~ EL HEAD ~
Chapter 1 · Chapter 2 · Chapter 3 · Chapter 4 · Chapter 5 · Chapter 6 ·
Chapter 7 · Chapter 8 · Chapter 9 · Chapter 10 · 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 11 :TAKE UP THE SERPENTS
Faith cannot be governed by the masses, it is for the masses, directed by God through his Prophets and Apostles.
People cannot be counted upon to choose anything correctly. They chose a murderer over their Savior. They chose a revolutionary over God.
Gospel according to Barabbas
September 20-Early October 1870
By October of 1871, Donegal Ryan was becoming increasingly enraged. Bolane and Ryan had played several towns in Southern Utah and had only gotten anger and complete disregard for all their troubles. Neither Bolane or he had made one conversion.
Vowing vengeance on the Mormon dominated communities of Utah, Ryan and Bolane turned south into Arizona hoping to return to Utah with an army of converts.
Ryan and Bolane would ride up into a town inside Bolane's covered Wagon. The canvas of the cover was painted with the glowing golden eyes of God, of a man fearlessly holding a snake and with a depiction of the scourging of Christ. Ryan had drawn this pictures on there himself, proving himself an adequate if primitive artist.
He had also painted several slogans on the wagon in various sizes and from various sources. Many were from the old bible and a few were from the Newest Testament, doctrines of the Church of the Eternal Apocalypse.
The largest of these slogans was, "The Wages of Sin are Death, Damnation and Destruction", when asked Ryan attributed it to the Gospel according to Judas the Sicarios. Another said, "Christ is Among us, with us, in us and of us. Scourge the flesh and free the spirit; free the spirit to submit to God.' This was one of the many phrases in the as yet uncompleted Book of Torquemada.
Jeff Bolane would park in front of the general store, if there was one, and ask the proprietor put a sign in his window, "Meet with God Tonight!" Most times a bribe was needed to entice the proprietor to go along with God's work. Bolane and Ryan would nail crudely drawn bills in the town on hitching posts, building sides and every other place they could. After all the signs had been hung the wagon would then be set up on the main street if the town had more than one or on the outskirts of town if the local authorities had a problem with the show.
Usually there would be three shows, unless a mob forced them to leave town earlier.
Jeff Justice Bolane would come onto the makeshift stage which folded out from the back of the wagon. Dressed in his reptile leather suit, he would make certain that the noonday sun or setting sun glittered off the scales of his suit, swathing him a temporary aura of light. During the day Jeff Justice Bolane wore dark glasses which added to his enigmatic mystique. Jeff Bolane warmed up the gathering crowed with some slight of hand and when the crowed had gotten large enough he would do some trick shooting.
For a finale in the latter he would have someone hold up a card, while he turned his back to them. Without turning around, Jeff Bolane would then shoot at the card with his guns held upside down behind his neck. He seldom missed. Neither he nor Ryan believed it was cheating to use the secret snake eyes on the back of his head, since they were God's gifts. Besides using them in the direct sunlight was like peering into the heart of the sun, the pain alone was penance enough to balance out any cheating.
Jeff Bolane would then tell the people that his magic tricks and trick shooting were not tricks at all but small miracles granted to him by God. He would recite a few biblical verses and tell the onlookers that faith in God could make a person do almost anything.
Bolane told the onlookers that God's grace was supremely powerful, so much that nothing in nature could harm a man who truly believed. To demonstrate, he would bring a jar containing one of his pet rattlesnakes out of the wagon. Before the stunned audience, Bolane would thrust his hand into the jar and allow himself to be bitten.
Despite showing everyone his freely bleeding wound and the suppuration caused by the rattlesnake fangs, there was always someone who cried fake.
Bolane would challenge the heckler to a bet, twenty dollars in gold against one that Bolane would allow himself to be bitten by any snake the heckler could find and not be harmed because of his trust in the Lord. He would give the heckler an hour to find a snake. If the heckler refused the bet or if he was unable to find a snake in the time period, Bolane used one of his newer powers, gifted to him after Ryan had stuck bloodthorns into his eyes. Bolane would send out a mental summons to all the snakes in the area to converge on the wagon.
His gift applied to all reptiles but found that snakes made a better impression.
Gasps and screams usually sounded from the spectators when hundreds of snakes came slithering down the street in all directions.
Bolane had the snakes slither up to the edge of the stage and asked the heckler to pick one. Bolane would then disperse all the other snakes. Picking up the snake that the heckler had picked out, Bolane stuck his hand next to the snake allowing it to bite him repeatedly yet he suffered little ill effects.
Bolane would then give another sermon about Faith in the Lord and about the miracles of the Lord. He would launch into a fairly accurate if embellished history of stigmata. Telling of the various test cases of mysterious wounds and bleeding on the hands, wrists, ribcage, feet and forehead. That these manifestations of similar wounds to Jesus' crucifixion were scientifically implausible but could be explained by great faith and God's grace.
Bolane then introduced the Right Reverend Ryan.
Donegal Ryan would come onto the stage dressed in a white coarse cotton robe, sandals and a red ten gallon hat.
Here is where the Bolane and Ryan show went sour. The last act laid a turkey egg.
Donegal Ryan would make a deep bow to the audience, allowing his hat to fall at his feet. When he stood erect again, he said nothing but allowed the audience to react to the sight of his blood sodden beard and hair, of tricklets of blood streaming down his face or neck, of a ring of bloodthorns encircling his head.
Speaking calmly at first, telling them that as far as he knew this was the first time anyone had manifested stigmata in the shape of the crown of thorns itself. Ryan would then announce that he was the Last Prophet of the Lord and he would speak of the Church of the Eternal Apocalypse, reminding people that they were in the Last Days, the End Times.
Usually shortly after Ryan declared that the six of the seven seals were already open and that the Nine Horsemen of the Apocalypse wandered the Earth, people started wandering off, becoming bored with the spectacle. If Donegal Ryan kept his temper and did not fly off into a rage, there were usually a few people who stayed and tossed a few coins into Bolane's outstretched hands. Ryan did not care about the money since he had a whole sackful of gold, he needed converts.
More often than not Ryan would begin to curse the people who walked away as heretics, calling out condemnations and damnations upon them. This did not set too well with some folks.
Bolane had become quite proficient at folding up the stage and racing the wagon out of the town and away from clamoring mobs.
Each town which Ryan and Bolane visited and failed to win any converts increased Ryan's despair since entire segments of the population were pell mell being damned to hell. He felt a slight guilt at this but knew that they had damned themselves by not accepting him as a prophet and rejecting the Church of the Eternal Apocalypse.
`Satan had a strong grip on the American mind that year of 1872. Ryan was arriving at the conclusion that he was not so much a missionary as he was a crusader. If the Word continued to fail in gaining converts, perhaps the Sword would do better. Did not the Gospel according to Judas state, "In the end it was not the wooden cross which killed Jesus but a weapon of iron. Thus will it be weapons of iron which bring salvation to the World."
Ryan was determined to save souls if he had to disengage the soul from the flesh, by the scourge, by fire or by any means necessary. If Satan pushed him hard enough he would lay waste to every populous in his path and let God sort out the good souls from the bad. Innocents would die perhaps but innocence would be reborn.
Chapter 1 · Chapter 2 · Chapter 3· Chapter 4· Chapter 5· Chapter 6·
Chapter 7· Chapter 8· Chapter 9· Chapter 10 · 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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