Friday, May 20, 2011

Traildust PART ONE

The preacher spat hellfire like he enjoyed it.
"And the wicked will burn in the flames of hell because it is God's will!" he shouted, shaking his leather-bound holy book at those gathered in the tent. "And ye who denounces the word of the Lord shall be stricken down with diseases and misfortune."
"T'ain't like there ain't a whole lot to go round out here," said a man near the front. Some of the parishoners laughed.
"You dare make light of the wrath of God?!"
The man shuffled in his seat and was silent.
"He ain't makin' light a nothin', preacher," the man from the back said. "He's merely sayin' what'n we're all thinkin'. Ain't exactly like we ain't already sufferin' out here, what use is it tellin' us god's gonna do worse'n the desert sun and the sand and the injuns?"
There was a mottled murmur of agreement.
"And who are you, son, to question God's will?" the preacher had stepped out from behind the pulpit and stood beside it, his finger pointed accusedly at the man.
"Me?" the man said, lighting up a small, Mexican cigar. "Former man a God's lost his faith some. Also a man tired a bein' told we ain't good fer nothin' by folks like you."
"How can a man of God, a man of the cloth, lost his faith in times like these?"
"Well preacher, it's likely 'coz a what life is like and seein' god do nothin' for it."
The tent was silent, now. Where usually the buzz of religious observence created a tense electricity in the air, now there was a dead silence. Cicadas rung out with the buzzing of flies. A dog yelped at something nearby. A faint metal click rung out in the silence.
"Also," the man said, stubbing out his cigarette to the angried chagrin of the preacher and the faithful, "I never said I was a man a the cloth, just a man a god."
The man drew his Colt pistol and leveled it with the preacher.
"A weapon in a house of God?!" The preacher tried poorly to hide his fear behind indignation, bravery. "How dare you!"
"'Coz a man takes a job whatever comes along," he clicked back the hammer on the revolver. "And 'fraid today, preacher, you're the job."
The gunshot exploded in the silence and blood spurted from the preacher's neck, baptizing the faithful in the front row. Screams pierced the world and split its seams as knives tore down the canvas of the tent and christians fled into the nearing darkness away from this man who fires guns in churches. Didn't matter that this was merely a tent church, one that packs up and travels for those who don't have a church, it's still a house of god.
The man not yet named walked forward and knelt beside the preacher, alone in his pool of blood as it sank into and stained the wooden flooring of the stage.
"Who...who are you?" the preacher mananged hoarsely.
"A man meanin' to get paid," the man said and leaned in close to the preacher's face, drawing out his hunting knife. "And this ain't no kinda times to not get paid."
The man stuck the knife deep into the preacher's neck and, just before the preacher's eyes went grey and glassy with death, the man said, "I'm also a mind takes objection to preachers fuckin' little girls who ain't even got hair on their nethers yet."
The preacher's dying eyes looked up in fear and horror into the man's calm, blues.
"G-god...f-forgive me," and the preacher was gone from this world, limping into the next to settle his score with the maker he devoted himself to.
It didn't take too long for the man to take off the preacher's head and put it in the small burlap sack he had hitched to his belt.
He walked out of the tent, gazed into the last slivers of the sunset's oranges, and then mounted his horse and road off down the dirt road out of town.

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