by Clayton Luce
“Somebody once said that DNA moves in mysterious ways.”
I know that as of late our recollections have been hazy and perhaps it is from too many years of abusing our bodies and minds or maybe it’s just the government. All that I can say for sure about these past few years is that something has gone very wrong. There are strange rumblings in the desert and there is nothing good coming out of the news.
A close friend of mine described it as a Darkness and I would tend to agree.
There is a Dark Stain growing in the White House with veins and tendrils that creep and gnarl across the front lawn and down into strange pits in the earth under Pennsylvania Avenue leading towards capitol hill- and spreading out across the city far below the feet of ordinary men. They twist and snake through the sewers and sludge pumping poison deep into the earth and oozing puss into the water supply. The locals can taste it, but no one is saying anything. Everyone seems to be ignoring the vile, pulsating Thing that has laid roots across America with giant feeding tubes and cables leading back to the NSA.
There is a sickness coming, and this God awful nightmare in Washington D.C. may only be the beginning.
Two-Hundred years ago there was life in this land. Pure air, clean and crisp, breathed essence into massive towering and ancient trees and lush prairies. Massive herds of Buffalo roamed the plains and there was balance between man and beast and rock. The mountains produced cold clear water and the rivers ran pure and fresh.
Before the Thing appeared and the stain began to grow.
Jeez, I wonder. Is this really happening? Have I just been a victim of this toxic waste dump for so long that I’ve somehow developed a giant tumor on my brain that’s causing me to hallucinate all of these strange and terrible visions of America? And what is that awful smell?
It’s like a mixture of sulfur, and embalming fluid and melting Kevlar. It burns the nose and leaves you gasping for air.
It may be time to get out of this place. To escape the noose before this whole terrible stain engulfs this mountain and we sink into the mire.
Last night I started wandering what Colonel Leonard would do in a situation like this. He wouldn’t be scared at all thought I. Colonel Leonard would have driven an armed truck into Dallas and established martial law with a bundle of hand grenades and four dozen Angry white militants all stone drunk on cheap liquor and raving about “putting the bastards down.” Let me hope I am wrong about him. Let us hope he is a Patriot!
In fact the truth is I think he is a rotten scum sucking military opportunist, just waiting for a nice fat juicy political protest or Wall Street rally so he can send his armed thugs into main-street to subdue the enemy threat.
“Fuck the Islamic extremists” his friend in the Pentagon said, “They are too sneaky, and we can’t seem to get a grasp on those goddamned IED’s. They keep blowing all of this expensive equipment to bits and those Iraqis seem a little too clingy. Why not just make ourselves the enemy and save on both fuel and international public fallout? Besides, that’s what everyone else is doing.”
I couldn’t agree with them more. We are the enemy. That much is certain now. The legalization of Marijuana is a sure sign that they we have finally reached the bottom of the barrel. Bring out the endgame faces boys, it’s time for a showdown.
When I went to visit Colonel Leonard last night he was very drunk and I could see that he was in a strangely jittery mood.
“Give the dope heads their pot,” he said, “and let the faggots dance in the streets like painted prairie dogs with glittery nipple clamps and big pink dildo hats. They’ll make easy targets. Now we don’t have to look anymore. Now they will come to us.”
“Jesus,” I thought, “You need medical attention.” His ears had started to bleed and I could see a thin trickle of blood running down and collecting into a dark red stain on his almond covered silk ascot.
“Nonsense,” he said, “This always happens in the fall. Right before war season. Don’t worry about it. The doctor gave me medicine for it. Apparently there is some sort of mass growing in my brain. A tumor. Too much depleted uranium he told me.”
“That explains things,” I muttered, now eying what appeared to be some sort of hairy mole on the Colonels’ neck that seemed to be pulsating under the dim lamp of the oak wood smoking room.
“Yep,” he continued, “we’re going to get those goddamn homegrown fundamentalist this time, tumor or not.”
“You mean Patriots.” I corrected him.
“I don’t give a damn what you call them. I just need you to write about it. The doc says I might not be doing to good and I wanna go out with a bang! I need you to paint that picture of me. You know, for the press. If I died right now they would label me a War Criminal. My tombstone would read, “He killed them in the name of Greed and drank the blood of the weak.”
I looked at him for a moment, staring blankly at the pulsating mole and panting slightly for air.
Jesus, did they have the heat on in here. It felt like my brain had turned to Jelly and I noticed the Colonels features beginning to change. He suddenly seemed much older, and then I smelled that god-awful stench again.
“Sure!” I said. “I can get you fixed right up. After all you need a friend in the press and not just anyone. You need a real pro for a heavy gig like this and probably also a little bit of black magic. I know an old voodoo priest that lives out off of Highway 49, out in the woods. He has a little camper out there and he will pay $500 for a human soul.
The Colonel shifted in his seat. I think the mention of black magic had spooked him. He was after all a Nazi Christian fundamentalist, even if he did drink the occasional blood of the slain.
I continued, “I once knew a guy who sold his soul to the fellow and he said there was nothing to it. He brings you in, sits you down and then blows some hash smoke in your face and then slaps you real hard across the temple and that’s pretty much it. Then he just hands you five-hundred dollars and sends you on your way.”
The Colonel seemed interested now. He was going for It, I thought.
“Anyhow,” I went on, “I hear that he also sells curses. He will turn your enemies to dust before you. The eyes of the masses will be upon you at your finest hour. You will become like a god.”
The Colonel was visibly excited now, leaning forward in his seat. His eyes were wide and eager and a film of sweat had formed on his forehead and begun to drip down into his eyes, turning them red and giving him the appearance of a desperate junkie. He looked like a Ralph Steadman drawing in three dimensional form and there was a certain hideous quality to his entire aura which seemed to bring the shadows out of the dark corners of the room. Like a black hole that sucked out the light. It felt as if an inky blackness had begun to settle onto this place.
I was also beginning to sweat profusely. I had to get out of here.
“Holy Christ!” He said, throwing up his hands and gesturing wildly at me. He seemed deranged. “That is exactly what I need!”
He started shuffling around on the ornate mahogany lamp table beside him fumbling through a small pile of official looking documents and assorted crap and came up with a small address book. “Tell me. Where can I find this man.”
“I already told you,” I said. “He lives off of highway 49, right past the swamp. You will see a bunch of dead animals nailed to the trees when you get close. That’s how you’ll know you’re on the right track. Just follow the bones into the woods and the trail will lead you right to him. At least that’s what the Negro’s down there say.”
“Great Scot!” He muttered thoughtfully, now picking at the mole which had apparently begun to bleed leaving a shiny red film on his fingers. “I am positive now. This man is the answer. I have over 25,000 Marines under my direct command and yet those filthy little towel heads have been beating me like a cheap whore. But alas! No more! We must find this…this priest.”
“Well that sounds about right.” I said, scratching wildly at my arms which were now glistening in sweat and itching. I sprang up, grabbing my bag and flinging it over my shoulder then immediately ducking from some strange black bird that suddenly swooped down from the crossbeams high above and rushed down at me wildly, with a hideous screech.”
“Good God man!” I shouted swatting out into the air and kicking over the lamp which shattered on the floor casting even more darkness into the pandemonium. “Get it off me! It’s going for my eyes!”
The Colonel was out of his chair in an instant, seizing me by the shirt and lifting me of my feet, shaking me wildly. I knew I was doomed.
“Get a hold of yourself, man!” He roared spinning me around to witness the foul thing which had landed on the table beside the Colonel’s chair. “It’s just a Raven. It was a gift from the Sheik.”
The bird was menacing. Frail and skeletal it had the appearance of a specter, perched their like some ancient demon and studying me through black, lifeless eyes. The thing immediately gave me the fear.
The Colonel set me down, looking at me intently. “You understand, right?”
I had no idea what he was talking about, but Colonel Leonard is a very powerful man, with death squads and torture chambers all over the world, so I nodded in agreement, trying to smile.
“Very well,” he said. He unruffled my shirt and dusted my collar and then patted me confidently on the head.” That’s what I like to hear. So you’re in, right?
“In?” The word seemed to carry very ominous implications. “Of course I’m in. I am after all a trained literary professional.”
“So you ready?” He grinned evilly.
“Ready?” I said, “What do you mean ready?”
“Ready to take me to see the witch.”
I thought of a hundred things to say, but not one of them, I felt, would result in anything other than a violent confrontation between me, the Colonel and that evil goddamn bird. I had no choice.
“Sure,” I said. “The witch.”