Gladsheim (Part 2)
By ten o'clock, the eager guests had arrived in the spacious Loki Room and were busy vying for ownership of one of the twenty four brightly coloured rubber mats spaced equally across the parquet floor. Ingrid entered the room in bare feet and black leotard and immediately charmed the guests into a sequence of simple yoga and breathing exercises. After thirty minutes Eva, similarly dressed and pony-tailed took over and led the group into ever more strenuous and unexpected territory. By eleven o'clock most of the group lay groaning on their mats complaining loudly that they were in need of respite, or something even stronger.
Suddenly, silence fell across the room as the two girls melted away and were replaced by Lars dressed from head to foot in black. The atmosphere almost crackled with electricity.
'Ladies and gentlemen, said Lars in his languid almost hypnotic monotone, 'please lie on your mats and make yourselves comfortable. Your strenuous efforts this morning will now be rewarded by a feeling of relaxation such as you have never experienced.' The group complied obediently.
'Now I would like you to close your eyes and come with me on a journey. We are in Gladsheim, the sanctuary of the Norse gods, where we are protected from all worldly things. These walls are impenetrable to your worldly problems and your irrational fears. I want you to breath slowly and deeply and to fill your mind with the colour red. Slowly and deeply until you see nothing but the colour red.
Now, breathing slowly and deeply you will set the colour orange beside the red so that we can gradually fill our minds with colour. Now yellow and green as we build a vivid bridge of colour which stretches from one side of your mind's eye to the other. Stronger and stronger the bridge becomes as we add layer upon layer until finally, blue, indigo and violet
complete your task.
Slowly and deeply, slowly and deeply, your bridge fills your mind and your mind slowly bends it into an arc of vivid colour. An arc of vivid colour that is Bifrost, the flaming rainbow bridge which will carry us from the safety and security of our Gladsheim, to Asgard, your new future. Slowly and deeply, slowly and deeply you are building the flaming rainbow bridge. Slowly and deeply, slowly.....
Lars let his mesmeric voice tail slowly away, until the room fell into a silence broken only by the gentle relaxed breathing of twenty four totally compliant bridge builders.
Silence dominated for some minutes until it was suddenly and
unexpectedly shattered by loud snoring, followed by a steady outbreak
of group giggling. The rainbow bridge had collapsed.
As composure was slowly restored, Lars smiled at his new disciples with everything except his eyes.
'Falling asleep ladies and gentlemen is perfectly acceptable at this early stage of our journey. It illustrates how relaxed you had become and how prepared you are to travel this road with us here at Gladsheim. Over the coming days we will work on your ability to achieve Bifrost, to build the flaming bridge in your minds that will allow you to cross
successfully from the comfort and safety of Gladsheim to Asgard, your
new future. Asgard in Norse mythology, is the land of the warrior
gods led by their king, Odin. By the end of this week you will all
have the ability to achieve Bifrost, to build the flaming bridge
which will allow you to cross safely, with me, into Asgard. Once
there, ladies and gentlemen, we will be invincible.'
At this, Lars turned and left the Loki Room and the two blonde disciples silently reappeared.
'Lunch will be served in Valhalla at twelve thirty ladies and gentlemen,' smiled Ingrid, 'and the spa is available to you all afternoon whilst Lars begins his programme of individual consultations. You will find a list of
appointment times with him on the notice board by reception. Thank
Matthew Evans ran his finger down the list to find that his ten minutes with Lars was between two thirty and two forty. Armed with this information he set out for Valhalla, looking forward to a good lunch, followed by a session in the steam room for as long as he could stand the heat.
For the second time that day he found himself in the company of Margaret Bradshaw as she appeared in front of him with a bowl of spaghetti carbonara. She dropped the bowl onto the table and hastily sat down wearing a look of concern.
'If he thinks he's going to get me on my own for ten minutes,' she said, 'he can think again, and if you have any sense at all Matthew you will miss your appointment too.'
Immediately the words left her mouth, Margaret Bradshaw left her food and the table and fled.
* * *
As he entered his room, Matthew immediately sensed that someone else had been there. It wasn't anything out of place or untoward, just a faint essence of hostile intrusion in the air, a malevolent molecule triggering a primal instinct. He closed his door and stood silently for some time, forcing his senses into overdrive. The moment had gone and he quietly rebuked himself for allowing such nonsense to enter his head. Margaret Bradshaw's dinner table antics had been odd and slightly unsettling to say the least, so he rolled his shorts into a towel and set off for the steam room, determined to cleanse body and mind for as long as possible.
At two thirty precisely, pink faced and relaxed, he sank into a comfortable armchair opposite Lars and in just ten minutes had surrendered a summary of his failing life to the piercing blue eyes. Lars languidly assured him that together they would set out on a journey which would change his life for ever. Matthew Evans returned to the spa even more relaxed, changed back into his shorts, sank into the bubbling ecstasy of the jacuzzi and closed his eyes. His mind drifted effortlessly towards oblivion, drawn inexorably towards a glowing red horizon.
'Do you mind if I join you in there?' said a familiar voice.
Matthew dragged himself away from the red horizon and slowly opened his eyes. To his utter amazement, a blonde Viking in a cobalt blue bikini slid silently in beside him.
'I hope I'm not disturbing you Mr Evans,' said Eva. 'You looked so peaceful in here. May I call you Matthew?'
'Of course you may,' gasped Matthew, trying to disguise his surprise, 'be my guest.'
Eva settled beside him, casually brushing her arm against his as she did so.
'It's good to see you looking so relaxed Matthew, are you enjoying your time with us here at Gladsheim?'
'I am indeed Eva, I haven't felt this relaxed for a very long time.'
'That's good to hear Matthew, we are very keen to ensure that all our guests reap maximum benefit from our course. And what about your friend Miss Bradshaw, is she enjoying the course?'
Matthew was surprised by this abrupt change of direction in the conversation and took slightly longer than he should have done to reply.
'She's not a friend of mine Eva, what gave you that idea?'
'Oh! It's just that I saw you two chatting at breakfast, as if you'd known each other for a long time.'
'Not at all, she sat at my table and started a conversation this morning and then did the same thing at lunch time. She's a bit strange to tell you the truth; makes odd statements and then disappears without another word.'
Eva rose from the bubbling warmth and enticingly offered Matthew her hand. A look of confused anticipation occupied his face and she responded with an iceberg melter of a smile.
'Come with me Matthew and you can tell me all about it, it's time for your massage.' Matthew Evans saw no reason whatsoever to resist.