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The Visitor

Solstice Clan Lightning

By Gail WyliePublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 5 min read

I awoke with a start. Shaking my head, I pried my eyes open, trying to figure out where I was. The computer screen gazed back at me balefully, it’s whiteness only broken by two words: ‘The Solstice.’ Now I remember. I was in my office. I had promised to write a short article based on my experiences celebrating the solstice in Norway last June for the editor. However, instead of putting words on the screen I had dozed off, something that was beginning to happen far to often to me. I glanced at my desk, as I straightened up in my chair, trying wake myself up enough to get back to work. A half-eaten hamburger lay on a napkin next to a container holding a few French fries. Another day living on fast food. Maybe this is why I am so sleepy. I have to start taking better care of my body. But first, I have to get this article finished. I placed my hands on the keyboard.

The hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up. There was someone or something behind me. I slowly swiveled my chair around. To my amazement, a man, dressed from head to foot like a Viking Warrior, stood there, not two feet from me. I opened my mouth, but nothing came out.

“That’s all lies you know.” He spoke, as he gestured towards the row of books on Viking legends lined up on the shelf.

“What do you mean lies? I have spent the majority of my life gathering documentation that the legends are based on actual history. I think we have made it pretty clear at this point, that the gods of the Vikings actually existed and lived here on earth amongst men.”

“Lies, all lies! That’s what they told me when I was a kid. You wouldn’t believe how many men I butchered because of those lies. It makes me sick at heart to think about it.”

“What do you mean, you butchered men? What has that got to do with whether the Norse gods were real or not.”

“An awful lot if you want to feast in Valhalla with them.”

“Oh, Valhalla. The banqueting hall.”

“ Yes, Valhalla. Now, I’m not saying for a moment that all Vikings became warriors because of Valhalla. Some fought for fortune. Some fought for their clan. Some fought to gain more land. Some even fought for the thrill of fighting. But not me. I fought for my seat at the table in Valhalla. What did that get me? There I was, slicing the head off a Saxon, when a spear was thrust right through my chest.” He pulled down the edge of his tunic to reveal a ragged scar. “If anything should get you to Valhalla, it is what I was doing in that moment. But did it? No. All I got was to wander the earth for hundreds of years, inadvertently being summoned by people like you, who have no idea what they are doing”.

“But I didn’t summon you.”

“That’s why I said inadvertently. You don’t know what you are doing.”

“So what am I supposed to have done?”

“You made an image of me. Bamm! I appear.”

“An image? What kind of image?”

“I don’t know. It must be around here somewhere. It just has to look like me.” He looked around the room and then turned his eyes to the desk. “There it is, on that white note pad.”

“Don’t be foolish. That’s just the leftover ketchup that I was eating with my French fries.”

“That might be. All I can say is that number one, it does look like me, and number 2, I am here, so it must look like me.”

I sat and stared at the remains of the ketchup on the note pad. Then I looked up at his face, and then back to the ketchup. I picked up the pad and held it up by his face. I had to admit that I could see a slight resemblance. For a few minutes I sat in silence staring at him. Finally, I spoke. “This is crazy. Who put you up to this? Who let you in to the building?”

He gave a half smile. “Typical response, but I have already told you, I appear when you make an image of me. That is all there is to it.”

“And you are supposed to be from the past, an original Viking? What year would have that been?”

“I don’t know. We didn’t keep years back then. At least not in the way you keep them now. But I can guarantee that it’s been hundreds. I’ve seen an awful lot go by since I died.”

“So you are a Viking from hundreds of years ago? A Viking who can speak my language perfectly. How do you explain that?”

“I have also learned a lot over these hundreds of years. It’s not that I’m gone completely when I don’t appear to someone. I’m still present and aware of what is going on around me. It’s just that the majority of time, no one can see me. I use that time to keep up with what is going on in the world.”

He paused for a moment and then began to speak again. “I’m not the only one like me out there. There’s lots of us from all sorts of times in history. Caught in this dimension between life and death. They call us ghosts. Which is, I guess, what we are, but I think we are supposed to be teachers.”

“Teachers? Teaching what?”

“They call it sharing wisdom and knowledge with heroes, but I see it more like teaching humanity to be careful of what they believe. There are far too many power-hungry humans out there who are willing to claim anything to wield power. The rest of us have to stand up to them and say no.”

“You say ’supposed to be teachers.’ What does that mean?”

“Well, I spend so much time trying to persuade people I am who I am, I rarely get to the teaching part.”

“I see. Well, here, why don’t you sit down, make yourself comfortable and tell me what I need to know.” I reached forward and grasped his arm to direct him to the chair.

“Don’t tou….”

There was a flash, much like lightning, as his whole body shrunk down into a ball and flew out of the room, right through the wall, leaving me staring after it with amazement.

And then reality hit. After all the time and energy I have put into trying to clearly understand the world of the Vikings over the years, I had someone who could tell me what it was really like. Someone who knew. Someone who had been there. And I blew it. Instead of asking questions, I argued with him about how he got here. What an absolute waste.

I sighed and turned back to the computer to resume typing: 'in Norway.’

Short Story

About the Creator

Gail Wylie

Family therapist - always wanted to be a writer. Have published books on autism. Currently enjoying trying my hand at fiction. Loving the challenges of Vocal. Excited to have my first novel CONSEQUENCES available through Amazon.

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