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Hearing of Masada, I was sickened and immeasurably saddened. Not merely at the cruelty of the Romans or the suicidal fanaticism of the Jews. The tragedy of this event was these Jews died without accepting Christ. In dying they condemned themselves to hell. Doubly damned as suicides and unrepentant pagans. Events like these have strengthened my firm conviction that for the good of their immortal souls, pagans must be forced to accept Christ by any necessary method.
Gospel according to Barabbas.

Late May to July 10, 1870

I had been casting about, as it were, for Ryan's presence using my mind as a line. Suddenly I was pulled into this memory of his juxtaposed with Dio 's memories.

When Donegal Ryan and the others left what he termed the valley of damnation and salvation they had split up into three parties. Bear Marks and Irving had ridden off together southwards, Davidovich had gone further west and Ryan had followed instructions from the Lord.

Ryan would preach to the heretics and pagans in their own lands. He would convert the poor benighted Indians to Christianity and he would preach to the heretical Mormons, bringing them back into the fold. God had also instructed him that if he failed in this mission he would have to scourge, flog and mortify himself as penance. Naturally the stubborn pagans and heretics would have to be put to death in a fitting manner.

The first group of people in Ryan's path had been some Hopi who had welcomed him into their village.

Many Indian cultures, the Hopi among them, view those afflicted with mental disorders with a combination of indulgence and religious awe, believing that spirits moved through such a person.Ryan's babbling, his bloody scalp and wearing of dirty, blood soddened clothing demonstrated his insanity.

They listened with avid fascination to Ryan's preaching of the newest testament. They enjoyed his many hour length sermons, punctuated by various animal sounds, blank stares, twitching and swift mood changes. Yet they remained unmoved by either his message or by his efforts to baptize them into his doctrine.

It was during his month long stay with these pagans that Ryan developed the stigmata, formed in a shape of thorns around his forehead. In reality they seemed to be calcified blood blisters or acne forming hard pointed pustules. After a few days, the hard points would fall off and a thin trickle of blood would slowly drip from the raw, oozing hole. A few hours later, the ulcerated area scabbed and a new bloodthorn would begin forming.

The hard red spikes ringed about his head in an irregular pattern, across his forehead and on around his head. They never quite reached his crown and never went below his eyebrows.

Some days a pustule would break off every hour, sometimes a day could go by without a single one molting. Ryan discovered early that if he accidentally broke a bloodthorn open or if it were removed before molting excruciating pain would result, sending him into convulsions of screaming agony.

Ryan rebuked all offers from the buxom young ladies of the Hopi, who wished to have children by this Many Spirit Man. The Hopi's wanton ways and their resistance to understanding his message from God saddened him, for it mean he would have to punish himself and destroy this den of iniquity as well.

The Message flashed before his mind several times before meaning sank into his consciousness.

Moses lay singed and scorched atop the mountain top after receiving the covenant of the Lord from the burning bush, from the lightning strikes.

Shadarach, Meshach and Abednego emerged alive from Nebuchadnezzar's furnace, yet covered with blisters and shorn of hair.

Saul was blinded by sunlight enhanced by God's Glory in a searing burst of enlightenment which burned through his dark heart and mind.

Elijah, to prove Jehovah's might called fire down upon the heathen Baalites, scorching all unbelievers.

Even God' s Mercy burns!

Donegal Ryan sat in his adobe hut and slowly and methodically broke off the bloodthorns surrounding his head. After two or three had been snapped off, such a deep agony seized him that he lay panting and thrashing in paroxysms and convulsions. A red tinged, black-shot veil fogged his vision yet merciful unconsciousness would not come, he lay paralyzed but felt every second of the torture.

His screams flensed the voice from his throat until only dry rasping, nearly inaudible gasps issued forth. Although his throat muscles tremored in silent shrieks, to his own ears his voice sounded like a distant windstorm whistling through a cavern, a barely heard rushing moan reminiscent of a waterfall and air escaping from punctured bladders.

Although his screams had at first attracted several onlookers, the Hopi had hurried away on seeing his convulsions and the dripping wounds on his head. They knew he was communicating with the spirits.

After six agonizing hours Donegal Ryan had collected approximately a hundred of the hard pointed scabs. Holding them in his cupped hands, he slowly stumbled and half crawled to the central communal fire pit of the Hopi. The rough hard dirt scraped at his knees but this was minuscule compared to pain he had already experienced. Belly flopping across the stone patio around the fire pit, he reached out with a quavering, weary arm and tossed the blackish red, thorn shaped scabs into the fire. He pulled himself onto his knees and knelt before the fire. A strange sort of ecstasy shot through him as the fire consumed his bloodthorns.

Black puffs of smoke marked each scab's incineration. The black smoke puffs rose up above the fire coalescing into a dark ebon cloud drifting slowly upwards.

The sky was a brilliant blue with several fat, vividly white clouds floating aimlessly across the horizon. The dark cluster of smoke reached the level of the clouds and hung there for a moment, a dark blot against a pure ivory expanse. The inky smoke cloud expanded spreading through the white clouds like black ink poured into milk.

Laying on his back Donegal Ryan watched as the black smoke quickly mushroomed in all dimensions, swallowing up all of the clouds in the area above the Hopi village. In a matter of minutes the bright afternoon sun was gone, hidden behind a cloud cover dense and gloomy as a thunderstorm's mantle.

Radiant blue lightning crackled among the black clouds, giant cannon boomed across the murky skies. With the sound of a huge cloth ripping, perhaps God rending his robe in vexation, a thick, sizzling, shiny black rain cascaded upon the Hopi village. Sizzling was not merely a descriptive term it was also a literal one. The thick downpour slapped down with the sound of cold bacon thrown in hot grease.

Wherever a droplet of the shimmering black rain splattered a plume of acrid, vile yellow smoke spurt forth.

Those Hopi caught outside as the rain struck were the lucky ones, for they were killed almost immediately as the virulent acid scoured their flesh to the bone in seconds flat.

Donegal Ryan smiled, a rusty gasp escaping from his throat as he saw fifty or so heathen, pagan Indians become skeletons in the blink of an eye. The skeletons continued doing what ever task they had been doing for perhaps a second before collapsing into a jumbled pile of bones. The bones themselves soon dissolved into calcified sand and ash.

As I said those were the lucky ones. Those unfortunates who were only sprinkled by a few drops before dashing into their adobe homes were perhaps the worst case. Those few drops continued to burn, sizzling right through the flesh until exiting on the other side. The acid drops seared flesh leaving painful wounds which suppurated almost immediately. Wiping at the wounds off only aggravated the injury and sloughed the flesh off more quickly.

These individuals died slowly and in great agony as festering wounds quickly spread throughout their entire bodies. Flesh consuming ulcers, blisters and runny open wounds blossomed across their skin like desert flowers after a sudden rain. All flesh was eventually consumed and these victims became skeletons but continued breaking down becoming calcium dust.

Those who hid from the storm behind their thick adobe walls were confident of their safety, however confidence turned to panic and horror as they watched the thick adobe walls slowly dissolve like a bank of clay is rent, gouged, eroded and finally liquefied by a flash flood.

As adobe houses crumbled like sand castles under high tide, the Hopi soon felt the scorching sting of the black acid rain, the bitter, chastising obsidian tears of God. They crumpled, withered, perished and finally vanished.

Dust to Dust, Corruption to Corruption.

Beyond a few burning wounds, Donegal Ryan was unaffected by the storm of wrath 2.

2. No other accounts of this Hopi village ever having existed have been found, except in Southwestern Indian lore. Most ethnologists dismiss such stories.

Home · Ryan's Psalm
Chapter 1 · Chapter 2 · Chapter 4· Chapter 5· Chapter 6·
Chapter 7· 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· Chapter24· Chapter25· Chapter 26·
Chapter 27· Chapter 28· Chapter 29


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