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Dream Quest One Third Writing Prize Winner
Winter 2006-2007
 Ryan Parker
of McKinney, Texas - USA

Marcus The Great


“No, Hera. I’ll sleep with anyone I please! O.K?”


Fights like this were common within the ranks of the Greek gods. Zeus was known for being quite the player in Greece, and his lover, Hera, was not too fond of this one bit.


“Honey look, it didn’t mean anything. I really love you.” Zeus was trying to calm her down, but it wasn’t working. Hera marched into Zeus’s room and began to trash the room.


“No baby, that pottery is... was my favorite” Zeus said, as the pot shattered into the wall. Zeus tried to plead with her, but she trashed everything in the room until she arrived at his lightning bolts.


“Hera, no! Those are only for me to touch.” Hera paid no heed to this and threw one of the lightning bolts at him anyway. She aimed for his feet but missed. The bolt zoomed by his feet and flew through the clouds on which all the gods lived. Little did either of them know this little fit of rage would do them both more good than a much needed marriage counseling session.


Marcus was your typical Greek in every way. His parents were both blacksmiths who had made a decent amount of money with their work. His dad would craft the weapons for the soldiers, and his mom would add the art to really make them stand out. Sadly, Marcus did not possess the skills his parents did. Of course, he worked in the shop with his parents, but it was mostly just keeping the place tidy and calculating the income

 they made -- typical job, typical pay, typical Greek. Marcus decided one day to take a walk that would make his life anything but typical.


“Oh Zeus, I would give anything to be more than just your average Greek. I think that if I were given the chance I could really shock the people of your land with my skill.” At that very moment the lightning bolt (which was thrown by Hera) continued on its earth-bound course, and Marcus just happened to be in the way.


They say you’ve never known pain until you’re dead, and Marcus knew full well the truth of that statement. When he awoke he felt peaceful, as if he were floating on a cloud. He looked around for a minute or two before realizing he really was on a cloud! He was floating on a cloud on his way up to see the gods. When his journey was finally over he saw Zeus looking around anxiously as if he were expecting someone. Zeus saw him and asked, “ You didn’t happen to run into a lightning bolt did you?” When Marcus told him in fact he had, Zeus was flustered.


“Look I’m sorry Marcus. You weren’t really supposed to die. This whole thing was an

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accident, O.K.? Is there any way I can repay you?”


Marcus thought about it and realized this would be his big chance to help Greece and become more than he ever thought possible.


“You know what, I might have to go home and tell all my friends about your little slip up here Zeus old boy.”


Zeus responded, “Look, there’s no need for that. I heard your prayer, and I know you want to help Greece. And that’s good, because there’s real trouble here that I could use your help with.” He continued on, “You know every year we hold the Olympics to show our strength and speed. Every year the winner of the most events becomes almost an icon to the Greek people. He gets adorned with adoration and gifts and most importantly, trust. Every person in Greece knows to listen to whatever the Olympic winner says, because someone that strong must surely be some kind of god.”


Marcus cut Zeus off. “This is all great, but where do I come in?”


Zeus told Marcus to just hold on, and he continued, “Well Hades has a plan for this year; using the souls of the finest dead athletes he will combine them together to form the perfect Olympian -- one who is sure to win every event and gain the trust of millions of Greeks. I cannot allow this because Hades will be controlling that person the whole time. If the Greeks trust the athlete then that means they also trust Hades. Can you imagine, millions of Greeks following orders from a puppet of Hades? That’s why Marcus, from this point on you will have all the strength and speed and skill of an Olympian, and you will win. This is more than a gold medal. It’s for the good of your country.”


“To complete this task you’ll need help. That’s why when I send you back to earth you will have your own trainer named Taylor. Taylor will work you very hard in order to get you to use your powers to your full potential. Now go boy. Leave me here, and go for the gold.” With a simple flick of the wrist, Zeus sent Marcus back down to earth with all his newly bestowed powers.


When Marcus arrived back on earth he quickly noticed a few new things about himself. Before he met Zeus he was an average guy of average build. With Zeus’s help he had been transformed. He was now taller than any man he had ever seen and had the muscles of Hercules. His clothes had changed also. Instead of a simple white robe, he was dressed in the finest silks and linens. He figured now that he had the look of a god he might as well get into the shape of a god. He knew he needed to find Taylor, his new personal trainer, but he had no idea where to look. Just the thought of Taylor and he somehow knew instinctively where to go.


Marcus traveled over the tallest of mountains and into the deepest of canyons. He walked under the scorching sun and the drenching rain until he came upon a building in the middle of a wide-open field. The building was bigger than any he had ever seen. It was almost an exact replica of the Parthenon, only the inside was totally vacant.

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While Marcus stood to admire the building he felt a tap on shoulder. Somehow he knew it was Taylor and was anxious to see what kind of Adonis Zeus had sent to kick him into shape. Instead when he turned he saw a girl that would have made Aphrodite green with envy.


“Hello there Marcus, my name is Taylor. Are you ready to begin your training?”


Marcus was too stunned to do anything other than nod his head incoherently. Taylor was not some rippling mass of muscles. No, she was a very feminine woman, and Marcus was sure that she was the image of beauty in every way.


The training set up for Marcus was intense. While Taylor did not look like a trainer, she definitely was. When Marcus ran a mile, Taylor ran it faster. When Marcus threw the discus, Taylor threw it farther. When Marcus lifted a boulder, Taylor lifted two. Zeus was a smart man indeed! If he had sent a muscle bound trainer to help, Marcus would not have been mad if the trainer was better than he was. The thought of being outclassed by a dainty, yet beautiful, young lady in every single way only made Marcus work harder and harder. While Marcus continued to train, he was falling more and more in love with Taylor. Their off time was always spent together just talking, getting lunch or just being together. Indeed they were falling deeply in love.


When the time came for the Olympics, all of Greece was abuzz with the news of a new competitor. People heard through the grapevine he was stronger than a Chariot, faster than a speeding horse, and able to leap mountains in a single bound. This might have been a little over the top, but Greeks were sure to be in for a show.


On the first day of the Olympics was the strength competition. Each competitor was to lift and carry a boulder for ten paces before picking up another one and repeating. They all had ten boulders to carry. When Marcus came to his starting position he looked around the field and saw him. He had not ever seen him, but he knew his name --Theo. He was Hades’ creation and he looked like a Marcus opposite. While Marcus was tan, had wavy blond hair and was dressed in golden robes, Theo was pasty, almost white, had very little black hair and was dressed in the shabbiest of black robes. They made eye contact with each other, and an instant a rivalry was born.


The judge announced the start of the event, and Marcus took a quick lead. He had carried three boulders ten paces in the time it took everyone else to carry one. Theo had not even moved yet.


When Theo began moving, he started with a vengeance! He picked up two boulders at once and ran like the wind to his spot. He continued doing this, and Marcus was having trouble keeping pace. In the end both had two boulders in each hand and sprinting to their spots. Marcus won, barely. Taylor was ecstatic for Marcus’s win and was hugging her lover like crazy after the match. Theo looked at them with disdain and thought of a plan that would destroy his rival without laying a finger on him.

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As Marcus hugged Taylor he could sense Theo was planning something and knew he had to keep his eyes open for any tricks he might try and pull. Would he attack his knees with a lead pipe or rig one of the events so that only Theo could win? There was no telling what the spawn of Hades had up his sleeve for Marcus.


Theo was smart enough to see that Marcus had more important things in his life besides winning. He could see that Marcus was very much in love with Taylor — and that could be his downfall. Theo could break Marcus’s leg, and he would still go on. He could break his arm and he would still go on. Yet if he broke his heart, he knew Marcus would quit.


The next day was the speed contest. Theo made sure every event was close but he was always just a step behind Marcus. He of course had this planned this so that Marcus would not think he was throwing the races. After each race Marcus could be seen spending every moment with the love of his life, Taylor, and Theo knew that his plan would go off without a hitch.


That night Theo called down to Hades, “Oh my master, hear my plea. Marcus and I are equals in every way, but he has a weakness, “the girl sir, the girl.” Give me your 3-headed dog to kill her. He will quit the Olympics and I will have the people of Greece eating out of the palm of our hand.” Hades heard Theo’s plan and smiled. He now knew not only was his minion strong but also had the brains to go along with it. He agreed to his plan and sent his monstrosity of a dog to earth.


The final day of the Olympics was the skill contest. Theo had a plan to make sure that Marcus didn’t even get the chance to compete in this. Before the event, when Marcus and Taylor were all alone talking about the upcoming event, Theo started his plan. He called up the three-headed dog. The earth shook, the sky turned black and the roar of the dog could be heard for miles. The dog burst out of the earth and went straight for its assigned target. It ran directly at Marcus before sidestepping him and killing Taylor with a single strike.


When Theo saw the job his dog had done he was pleased. He sent the dog back to the underworld and went to see if Marcus was crushed. He walked over to the fallen champion, and indeed Marcus was a shell of his former self.


“What kind of life is it that I want to live without Taylor by my side?” he asked to the heavens. “Hades, take me. Give Taylor’s body back her soul.” Marcus knew now that the most important thing in his life was not getting the gold. He turned to Theo and looked him in the eye. Instead of seeing sorrow on his face for the death of Taylor, Theo saw a smile.

You had Taylor killed didn't you. Forget the Olympics. I'm going to kill you!” With that proclamation, Marcus surged toward Theo and began to struggle for his life.


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They were both equally matched as Marcus had the strength of the heavens, and it was only countered by Theo’s strength of the underworld. They kept on fighting and fighting well past sundown. All of Greece shook with the power of their fight. Theo looked at Marcus and said, “Marcus you fool, we’ve fought for too long. We’ve missed the Olympics. You fool!


While this should have been great news for Marcus, it fell on deaf ears. He might have done his job for Zeus, but he now realized something. Victory is nothing without someone special to share it with.


With this thought he summoned all his strength and rushed at Theo. He tackled him to the ground and grabbed him by the neck. Theo tried and tried but could not get him to release. Within three minutes Theo stopped struggling. Marcus stepped away from him and walked out through the city to the Olympic Stadium. When he got there he was surprised to find the stadium still full of people. He nervously walked in, and when he set foot inside the stadium the crowd roared. In the middle of the stadium was Zeus himself, and the crowd looked shocked. None of them had seen a god before, and here Zeus was in the middle of all of them.


Zeus said to Marcus, “Thank you, son, for preventing Theo from winning. Now I know you really want that goal, but since you didn’t compete in the last day I don’t think you can get it. I think I have a small consolation prize here for you though.”


Zeus took a step to the side and there she was. Taylor! Marcus was too overwhelmed to speak and quickly embraced her in his arms. He thought again how victory is nothing without someone special to share it with.


The End.