The Aftermath

The Aftermath

A Real Friend is one who knows your
Faults and still Loves you
In spite of them.

Unknown

Jarl was in deep shit. Not only did her take her Virginity, he went ahead and got her Pregnant. Now Jarl must leave his family and his whole Village. One factor was in his favor, Jarl had a Real Friend: Joshua.

Jarl and Joshua had been friends as far back as they can remember. Joshua showed his loyalty when he admitted to the counsel that he had been the one who stole the booze that led to the events that infamous night. It had no effect on Jarl’s punishment: Banishment. So Joshua threw himself on the mercy of the counsel. “I will leave here with Jarl. I am culpable.”

“Now way, Joshua! I and I alone must be punished for this . . . Uh . . . Crime.”

“You are my Friend, Jarl, and I join your Quest for Redemption.”

“Very well. The council has spoken; both Joshua and Java are hereby Banished”

“No wait. Josh you cannot do this! I do not accept this sacrifice.”

“Jarl, you are my Friend until the End of Time.”

As they gathered their backpacks, Joshua noticed a note in his bag. It said simply: “FAG” So Jarl and Joshua left, never to Return? Alone in each other’s faults.

They approached the nearest village and were not allowed in the front gate. So they walked around. It was the case at the next three villages who knew of their crimes already. Jarl and Joshua trudged their path without a word: Alone in their thoughts and prayers. When will this punishment end? Jarl ruminated.

What have I done? Who have hurt? Repeated in Joshua’s mind as he prayed to his Ancestors.

Joshua, you have made a True act of Selflessness. You will be rewarded in this life and the next.” Then Joshua broke the silence. “We will be there soon; I can feel it!”

“Be where?” Questioned Jarl.

“Where we’re supposed to be.”

“Yeah, right!” Scoffed Jarl. “We will always be Marked from this day forward. Get used to it!”

“No Jarl, my friend. This, Now, is the first day of our New Life. Time is on our side, Java. Every day, the closer we are to Fine.”

“’The closer I am to Fine?’ Bullshit!”

“You’re bad at being Optimistic, Java.”

“Goramn it, Josh, quit calling me Java. That’s my True Name!”

“I’m here for you, Jarl . . . We’ve won the anti-lottery, my friend. It cannot get any worse than it is right, Now!”

“Now that’s right.” Admitted Jarl. “We’re Starbuxed!”

“If we are at the bottom, then there is Hope . . .”

“What if we just keep skipping off the bottom and falling down again?”

“I tell you the Truth: This is the beginning of the end. For my Ancestors have spoken the Truth to me.” Replied Joshua.

“When?”

“They came to me while we were walking in Silence. I forgive you, Java.” He said softly.

Taken aback, “Thank you, Joshua, my Brother.”

“You are welcome, Brother.”

The Brothers Trudged On.

The Fireside Song

We sat close to the Fire as frost was in the air and began to sing:

Our circumstances were truly Dire.
The air was heavy with the thought of our Sin.
Where to start, where to begin?

We know our Friendship keeps us warm.
We give each other shelter from the Storm.
I’m here on a soapbox, here to Inform.
Our Love is so strong that the World will Transform.

The song over, both men sighed and lightened the grip that they held on their blankets. Despite the cold, they both felt inner warmth. Warmth from the Ancient Ritual of Song. Java spoke first to break the Spell: “That was Tremendous, my brother.”

“I felt I was Home.” Joshua shed a tear.

“Me too,” Java said with a long sigh.

After a dreamless sleep, Java and Joshua woke to the “Caw Caw” of two Crows that were eating last night’s dinner. Both of their bodies ached from the previous days Trudge. However, they both felt somehow refreshed. Java attempted to scare off the two Crows, but they insisted on finishing their meal while keeping one eye on the men. Java’s into superstition: Black cats and Voodoo dolls. He feels a premonition, that Crow’s gonna make me Fall. “Is this omen good or bad, Joshua?”

“I’d say Good. They seem to be enjoying themselves.”

“Caw, caw?!?” Asked Java.

Good. We’ll be better when are bellies are full.

“Caw, caw?!?”

Yes. We are here to help you.

“Caw, Caw?!?”

No, I don’t know.

“Should we follow you?” Asked Joshua.

Yes. We are satisfied, now. Do as a say: Try to keep up! And with that both Crows took flight.

Jarl and Joshua packed quickly and took off in the same direction as the Crows: Due west. The pace was quicker than they would like, but they knew they had to keep up. By noon they were exhausted and fell to the ground: Spent. Bu the Crows flew on. On a hunch, Java took out some bread and threw it on the ground. Both Crows circled back and began to eat with one Crow on sentry duty Yes, we are hungry, too. Java smiled to himself . . . so they ate and then they packed up and moved on.

As the day neared darkness the two Crows landed in a tall white pine tree for twilight was a dangerous and powerful time of day. Plus it is easier to set a tent before the sun sets. Crows are the Kings of Twilight so they felt safer to converse with the two travelers. Where do you two think you’re going? “We seek new adventure.” Joshua replied.

Are you seeking to or are you running from? Laughing. Everybody wants to Rule the World. Hahaha! The Crows were in a good mood: Enjoying their role as guides: Knowing they would soon eat again. It comes naturally.

Java: “Who sent you?”

Odin, of course. I am Munnin and this is Thunin.

“Memory and Thought. Thank you for your Service.”

My pleasure. We are at your Service.

“What a gift, Joshua!”

As darkness fell with no light from the New Moon, Java and Joshua finished a meager supper. Joshua threw another log on the fire as sparks flew into the air. Then he began to sing:

Twilight Song

I met two Crows today.
Why they came, I cannot say.
Odin’s own: Munin and Thunin
Memory and Thought in unison.

Munin and Thunin guide our Way.
From their Path I will not Stray.
I Trudge the Way Unknown.
Our Past we cannot outrun.

The days they run together.
No Home for a tether
Renegades on the Run,
The Old Ways we do not shun.

With no news at all from Home,
We’re Cursed, yes Cursed, to Roam.
Living the Life of an Amnesiac,
All we own is on our backs.
Human Contact

The next day was warmer because the Sun was out the entire day. Java kept his eyes on the Crows and Joshua kept his eye out for a path. The phrase ‘As the Crow flies’ has new meaning for Java. When the men needed rest, they would stop and put out food for the birds. Sometimes the food attracted other animals as well: hawks, buzzards, squirrels, mocking birds and little finches. None of these spoke, however. The Ravens, Munin and Thunin, in their true form were half again as large as a normal Crow. This fact helped Java to pick them out in the sky.

Several days after they met, Java and Joshua found themselves looking down into a gully much larger than either had ever seen. The other side was only 50 yards away, but it might as well be on the moon because of the depth of at least 3000 feet. The Ravens stood on the other side. You must get over here, as soon as possible. The depth is only an illusion. Walk out on Faith! Just then Joshua noticed a dust trail on the horizon. Now! You must come! They are coming for you! Walk out on Faith!

They did not move like 2 deer caught in the head lights. Run! Run Now! Java was waiting for courage to run on Faith. “Do what they say, Java!” Screamed Joshua as he ran toward the cliff. To his delight he ran onto solid ground where there should be none. Jarl followed close after. On the other side they hugged each other and the two Ravens watched. The two SUVs stopped short of the edge of the cliff. They spoke through a loud speaker: “You are Trespassing on private property!”

Java yelled back: “Were! You mother flowers!”

As they made camp, Java sung:

Here we are Safe and Sound:
Our Blessings do abound.
To our Fear we have not caved:
By two Ravens we were Saved.

We used to be full of Fear:
Wanting to just disappear.
Now we both have the Courage we need:
Free in both Thought and Deed.

Fear is the mind killer.
I know you will concur.
You can Learn for yourself:
The only thing we have to Fear is Fear itself.

False Evidence Appearing Real.
You believe your Fate is Sealed.
No Free Will can you find:
To your Fate you are resigned.

My friend for me did sacrifice;
He did not even think twice.
We are Masters of our own Fate;
Our Future do we now Create.

Both men slept well for the first time since they left.

I had a Dream last night . . . that I met Bill Gates outside of a clinic. I was broke, homeless and desperate. I asked: “Are you Bill Gates?”

“Yes.” He took me into a warm embrace and said: “Bless you, my son.” And I was. Then he looked me in the eyes:

“Your Faith will set you Free. Go in Peace!” And I did.

Jarl and Joshua woke from a restful Sleep. “I had the strangest Dream last night.”

“Me too! I met this guy named Bill Gates.”

“No way! Me too.” Jarl was incredulous.

“‘Your Faith will set you Free.’”

“Exactly!” Jarl exclaimed. “What the eff is that about?”

“We need to find someone to interpret the Dream for us.”

“How bout I interpret yours and you interpret mine.”

“That might work.” Joshua was dubious. “You go first.”

“So . . . Yeah! Bill Gates represents Christ who wants the best for you and will provide for you what you need.”

“I can see that.”

“But who the Hell is Bill Gates?”

“I think he was a Prince in the Old Times.”

“Prince of what?”

“He cured malaria.”

“For real?”

“I think so . . . Now it’s my turn. Someone will give you a gift . . .”

“You already did . . .”

“Don’t interrupt me! A Gift of Love and Forgiveness. The Gift of Grace.”

“Oh . . .”

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