Archive for the ‘theocracy’ Category

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Mary of Bethezuba One Day Lost Her Mind

August 12, 2014

One Christian mystery that believers are content is left among the addressable riddles of their unknowable Lord is the Eucharist. That sacrament with consecrated bread and wine transubstantiated into human flesh and blood is merely scorned by skeptics. The obvious inferences of cannibalism is pedestrian. Authors such as Kenneth Humphreys and Joseph Atwill do consider the problem, but they and few others deeply discuss the origin of this terrible miracle.

Someone knows for certain. When I was a curious adolescent, somebody from my Protestant church mentioned the ritual of communion began so that pagans might be lured into the Christian belief. The language of blood and gore was only a metaphor. Savages liked those sorts of things.

“Nobody can know for certain what Jesus said or what he did,” my pastor preached as much in a sermon. He stated the equivalent of…

“The New Testament was a wonderful compilation of second and third-hand testament. Hearsay.”

Every author except Paul was suspect. That apostle was a special case, and even then, he appeared late after the crucifixion. Understand, the congregation in my hometown believed the Good Book was just another book. Faith and Trust in the Lord were the true messages. All the rest was dark and barren.

“Jesus did live and does still,” the faithful there say today. “He was resurrected.”

Essentially they tell us that He lives in our hearts and its all very probable the One-True-God will come back. “Jesus does live,” after all, as vaguely circular and mysterious as that sounds. There is the whole consideration with the Living Word and who might that be. The identity of this spiritual being and the Holy Ghost are yet comfortably unknown. There is probably something relevant about them in the dusty Old Testament – I bet somewhere in Psalms.

The Protestant church in my hometown held up the latter early Epistles of Paul. They contain all that anyone needs to know about the Faith. Followers insist his approach at gathering the flock was the best, the most productive. He surmised himself in a letter to the Church in Corinth, Greece.

“19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV)

The subterfuge and Paul’s naked hypocrisy are considered merits where I come from. “Any means to an end,” people there say. “As long as those ends justify their means.”

They mean those means are for the good of local Protestants at service on any particular Sunday in a year. Those same honest, hardworking folks dependably vote Republican, too, regardless their personal interests and living wages. Any suffering done wherever it comes from is in love for the Lord. Principles like this scapegoat in Southern Wisconsin are truly born twisted and deformed.

My contempt grows overt despite my attempt to stay sublime. Forgive me, and please permit me to talk about the Liturgy again. I do appreciate a patient reader. I, too, am inclined to think the morbid sacrament was not merely a metaphor. There are black roots to this aspect of the Last Supper.

Whereas, I fail to find accreditation or an example, I have read Shakespeare created a woman he called Cannibal Mary for use in his plays. The character was a suspicious parody of the Virgin Mary – although, this seems as much gossip as the Canonical Gospels.

My writing itself is about to become positively sanguinary, so I will first express I do understand there is community in communion. Any event in which food is shared generates camaraderie. The symbolism is visually primal; images erupt in which families are brought together, strangers are met at meal times and friends are made. Bonds are renewed.

Yet the message of fellowship is divorced from what makes the Eucharist memorable. Just before, I abruptly mentioned a ghostly Shakespeare’s Cannibal Mary and I will return to that point, for she is my true subject. The New Testament verses which bring me to consider the woman are purportedly born out of the very mouth of our exalted savior. It is written…

26 … Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 26:26-28 (NIV)

The author of Luke was a little more succinct…

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Luke 22:19-20 (NIV)

Come on, look at what He said, it’s elementary. Jesus was talking about cannibalism. He said it more plain than when my mom told me,  “Take your brothers fingers out of your mouth!”

Why would the messiah even bring up something like that? Where does the idea of eating Him come from? But people remember He said it.

I cannot think of anywhere in the Old Testament that mentions anything pertaining to the stomach-churning presumption. The topic isn’t really discussed or even so much attributed to heathens. We are not suppose to eat each other, I know that. There are criminal laws against it in the United States of America.

I suppose people eat the Passover lamb, but what does that have to do with anything religious? I was taught Jews once made blood sacrifices to God, but I never heard anything special about the flesh of the animal. And the goat was certainly never a human being… well…

I assumed the kosher carcass was discarded as a matter of course. I never cared, it was what the Jews did and don’t anymore. The leftovers would not miraculously return the following year and be the same lamb. An idea like that was pagan, especially if a person was substituted for an animal sacrifice during an equinox or more often a solstice.

Today, the more liberal observers of Judaism cannot possibly believe their individual quests to discover God have anything to do with killing people – that goes against the Sixth commandment. The act is desperate and mad.

And a Mary of Bethezuba is one who smashed that binary commandment one day she lost her mind. People across the civilized world heard about the incident and remembered it for a long time. Indeed, I told you I have read Shakespeare referred to the woman involved as late as the 16th century. This was Cannibal Mary. Her story maybe inspired the ritual of consuming loathsome symbols. She perhaps contributed an apparent message to the Last Supper.

The Romano-Jewish scholar Josephus documented Mary in his history “Jewish War,” 75 CE.  Josephus was born in a Roman-dominated Jerusalem and emigrated to Greece, so the ‘Romano’ part of the preface describes the scholar as a citizen of the ancient Roman Empire. Indeed, the Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus made the man his historian.

Josephus documented the Flavian campaign to destroy the temple of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Actually, I believe trouble started four years earlier in 66 CE when statues of Caesar were to be erected in temples of every order and denomination. The Emperor was to be worshiped as the supreme god. Fundamentalist Jews could not stand that, nor would any devote Christian or Muslim in this age.

The scholar Josephus wrote about a siege Titus waged against those who denied his divinity. The Emperor surrounded the three walls of Jerusalem with his Roman army. The whole population was punished. The Roman army stopped food and water from entering the city. And to exasperate the deprivation, Titus let pilgrims enter the starving chaos Jerusalem had become so that they could celebrate Passover then never leave. No one was let outside the walls.

Josephus wrote the captured population turned against itself. Hungry gangs roamed inside their prison looking for food and treasure. They are written to have found a wealthy widow with her newborn child. Her name was Mary of Bethezuba. She became perpetually robbed. Thieves took her food until Passover came. The beleaguered woman then snapped. Mary went crazy.

The woman slaughtered her son, baked his corpse and started eating him after the ritual fast ended and the day was done. Thieves smelled the roasted meat, followed a sickly-sweet aroma through the dark and found the source.

Discovered, Mary presented to her habitual robbers the uneaten portions of her child. “He is a myth to the world,” Josephus stated she claimed. He said the woman’s revolted oppressors fled. People for centuries have remembered for themselves what happened at the siege. Nobody needed to read what a Roman scholar wrote.

I feel inclined to believe the tale is repeated today. Here is the origin of Transubstantiation, its symbols carry vague and needling and unshakable meaning. And it is the muddled story of Mary and the sacrifice of her son at Passover that makes the Last Supper unforgettable. We remember vicariously the bread is the flesh of her infant child. The blood is his. The woman’s convoluted damnation possibly made the Liturgy memorable.

The constant controversy involves dates. The tedious piece of this research in summary testifies Rome sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple a second time in 70 CE. The Gospel of Mark, in which whose author first records the events of the Last Supper, was also written about 70 CE. Scholars think 70 CE is more precise because the author of Mark mentions the destruction of the Temple Jerusalem. The dates of both these events incriminate themselves in conspiracy because their proximity.

The authors of the Gospels had certainly overheard something about the infamous Mary of Bethezuba. If they were Jewish, Gnostic or freshly Christian, I imagine news from Jerusalem would have been the priority of his day. Atrocities in the Promised Land would have most certainly overshadowed reports from a besieged of Masada. I think much of the struggle was incorporated into their books. Scholars have even stated the conflicts with Rome are what the Book of Revelation is about.

Christian apologists argue the Gospels have been preached by word-of-mouth since about 40 CE. The possibility may have merit, but there is no proof. The Apostle Paul never talked about the Last Supper, nor the birth of Jesus nor His life on Earth. Before the Gospels, we sinners only heard about what He had done for us and what we needed to do to show Him our appreciation. The First Apostle Paul wrote down as much. We can’t know what people said then to each other in conversation. Technically, we can’t even really know what Paul said was not made-up.

And you, reader, have no reason to believe me until you see for yourself. Read, just go ahead and read. Even then, people believe what they want to believe.

 

– Matthew Sawyer

 

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Those Veils of Satan

August 5, 2014

Those Veils of Satan
Matthew Sawyer

Any Christian apologist worth his or her published book royalties must address the problem of the devil. The faithful must know what the archfiend is up to still. And the world has heard enough about his damnable self scattering dinosaur bones across the face of the Earth. People are bored, they lose interest and don’t buy reprints. “They don’t go to museums to see the same old stuff,” one must admit to oneself. “Not anymore they don’t.”

People rather hear about Satan undermining Jesus Christ. Saint Justin Martyr insisted the devil counterfeited all the Christian mysteries. “The fiend made copies,” he said. “There were antichrists before the Messiah was born.” I paraphrased.

Satan wrought confusion and doubt long before a particular Son of God even touched the ground. Good ole’ Justin pretty much left his answer there. The decapitated man might not have had time to say more before he and his friends lost their heads in 168 AD to urban perfect Junius Rusticus. Justin’s dramatic soliloquy instead made the handwriting of the day.

“That is our desire, to be tortured for Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and so to be saved, for that will give us salvation and firm confidence at the more terrible universal tribunal of Our Lord and Saviour.”

– J. Quasten, Patrology vol. 1, p.196-197

Then again, the bygone saint may have been martyred at some divinely-inspired moment. Surely by now, we all know how God thinks. He has a pronounced modus operandi. Mankind may not yet know what shadows the devil throws. For even especially in the Garden of Eden, there were mysteries suspended before our primal ancestors and both were commanded not to look.

That was when Satan allegedly convinced Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge and see for herself. From what most grown-up believers eventually come to believe, God engineered the event. He promoted the Fall then designed a plan for redemption that would satisfy himself with the blood of his only analogous child. It’s all there in the Book.

And according to Justin, Satan proactively sought to obscure the whole gory affair. The devil presumably did so, according to Justin, to stem a flow of reborn sinners into an ever-after paradise. Although a morbid number of true believers since reading has been taught in schools does suggest the subterfuge was overkill.

Where now is there harm in peeking behind those veils the devil has cast? Certainly a sentence forever in the Lake of Fire can’t be made any longer. And for those who yet cling to hope or find some way to grab hold a golden rung, all one must do is ask forgiveness.

For those of us who remain in flame, we see the flickering shadows latter-day apologists need revisit. They must reveal insights to us unwashed and re-dirtied masses. Where is the harm in them shedding light? That’s what they are suppose to do. They are professionals and they are shielded from divine punishment because all their evangelizing. And in their worldview, there is no sin found in book and DVD sales. Anyway, it has been too long since anyone has addressed this particular subject.

Alexander Hislop, a Scottish minister and dead since March 13 1865, he essentially claimed in his book Two Babylons, 1858, all pagan beliefs and Christian rituals originate in a just barely-historic Babylon. 4000 to 3500 BC. There Satan first under-painted the mystery of Jesus in history and desecrated the timeless sanctity of a mother and her child.

The Bible itself mentioned Semiramis and her resurrected son Tammuz. Semiramis was the wife of Nimrod, Ninus in Greek and the great grandson of the Biblical Noah. He was said to have tried building the Tower of Babel. She was a harlot who seized control of Babylon and she will be the whore who rides atop the dragon in the Book of Revelations.

Semiramis, Satan tells us, was the progenitor for Mary, the virgin mother of Christ. She claimed herself to be the Mother of Heaven and made herself a goddess. This, the woman accomplished, after she tricked her husband into being torn apart by hallucinating religious fanatics.

Understand, Babylon was a new, pagan civilization; the first civilization. Like all pagans, the early citizens of the walled city-state recognized the cycle of seasons and an annual death and rebirth of every year. They sacrificed a lamb at the recurring occasion. They took plenty of psychedelic drugs and tore the living animal apart with their bare hands.

A newborn lamb was then produced from nowhere and this one was fattened up for the same ritual murder the following year. Semiramis convinced Nimrod that he was that lamb. How she managed such a diabolic feat is vague, but she was said to tell her husband he was a god. Like the lamb, he would be reborn. And when all of Babylon witnessed his resurrection, he – like his tower was meant to be – Nimrod himself would rise to heaven.

He did not come back to life. His evil widow instead produced a son. His name was Tammuz. So that he would not be sacrificed next year, his mother proclaimed the boy was Nimrod resurrected. There would be games every year from then on. And while Semiramis ruled as the queen of Babylon, the image of her and her son together grew beyond the mundane. They were depicted on idolatry in the vestige of mother and child – Aphrodite and Eros in Greece, Venus and Cupid in Rome – the Pieta by Michelangelo.

Fitting a goddess, Semiramis adopted a new origin, one fitting a queen and not the prostitute she had been. This latter truth was hidden from the tribes of Israel. Nimrod probably knew who Semiramis truly had been but the mortal man was fatally deluded in love.

Semiramis claimed she was born half-fish with the head of a human girl. Horrified, her mother threw her away and the infant chimera was adopted by birds. The strange creature became a woman. After finishing her reign in Babylon she was said to have then grown wings and flown up to heaven.

Her son, Tammuz, was said to have been born from an egg. He was killed by a stag when he was hunting one day and his mother is still today told to have wept forty days. Her sorrow and endless tears resurrected the killed boy. This became the representation of the yearly cycle of seasons. Ezekiel 8:14 cites as much…

“Then He brought me to the entrance of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and behold, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.”

– Ezekiel 8:14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Semiramis became Ishtar in Mesopotamia and the rebirth of Tammuz was called Easter long before the Roman Catholic Church reassigned the pagan holiday a Christian theme. They also did not reveal Semiramis of Babylon invented crucifixion. The torture and execution was first implemented thousand of years ago.

The Canaanites believed these stories. The trinity of Nimrod, Semiramis and Tammuz spread across the known world and adopted new names. In Egypt 2400 BC, there were the roughly equivalent fables of Osiris, Isis and Horus.

Unlike the Sumerians who eventually settled on Marduk as their supreme deity, the Egyptians did not taste monotheism until Akhenaten, 1351 -1336 BC. He proclaimed himself the only sun deity and introduced halos and immortality to the world. Given the Egyptian ruler’s original name was Amenhotep IV, it is irresistibly curious to wonder if the conclusion in prayer, “Amen,” had been preserved because his egotistical impact.

Undistracted for long by Satan’s idle lure, we return to that devil’s veils over the time line of Creation and course of salvation. In Egypt again, 387 – 283 BC, Ptolemy 1 Meryamun Setepenre proclaimed himself “Sotor,” savior. And said he was Christ and he heralded resurrection. There were Christians hundreds of years before the Messiah was born. And there was a whole nation who rejected him because he came as a conqueror. Hadrian wrote to Servianus, 134 AD…

“Egypt, which you commended to me my dearest Servianus, I have found to be wholly fickle and inconsistent and continually wafted about by every breath of fame. The worshippers of Serapis here are called Christians and those who are devoted to the god Serapis (I find) call themselves Bishops of Christ.”

The image of this bearded antichrist bears a disturbing resemblance to the condoned Caucasian semblances of the Christian lord.

Still, only a little of the devil’s deception is so late. His dark veils have covered Greece and the Etruscan empire since before 1500 BC. More popular saviors with Christ-like powers materialized in these regions. Here is where Mithra and Dionysus appeared. Satan uncovered these fallen angels, these demons because the Roman Catholic Church declared they were.

Setting these Bronze Age deities to age, Satan encouraged other mortal men than Ptolemy 1 to assume the forged role of the Son of God. Simon of Peraea was killed by Rome in 4 BC. The man was rumored to be the Messiah while he fought to deliver his Jewish nation from foreign oppressors. His body vanished after four days leaving his undying followers only hope. They claimed he would reappear alive. He never did.

There are a myriad veils.

Let us ignore all the ancient Sanskrit Satan forged hundreds and a thousand years before, those that record the ideas of the Jewish and Gentile messiah before he said them or he was even born. In that time Jesus graced the living with his presence on Earth in Galilee, a man named Apollonius of Tyana toured Greece. Satan put him into this world 15 – 100 CE to do those same things Jesus said in the Middle East. Saran made Apollonius say what Christian apostles will write down generation after their Lord was born, before Jesus died for the sins of the world then rescue far fewer people than believers know from the pain of hell.

– Matthew Sawyer

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The Answer Is Green

July 28, 2014

What Color Is Your Blood?

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It’s Not a Revision

January 15, 2014

January 2014 has come and so have my latest self-published book editions. They’re not revisions, for the most part. Sure. I corrected instances of missing dialog punctuation but these fixes do not truly set the 2014 editions apart from those of the previous year. There are exceptions, but these are so minor that I let the refreshed publication date record their histories.

Take a look at my printed books at Lulu or my identical ebooks at Smashwords.

A big exception is Pazuzu – Manifestation, the first book in my Pazuzu Trilogy. I made clear alterations to its ‘Prelude’ and the first leg of chapter one, ‘The Wilderness’. And here they are…

 

Prelude

Rage makes the swollen hands of this ranked priest tremble. Captain Ioannu is the victim of extortion, that or lacking amphetamine makes him angry. He tugs a collarless white shirt and finally removes his heavy black uniform jacket. The UnChosen caste calls his choice drug ‘Ape’ – the street name for a new junk that typically changes users into anxious, howling gorillas.

Such base consequence could never happen to a priest, a born member of the upper echelon of the Chosen caste and an officer in the Church. The associated pomp and dignity granted the position guards against that uncivil lunacy. No, the unquiet phases of the chemically grown monkey would not drive Josiah Ioannu into madness. The Church had promoted this middle-aged priest to captain because his genetically endowed discipline gives him immaculate willpower. After all, Captain Josiah Ioannu had been born a Chosen. Even without a rank, birthright grants him authority over his Mortal God.

Nonetheless, his responsibilities crush Ioannu under stones. “The Church presses too much work on mid-grade priests. They drive me to use the damned drug.”

The wretched soul rationalizes, “I’m old.”

He also confesses to himself, “The problem with Ape isn’t the drug, but rather not having any. Nothing at all.”

Sobriety-sharpened nails press into his chest and head. Beneath his tormented rut, the priest tells himself, “Being clean banishes the blessing of knowing exactly what to do in any situation… and making sense of other people. Nobody listens to me when I don’t have Ape, they just babble and interrupt me when I talk.”

Sobriety truthfully compromises the man’s ability to control his god – the Mortal God and all those forsaken UnChosen dwelling inside his squalid quarter next the Wall.

Materially, he deals with an unprecedented crime inside the walled city of Khetam. Very recently, there on the sands of the Chosen’s Promised Land, Reverend Elmer had been murdered. The man was a subordinate priest Ioannu had assigned the parish custodianship of Saint Erasmus. He thinks aloud, “A sympathizer killed him.”

The Wall separating Khetam from the world of the Shur foremost protects the city from the ravages of heathen terrorists. “No full-blown heathen can get into this city,” Captain Ioannu mumbles. He righteously believes no one passes through the Wall without the approval of the Church or its military. He tells everyone, “The Chosen exercise exclusive entrance into Khetam.”

All UnChosen once permitted behind the Wall now live in desolate parishes like Saint Erasmus. Ioannu thinks, “A suitable batch of hovels for those spineless degenerates.” Still, the caste and status of the murdered victim raises the severity of the crime to an act of terrorism. The Church and its military’s censors had debated if news of the crime should be made public, but the single body never made a decision.

One thing Ioannu was certain – the presence of pagan tablets on the altar inside Saint Erasmus will never be reported to the public. The Church had immediately confiscated and destroyed the sacrilegious objects. Whatever the dead Reverend Elmer had once planned with them is better undiscovered. The blasphemous controversy goes with him into death. Withal, the late Reverend Elmer brought the awful fate upon himself.

In the midst of Ioannu’s coping with his withdrawal from Ape – that and the murder of a priest too curious about an archaic and forbidden religion – the phone in his office rings. The man on the other end of the telephone line calls him, “Sir.”

Reverend Benedict Gage calls, again. The Aper is a non-commissioned bastard from the city of Gomorrah. Captain Ioannu had just hung-up on the irreverent extortionist.

“Why do you keep calling here?” Ioannu shouts into the phone inside his dark and private office at the Church. He tells the caller “Stop calling me.”

“Captain – Ioannu.” Reverend Gage stutters with the aggravated squall of an addict. “I know you don’t know me from Adam, but you have something I want.”

“A demotion?” threatens Ioannu. “How, in the name of the Mortal God, can you even dare speak to me with such lack of respect?”

The two priests share an addiction to Ape, with a difference. Ape helps Reverend Gage lose respect for his superior officers, sending him out-of-the-way to a place like Gomorrah. The drug gives the non-commissioned priest arrogant hopes and ambitions – whereas Ioannu had already gladly achieved his own pinnacle.

Uncovering his hand, Gage says, “Listen, I know you’re related to Judah Ismael, the crime-lord in this city.”

Hopefully, despite the truth, this blackmailer didn’t know how complicated the relationship between Captain Ioannu and Judah Ismael had become. The captain is the crime-lord’s connection with the Church. Although, in-law Judah’s patience had grown thin with Josiah, resulting in Ape becoming difficult to find in Khetam and impossible to obtain. Like Ioannu, many of the priest’s brethren in the Church had stopped coming to their offices at headquarters. Those nervous wretches who report this morning are useless and hide in the dark behind locked doors.

“That is a sad coincidence,” Ioannu claims. He speaks of his relationship to the UnChosen crime-lord.

“I know you keep the military away from Gomorrah,” Gage states. “And I know Ismael is your Ape connection.”

“I know you are a dead man, Gage,” Ioannu shouts over the phone. “How dare you call me with your crazy accusations.”

“Listen.” Gage shouts back. “Military patrols will come to this city, whether you like it or not. Ilu Yehowah is here in Shur’s northwest. Colonel Onesiphorus himself is coming here.”

Colonel Onesiphorus’s trip to Gomorrah presents a bigger problem, one Ioannu should have anticipated – he knows the colonel sweeps through the region annually. Captain Ioannu reports to the colonel, as would Gage when the bishop arrives at Gomorrah. Gage, the tattling Aper, may tell their superior officer anything.

Ioannu capitulates. “What do you want?”

“An assignment away from Gomorrah and heathens,” Gage barters. “This city will fall to terrorists next, Yehowah is here.”

“Let me think,” Ioannu replies immediately. The solution comes to him with a staggered breath.

The situation seemed to work itself out – a custodian position has recently opened at Saint Erasmus and a priest materializes who will shut his mouth if he’s invited into Khetam. Josiah does not think when he offers the position to Gage, though this wretched extortionist may again one day twist Josiah’s neck. Nevertheless, the treacherous possibility fails to occur to him and does not stop Josiah from asking Gage a more crucial question. “Will you bring Ape into Khetam?”

“No, of course not,” Gage denies with a strained snort.

“Please, there’s none here. You won’t find Ape behind the Wall.”

Gage thinks he cannot trust Captain Ioannu with the truth. To his treacherous ear, his supervisor’s plea sounds like a trap. “No,” he squeaks.

“That’s unfortunate,” answers Ioannu before hanging up. Josiah had looked forward toward another batch of Ape for himself.

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The Wilderness

This morning, the colors of the sky possess weight. At the faraway horizon, where a wide, blue bruise is caught between dark and light, the hues are luminous gases – layers of yellow, orange and pink pressed together by the nothingness of the previous night. The rising sun pushes warm colors upward, burning them away, and bleeds sore purple from the sky. A stumbling, shirtless man then falls into the morning.

He knows where he is, but the bare wraith cannot remember who he might be. Beneath caked dust, he appears overall red and covered with angry pustules. His torso resembles an antique table dusted by careless strokes. With each of his heavy steps, the dirt encrusted upon his chest and back drops off in flakes.

His own shoulders bear upon him with a foreign weight he wants to throw off. The extra fleshy padding around his waist only adds to his burden. The gain had crept upon the smoldering man with stealth, over years of denial and through moments of complacent acceptance. Growing fat once seemed a natural process of age. The extra weight had introduced itself as a hobo trespassing the rails, a sneaky hanger-on who refused to be shaken off. Overweight as he is, he feels he is Chosen.

The tired posture and swollen, blistered gut of the man make him a forlorn caricature. His arms swing with the weight of pendulums knocked from their paths. And this broiled devil lumbers across a desolate, alien world – the only living thing exiled and cast into Hell. Desperate thirst comes without warning.

He feels his insides bake and he imagines his already bulging belly will bloat until the skin bursts and all his juices bubble out. The very last of his fluids will evaporate even before dripping to the ground. Such is not the death the empty man desires. He will not die sizzling in his own fluids. Instead, he prefers drying-up. He wants to disintegrate, to become part of the dust – blood red dust.

A clear, familiar voice speaks into his left ear and sounds like his own. “You have certainly wandered enough.”

The disconnected specter speaks with finer clarity than the stumbler – absent of the muffled hesitation he struggles to overcome in ordinary conversation. This voice sounds rehearsed and confident, far from his own verbal fumbling. His voice, like a nasally monologue recorded on an answering machine, seems an amputation, separate from any concept he believes about himself; whatever that could be now.

The better voice resonates as if echoing inside an empty room. Just as abrupt, it vanishes and a second of stillness fills the void. Leaded footfalls on packed dirt and a muffled ring in the man’s head dispels the silence; much like listening to a radio station when an announcer misses his or her timing – until a burst of sound jolts the dead air. Yet the voice is not scratched with static heard on radios. Nothing disturbs its dismembered words. The voice and the man’s plod across the dry waste remain exclusive and opposite each other.

The wandering man does not bother looking around, because the sporadic company of the invisible voice is his only companion. It had joined him earlier that day, or mayhap the day before. Time passes as fleetingly as the voice. This moment, the sun has traveled only a quarter of its path across the sky when the waste becomes miserably hot and bright.

The suspended days and endless expanse of dirt disorient him. There is no, and there was never relief. The previous night had been sweltering, and the man had stumbled through the darkness, unsure when one day ended and another began. Yet he must walk and find his way or die.

From the road, the desert had never appeared so large. He would have easily spotted scant landmarks if he rode in a car or truck. Regardless, the man thinks he can recover his bearings. His sense of direction had always been amazing, or so he believed.

Though he could not recall why he found himself in the middle of nowhere, he suspects he had a destination when the dangerous trek began. The ‘when’ is now long ago, hidden beneath hours and unending dunes of sand. If he had brought any water, it was now gone. He did not know what supplies he had packed for this journey, and he now lacks a pack and even a shirt. All he apparently owns are a pair of scuffed laced boots and crusted khaki pants with empty pockets.

“Hey, wouldn’t a tall glass of cool water be great?”

The voice, barely noticeable beneath hot winds, teases like some subtle siren – hidden within whirlpools transformed into sand dunes. The thought of a gulp of water lights in the mind of the stumbling man, but he deliberately quashes it; none is to be found here and he will not torture himself. Entertaining pleasant fantasies seems more conducive to his survival.

The wanderer dreams he finds that siren and she takes the poor, baked fiend to her dune. They lay down and her bare skin is cool, like the ocean in which she was born. Her eyes, green as kelp, compete for admiration against lips that flirt and glisten with the sheen of pearls. Rescued and transformed, he tires of the colorless desert and travels back to her sea. He will never be thirsty again, and never care and recall how or why he discovered himself alone in the desert. Finding the bliss of love and the sea are the answers, and she is the reason for his journey.

Dehydration had afflicted him long time ago and stumbling on his feet was currently just a pretense; he was already lost and dead. Heat exhaustion was near, but still, the voice calls. It names him.

“Benedict.” This time the voice shuts out every thought. “Ben.”

Ben jerks leftward with such violence, he twists completely around, a marionette thrown into a clumsy pirouette by an amateur puppeteer. The momentum pulls him off his feet and he falls forward as if his strings are cut. His shoulders remain hunched while he lies face down in the sand.

With a huff and small cloud of dust, Ben flips himself over and sees the orange cauldron of the sun over his toes. He had stopped sweating, which is not a good sign, but he lacks any will to worry. His name will be forgotten, if ever really known. He recalls it now, because the voice had reminded him. His name is Ben.

Ben closes his eyes and pictures rippling waves drift upward from his body. He feels stuck to the ground, a part of it. This land might also be called Ben and he is merely a piece of desert, like the dust stirred by his steps. The particles will eventually settle back down and rejoin the suffering man; misplaced specks relocated from one part of the desert to another, but still part of the whole.

His breath becomes the hot breeze and he exhales a gust that singes the inside of his gaping mouth. When Ben opens his eyes, the sun hangs directly overhead as a white whirlpool in a smooth blue ocean. A mighty hand had polished away the waves and ripples; “Not God’s hand.” The Mortal God was gone. The voice told him, although the man already suspected.

“Ben, you’re wasting the day, dreaming.”

****

Read the whole story.

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Wasted… Not Ever Again

October 22, 2012

 

Though I had been quite happy with the Ninth revision of my Pazuzu Trilogy, I needed to make a distinction from its immediate predecessor The Waste and my liberally-politicized Dubya's Apocalypse. The twelve revision does that and my writing this story is done. I'm not coming back. I'm not writing this tale again.  Having completed the twelve revision of my Pazuzu Trilogy – the wasted revision – I'm glad I put in the work. My alter ego had gone too far. And alas, he did not go far enough. Incorporating the most successful changes, I had discovered plenty of bugs. Their squashed. This last revision will soon spread across my distribution channels – eager readers can already visit Lulu and Smashwords and purchase copies.

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