“You sure you don’t want to come with us, Lynn?”
“I’m sure, Charlie. I have too much to do here. I’m so behind because of my surgery. You know how Dr. Vario is, “Take it easy, take your time, get well. Get plenty of rest. I need this by tomorrow.”
“Bummer. Don’t work late, Lynn. See you Monday.”
Lynn Ellestad, a visiting graduate student in the Art History Department of Columbia University, is from Norway. In Norway, many still believe in the Norse myths and legends. Lynn was not one of them, but her assignment to restore Arbo’s 1869 painting, “Valkyrie”, followed her to hospital, in a series of meetings with a Valkyrie. She was afraid to tell anyone about the bizarre hallucinations, or dreams–she wasn’t sure what they were. There was one person who might not laugh at her–Dr. Vario, her graduate advisor and expert in Norse legends. It was her first day back….
“Dr. Vario, do you have a few minutes? I need to speak with you about something strange that happened to me in hospital. Actually, it began here, when I was assessing Arbo’s “Valkyrie”.
“Ah, yes. She visited you, did she?”
“You know, doctor? I wasn’t hallucinating?”
Dr. Arbo talked with Lynn for over an hour. He told her how terrified he was when the Valkyrie appeared to him. He had a mini-stroke and he was lying on the floor of his kitchen when she appeared. Seeing her, he thought she was coming for him to take him to Valhalla, as was her purpose according to myth. What she did do was comfort him. In his best Old Norse, he asked for the phone, pointing to it. That’s when he called “911” and she disappeared. She visited him one other time, many years earlier, when his appendix had burst, but he was so horrified to see what he believed was an evil vision, that he chased her away. At the time he was a young priest and was sure that the devil was deceiving him.
“Lynn, you said her appearance began here?”
“Yes, doctor. It was during my preliminary assessment of the painting. I was staring at the “Valkyrie” in the museum when…when I discovered she had dismounted her horse. I was so horrified, that I ran out of the museum. Later, I had the painting brought to me. When I removed the protective wrap, she was on her horse again. Shortly after that I passed out and was taken to hospital.”
Lynn revealed to Dr. Arbo that the Valkyrie appeared to her three times in hospital. Each time Lynn’s temperature dangerously spiked. Lynn had a tough recovery. There were times she didn’t think she would live.
“Why did she appear, doctor? She takes slain warriors to Valhalla who lie on the field of battle. You and I are not warriors.”
“Well, my dear. She chooses who goes to Valhalla. Apparently, we have been chosen.”
“I am going to spend eternity with a bunch of Vikings?”
Flash Fiction Challenge #20– Thain in Vain
Word Count: 500
Photo of oil painting: Discover.com
Painting: “Valkyrie” by Peter Nicolai Arbo, 1869