“Then this is our last meeting,” Dionysus said, after sipping his wine.

“It appears that way,” Fortuna agreed. “Our luck has run out.”

As It Stands, where do you turn when in crisis or seeking solace?