And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Whitney Houston as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard.
Best Actor: Other than Mr. Costner, I’d say the most deserving is Morgan Freeman as Azeem in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Best Quote: “Many times I’d felt alone, but until this afternoon I’d never felt completely lonely.” — Kevin Costner as John “Dances with Wolves” Dunbar in Dances with Wolves.
Odium was a different kind of being. The kind you only find out about post- life on earth. The universe is very wide, very long, very deep, and very mysterious. And so are the others just like it. Countless others.
Most of us living on earth have some understanding of who we would call the devil, but that wasn’t Odium. He was not evil incarnate. He was simply a being that should not have been where he was for the past thousand years or so. But he sure was dangerous.
There were many things he and his kind desired and enjoyed, and almost all of them were harmful to human beings. One of his favourite activities was manipulation. It fascinated him and he was addicted to doing it to humans in a variety of ways. He knew every language imaginable down to the most specific accent and could mimic any temperament that humans recognize. He wasn’t a shape-shifter by any stretch, but his abilities in persuasion brought him the closest one could imagine to actually being one. Trusting him was never difficult. Resisting him took work, to say the least, and from the brief look he was able to steal from Brody’s eyes, he believed things would fall in his favour.
So naturally the young man dressed in black casuals with a walkie-talkie clipped to his belt didn’t stand a chance. Despite the music booming through the speakers and the roar of a crowd coming from the stadium, Odium made his case for the young man to follow him and open a door. He had found Brody.
The silence in the room had hung for several minutes. When this happens in day-to-day life, those minutes can be long. In a context such as this one, the moments seemed to last for days. Finally Chester spoke up.
“Brode, I’m very sorry.”
More silence. It wasn’t just the shock of the news, it was also the betrayal of time. Were all of these years and memories for nothing? Were his friends characters in a play? A figment of his imagination? And as if Anita could read his mind, she added her own offering of comfort.
“All that you remember is real… it’s just… you remember that U2 song, ‘Stuck in a Moment’? Well, that’s what you are right now. You went to northern India to see a boxing match, which is where Odium got a hold of you. Then he sent you through a portal to your homeland.”
“It’s true Brode,” interrupted Chester. “And you’ve been stuck in a 48-hour time loop. Thankfully the Puri-Stone fight took place in that loop. We knew we could find you there.”
At this point Brody was on the floor, back against the wall, staring at the humming air conditioner across the room. People joke about being caught in the “twilight zone.” But for Brody this was real, and it was no joke. He knew all of this was just too crazy to be true, but he’d experienced enough of the unexplainable in the last few hours to write it all off as a hoax or dream. Doubt, however, continued to swirl in his brain. This may or may not have been the source of his pounding headache. Maybe it was the lack of sleep. Maybe it was the… “time change”? Does that apply in this kind of activity.
“Once you’re back it will all be clear. Back to normal,” offered Chester, though even he wasn’t a fan of his choice of words here. Normal?
“Brody, all that you…”
Just then the door opened. There was Odium with his head turned to the side giving a smile and a thank you to the young man, though he moved quickly. He knew Anita and Chester would slam the door as soon as they could think quickly enough.
“Brody!” he said with a smile of relief. I am so glad I’ve found you. I am even more pleased that these two haven’t harmed you. Not yet anyway.”
“Odium, you need to go back to where you belong!” shouted Chester before he was flown across the room like he’d been shot with a bullet. He laid on the beige nylon carpet motionless.
Then every folding table in the room flew towards Brody and stacked themselves in front of him, blocking Odiums view of him.
“Oh, aren’t you clever?” sneered Odium. Anita then receives the same treatment as Chester. Brody didn’t see this but he could hear the thud and Anita’s weak cry. He didn’t remember ever being so scared. It felt as if he could feel every vein and every artery in his body pumping blood and adrenaline like a million little firehoses.
Yet it wasn’t long before he was feeling calm. Unusually calm. Odium moved around the stack of tables and looked pitifully at Brody like a grandmother finding her grandchild with a skinned knee.
“Brody, I am so sorry you’ve had to go through all of this.”
Odium gave Brody his complete attention and delivered to him a speech for the ages. He told him how great of a man he was and reminded him of all of his accomplishments over the years of his life. He told Brody about how his friends were rogue con artists who only wanted to use him to get to others. To harm them and steal from them.
“What did they say their names were?”
By now Brody felt more collected and tranquil. “Anita and, um, Chester,” he managed.
Odium closed his eyes and shook his head. “I don’t even want to know what kind of lies they’ve told you to get you here. Full of magic tricks aren’t they?” Brody nodded. “I mean, who wouldn’t follow these two and do whatever they ask? It’s impossible not to I guess.” Odium’s voice trailed off. “But you’re here now. And you’re safe.” A reassuring smile.
This was certainly the first time in a long time now that Brody was feeling at ease. He’d longed for this feeling. Odium offered his hand and it felt so right for Brody to take it and get lifted back up on his feet. Seeing his two friends lying on the floor as the two turned to exit the room was saddening to Brody, but he was relieved that he was being led away from the craziness. Just before getting to the door, however, they heard a faint voice singing a song. It was Anita. It wasn’t anything Odium recognized, so for a few brief seconds he simply stared at her with a look of confusion. “Quiet you! You’ve done enough,” turning to Brody now, “Try and ignore her. It’s probably an incantation or some other trick to try and capture your mind.”
If it was a trick, she was good, thought Brody. He knew this song: “When You’re Alone,” sung by a young little actress from the movie Hook. Why was she singing this?
“It’s just a movie tune Odium. Do you know it?”
“No, I can’t say that I do.” His brow furrowed and concern danced in his eyes. Or maybe it was panic.
“Well, I really liked that movie. Somehow she must’ve known that… and is probably trying to win me over,” he turned to Odium. “Don’t worry. I won’t let her trick me.” The man in white smiled.
But inside the mind of Brody was clarity. Clarity slowly creeping up like the tortoise in the proverbial race. Not everything was clear, of course. For instance, he was picturing watching this movie with his family at Christmas, but he wasn’t sure where this memory was coming from. The rest of his family didn’t seem to care about the film like he did. He could see the little girl in the story, Maggie, hugging a wooden post on a pier singing with all her heart. Then a flash of another little girl doing the same, only wrapping her arms around the newel post of a set of stairs in a home. Then Anita stopped singing. Her lips looked like they were glued shut. He knew it had to have been Odium. He wasn’t sure who the little girl was in his memory, but regardless if it was Anita, Anita’s mom, or some random stranger, it didn’t matter. He knew something was connecting here.
“Look at that!” said Odium with a disgusted look, “They are such odd and sorry looking creatures! Brody I’m so glad we’re getting you awa…”
Brody simply yelled “Run home Jack!” and dove for the door. Landing just in the threshold he rolled himself to the hallway side. Odium ran after him but the door slammed shut. He spun around and glared at a now standing Chester who had his hand outstretched toward the door.
It was unclear what Odium could or would do to his friends, but Brody just knew what the two of them would have told him to do. He could feel it in his bones. Run away and find Cable.