Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chapter 1 Seven Crosses


Above the hills there was a golden rainbow.

Sam grabbed his leather bag out of the old pick up parked in front of his grandparents still older farm house. He rifled through the durable compartments and pulled out two familiar friends: a worn bible and an equally worn pipe. The screen door tapped time with the universe as Sam ascended the porch to the swing.

Green grass was now fading away to yellow hues. The painted flowers that bordered the stoic building dropped petals, wilted, and weary of the summer sun. And across the open acre of knee high grass type towards the fat oak seven crosses stood at the head of fresh mounds of dark dirt.

That golden ark of color that had emerged through the storm and had held the earth in its dominion faded against the darkening horizon. She held out, with all her utmost to the highest end of the sky. But as with all expressions she dimmed and faltered. Sam held her in his heart, reaching out from deep within, encouraging her to stand against the draw of the earth. She ebbed to but a shade, something of a impression now, and the clouds from which she was born also lost semblance in the growing indigo.

A flash, a green flash, slipped out of the last movement of sun and the land immersed itself in quiet brooding. Sam sat there, drifting above the planks of the porch upon the swing. His pipe lay to his left and his bible to the right, and both were useless in the new night.


The screen door struck the hour. Howl and call of the wild opened up the new government. Wolves in the hills, lions in their lairs, and their cruel comrades carried out severe justice upon whomever and whatever came into the purview of their courts. The once prevalent coyotes and even the cougars were now subjugated to their powerful cousins in this brave new world. Sam carefully slipped into the house, barred the door, and felt his way to the couch.

Grandma would have had his hide if she had seen his boots crossing that carpet. The thought stabbed him, and he finally sobbed out a cry. Her frail body lay in the grave now, not in the bed upstairs where he had found her next to grandpa. Both laying in repose for only him to pay respect. Mutilated by some wild thing, his mind equally so, he did his duty adding them to the impromptu family burial plot he had dug all that day.

The others, were as terribly drawn and quartered by scavengers. One in the barn, two in the spare bedroom, and the remaining in the guest house out back. Windows were broken, paw prints plodded upon her once spotless floors. It was, as he simply thought, horrifying. But through the whole day, he had not worried, he had not welled up with wet eyes; he prayed for mercy and married himself to his work.

Now, he lay there: dirty, tired, the smell of corpse on his hands and clothes, an unclean thing God said in the first books of the bible. Justly so, he thought, having now lived what he had once read, he couldn’t disagree with the Almighty’s proposition.

It had been a full day and as absurd as it was, he could do nothing more than grieve but a moment, for sleep, the resting place for all souls travailing, took him.


There was something there! In the room. Across the living room. Something big. Its breath almost a drone. His consciousness alerted by the Lord in his spirit. He knew the prodding. Not a single movement did he make and yet he knew the beast became instantly aware of his wakefulness. It shuffled its arms upon the carpet and clawed it. Its claws popped against the hard wood floors and ripped at the expensive wool vestige. Then like a 57’ ford its V8 rumble barreled in the great cat’s chest. It purred to life.

“Lord, help me," he pleaded from his heart.

It rose. He heard it stretch its back out, the cracks of vertebrae marked the moments. The surface cried under each foot fall. Closer now. It sensed its prey’s preparations. The lion paused, savoring the game it had created. Then, it felt just a hint of doubt, almost a thorn in its paw. Rage against the personal slight it leapt.

Sam pulled the but end of the rot iron fire poker into a wood groove at the base of the couch spear out and held both arms to its shaft. The wood cracked, his arms flamed into pain, and the Terror received its dying breath through a trachea curdled by wraith like screams promulgated by its collapsing lung.

He shoved it deeper and the cat cursed and ripped away from his hold the spike. It dragged itself to the left and fell into the naked wall. It pulled itself up and then fell. It died.

Sam shook violently and vomited. The splash hit the floor. Still he could not see. His arms were wet with blood. He was living, but deeply wounded. That, he thought, would make a great metaphor for his life. Sam rolled off the couch to his feet. He thanked God that He wasn’t a metaphor.

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