~ 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 15 · Chapter 16 ·
Chapter 17 · Chapter 18 · Chapter 19 · Chapter 20 · Chapter 21 · Chapter 22 · Chapter 23 · Chapter25 · Chapter 26 ·
Chapter 27 · Chapter 28 · Chapter 29
CHAPTER 24 :PITIFUL CONDITIONS
"May God cast burning coals upon them and cast them into the pit never more to rise."
December 4, 1870
All through the night I sat in the dust of the crater, my mind seeking Dio's pony. After finally locating it some ten miles distant, all of my will power was needed in forcing its return and then down the crater. Since it could not see very well in the dim moonlight I feared as did it, of a misstep. Yet because the pony carried the only available water for miles I deemed it a necessary risk. Dio and Walsh would be screaming for water if and when they awakened.
Despite not having a body which becomes fatigued I still find it necessary to sleep, although, one or two hours a night will suffice. That night had taxed me to the limits and my brain was weary beyond description.
I had the strangest dream. A figure clothed in radiance had a scroll closed by seven metallic seals. Six of these had already been split.
In the background, riding across a landscape which seemed to be a map of the world, were eight figures on horseback. They rode around the crater's rim in a line and then separated, riding down the sides of the crater from every imaginable direction. The path of their descent drew lines in the crater's dust. These lines converged where I sat on Brimstone's side, making the hub of an enormous wheel.
"Hail Anarchy, do you need our aid yet?" asked a figure dressed in a frock coat, top hat, bustle and gown. It carried a large whiskey bottle, which it used to gesture at me.
Something about his tone irritated me. "Firstly, Sir or Madam, I do not believe in anarchy. I am an engineer, I believe in physical, moral and judicial laws."
A figure dressed in golden armor perched on a silver hued horse laughed. "He is not aware of his Incarnation yet brothers. He pointed a sword composed of green paper at me, "Answer me this, brother, Have you left order or chaos in your wake? Be truthful now. Was it not your idea to mine the gold in the valley knowing that there was a chance of getting what miners call the glowing death? Further, did not the action of hiding a portion of the gold precipitate your transformation and the transformation of your blood brothers? Have you generated chaos or order? Think hard about these things."
With that the eight figures wheeled about, and began galloping away.
One figure clothed in a shimmering fabric suit turned and shouted, "If you need us, call us!"
"Who are you?" I whispered, my small voice was lost in the wind whistling through the crater.
"When you need us, you will know us." answered another but I could not see which one clearly.
Shaking my head softly, so as not to dislodge myself from my perch, I cleared the remnants of my dream away. I figured it to be some bit of Ryan's madness still floating about in my unconscious.
Sunrise began, a brilliant half circle of fire resting on the crater's rim. Slowly bright light crept down the interior sides of the crater until we were bathed in sunlight.
A curious thing happened, everything began stirring as the sunlight hit it, as if energized by the sun. I wondered if some property which gave the sun its inexhaustible heat and energy was some how present in our bodies. Only Dio's pony did not seem affected by the sun. The only other common denominator was the mysterious radiance of the Valley and this crater.
The scorpion awoke and slowly began raising it body upwards. Although it only lifted its body a few feet from the crater floor before falling once again, it persisted, again and again, until it slowly worked its body up the bloody saguaro rib spear shaft.
Dio stirred as if from some long and fevered sleep. Slowly, so very slowly, he sat up and stared off in the distance with unfocused eyes.
Soft whickers informed me that consciousness had also come to Brimstone. I rolled off of him as he heaved upon onto his feet. The gash in his side was nearly healed but remained hairless, the naked flesh a vivid scarlet.
Strangest of all was that Bishop Walsh was also in motion. His feet twitched and his knees trembled. A foot away, the upperhalf of his body placed his hands flat on the ground. Bishop Walsh lifted himself into a half recline. Seeing his bisected halves he screamed.
This snapped Dio out his befuddled state. Shaking his head he gazed about the crater with renewed clarity. Spying the persistent efforts of the scorpion he darted over to and under the impaled creature, dodging all the weak efforts of the scorpion's claws and stinger. Using a strength I did not know he possessed, Dio lifted the spear end and with a tremendous heave, flipped the scorpion onto its back.
Dio stabbed through the remaining lung sacs with an obsidian knife and then worked on the other vitals. After the scorpion had expired he chopped out meat to dry and also removed the venom sacs and stinger.
Meanwhile Bishop Walsh continued screeching long after normal vocal chords would have given out.
Slithering over to where he lay, I moved right next to his right ear and shouted in my loudest whisper, "Good Lord man! Pull yourself together"
My tone must have irked him for he turned to me and screamed, "That's easy for you to say, you get along quite nicely without a body."
"You have not lost your body you dolt! I meant pull yourself together literally. Your change was even greater than you thought. Evidently like tar you have become malleable, so think of being whole and it should start happening."
Walsh's black, furrowed and expressionless face stared at me silently. Since I felt anger and contempt roll off of the top of his head like a small, bitter breeze, I knew he was glaring at me.
Shutting his eyes, Walsh then began hollering once more for it was an extremely painful process. His pain affected me like a nagging, distant toothache.
Walsh's two sections did not draw together as I had envisioned but rather the black sludge on the ground betwixt them jelled and then rose up from the dirt like black loaves. The black sludge rose forming bridge between his two halves. As the sludge rose, it hardened into a skin much like his own, albeit rough and uneven like chipped and weathered black sandstone. This new addition increased his length by a foot and a half, however this was only temporary, for as soon as Walsh stood up his weight caused the new section to bulge creating an large and rotund middle section and extra mass was pushed into his limbs and head increasing the roundure of each. He looked like a cross between a tarbaby and a snowman.
Uttering some unMormon like cursing, Walsh reviled his new form and angrily grabbed at a fold of his large middle. It ripped away with a squelch and spurt of liquid black sludge.
"Oh Lord! That hurt but I'll do it until I am the right size again."
In his hand was a piece of material comprised of what seemed like tar, sand and small rocks. It hardened rapidly into a grayish cement.
"Wait! Don't you see? The Lord has equipped you with means to make your own weapons, don't waste his gift." By then I knew that by playing up his religious beliefs I could get Walsh to do what I wanted.
We stayed in the crater for most of the day before moving on. I now had a new direction, Northwest, I knew that we could not catch up with Ryan but if traveled parallel to him we would eventually meet up with him.
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 15· Chapter 16·
Chapter 17· Chapter 18· Chapter 19· Chapter 20 · Chapter 21 · Chapter 22 · Chapter 23· Chapter25· Chapter 26·
Chapter 27· Chapter 28· Chapter 29
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©1996-2009 Dennis E. Power. All Rights Reserved.
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