We had a long weekend this weekend so my English teacher decided to give us tons of homework...but that's beside the point. We had to write another book for the Odyssey and I thought I'd share mine.
Odysseus and the Journey to the Future
Odysseus realized as he stepped off the boat that he was in Iciclia. The island had once been warm and tropical but the ruler of the island, King Janteous, had angered Zeus. He had claimed that the island’s prosperity had been because of his successful rule. Zeus was infuriated by his remark. He immediately decided to punish King Janteous and his kingdom by killing every plant and creature that had made the island successful. He did this by turning the tropical land into an eternal winter.
“Circê has told me about this land”, Odysseus said, addressing his men, “It is the home of the Ice Cave of Zeus. Within the cave are icicles with wonderful healing powers but none can take them except for the friends of the Gods.
“You all must promise me that you will not go near the Ice Cave, yet stay near the shore of this land of winter.”
All of Odysseus men promised and he let them go about and do as they chose.
Odysseus fell fatally ill on the last day of their stay on the island and took one of the icicles to cure him out of desperation. He was miraculously cured but Zeus was enraged. He appeared before Odysseus in the form of a man.
Zeus said, “You will be sent into the future because you stole one of my magical icicles. I will send you to the 2002 Pepper Lake City Olympics. There you must perform a single task: You must bring me back a medal from one of the events.”
With that, Zeus banished Odysseus into the future where Odysseus found himself in the Athlete’s Village. A goddess suddenly appeared before Odysseus and took pity on him.
“Odysseus”, she said, “I am Michella, the Goddess of all of the winter sports but I am most of all the Goddess of skating. I will help you complete your task from Zeus.”
“How can you help me?”, Odysseus questioned.
“I will put you into the body of an athlete. An accomplished athlete. But who should I use. This is a difficult decision.”
The Goddess Michella stood pondering this thought for a moment.
“Ah, I know! This is perfect.”
Before Odysseus could say anything in return, he found himself in the body of an Ice Dancer, Victor Kraatz.
“Now go”, Michella urged, “You must go and practice with your partner, Shae Lynn, for the first part of your competition is tomorrow.”
She showed him where he was to go and before Odysseus could question her, she was gone. He stood there for a moment, astonished at all that had happened. Shortly after a woman with golden colored hair came up to him.
“Vic, come on, we’re late!” She cried.
He realized that this woman must be Shae Lynn.
“Here”, she shoved a triangular shaped bag into his arms, “You almost forgot your skates.”
“Thank you, Shae Lynn.”, said Odysseus.
The woman turned and looked at him strangely.
“Are you mad at me, Vic?”
“Of course not.”
“Then since when do you call me Shae Lynn? You only call me that when you’re mad at me.”
“It just slipped my mind.”
Shae Lynn raised an eyebrow.
“Right. Just do me a favor and call me Shae like you usually do, OK? Otherwise I feel like you are angry with me.”
He followed her to a large arena with a floor made of ice. The woman sat down on the bench and began to put a pair of skates on her feet.
“Vic, what are you doing? Sit down and put your skates on. We need to practice.”
So Odysseus sat down on the bench and unzipped the triangular bag, which opened to reveal a pair of black skates. He pulled them out, somewhat bewildered, and put them on his feet. Odysseus mimicked the woman by tying the skates very tightly.
Odysseus noticed during their practice session that he and Shae Lynn were very different from the other couples. They did something that Shae Lynn called jyroblading where they leaned so far down that they were almost parallel to the ice.
That night, Odysseus talked with Michella. She explained everything to him.
“You and your partner are from Manada,” Michella began, “You have been skating together for eleven years.”
“We are wonderful. We will win the gold.”, Odysseus boasted, “We do things that none of the other couples can do. There is no way they can beat us.”
“It will be difficult for you to win the gold”, Michella continued, sadly, “You will have to face nine evil Senuins. All of the Senuins have hearts of stone. No Manadian couple has ever won the gold because of them. They always want the couples from Aussia to win. Their father is the evil monster, Ottavio, who hates you with a passion. He told all of the Senuins to vote against you at the last Olympics in Zagano. No doubt this year he will do the same.”
“But if we are the best”, said Odysseus in disbelief, “There is no way they can refuse us the gold.”
Michella simply shook her head and sent him to bed.
“The compulsories are tomorrow. You must rest.”
Before the compulsories the next day Shae Lynn and Odysseus sat waiting to go skate.
“Are you nervous?”, Shae Lynn asked.
“Don’t worry, this can’t possibly be a repeat of Zagano. Plus, we won the Grand Prix Final this year. That has to mean something.”
They sat in silence a while longer until they heard their names announced. She held out her hand and he took it. She gave it a squeeze and they went out onto the ice. They skated around and waved first and then got ready to start. Odysseus stumbled once. The Senuins gave them fourth place. Later they went out to skate their second compulsory. Odysseus did a little better. The Senuins gave them fourth place again.
While they were walking out to talk to the reporters, Shae said, “Don’t worry. You know we aren’t the best at compulsories. We’ll do better in the Original Dance.”
Michella had seen the compulsories, and she was worried. She knew that the Senuins weren’t going to just give them a medal. They were going to have to fight for it.
Michella talked to Odysseus again the night before the Original Dance.
“When Shae Lynn and Victor were at the Manadians this year”, She said, “They got the perfect fifty-four for their Original Dance.”
“What does that mean?”, Odysseus asked.
“All of the Senuins gave them a six point oh. It’s the best you can do. The Original Dance is very good.” Michella answered, trying to boost his confidence.
Odysseus awoke the next morning feeling more confident than he had the morning of the Compulsory Dances. He went to the arena that evening still carrying that confidence. He and Shae Lynn warmed up and stretched just as they had on the night of the Compulsory Dances.
“Shae Lynn and Victor, you’re up next!”, A voice nearby called.
“Are you ready?” ,Odysseus asked.
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”, Shae Lynn replied, somewhat nervously.
They went out and took their position. The music started. They skated.
That wasn’t half bad, Odysseus thought to himself as they finished. He walked with Shae Lynn in silence to the Kiss n Cry. Their scores were announced. They were fourth again. Odysseus was disgusted.
“We skated better than that.”, Odysseus said furiously after leaving the Kiss n Cry.
“I know. Just smile for the reporters.” , Shae Lynn said in reply.
“But it’s not right, Shae! The Senuins should have given us better marks!”
“Honestly, Vic! What’s gotten into you? You know how the system works so shut your mouth and smile unless you want to be placed tenth in the Free Dance!”
Odysseus understood all at once. If they said something negative the Senuins would place them lower. They couldn’t speak out. So he shut his mouth and smiled and he didn’t say a word.
Odysseus was determined the morning of the Free Dance. He decided that he was going to win a medal no matter what. Not just so he could go back but because he felt that Shae Lynn and Victor deserved it. He couldn’t imagine facing the evil Senuins day after day for eleven whole years.
It was the same routine as it had been for the other parts of the event. He went to the ice arena where he put on his costume and Shae Lynn did his make-up. They warmed-up and stretched just waiting for their names.
“Shae and Vic you’re next!”
They stood by the door to the ice again. They slid off their skate guards. Odysseus was determined. He was going to make the Senuins give them a medal.
“Vic!”, Shae said surprised, tugging on his sleeve, “Did you see that? The Ytalians just fell! We have a chance!”
“Oh my God.”, she said even more softly, “We actually have a chance.”
The Ytalians came off the ice. He stood with Shae waiting to go on. She looked at him and gave him a big grin.
“Let’s do this”, she said.
They went out and stood in their starting position just waiting for their music to start. It seemed like an eternity. Finally the first strains of music reached their ears and they skated. Odysseus realized about halfway through the program that they were doing wonderfully. Shae Lynn was beaming. They were going to medal. Odysseus picked Shae Lynn up for the last lift. It was all so unbelievable. They would be able to stand on the podium. It was what they’d been working for since Zagano. But all of the sudden something didn’t feel right. They were off balance. Odysseus tried to hold on but it was of no use. They fell in the remaining seconds of their program. Odysseus began to get up.
“Stay. Just stay.” , Shae Lynn told him, “There’s no use of getting up. There’s only a few seconds left anyway.”
Odysseus had realized that she struck a pose lying on the ice. He did the same. She leaned over and kissed him before they got up and went to the Kiss n Cry. It was possible, Odysseus thought as he walked, that they might just be able to medal. The Ytalians fall was worse in his opinion. They sat together in the Kiss n Cry not saying a word to each other. Odysseus could have sworn that another millennium or two passed before their marks were announced. Finally he heard the announcer.
“The marks for Shae Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz, Canada. The marks for technical merit: 5.4, 5.6, 5.4, 5.6, 5.4, 5.5, 5.7, 5.7, and 5.5. The marks for presentation: 5.8, 5.6, 5.8, 5.8, 5.8, 5.8, 5.8, and 5.7. Thank you.”
Odysseus looked at the screen to see the ordinals. He watched with belated breath as he saw the ordinals come up. He saw five, five, five, three, five, four, three, three, four. Their placement popped up. It was a single number: a four. Odysseus was distraught.
“I can go and start the interviews if you need a minute.” Shae Lynn told him, seeing his state of distress.
Odysseus just nodded.
“Vic”, she said again as she turned to leave, “It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t meant to be. You are the best partner and friend that I could ask for.”
Shae Lynn gave him a hug then walked silently away to start the interviews. Odysseus went backstage. He had failed. Not only could he not go home but he caused Shae Lynn and Victor to lose their medal. He stood there with a single tear running down his cheek. Michella appeared behind him but she wasn’t alone. Zeus was with her.
“I know that the monster Ottavio pressured the Senuins to put you in fourth.” Zeus began, “I also know that they were conspiring against you. You may have even been fourth had you not fallen. I will send you back to the past despite the fact that you failed your task because of this.”
Odysseus looked up somewhat surprised.
“But I did not complete the task.”
“It doesn’t matter. You tried valiantly but it was beyond your control.”
“What about Victor? Will he know what has happened?”
“Victor will never know you were in his body. He will think that he did the whole competition. As soon as I send you back the real Victor will go and meet Shae Lynn for the interviews.”
Odysseus nodded. Michella watched on not saying anything.
“And now it is time for you to go.” Zeus said.
Odysseus looked out the doorway at Shae Lynn. She looked like she was fighting back tears as she talked to the reporters. But she stood straight, completely erect, as though nothing could tear her down.
“Goodbye Shae.” He said in a voice that no one could hear, “I’m sorry that your dream did not come true. I’m sorry that I failed you.”
Zeus said, “Odysseus, remember this. You are a hero to many yet you are not unbeatable. Remember tonight forever. It was a night when all dreams fell through. Odysseus, remember that even heroes can fall.”
Zeus sent Odysseus back with those final words. Odysseus remembered this night for the rest of his life. And he was stronger because of it.