~ EL HEAD ~
Chapter 1 · Chapter 2 · Chapter 3 · Chapter 4 · Chapter 5 · Chapter 6 ·
Chapter 7 · Chapter 8 · Chapter 9 · Chapter 10 · Chapter 11 · Chapter 12 · Chapter 13 · Chapter 14 · 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 15 :DEATH CLOUD
Burn your bad seeds in the fire lest they corrupt all around them.
Destroy them rather than let the animals or birds partake of them,
lest they too become corrupted and carry the corruption
in the very bowels of their flesh.
Revelations of Johnny Appleseed
October 17, 1870
Hot blood cascaded down from Ryan's head in a gush. A flush swept down him, filling his flesh with a torch like radiance. He felt the thick, cool tar thaw, liquefy and pour down his body like molasses in August.
The mixture of hot blood and runny tar pooled around his ankles and slowly sank into the sandy soil mixing with the volcanic dust below the soil. The searing potion sloughed off from his face enough for Ryan to see that Jeff Justice Bolane was having difficulty in breathing, the tar had hardened about his mouth and nostrils.
Ryan slapped a hot hand against Bolane's forehead. Ryan flesh cut through the tar on Bolane like a hot iron through cheese.
When Ryan's hot palm hit his flesh, Bolane screamed, ripping a hole through the tar covering his mouth, splitting his lips and tearing open the corners of his mouth. Bubbles of blood spilled over the hardened tar on Bolane's face.
As Ryan held his hand against Bolane's face the heat inflaming Ryan transmitted to Bolane and tar melted, streaming down his body.
In a few minutes they were standing in a quagmire the consistency of hot porridge, a quagmire made of sand, blood, tar and ancient volcanic dust.
Most of the tar had melted from Bolane and Ryan, yet their hair and beards were matted with a thick black gummy residue. The tar had left streaks and patches of black grime on their skin and had saturated their clothing, making them stained and useless. Disgusted, Bolane waded out of the thick quagmire and stripped off his clothes. An attempt to scrub the tar off with handfuls of sand only made matters worse since the tar absorbed the sand. He sat naked and depressed, watching Ryan.
Ryan stood in the hot greyish quagmire and slipped off his robe. Clenching his eyes shut, he leaned his head back and screamed at the sky, raising clenched fists above his head. Gritting his teeth, Ryan clutched double handfuls of soft gooey tar mixed with molted bloodthorns, yanking them free. He inadvertently pulled out bloodthorns not yet ready to molt. Convulsions shook the Prophet and sharp agonized cries pierced the cool, clear night.
The blobs of blood-slimed and bloodthorn-caked tar plopped into the greasy, gray quagmire with a steamy hiss followed by sulphuric stench. The quagmire's temperature rose with every handful thrown into it until it became a bubbling morass. Don Ryan was forced to wade out of the roiling gray fluid when the tissue of his legs charred.
When Donegal Ryan had cleared his bloodthorn crown of the tar, enough so that it was once more functioning correctly, he lay exhausted on the dark gritty lip of the seething pit. Falling asleep, he rolled so that his head extended over the edge of the pit, the foul and pungent fumes of the boiling quagmare were oddly soothing to him.
Jeff Bolane had stretched out and lay silently sleeping on the dark gravel of the wash. Like a reptile he absorbed the day's heat from the rocks.
The night was still and silent but for the occasional plip plops of blood dripping from Ryan's head into the quagmire. The quagmire gave off a sizzling hiss as it dissolved and absorbed the blood drops. The molted bloodthorns fell into the quagmire silently but for a hiss.
A vision came upon Ryan as he lay over the pit, he saw the city of Jeziah covered with dense smoke rising like fumes from a furnace. Yea, it will be destroyed by fire as were the four Cities of the Plain.
First he and Bolane had to purify themselves and then perform a sacrifice.
Each droplet of blood and each bloodthorn falling into the bubbling gray muck raised the temperature. As the temperature rose the muck melted the rock, lava dust and basalt material it touched, spreading wider and deeper. The molten materials added to its volume and it sank as it spread. Ryan came to be lying over the lip of hot, steaming pool of molten minerals.
Ryan shot to consciousness at about four in the morning. The stench of brimstone filled his nostrils and he was enveloped in a thick mist of gray vapor sluggishly rising from the fast boiling mire below him.
He awoke Bolane with a sharp cry and told him what they had to do. Bolane refused to cooperate until Ryan caused Bolane's eyes to burn as if stuck by red hot pokers.
Bolane gathered up his tar smeared lizard leather suit and hat and walked over to the pit. With a slight curse he chucked it into the bubbling muck. It sank in a thick cloud of vapor and a loud burble.
Ryan tossed his white robe and ten gallon hat into the muck. After the robe and hat sank, Ryan took one of Bolane's knives and slashed open his palm.
Blood spilled freely into the muck, steam roiled up like storm clouds billowing across a twilight landscape. Ryan slashed Bolane's palm. Bolane's blood was not as potent as Ryan's, when it hit the gray muck tiny spurts of white vapor rose.
Bolane screamed when Ryan shoved him over the lip and into the bubbling mass. His scream intensified when he slipped into the burning muck.
The screams were drowned out by the whooping laughter of Ryan who had jumped right behind him.
Having hot tar poured upon their bodies was nothing compared to the burning that the gray muck put out, it was like being thrown into a porridge of hot coals.
The blood pouring out of Ryan and Bolane increased the temperature.
The muck burned deeper into the ground. Ryan and Bolane slowly sank like stones thrown into oatmeal. After what seemed like an eternity of burning agony they touched bottom. Their combined weight cracked the pit's floor, opening up a fissure right over an underground hot spring. The hot water jetted upwards into the mixture, explosively ejecting Ryan and Bolane from the muck filled pit.
Ryan and Bolane landed roughly upon the ground amidst a shower of hot gray muck. Their skins were blistered and reddened only to the degree as they had severe sunburns. However all the hair on their bodies had been singed off, even their eye lashes and nostril hair.
Below as the fissure widened, the hot water was dissolved into the gray swill and the burning hot muck spilled into magma vent which had created the hot spring. The hot slimy mixture poured down the vent until it reached the hot magma. The hot sludge and the magma met with explosive force. As if by some alchemical process the hot muck became a glowing, dark toned carmine, as if it became lava.
Thick, hot vapor exuding a deep, choking stench filled the area over the pit. The boiling mire surface popped repetitiously and loudly as if a continuous barrage of gunshots. With a rushing roar, a whistling whoosh of heat, black steam and sound the muck shot up into the air in a thick column, like a twister.
As the black. red flecked column rose it's form shifted, it expanded, billowing into a large, black cloud shot through with red, yellow and purple lights. It swallowed up the nearby clouds. The large black clouds rolled across the dawn sky, turning the fading moon gray and red. The bright reds, yellows and purple hues were accentuated by the rising sun which backlit the clouds eeriely and ominously, yet the sun could not obliterate the dark ebony which surrrounded it.
The hot funnel sucked up all the red hot muck and dumped it into the clouds, leaving behind a large hole filled with thick, hot gray vapor.
The hellish cloud churned and swirled towards Jeziah as if in a strong head wind.
Ryan capered before the column of muck and laughed, "And so it came to pass that the sun was rising over the earth when the Lord God made it rain sulphurous fire upon the city of Jeziah."
As the sun rose a dark cloud covered Jeziah and its environs. Purple lighting crackled throughout the cloud as a red and yellow hail fell upon the town. Molten rock and minerals ranging in size from a pebble to a head sized rocks rained upon the town in a rapid yet devastating barrage. Wood and adobe were splintered, powdered and ignited by the velocity and weight of the molten rocks. Animals and humans alike were pulped, scalded and carbonized. Jeziah's agricultural fields were crushed and consumed.
Jeziah crumpled under the assault of the hail and then perished in a firestorm. The smashed clay and wood was drawn into the conflagration and annhilated. In a few moments only a black column of smoke marked where Jeziah had stood.
Seeing the column of black smoke, Donegal Ryan chuckled. He turned to Bolane, "Through the wrath of the Lord of Hosts is the land darkened and the people shall be as fuel for the fire." That is from 2 Nephi verse 19."
"I don't recollect that book, is it one of yourn?" Bolane asked scratching his peeling bald scalp.
Donegal Ryan's smile flashed into a snarl, "You best learn my testament, boy! Else God's wrath will blind your eyes as well as your heart." He picked up a piece of slag and tossed it at Bolane.
"Jeziah thou are condemned by thy own false doctrine. For did your own false prophet Nephi also say, "But if a church be not built upon my gospel but is built on the works of men or upon the works of the devil, verily, I say unto you they shall have join in their works for a season and by and by the end cometh and they are hewn down and cast into the fire from whence there is no return."4
4 Official LDS documents of a later expedition to Jeziah remark only that Jeziah was an early failure of colonization in Arizona
Chapter 1 · Chapter 2 · Chapter 3· Chapter 4· Chapter 5· Chapter 6·
Chapter 7· Chapter 8· Chapter 9· Chapter 10 · Chapter 11 · Chapter 12 · Chapter 13· Chapter 14· 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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