Just over Grant’s Pass at 7:15pm and the sky turned black. Every mountain top was lit up with electricity and the rumbling of thunder was continuous. It’s not normal for it to be pitch dark so early. There are usually pauses between lightning strikes and the crash that announces their passage. I thought the apocalypse had arrived or, at the very least, I was under attack by Sauron’s minions or the Horde of Azeroth.
It was an apocalypse but it was Thor’s Apocalypse which is even worse than the other kind. I wanted to pray but I didn’t know any Norse prayers except the one you shout, sword in hand, before you give your life in battle.
There were no gaps between the lightning strikes now and finally the rains came. Just three big, lazy drops on my windscreen. Not enough for the wipers, but that was just a feint; cover for the ice storm which Thor cast down upon the citizens of Grants Pass and the weary travellers on I5.
The first one hit my windscreen so hard I thought it was a rock but I soon realized the real threat as the gods hit me with all the ice in Valhalla. I didn’t think my vessel would survive the attack so I pulled off the highway peering dimly through the hail to see the side of the road. My fellow travellers did the same and we cowered under the meagre shelter of a tree. I couldn’t bear to think of the damage that was happening to my car as the mini golf balls beat us into submission.
As quickly as it started, the deluge subsided and I u-turned back onto the now deserted highway. The on-ramp was already a torrent threatening to wash me away.
As I reached the highway, Odin pulled back Valhalla’s veil of darkness and showed me the bright, clear evening sky. A mirage of Shasta shone warmly in the dying sun, a beacon of hope after the madness and California whispered my name. Welcoming me home.