~ EL HEAD ~
Chapter 1 · Chapter 2 · Chapter 3 · Chapter 4 · Chapter 5 · Chapter 6 ·
Chapter 7 · Chapter 8 · Chapter 9 · Chapter 11 · Chapter 12 · Chapter 13 · Chapter 14 · Chapter 15 · Chapter 16 ·
Chapter 17 · Chapter 18 · Chapter 19 · Chapter 20 · Chapter 21 · Chapter 22 · Chapter 23 · Chapter24 · Chapter25 · Chapter 26 ·
Chapter 27 · Chapter 28 · Chapter 29
CHAPTER 10 :HEADLOCK
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew that one small head could carry all he knew.
Goldsmith, The Deserted Village.
Late July- Mid-September 1870
Dio and I moved north through Nevada, following Ryan's trail. I did not need to eat but our mounts and Dio did so we were forced to forage for grasses and shrubs as we traveled. I had absorbed much desert lore from the Apache and Dio knew something from having lived with the Comanche.
Brimstone had developed the ability to eat just about anything vegetative without ill effect, yet Dio's pony was not so lucky. He ate a batch of grasses high in akalai and became ill. We put the horse down but were uncertain as to how good the meat would be after it had been poisoned so we left it for the carrion eaters. The deeper we went into the Mohave desert, forced Dio to subsist on mescal, barrel cactus, saguaro, mesquite and yucca with some squirrel, rabbit, mouse, badger or skunk.
It was not a very pleasant trip for any of us, especially since the sun baked my body's dead flesh filling the clear, desert air with a thick, overpowering putrid stench. This affected Dio more than it did me but the stench also attracted several types of carrion eaters, who stayed a cautious distance from me. Word had traveled that I had cheated death but the hangers-on remained hopeful.
Our trek through the desolate but beautiful wastes of Nevada were pretty uneventful, just matters of time and survival. The journey did fill me with one certain resolve, to find a blacksmith in the first town we reached and design a rig to keep me from bouncing all over the place whenever I rode Brimstone. Dio and I arrived on the outskirts of Flatbed, Utah in September 17, 1871. Dio rode into town ahead of me one night and stole a couple of blankets from a laundry to cover my body and me. That night he lead us into a blacksmith shop and livery. Calming the horses inside the livery stable with my mental powers was exhausting, especially after our long journey.
My flesh was quite odd by this time. Although dried out on surface, pale green in color and dotted in thousands of spots by tiny peck marks, the skin beneath the dry exterior was puffy and malleable. Strangely enough, there was more flesh on the corpse than I would have thought since the crows had eaten quite a bit. Although my body was slowly decaying, it seemed to have some slight regenerative capabilities. Small nicks and cuts oozed a reeking, radiant lavender fluid, which although increased my general stench also healed the small cuts. However, big wounds would not heal properly but instead left reeking, gaping holes in my flesh. Dio took a knife and cut a sliver of flesh from my rotting corpse.
Using various acrobatic skills, Dio snuck into the blacksmith's house and dropped the morsel of my flesh down his snoring, open maw. Dio shot under his bed when the blacksmith awoke suddenly with a sharp attack of heartburn. As he ran to the kitchen to get some water, Dio quickly jumped out an open bedroom window and scurried through the yard and into the alley.
Josef Magyarak, the blacksmith fell into a deep dream state which I invaded. Every pleasant dream became a nightmare with me at the center. He kept waking up bathed in sweat. His wife told him if he was going to toss and turn all night to go sleep in the stable. This suggestion was not planted in her head by me, it was just a fortuitous coincidence. When Mr. Magyarak stepped into the stable he walked into a brightly lit room. His eyes blinked rapidly from the sudden exposure to light, so it was a few seconds before he saw me sitting on Brimstone. Upon seeing the, well since we cannot say living embodiment, let us say the physical manifestation of his nightmares, Josef Magyarak opened his mouth and screamed.
He was quite shocked when no sound issued from his mouth. Quite frankly, I was surprised that it had worked. Since Josef Magyarak was now linked to me by blood, I could control him, how much depended on the distance between us. When he was directly in front of me I had complete dominance over him and his bodily functions.
Despite this control I knew that I could not duplicate his skills even if I could make his hands move. It was imperative that I gain his willing aid or else wait and find another blacksmith further on down the line.
As Josef Magyarak stood before me clutching his silent throat and gaping at me with saucer sized eyes, I sent a brief synopsis of how I came to be in my present state. Furthermore I told him that I meant him no harm but only wanted him to build a couple of devices to my specifications.
Feeling his reluctance, I offered to pay in gold. This still not being enough incentive, I threatened to turn his every night into a living hell, to make his every dream become a nightmare for as long as he should live. After this, Josef Magyarak agreed to build the two devices I wanted.
As soon as Magyarak had agreed to help me I allowed him to sleep undisturbed by any phantoms of my making.
Dio untied my arms from the saddle and carried them into the smithy and placed them a small table. He placed my neck stump on a stool next to the table. I spent the rest of the night sketching designs. My hands could barely grasp the pencil or draw with any finesse, I had lost this skill upon my death.
When he saw my designs in the morning, Josef Magyarak told me one could be built immediately but that the other would take months to build. I had figured as much. I told him to go ahead and build them, the first I would take with me. the second device I would come back for in a few months.
This device was a last resort, it was a combination torture and execution device for Ryan. Before using the device, I would engage Ryan in a test of wills, break his spirit and demand that he renounce his God and submit to me. Once he had done so, I would kill him. This would be an exquisite and humiliating vengeance. If for some reason I failed in this contest, I would come back and get the device and somehow get him inside it.
The first device was a piece of metal shaped somewhat like a stirrup, it had a long stem and then two pieces which curved away in a U-shape, the U-shape ending in small padded hooks. The straight end was to be attached to my saddle tree and the hooked ends of the U would go inside my ears, holding me firm to the saddle.
My design was to have the straight piece riveted to the saddle but Mr. Magyarak convinced me that this was foolish, since I might need to change saddles. His idea was to make a clasp which screwed into the saddle tree leather and then attach the holder to the clasp by means of a locking rings on both objects. To distribute the energy of my bouncing, Mr. Magyarak had two small chains which ran from the screw clasp to either side of the saddle where they would also be screwed into the saddle leather. In this way my bouncing would not work the main screw out of the leather so rapidly.
Paying Mr. Magyarak nine-tenths of the small amount of gold I had taken from the gold mine in the valley, Dio and I rode off after Ryan. I was too uneasy about being in or near a town at this point of my career, the strangeness and implausibility of my existence would have drawn spectators like flies to honey. We snuck out of town in the middle of the night just as we had rode in.
Chapter 1 · Chapter 2 · Chapter 3· Chapter 4· Chapter 5· Chapter 6·
Chapter 7· Chapter 8· Chapter 9· Chapter 11 · Chapter 12 · Chapter 13· Chapter 14· Chapter 15· Chapter 16·
Chapter 17· Chapter 18· Chapter 19· Chapter 20 · Chapter 21 · Chapter 22 · Chapter 23· Chapter24· Chapter25· Chapter 26·
Chapter 27· Chapter 28· Chapter 29
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©1996-2009 Dennis E. Power. All Rights Reserved.
Concept of El Head ©1996 created by David Rush. All Rights Reserved.
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