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Chapter 27 · Chapter 28 · Chapter 29


"The Horseman named Pestilence will not merely bring disease in his wake.
He will hearken a new age of Bibical plagues as brought Egypt to its knees.
Prophecies of St. Parsifal

October 12, 1870

About a mile from Spanish Gulch, Donegal Ryan had Bolane stop the wagon. He jumped down from the wagon and stripped off his excrement and garbage stained robe and tossed it into the arid grass land. He whipped off his ten gallon hat and sailed it off into the moonlit landscape and stood naked in the flats.

"Oh, people of this city of infamy, you art condemned in the eyes of the Lord! You chose to mock the Servant of the Lord, now feel the wrath of God, the instrument of Justice is at hand!" Ryan screamed in an incoherent rage, foam sprayed from his mouth, showering the dry grounds with his rabid wrath.

Turning to Bolane, he said, "Justice smite the yonder city with a plague of snakes."

Bolane leaned back in the buckboard and stared at Ryan. Scratching his grayish stubble, Bolane shook his head. "Cain't do it.There ain't enough snakes hereabouts to summon up"

Ryan ran over to the buckboard, gripping it firmly as he swung his face right up against Bolane's. Mad eyes bore into Bolane's weakened eyes, making them smart like they did when in direct sunlight. "We are in the middle of a wasteland and you claim there are no snakes!"

"Yeah, I think it's because of the frogs." Bolane stammered.

"What frogs?"

"Well, this here area used to be right over a river. I guess a earthquake sealed it underground or something but these people in this town get their water from a large lake underneath the town but I don't think they know it"

"Then how do you know!"

"I can feel the frogs and they tell me, or give these impressions"

"What frogs! Ryan screamed, patience worn as thin as a sheet of papyrus.

"Well, in this here cavern lake there's about a million or so of those puppies living down there."

"How would a million frogs get down there?"

"Well, there was only a few at first, trapped down there when the earthquake took place. The rest came after a couple of thousand years. If they was human they would be of the Chosen, having in them the same divine spark that you and I got, the one which causes our changes. After a few generations they got to where they could eat just about anything, including certain minerals if need be. Sometimes they eat stuff that gets washed down into their cavern through a small stream, animals, plants and that stuff but mostly they eat the people of the town's offal and each other."

"What offal from the people of the town."

"Crap, garbage and carcasses. See there's all these little cracks through the roof of the cavern and all that stuff gets broken down in the soil and washed down the cracks."

With a shriek Donegal Ryan leapt back from the buckboard and landed flat on his back on the still warm soil. Dust boiled around him as he swept his arms and legs across the dirt while laughing hysterically. His naked form was soon shrouded in a dark fog and only his mad laughter marked his presence.

He sat up in the small dust storm and said, "This is no coincidence, my friend. This is a sign that we are on the correct path. He has shown us that our message must be heard or else the dissenters must be silenced.

Ryan croaked like a bullfrog and giggled. "A plague of frogs it shall be. Bring the frogs to the surface."

"I think that if the frogs could have gotten out they would have already done so"

"Are you an idiot or do you study real hard to be stupid!"

Flushing red, Bolane's hand jerked for his pistol, Ryan's smile broadened and his eyes hardened. As Bolane's fingers brushed his gun butt his eyes burst into flames of pain. The heels of his hands shot to press on his shut eyelids, pressing hard in an effort to relieve some of the pressure of the searing agony in his head.

The pain disappeared as rapidly as it had appeared leaving only a lingering throbs of pain and tracks from bloody tears on Bolane's face.

"Frogs are not communal animals, right? They do not build or act in concert, do they?"

Bolane shook his head.

Ryan picked up a handful of dirt and blew it off his palm. Picking up of another handful of dirt he poured it into his mouth, swished it about for a few seconds and spat a mudball into his hand. He blew on mudball but it stayed in his hand.

Spitting the last bits of Arizona soil out of his mouth, Ryan said, "Now do you see what I am saying?"

Bolane shook his head, "I got no idea."

With a sharp bark. Ryan lobbed the mudball at Bolane's head. Bolane caught the ball in two fingers about a foot from his head. He glared at Ryan, feeling a deep desire to fire the ball back at him. Thinking better of it, he dropped the mudball on the ground.

"The frogs had no direction, no group effort. Perhaps with you providing instruction, impetus and inspiration they can find a way to the surface, eating their way through the cracks"

Seeing the reluctance in Bolane's expression Ryan's face became a stiff mask of anger. He stabbed his finger at Bolane "Do it boy, do it now!"

Bolane shut his eyes and concentrated on the massive community of frogs underneath them. Their relatively simple minds carried a few racial memories but were mostly geared towards survival.

Through their eyes Bolane saw glowing white cavern walls, fracture lines shot through the white stone like veins of marble. Although confined to blurry shapes in shades of gray, Jeff Justice Bolane could tell that these frogs were different from other frogs he had seen. They seemed bigger but that could have been just the frog's perspective. However, these frogs possessed sharp talons and fangs.

Bolane set a group of frogs to gnawing on the cracks in the ceilings. The frogs found ready purchase in the porous yet solid surface of the rock. Even though the taste of the rock was not really to their liking, the frogs could and did eat it on occasions of starvation. Their hunger impulses increased up to a sensation of starvation the frogs dug in and began chowing down on the stone.

The stone inside the cracks was fairly soft and crumbled to dust with little effort. The frogs began making the cracks wider and moving upwards with a speed Bolane had not thought possible. The frogs had a large capacity for food, having the ability to take in vast quantities until they resembled leathery balls The first wave of diggers reached their capacity and fell into a torpor yet eager replacements moved in taking their places so the work of expansion and extension continued.

As the darkness deepened, the excavations deepened, the frogs burrowed further and further into the cavern walls. In a few hours the frogs had followed and widened the small linear fractures gravitating upwards from the cavern into the water table of the town, which was in reality a series of subterranean pockets within the rock.

Upon reaching the water pockets the frogs tunneled sideways and upwards.

The water level of the wells of Spanish Gulch sank as they ran into one another and into a central chamber beneath the town. As if the slimy, toxic bodies of the frogs were not enough to poison the water supply of Spanish Gulch, the frogs also followed the cracks into septic holes, underneath public privies and residential outhouses. The waste sept, crept and then rushed to join the growing pool of water beneath the town.

At midnight, by coincidence or as Ryan believed by Divine Ordination, frogs broke through the ground and reached the surface. A massive exodus ensued, one which gathered speed and volume as the hour passed.

A torrent of frogs poured out of the wells and outhouses of Spanish Gulch. These frogs grew as large as twelve inches in length and were pure white in coloration. Glistening ivory in the moonlight, their skins shimmered with a toxic coating which not only had a fluid shimmer in the pale white light but also glowed with a slight acintic radiation of its own.

Leaping into the dry air made the frogs much livelier than they had ever been, as did the scent of fresh food. Only on rare occasions had the frog ever seen live animals besides their own species.

Having been brought up in total darkness the frogs had developed vision based on heat, the heat signatures of the houses and buildings of Spanish Gulch burned across their vision like distant suns, the heat of the living animals beckoned them, flickering like the welcome sight of torches on a dark and deserted night.

The frogs leapt and churned towards living thing on the streets of Spanish Gulch. Stray dogs, unstabled horses and the town drunk, passed out in an alley behind a tavern, were the first victims of the frogs.

Like hundreds of tiny skinning knives the frogs stripped the flesh from the bones of their first victims in seconds, devouring the bones as after dinner snacks.

Spanish Gulch became aware of the attack by the Frogs From Beneath when a horrendous scream pierced the night air, followed immediately the by loud cracking of wood as the door of an outhouse burst outwards from its hinges. Pablo Ruiz crashed face first onto the fallen door, his pants still around his waist. His buttocks bled copiously from the several, large pulsating white tumors scattered across the broad, flabby expanse of his butt cheeks. The tumors writhed and the one attached to his rectum seemed to be shrinking. No. it was burrowing inside!

Pablo Ruiz had taken a lantern and a copy of the Bible to the outhouse with him. At the age of fifty, he valued both the therapeutic effects of privacy and a good dump. While looking for the Gospel according to Judas, as quoted by the loco preacher man, a sharp pain ripped through him. It was worse than the time he had eaten Rosarita's special spicy enchiladas while suffering from the piles.

Slamming down his Bible, he shot to his feet with a sharp yelp.

Another spike of pain, this time directly on his rectum, launched him crashing though the outhouse door.

Senor Ruiz screamed ragged shrieks of agony. Yet as people raced to their doors to see what was the matter, Ruiz's screams were being echoed all through Spanish Gulch, from inside the adobe homes.

Thousands of luminescent white frogs poured up from the outhouses, cisterns, wells and garbage dumps of Spanish Gulch. Their razory teeth making short work of flesh.

Those citizens of Spanish Gulch fortunate enough not to be bitten by the devil frogs, came to the rescue of their loved ones, tearing at the cold, fat, slimy bodies of the frogs fastened to raw, maimed flesh.. The frigid slime was so cold that a bitter, burning sensation crept through the fingers and fists crushing and pulping the horrid, hoary bodies. It was as though a flashing case of frostbite, radiated out from wherever the slime touched skin.

This was merely a symptom of the deadly toxin in the frog's slime. Those people not immediately consumed by the frogs were poisoned and consumed shortly thereafter.

The Frogs From Beneath managed to kill every living thing within the village of Spanish Gulch in the space of two hours and consume them down to the bone in three, devouring all the bones within four hours.

By a half an hour before sunrise, Spanish Gulch was a ghost town. Ryan, dressed in a clean robe, ten gallon hat and sandals skipped through the town, his white robe flapping around his skinny legs like a banner of victory in the breeze.

Ryan was kept free of harm by Bolane's power over reptiles. Bolane drove the wagon directly behind the capering Ryan, shocked at the carnage he had caused.

Besides bright swatches, puddles and sprayed splotches of blood on various walls, floors and doors the only sign of the orgy of destruction was in the thousands of fat, white frogs, distended to the point of rotundity lying torpidly all over the town. The dirt streets, wooden sidewalks, stained plaster floors and cobblestone walks of Spanish Gulch were scattered with what appeared as so many fattened, giant maggots in the predawn light.

The sun rose behind a small group of wind sculpted red hills. When it topped the hill, the sunlight hit Spanish Gulch fast and hot, flooding it with an eye-smarting illumination.

Bolane slapped on his smoked glasses.

Shafts of light, thick and hot as heliograph signals poured across Spanish Gulch.

The glistening, corpulent, ivory bodies of the frogs fairly glowed as the sunlight hit them, sparkling like huge diamonds on a well lit plain. Sparkles became sparks and smoke. Acrid white smoke poured off of every frog exposed to the sun's glare.

Seconds after starting to smoke the frogs exploded with the loud, squishy sound of a burst bladder.

Fountains of black gore showered up from every bursting frog, spewing out grotesquely formed viscera. Oddly enough every set of guts was distinctly shaped, as if each frog had a unique biology. Among the bizarre innards lay a grayish red sludge which was about the only common element among the exploding frogs. Ryan wondered if the sludge were the remains of Spanish Gulch's damned pagans.

The quivering, gelatinous slop continued smoking as the sun's radiation cooked the frog flesh into noxious steam.

Choking, poisonous fumes and the intermingled vile scents of garbage, carrion and excrement swept through the town like a fragrant whirlwind.

Howling with glee and disgust Ryan raced through the town. Frogs exploded all around him, detonating mines set in a thick, yet random pattern. He giggled as he had to twist, lurch, leap and spin around to avoid being deluged with geysers of black blood, yellow guts or gray sludge.

Bolane urged the horses into a gallop and soon passed Ryan. Ryan grasped the rear of the wagon and pulled himself on the tailboard.

Holding onto the wagon with one hand, he swept his hat off and bowed to the main street of Spanish Gulch, smiling at the piles of smoking offal and the sun boiled and bursting frogs.

"God is merciful, you damned sinners." Remember that when Satan takes your soul and rips it shreds!" Laughing wildly, he fell backwards into the wagon and struck his head on the floor inside. Three bloodthorns snapped off prematurely sending Ryan into paroxysms of convulsive agony.

Jeff Justice Bolane grinned at Ryan'storturous screams and sped the wagon up, making it bounce even harder.3

3 The official explanation for the demise of Spanish Gulch is that they perished of a cholera epidemic and all of the bodies were carried off by scavengers.

Home · Ryan's Psalm
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 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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