Back to the Desk

Silver Bow

©05 Levite
See Below


      Far Above the world of the mortals scraping an existence from the stony soil of Greece. Up where time and space and thought and existence all blend into an endless mist of light with those who dwell one step beyond what others would call the World, something happened.
      The gleaming floor of polished granite shifted.
      A perfect marble column in the heavenly temple cracked.
      The sweeping roof of seamless stone trembled.
      The universe it was, blinked.


      Pascagoula, Mississippi works for a living.
      Most of the people are best described as no-nonsense, down to Earth, straight forward types. There are a few artists and 'free spirits' around just to keep things interesting, but for the most part, those that spent their adult lives in the refineries and the shipyard and on the fishing boats didn't expend much energy worrying about them one way or the other.
      Even though the city, and all of the coastal South for that matter, had taken it on the chin from one after another hurricane over the last couple of years, Pascagoula had hunkered down and got to work and rebuilt itself pretty much from its own ruins.
      Dorothy Sealy was one of the working people that made the town click. Only forty years old, she seemed older. Actually an optimistic and happy soul inside, she seemed tired and sometimes a little sullen.
      She had started out working in the shipyard, then she got a job in the office when the refinery expanded. Years of working out other people's pay had given her a permanent stoop to her neck and shoulders. Many hours of answering phones to listen to other people's complaints had drained the spark from her voice and trained her to almost expect reprisal for saying anything at all. Endless tables of figures and parades of numbers that went on for hundreds of pages had narrowed her vision to only seeing that which was here and now.

      "Thank you." Dorothy said almost timidly to Mrs. Patterson the office manager.
      "No. Thank you." The manager replied.
      Dorothy smiled a little and took the gift bag and went back to her table. She knew both what was in the bag as her fifteenth anniversary gift and how much it had cost the company since she had picked it out of their catalog of anniversary gift offerings, and then her office did the purchase order for all the gifts given out that night. She handed the bag to her husband and sat down. He glanced in the bag, but didn't remove the tissue wrapped item, instead he squeezed her hand and nodded. She had done exactly the same for him in March when he had gotten a certificate for twenty years of service at the shipyard at their spring dinner.
      Next they called up those that had been with the company for twenty years. There was just about the same amount of polite applause there had been when she had been up front. When they announced the two people who had been employed for twenty five years and hadn't retired yet, there was a little more.
      After the speech by a senior vice president of the company they applauded some more, then everybody left.

      Dorothy and her husband stopped by the discount store on the highway to pick up a few things. Then with their bottle of laundry detergent and some chicken for tomorrow's supper they went home.
      Life could not be more normal.


      Artemis felt sensations course through her being as she had not felt in all her long life.
      The sense she had of Being was incomplete. Her awareness of the others of her kind was interrupted. Something that had never happened before.
      She cried out with her consciousness. First for Phoibos Apollon, her pet name for her brother. Then for Leto, her mother. Then finally for Zeus, the king of the gods, her father.
      For what seemed like an age of the Earth there was no answer.
      She found herself in darkness.
      All was still.
      Then she heard something that sounded like the music of her brother's voice.
      Somebody else.


      "Dorothy? Are you all right?"
      "What?" Dorothy blinked herself awake. She felt cold and pulled the old comforter tighter around herself.
      "You were yelling. Calling for somebody... Leta, I think."
      "Oh. I'm sorry. It was just a dream."
      "I'm going to the kitchen. You want anything?"
      She took a deep breath. The edges of the dream of darkness and far off voices was still very powerful. "Maybe some water."
      "OK." Her husband said.

      Later, after they had discussed the dinner and the rich chocolate dessert they both felt was responsible for her dream, they fell back asleep.

      Saturday morning dawned bright and clear.
      Her husband was up before the dawn to join a friend of his on a fishing trip. He promised to bring them something better back for dinner than the chicken they had purchased. Dorothy knew that meant that either he'd catch something, or they'd stop at one of the markets and buy some fresh flounder or shrimp or whatever else was fresh that day and looked good.
      She got up and began her finely honed sequence of housekeeping chores.

      Before noon she ran out on an errand that took her into town.
      On a whim she drove down to Beach Boulevard and then down to the point. She parked and walked out to the rocks near the boat ramp near where some of the worst of the storm damage had occurred the year before.
      As she stared at the sparkling waters of the sound she muttered a name, then repeated it almost under her breath.
      "oh, Poseidon, dear Uncle, please.... help me..."
      Dorothy blinked and looked around. Unsure of what had come over her.
      Then she looked at the boats coming and going in the river and told herself she needed to be home soon.

      Fishing had been slow and they were going to give up and go home. Then about noon things picked up.
      Soon they had caught their limit and were putting smaller fish back so they could keep the larger redfish and trout. They even pulled out a couple of nice King Mackerel and one flounder that was one of the largest they'd ever seen that time of year. In fact, given that it was coming into high summer, they shouldn't have caught the variety they did. But neither of them was going to spoil their luck by mentioning it.
      On their way back in they joined several boats and exchanged news with them.
      The other boats were going home empty handed for the most part.
      "Some-body was smilin' on ya'll today." One old salt said to them.
      "Yes sir." The two friends agreed.

      Dorothy listened to the story about how they had spent most of the morning keeping busy by cleaning and oiling some of their reels and doing other maintenance to the boat and their gear instead of catching fish.
      "Then right on high noon, it just broke loose. We was about to give up and come home."
      "I stopped down at the point. Just to see if you were comin' in. I guess it was about noon."
      He grinned. "If they hadn't a started biten' like that, we woulda been there." He chuckled. "Nobody else caught anything worth talkin' about."
      "You sure did."
      "Yes ma'am."
      They froze some of their share of the catch, including the flounder. Then she prepared them a good skillet fried fish dinner with all the side dishes such a meal called for.
      With a few additions.
      "What's this?" He asked picking his fork at something in the green salad on his plate.
      "Grape leaves."
      He just looked at her.
      "I thought we'd try them."
      "OK. I tried tried'em." He didn't say any more.

      That night there was a special on one of the educational networks that Dorothy wanted to stay up and watch. Her husband thought it was odd that she was interested in it, but he went along with her sudden interest in classical history and they watched the show about which of the ruins in and around several of the ancient cities in Greece were actually Greek and which were Roman.
      He fell asleep before the first commercial break.
      Dorothy was wondering why the program couldn't find somebody that could correctly pronounce some of the Greek names of the rivers and hills.
      "It's Acheloios." She said to the TV with a frown. "Not Acheloos."

      Sunday morning they were up and dressed and on their way to church when her husband noticed something else about her.
      "You wearin' a rope belt?"
      Dorothy nodded. "I thought I'd try it." She tugged at the thick white cord. "I like it."
      "It's better'n grape leaves."

      During Sunday School Dorothy started and ended a lively discussion about the Apostle Paul and his effect on the people of Ephesus. Except Dorothy was pointing out the disruption the man's preaching had had on the entire structure of the city.
      They discussed it for some time with various ones in the class becoming more involved as it went. But then Dorothy pretty much ended the discussion.
      "Not only did he affect the religious structure centered on the Temple of Diana... which was originally the Temple of Artemis... by raising the citizens against it, it eventually led to the dissolution of the entire town. The Temple was the center of the town. Without it, there really wasn't much of a reason for the city to exist once the harbor silted up beyond all attempts to dredge it."
      The teacher looked at her. "Is that what happened to the harbor?"
      "Yes. After the unified Roman Empire fell, Constantinople's Eastern Empire just didn't have the wealth or power to keep it clear, and by about 750 of our calendar it was unusable."
      She looked at her husband with a slight smile.
      "How much of that program did you watch last night?"


      "Good morning Mrs. Sealy." One of the gate guards said as she walked through early Monday.
      "Morning Mr. White." She said as the strode by touching her ID to the sensor.
      The guard watched her go. Something was different about her, he thought, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

      Mrs. Patterson was the first in the office to notice something was a little different about Dorothy. It wasn't so much her appearance as the way she carried herself and spoke to people. She was still unfailingly polite, but something was... different.
      "Yes sir. We're sure of the figures." Dorothy said clearly to one of the section managers as they discussed some time sheets for a contractor. He was questioning their revision of the worker's time based on his recorded time in and out of the plant as recorded on the security system.
      Mrs. Patterson watched her.
      Dorothy was standing tall, and looked the manager straight in the eye as she spoke to him about the contractor's time.
      Just last week she had watched Dorothy almost cower as the same manager asked for an explanation on a similar matter.
      The manager was a little defensive about the changes and spoke somewhat harshly.
      Dorothy didn't waiver. "You don't need to raise your voice to me. The recording equipment tracks them in and out, there is no interpretation necessary."
      That got Mrs. Patterson involved.
      "Do you need me Dorothy?"
      "No ma'am. We're just discussing it. Thank you." Dorothy said with confidence.
      "But I've got a question, Mrs. Patterson." The manager said. "Didn't we used to pay the contractors when they went off site?"
      "Yes," Mrs. Patterson said. "But now they have to submit a form that explains what they were doing and why it had to be done off the premises."
      He looked from one to the other. "When did that start?"
      "Six months ago."
      Dorothy nodded. "It began January one. We allowed a couple of months grace period. Then we started sending the contractors notices for a couple of pay cycles. Then we started denying their hours."
      "Oh." He took the corrected sheet. "I'll tell him. Thanks." He walked out.
      As the door shut behind him Mrs. Patterson looked at Dorothy. "Can I see you for a minute?"
      "Yes ma'am."

      Mrs. Patterson noticed something immediately and mentioned it. "You're looking right at me. You've never done that before. Not like this. And the way you spoke to Slavo out there, that's not like you. Even when we are right, you just were never that decisive before."
      "I'm sorry ma'am. I didn't mean to be out of line."
      "No. Don't apologize. I don't know what you've done to come up with all that self confidence. But keep doing it."
      "Thank you ma'am." She smiled. "I just woke up feeling a little different over the weekend."
      Her boss nodded. "I guess it just happens like that sometimes."

      Dorothy's newfound confidence carried through to the smallest matters, even to when she pulled out of the parking lot, she just saw an opening and went instead of waiting until there was an opening that at least two old school buses could have moved into.
      She didn't let a couple cut in front of her at the meat counter at the store when she wanted a roast sliced into steaks and when the clerk at the checkout didn't seem to be paying attention she spoke up with some force to her voice.
      And the entire combination surprised Dorothy herself. She still felt like herself, but something was definitely different.
      Before she had always thought being a submissive wife and employee meant being almost a pushover. That she shouldn't voice her own opinions and speak as though she meant what she said to anybody older, or in authority, or even- male. But now she knew that if she spoke courteously and with respect, she could be as forceful as she needed to be to get done what needed to be done. Even if it was only getting a roast sliced and getting home in time to make supper.
      And she knew that she would continue it with her husband.


      They speak without speaking.
      They think without thinking.
      They do without doing.

      Life is a flash of the brilliance of a star that glows forever in a single day.

      But even they know when something beyond their control has happened.

      The one known best as Apollo heard his sister call out to him. And then she was no more. Yet he could still feel the echo of her.
      A cloud passed over his countenance.

      The force that is the king of the gods seemed to frown.

      Apollo knew that what had happened was both a test of her character and a punishment for some infraction that may not have occurred yet, or ever. And there was naught that he could do about it as he was being watched in a test of his own.

      He couldn't help her. But, perhaps some other ...
      Perhaps someone who would never be suspected of helping someone they loathed.


      Dorothy was deep asleep and in what seemed to be a vivid dream, but she was also aware that she was dreaming, something that she had only heard about before. She never had dreams where she knew she was dreaming and was then able to do things that she heard about, like flying around the world or meeting a movie star. But tonight she knew she was still asleep and dreaming, but she was also aware that she wasn't quite herself as well.
      She was standing in a huge building with sheer walls of gleaming white stone. She could feel a light breeze from behind her and smell the odor of burning wood on it.
      "Hello?" She called out. "Where is this place?"
      She couldn't actually see a figure, but she knew somebody was there near the front of the building.
      "hecate" it said in a flat and very soft female voice.
      "That is not my name." Dorothy said with some force. Yet somewhere inside her she knew it was.
      "very well then - diana"
      She could hear sarcasm in the voice. "Hera." She almost spat the name.
      "i would not be here of my own..." There was a long pregnant pause. "but for your brother"
      "Apollo." She whispered as a sigh. "Thank you."
      "this one is of the line of the priestess" The figure said almost in a normal whisper.
      "Why?" Dorothy pleaded.
      The figure seemed a little more solid. Dorothy could see that it was a very beautiful woman. "I do not know." The voice was in the normal speaking range now.
      "How long?"
      The woman shook her head and seemed sad although she was still very stern.
      Dorothy sighed and looked around.
      "Your brother cannot come to you Artemis. He is watched."
      Dorothy nodded. "I understand." She straightened herself to her full height and set her shoulders square. "I will endure."
      Something seemed to stir in Hera. "I will tell him and.... your mother."
      "Thank you."
      Then as the figure and the surrounding building faded back into a dream she heard the soft voice again, "i will watch"


      As the weeks passed Dorothy began to like the new her.
      She became a leader in her office, and began to receive more recognition for things she had been doing all along, but hadn't told anybody about.
      Now people noticed her and what she did for their division.
      Then the division began to be noticed in the overall company as a good example of how things should work.
      Where the old Dorothy would have wilted at the attention. The new Dorothy relished in it without seeming at all arrogant or self absorbed. Although there was one thing that seemed to rile her. If one of the men stopped by to 'visit' with one of the other women in the office, Dorothy would sometimes physically step between them and ask if the visit involved something to do with the man's payroll account.

      In her lady's group in church she became very outspoken about the way things should be and refused to let the small clique that had been running the group, and by extension the church, continue the way things had been. Consequently the group, and the church as a whole, became far more active in the ongoing recovery of the area from the hurricanes that had very nearly wiped them off the map.
      Dorothy was even tapped to go to some other churches across the country and speak to their women's groups, and occasionally the church as a whole about how the area was doing. Again, nobody would have ever considered nominating the old Dorothy for the task, but now when the invitation was made from a huge church in Indianapolis that had given very generously to several congregations in the area, Dorothy was the first one they thought of.
      One time the pastor asked her what had happened to her to effect such a profound change in her.
      "I'm not sure sir, but somehow, I feel..." She looked him in the eye and thought about it. "I feel like I'm finally the woman I should be."
      He didn't dispute the statement.


      Dorothy had always been practical about her life and most of the aspects of it. Practical and in some cases, frugal. She didn't need a new dress when the old one could be mended and she used the containers margarine came in instead of buying some name brand containers for leftovers. She cleaned her house just enough that it was clean, but not so much as to appear obsessive. Most of the time she accepted things that either didn't matter or she couldn't change, and when she did complain about something, she tried to be, well, practical about it.
      The same held true with her husband. One of the things she loved about him was that he was practical. He made due with what he had, or what he could get through bartering or trading versus wheeling and dealing like a high roller. It always amazed her how he could swap a pair of boots and a bowling ball for a pickup truck then use the truck to help somebody move and end up with a boat for his trouble. His deals seldom went bad, and when they did he usually ended up ahead in the long run. Of course there was that time when they ended up with three goats when something fell through, but that was unusual.
      Together they lived quite well given their average salaries. When their kids were young they didn't go without things they needed, and got a good bit of what they wanted. Now that they were grown, both of them had some of the values and traits of their parents, and although they hadn't made any of their own clothes lately, they also didn't buy a new car every other year or follow the latest trend in Italian jewelry.
      But now something was a little different.
      Dorothy began to get things. Moreso than that, she was being given things.
      One of the senior managers at the refinery had noticed that she was carrying papers and computer discs around the plant in a well worn vinyl pouch and sent her a new satchel with her name and the company logo on it. She had been using the same pouch for years and had been to that very same boss's office with it many times and it didn't seem to bother them then. But now they wanted her to have something a little better.
      When her car broke down and she needed it towed to the shop, the man with the rollback didn't charge her full price for the trip, saying it just wouldn't be right. Then when the bill came due, they gave her a discount on the parts and labor and the manager didn't even try to explain why.
      People she had worked with for years bought her lunch for the first time.
      The wife of her husband's fishing friend took her out shopping to Mobile when they had scarcely spoken a dozen times in all the years their husbands had been friends.
      The county came by and cut down a tree that had died in the big storm and had been standing along the street threatening to fall on their house every time the wind blew.

      Her husband noticed her sudden string of good luck, but he was not one to say anything and ruin it. He simply smiled as she opened a package from the church in Indianapolis that had been sent to her and her family as a token of their appreciation for her message and she pulled out a brand new programmable crock pot.
      Some of her luck had rubbed off on him as well. When they went hunting he would come back with game even if nobody else had had their gun's safety off.
      And all he could do was smile when the game warden told him that the striped bass he had taken off the newly rebuilt jetty was just a pound or two shy of the state record.

      There was also a change in the company Dorothy was keeping.
      She had been fairly close to several ladies her own age, and they were still her friends. But now she was meeting several of the younger women for coffee on Saturday. And at the office she was sitting with some of the young single women at lunch. And at home she would get on the computer and chat with some of them and make acquaintances with their friends.
      When her husband mentioned it she just said that she felt like their older sister. That they needed somebody a little older and wiser to help steer them the right way. And that maybe she could do that now.
      He wanted to ask her who was going to steer her the right way to begin with, but something in the look in her eyes made him skip it.


      Apollo stood firm.
      Hera didn't flinch.
      Even Leto, although the wrath she faced was awesome, held her ground.
      The others that had been involved stayed in the background. Only for Apollo could such an alliance form and survive. Only for his sister would he had attempted such a feat.
      If such cohesion had been forged an age ago, their fate as a race may have been different.

      The sigh of resolution was as mighty as a very force of nature.
      But it meant there would be no repercussions against them.
      It also meant that other than what they had been doing, nobody could help her.

      It also meant that her father still thought of her as his daughter, and that later, she may well be welcomed back.


      Dorothy's dreams seemed to be things from another lifetime.
      When she awoke from one she felt exhilarated. The images and sensations that lingered after the dream coursed through her like adrenaline. She would feel stronger and even taller for some time afterward.
      And sometimes, the feeling didn't go away.

      Her memory was sharper now. As was her cognitive skills. She could estimate totals of hours or dollars just from a glance at a monthly time sheet and be within fractions of an hour or just a few cents of the actual total. And then she could remember that total days or weeks later during an audit of the entire plant.
      And she had redecorated her side of the office. One of the objects was something more suited to a smoking lounge at a country club, but she said she liked it and nobody argued with her.
      On the wall Above her desk was a large gilt bow and quiver of arrows mounted on a mahogany background. The bow was gleaming silver as were the arrow shafts.

      And then something else happened.
      One day in the lunchroom there was an incident that simply shocked everybody else, and that Dorothy took in stride and even tried to laugh off.
      A crew of one of the company's tankers was taking a tour of the plant while their ship was undergoing some minor repairs.
      The other women at the table all glanced at the Middle Eastern looking sailors working through the cafeteria line with side glances and whispered comments.
      Then as the group of men walked through the room to an empty table one of the older crewmen happened to look her way.
      Suddenly he shouted in whatever language he spoke and dropped his tray. Then he shouted again and fell flat on the floor almost whimpering.
      One of the other crewman tried to help the older man up, but the man refused to stand. He got halfway to his knees, saw Dorothy looking at him, and dropped back to the floor and began shrieking even louder.
      "What's he saying?" One of her co-workers asked her over the commotion.
      "He thinks I'm somebody else. The poor dear."
      Dorothy got up and walked over to the man who by now was flat on the floor again and almost whimpering.
      She knelt in front of him and taking one of his outstretched hands and, to the absolute amazement of the two crewmen at his side, whispered softly in a folksy mixture of Turkish and Greek. The man looked up with wide eyes and muttered something almost incoherent.
      Dorothy beamed a wide smile to him and said something else. Then she got up and nodded to the other sailors and walked out without another word to anybody.
      The sailor watched her go, then as the door closed behind her he jumped up and began dancing around singing.
      "What's going on?" One of the officials from the plant asked the officer from the ship that spoke English and a little Greek so he could communicate with the crew.
      "He's saying something about abundant blessings." The officer answered shaking his head trying to make sense of what the older man was chanting.
      "He is very religious. In the old ways." One of the younger sailors said in heavily accented English.
      "The old ways?" The pant official asked him.
      "Yes." The sailor nodded. "He is both Sunni and he practices the tribal religions of his home of Selcuk. Even though that is forbidden under Sharia."
      The official didn't know where Selcuk was. "Is that in Syria?"
      "No. Turkey. It is near the old city. Ephesus."


      Several of the young women in Dorothy's office had been to college, and she had been working with all of them for at least a couple of years. One of them had finished her four year degree. Charlotte had majored in business, but her minor had been more interesting. Ancient and Classical Greece and Rome.
      She had done several research papers on the female goddesses of both pantheons.
      When the old sailor had said the Turkish pronunciation of the name Artemis it took her a few minutes to make the connection. But as he danced around singing and waving his hands in the air she was sure of it.
      Somehow he had taken Dorothy to be a physical incarnation of the goddess.
      She considered that he was about half mad from being stuck on a disabled ship for a week while it was being towed into port. But that wouldn't explain the reaction to whatever she had whispered to him. Or why she had said anything to the man to begin with.
      Back at her desk Charlotte used the rest of her lunch hour to log into the university's database to check the quickest and surest reference article she knew of for the female Greek gods, her own senior thesis on the subject.
      She began to read her own description of the goddess in light of the changes that had happened to Dorothy over the last few months.
      "It couldn't be." Charlotte whispered to herself as she read and glanced at the pictures.
      Then she stopped dead. In one of the images of a classical statue that showed the goddess with a quiver of arrows and one of her totem stags at her heels, the figure had her hair back in a bun so low on her head it was almost on her neck.
      For some time now Dorothy had taken to wearing her hair that way instead of the light perm she used to favor.
      Charlotte reread the description of the goddess, and then she noticed the reference to her weapon of choice. The young woman's gaze was drawn to the mounted bow on the far wall.
      When Dorothy walked into the room with some water to make a fresh pot of coffee Charlotte vowed to herself that she'd just set back and watch a little more and see if there was another explanation. Then she emailed a suggestion to the recreation committee putting together a picnic gathering next month.


      August in South Mississippi was usually a study in contrasts of extreme weather. Most of the time the atmosphere was oppressively hot and humid, interrupted occasionally by spotty thunderstorms that could suddenly douse the area with several inches of hard rain only to vanish in a matter of minutes to leave scant trace of their passing, except for even more humidity. And then that cycle could be broken by anything from a tropical storm to a category five hurricane that would either linger just off the coast biding its time, or sweep in seemingly from nowhere with just a day's notice if they were lucky.
      The only reason her company had its front office picnic in August was that it was so hot and humid and unpredictable that they could get a prime location in a local park with large shelter and good parking and even a decent selection of campsites for almost nothing.
      One of the things Dorothy's husband had traded his way into several years ago was a large ungainly and rather ugly old camping trailer. And once he had straightened out the paperwork and it was actually theirs free and clear, he went to work throughout the winter converting it into a home away from home. His intention was to have a deer hunting lodge with heat and running water, and so it became. But it was also a fairly passable camper, and after he had swapped something else for something else he ended up with one of those apartment sized stacked washer and drier units, it became a functional self-contained apartment.
      So they both took a vacation day Friday and towed the camper out to the park after work Thursday and set up a nice friendly campsite to entertain their friends, from both jobs and the church and anybody else that might happen to stop by from now until late Sunday afternoon when they'd pull out for home.
      A few others from the refinery came in as well having scheduled the extended weekend well in advance. Some of them were senior management with expensive custom coaches with multiple slide outs and satellite TV. However their campsites were not nearly as welcoming to others as Dorothy's was as she hung wind chimes and her husband rigged up some party lights of stars and moons. And of course the old smoky charcoal grill known far and wide as one of the best sources of BBQ chicken in the state.
      Dorothy welcomed their friends with an array of cold drinks and snack trays that nobody had ever seen before. She blended pineapple juice into amazing concoctions. For the first time in her life she had purchased and used peach nectar. From dinnertime to late that night their camper was the liveliest spot in the entire campground as word got out that one of Dorothy's new talents involved making drinks, with and without alcohol for those that didn't indulge. And that she was more than happy to share the fruits of her labors.
      "They are all based on recipes that were symbolic of the blessings of harvest and animal husbandry." She told one of the boss's wives. "They drank them as part of a prayer for many offspring, both their own and their animals."
      "Ach! Nooo." The older woman said almost dropping her glass.
      "Many grandchildren then." Dorothy smiled.
      "Ah. Yes." The woman smiled and toasted Dorothy with the glass.
      With a campsite full of happy people celebrating fertility with very sweet drinks Dorothy's husband was really put to it turning out food somewhat more substantial than the vegetable trays with crackers and cheese.
      The boss whose wife was praying for grandchildren pronounced the chicken some of the best he'd ever had. The other two men sitting in the chairs behind them heartedly agreed.
      "Howdy folks." A burly man said walking up to the edge of the campsite. "Smelled the chicken down the way, what sauce ya'll using?"
      "Come on in, have a drink. I'll tell ya about it." Dorothy's husband said waving him in.
      "Here try this." The boss handed the stranger a glass and poured some yellowish stuff out of one of the pitchers. "It's sweet and sour. But it's really good."
      "Thank you sir." The burly man said.
      They discussed the finer points of slow cooking chicken and dry rub versus sauces as the women inside the trailer talked about the men.
      Some time later one of the men at the table took two empty pitchers into the camper to be refilled.
      "Oh, who's that?" One of the women nodded out at the large man with the beard standing next to the grill still deep in the spice debate.
      "I don't know ma'am. He's camped down the lane I guess."
      Dorothy looked out. And froze.
      Nobody in the camper understood anything Dorothy said as she muttered under her breath as she looked out.
      But then she took a deep breath and finished mixing the drink and after offering a refill to the ladies, she took the pitcher outside.
      "Here she is! This is my wife Dorothy. She brews the drinks."
      "A pleasure ma'am. It is a delightful refreshment." The big man said with a smile.
      "Thank you." She said. Then she diverted her eyes and after nodding to her husband she went back inside.
      The men talked some more and then the big man thanked everybody for the visit and took his leave.


      Apollo was staring at his lord and master, but his eyes were on him in spirit only. He dared not provoke the greater being with anything that might be even loosely considered open insubordination.
      For his part the Ruler was still and thoughtful. He seemed to be considering the aftertaste of something he had just had swallowed.
      Apollo remained motionless.
      If the matter of his sister was being considered, that consideration could go on for nearly an eternity, but when the decision was arrived at, it would be invoked immediately.

      To those of the mortal realm, several months had passed since the tremor had shaken the temple. To those in the temple, it had only been a moment or two.


      Friday, August twelfth was given over to recreational pursuits.
      Several of the men went out to the pier and did some serious fishing.
      Several of the women went into town on a shopping trip to a flea market.
      The sun was bright and the fish were biting. The bargains were plentiful and everybody they dealt with at the market seemed to be happy to make a deal.
      But then one of those summer storms started to roll in.
      The men on the pier took a vote and then packed up their fish and other baggage and had just reached the camping area when the rain started to fall.
      The women were inside the covered area of the market when they heard thunder. They considered their options, but since it was already raining they decided to stay where they were and see if it would pass.

      They all heard the crackling blast of lightning that split the sky from horizon to horizon and then roaring blast of thunder that almost lasted forever.
      The lights in the market flashed and went dark.
      The electricity at the campground flickered and quit.

      Several of the newer RV's immediately had their on board generators kick on. Dorothy's husband sputtered to himself and went out in the rain and started his by hand.
      At the market a few children started crying and a few women gasped in surprise at the sudden darkness in the building.

      Dorothy, however, heard the crackle of the lightning and collapsed to the floor in sheer terror. Then when the shuddering report of the thunder boomed through the building she screamed as if she were in pain.
      Two of the ladies from the group helped her to her feet and comforted her by saying that it had scared them too.
      But by then she had recovered herself and said it had just startled her.

      Outside the thunderstorm raged and blew. Sheets of rain teemed down. Violent winds gusted with considerable force. Lightning shattered the sky and thunder made the landscape tremble.
      Dorothy was almost in tears.
      She was shaking as she got into the car, then she almost whimpered when a particularly strong gust ripped the top off of a tree and sent it crashing down not far from the road.
      By the time the two cars got to the campground they were all feeling the effects of the storm.
      The men were huddled under the old heavy canvas awning that was straining the home made galvanized pipe frame it was strung over. They had been watching the storm and grilling sausages.
      But as the women scurried under the shelter the storm seemed to break anew with fresh power.
      One of the pipes began to bend under the assault and three of the men worked to secure the tarp to something stronger.

      Then a low howl began off in the distance.
      In a few seconds it became an unmistakable piercing wail.
      "Come on!" Dorothy's husband shouted into the camper.
      The old shower building, with its concrete block walls and steel beamed roof was the only realistic protection in the area.
      The entire group ran as one to the building that already had several people in it.
      Somebody had a transistor radio on a local station. It was talking about a funnel cloud being sighted not far from where they were.

      Dorothy looked up from the shelter of her husband's arms at the corner of the sky visible through the vent high in the wall.
      " ... i'm sorry... " she whispered softly.

      Outside the storm raged on, but several miles away the meteorologist at the TV station watched as the identifying signature of the full tornado wavered and turned back into a hook under the cloud. Then in another minute it was reabsorbed by the storm.
      "That was something to see." He said as he watched the display.

      After a couple of songs from the radio the announcer told those huddled in the shower building that the tornado warning had been lifted and the core of the storm was now moving almost due north.
      That cheered everybody in the dark building up a good deal, but it was still pouring down rain and the wind was still blowing with some force.

      Later they emerged to a calmer world, but the evidence of the storm's passing was everywhere.
      Limbs had fallen on some campers. Others were standing in water almost to the doors of the units.
      Dorothy was relieved their camper had only sustained minor cosmetic damage from a falling branch. That and the old awning was now a twisted mess of pipe and soaked canvas. Their lawn chairs were scattered all across the place, and several were missing. But all in all, they had weathered the storm in pretty good shape.
      They refired the generator to run a fan and dry out the rug inside where a window had leaked. Then they cleaned up the grill from where it had been dumped by the wind, and cooked fish on charcoal to lantern light.
      After awhile a sheriff's deputy cruised through the campground and checked on everybody.
      The same group that had spent most of the previous evening gathered around drinks in their camper was back. But tonight they weren't quite as jovial. They had heard that the small pop-up trailer their new friend from last night had been using had been totally destroyed in the storm and the owner had been slightly injured. The park manager had driven him to the hospital and he would be fine, but the unit was a total loss.
      The group talked about taking up a collection for him at the picnic the next day.
      Later they listened to the radio as the local news described the minor damage that the storm had caused to the area. Then they all said goodnight and went back to their own campers. Before long, Dorothy and her husband turned in.
      It was still raining. And occasionally a gust of wind would rock the camper. But for some reason Dorothy felt safe laying next to her husband in the small bedroom at the rear of the old rig.


      As the alarm went off on the small shelf next to the bed they woke up to a bright sunrise to the East.
      Dorothy had all but forgotten the effect the storm had had on her.
      For some reason she felt that today was Her day.
      They went down to their storm shelter and took a long hot shower before anybody else was even up and around. Then they both worked together and fixed a good solid breakfast then they took a walk and looked at the storm damage.
      "Looks like a hurricane went through here."
      Dorothy agreed with his assessment. Several large limbs were lying where they had either fallen or had been moved just out of the road.
      They found one of their chairs up against the fence several hundred yards from their spot.
      Then they saw the pop up camper. A tree had been partially uprooted and was lying across it.
      "It's a miracle he wasn't killed." They heard one of the others of their group whisper from behind them.
      "Yes." Dorothy answered. "We should take up those donations for him."

      They convoyed to the picnic area where the organizers of the event welcomed the extra help to set up the game and entertainment area.
      Every year the company awarded prizes in various categories, and this year was no exception.
      Today there would be athletic and skill competitions as well as a talent show. There were age and skill groups covering several divisions, family and individual competitions, and even a class for retirees.
      The chances were pretty good that if you competed in a couple of different events, you would probably win something. The prizes for the adults ranged from a free meal in the cafeteria to some small appliances and a few substantial gift certificates. And there was an even wider array of prizes for the kids.
      Dorothy glanced over the list of competitions and suddenly began laughing.
      In with the three legged and potato sack race, there were some of the less traditional events that were real challenges. This year, they were having an archery tournament after lunch.


      "But you've never shot a bow in your life." Her husband said as he signed up right Below her on one of the archery lists beneath the date, August 13.
      "How hard can it be?" Dorothy asked. "Besides, it's my day." She smiled.
      There were adult categories for recurve and compound bows shooting both standard targets and whitetail deer silhouettes. Her husband had signed up only for the compound bow and silhouettes, but Dorothy put her name on every list.

      The sport programming started before lunch with events for the kids.
      They watched some of them and reminisced about when their own children had competed in the events such as the water balloon toss.

      Lunch was an amalgam of traditional American picnic food and some uniquely Southern dishes and a few local specialties. Hamburgers and chicken shared the table with gumbo and red beans and rice and about four different kinds of shrimp.
      And even though the entire crowd ate all they wanted, and by noon it was a serious crowd of over two hundred adults and maybe that many again of children of various ages, there was no lack of food.
      Or dessert.
      The dessert spread exceeded the wildest dreams of even those with an insatiable sweet tooth. And if you couldn't have sugar, there were things made with fake sugar that made you think you were eating the real thing.
      Dorothy relished in the 'Summer Feast' as she referred to it and indulged herself in things she normally wouldn't eat, like triple chocolate cake.
      Her husband concentrated on the shrimp and told the man that had cooked them that he had outdone himself again.

      At two O'clock they started the competitions under a cloudless sky and bright sun.
      Charlotte was as enthusiastic as anybody that Dorothy had entered the archery contest and rallied the others they worked with into a cheering section for her. Then once it was clear she was the only woman in the hunting category, her supporters swelled to include nearly all the women there.
      The first round was at twenty five yards. The object of the exercise was to hit the rather small foam 'kill zone' on the outline of the deer. From twenty-five yards, if you couldn't hit the target with at least one of your three arrows from the compound bow, you'd be better off going to see if there was any more cake on the dessert table.
      Right away it was clear that there were three entrants who were serious about the competition. Two of the men were experienced bow hunters, one of those was Dorothy's husband, the other was a younger guy who rumor had it was a ringer, he had been on his college archery team. The other one who put all three arrows through the same hole in the target was Dorothy.
      At fifty yards several of the contestants didn't even hit the silhouette. The three favorites all put their arrows through the center of the target area and back in the audience, some bets were being placed.
      At one hundred yards Dorothy's husband missed with his second arrow of the round.
      The range had only been laid out to one hundred fifty yards. Both Dorothy and the ringer had put their arrows so close together you could cover the hole in the target with a potato chip. After the third round at that distance the referee for the event called it a draw and they changed the silhouettes for standard targets and began the second event with the recurve bows.
      After the fifty yard round Dorothy seemed to tire of it. She proposed a challenge.
      There were only four contestants who had scores sufficient to continue and they all agreed to a playoff.
      "Give me a hand." She said to the referee.
      They went out to the field and moved the targets, silhouettes and round targets, into a semi circle out from the seventy five yard line to one hundred fifty yards out and back to a hundred. With the recurve bow, hitting the bull's eye or kill zone at that distance would be a major challenge even for experience archers.
      Then she put some of the short children's arrows in the ground at the firing line as where they should stand.
      "The first to miss a bull's eye or a kill, loses." Dorothy said pointing downrange. "Agreed?"
      "Winner take all?" The ringer asked.
      "Why not?" Dorothy's husband said. He was secretly proud of her, but at the same time, he couldn't imagine where she had learned to shoot like that. Nor could he imagine losing to her.

      Since it was Dorothy's challenge, they made her go first.
      Charlotte stood in the back and watched her shoot.
      Dorothy drew and sighted in with a very unorthodox style and calmly aimed downrange. But her aim was true and arrow after arrow found its mark with only pause enough for her to reach for another arrow from the quiver hanging nearby.
      The ringer went next and took a long time to sight in on every target. But this wasn't a timed event. He too, was perfect.
      One of the other shooters was next and hit every mark. But afterward he said he'd had enough and withdrew from the competition.
      Dorothy's husband shot last, but he missed a bull's eye at the hundred fifty yard line. He didn't quit immediately though and finished his round.
      There were two left.

      They had started with a small audience. But as word of the challenge spread more people came to see. Now nearly the entire picnic group was watching with breathless anticipation as the two shot another round.
      "A further challenge." The ringer said. "Head to head."
      "Agreed." Dorothy said.
      Now they were standing side by side. The referee marked the arrows so they could tell whose were whose without dispute. The targets at the seventy five yard line were moved back to one hundred. Then the ref flipped a coin.
      Dorothy would shoot second for the first 'sudden death' round.

      The ringer drew a bead on the first target and hit it dead center.
      Dorothy's arrow went in right beside it and they looked almost as one shaft to the crowd. Then she shot the next target, a silhouette at seventy five yards. His arrow came in a few seconds later so close it almost split hers.
      For the next round they used fresh paper on the targets and moved closer ones out a little further. Now the closest target was at the one hundred twenty five yard line.
      Dorothy would shoot first this time.
      Again there was a round of betting in the audience.


      The fury building in Apollo was unmistakable.
      Some things are just wrong. He had thought to himself.

      Then he was aware that his thoughts could be heard by those given to do such things.

      The king of the gods was now considering something else.

      Apollo tried to curtail his emotions and consider what would be best for his sister.


      They had shattered the previous arrow in the target. One of hers had driven his last one through the target like a nail.
      The betting was open and furious. Several of the spectators were now wagering handfuls of cash on every shot.
      The ringer was sweating. His last arrow had hit the bull's eye, but it wasn't dead center like the others had been. Where he had been firing effortlessly, now his shoulder was beginning to feel the strain. He switched to a slightly lighter draw bow and continued.
      Dorothy had been using a light draw bow from the beginning, but she was pulling it back to its full draw to give her arrows the range and power she needed for the distance they were shooting at.
      "Challenge." Dorothy said to him.
      "OK." He answered almost hoping the referee would instead call the match a draw.
      She went to a nearby cooler and pulled out two full cans of cola. She gave them to one of the young men she had seen throwing a baseball earlier and gestured down the range.
      "OK." The ringer said. "You go first."
      Dorothy took her bow and put two arrows in her teeth and another into the notch. Then she drew back and nodded.
      The ball player threw the first can high, far and hard.
      One. Then another. Then the third. By the time the can hit the ground out near the fifty yard line it had three arrows in it.
      The crowd went absolutely insane. Most of the money that had been bet on the match was now being thrown at Dorothy.
      "I don't believe it." The ringer said. "I'm not even going to try that." He said taking the other can from the ball player and toasting Dorothy with it.
      She looked out to where the can landed.
      The sun was glinting off of it with a blinding glare.
      "Phoibos Apollon." She smiled at the light.

      "Artemis." Charlotte whispered to her.
      Dorothy looked at the young woman and then blinked at the sunbeam still shining on her from the pierced can.
      "Not any more." Dorothy said sadly.


      Dorothy still had great confidence in herself. Although she begged off any more archery tournaments, she still showed a remarkable knowledge and almost intimacy with all things Greek. And she still made the most amazing salads with grape leaves and served them with some very sweet drinks.
      And when her husband went fishing, they seemed to always catch their limit.

      But Dorothy had admit to Charlotte one time when they went out to lunch one dreary day that whatever had come over her for that time had been something that she couldn't explain.
      They discussed the dream of the temple, and how Dorothy seemed to know more about Greece and Turkey than she had any right to. And how comfortable she had been when she shot the bow at the picnic.
      "Maybe it was." Charlotte said to her.
      "A Greek Goddess? Inside Me?" Dorothy said incredulously.
      "No. Not the goddess." Charlotte was fishing for the right words. "But her essence. You said your grandmother's family was from that region of Turkey. Maybe at one time, they were priestesses of Artemis and something of that memory was still in you."
      Dorothy was too practical for that.
      "Then you explain it." Her friend said as they left the restaurant and walked out to the car.

      It had been a cloudy day.
      But just as Dorothy got out of the car at the refinery the sun broke through.
      The first sunbeam of the day seemed to be aimed right at her.
      "See." Charlotte said. "What's that?"
      Dorothy looked up. Two words came to mind. "Phoibos Apollon." She said sweetly, then she couldn't help but smile at the sun.

End Silver Bow

[Note: All rights reserved, including the right to further publication. Distributed copies to proofreaders and editors remain property of the author. No infringement of copyright is intended. All mortals are fictitious, all historical persons (gods) ... well, we'll reserve judgment on them won't we?
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