The world tree, with the stars caught in its branches, is older than the gods that shelter beneath it. Principal among the inhabitants of its branches are a bird, which sees all, and the deer which feed on its leaves; in recent years they have acquired the power of flight, which of course they always had. – Chapter Two, Dead Gods And The Living
I awake to find they have cut out my liver, for its healing properties, and encased my feet in cement, for its weight. The sea is cold, dark, and filled with light; my lungs burn without air, and the salt burns the wound like acid.
The forest is stone, now, and worn by time.
I laugh as the world cuts to black.
In crucifixion one hangs by the arms, restricting the diaphragm and thus asphyxiating, although an unwilling victim in good health may support themself for a time on the nails; the spear is of course essential, as is the tree. –Chapter Thirteen, Dead Gods And The Living
I have been walking in the desert for forty days, and I presume I am walking in circles. In the pyramid is the corpse of an immortal, who raised the Sun and cut out his heart, not necessarily in that order.
It is at this point that I realize I will never be truly dry again.
Dead gods are not mourned and it is for this reason they die. For example Tyr, one-handed god of justice, whose name conjours no images to our minds, yet who once was rival to Odin himself. Even a name may yet thrive, however; Dagon, lord of the corn, whose name evokes a certain fish, lives yet beneath the sea, though he is now known by other names, and he is often dead. –Chapter Six, Dead Gods And The Living
A thousand years from now, bound in chains of diamond, they lower me into the pit. Salt water hisses against the magma. The moon shines red on the grey ocean.
“I know how to bring back the sun,” I tell them.
They kill me anyway.
Chief among the Aesir is Thor, lord of lightnings, who brings the hammer of the gods. Thor is worshiped principally by fictional vikings, with pale skins and thick beards and horned helmets, and by neo-pagans, and by certain heroes. Second to him is Loki, trickster, who was cast down from heaven to a cave, where he is ceaselessly tormented by serpents, and Odin. – Chapter Five, Dead Gods And The Living
Four hundred years ago, I step through the wall of the stone chamber. The knight lies sleeping, and dead; I ring the bell, and he reaches for the scabbard at his hip. It will take three days to reach the surface.
When we get there, the sun is shining. There is work to do.
This piece sort of reminds me of a badly-written Neil Gaiman story (an oxymoron, of course.) Seems appropriate, considering it’s origin.
Everything in this piece means something, incidentally. The exception is the title Dead Gods And The Living, which replaces a title I forgot while my laptop was booting. So, in a way, that means something too – although I’m damned if I’m going to decide what at 4:35 AM.