The Posse #2
“Look at these chumps,” Billy thought to himself. It reminded him of the fun he could have at the turn of the century, when towns were a little more secluded, a little more armed, and a whole lot more superstitious. Billy couldn’t help but chuckle at the idea that these simple people were out here to fight some made-up nonsense while a true demon sat in their midst, feeding off of their feer. It was glorious irony.
“Please!” Father Moses had taken his usual place at the front of the flock, arms outstretched. Billy wasn’t sure if the outstretched-ness was a blocking thing, a spirit thing, or both, but he was fairly sure that shit wasn’t going to work. The priest continued, “Please, we can’t just go running in there, guns blazing. We have to respect the law.
They were parked about fifty yards from the entrance to the old mine, parked in a dirt round and the end of the road. Between them and the mine was an opening flanked by trees and tall grasses, but not so tall that they couldn’t see the old mine’s opening.
Joshua yelled over the crowd. “I’m telling you! They’re in there, HE’s in there. I saw him!”
One of the first yelled next. “Either way where’s the harm in looking?”
“You have been drinking. We need to wait for the police. Please,” Father Moses pleaded.
Another yell came from the back of the men, “Nick is always drunk! What’s the difference?” and many of the men burst out laughing.
The initial man spoke up again, “Father, I turn to you to protect my soul and I follow you every Sunday. Now, I don’t expect you to follow me, but I do expect you to let me defend the flock in my way, and I am going in that mine to look for this fella.”
And with that, the crowd of men walked by the demoted priest toward the old mine at the edge of Billington’s Wood.
As they walked Billy nudged one of the men next to him and softly spoke, “This is fun, huh?” The man just looked at him with befuddled eyes and a slack jaw. “Nevermind,” Billy said with another nudge, “I was only kidding. I’m sure we’ll survive the night.”
Father Moses had silenced his opposition. Knowing there was nothing he could do to stop them from entering, he figured he should go with them to provide a voice of reason.
Billy eyed the priest with contempt. He wasn’t opposed to priests on the whole, only when they got in the way of his fun. He approached the priest who was holding up the rear. “Het, Father, Billy called to him in a hushed yell.
The priest made eye contact but said nothing.
“I heard you really know what’s in there,” Billy continued. “Spooks from the stars or something. Am I right? Or was it space goblins?”
“Who told you that?” Father Moses asked with a shocked look on his face.
“I can’t remember. One of the twelve spies you sent out I would guess,” Billy said nonchalantly, looking up at the night sky.
“What did you say?” Father Moses whispered.
“I’m sure it’s nothing, Father Moses. After all, no one else could ever have the seas part… except maybe…”
“Joshua,” Father Moses replied looking down at his hands. “It’s not possible that this is real.”
“Would I be going too far to describe the night with one word Father?… Pleasant.” Billy asked.
The wordplay was up. Billy was never that good at it, but he hated leaving a good joke on the floor. The two men made eye contact in the dark, surrounded by the men and their guns as they slowly moved toward the mine entrance.
“Who are you?” Father Moses asked Billy.
“Just a loyal acolyte, just like you father,” Billy responded with feigned sincerity.
The two men kept their gazes locked in the darkness and the priest finally broke the silence. “An acolyte of who?”
“Wouldn’t be much of a war if each side didn’t have an army. Am I right, Father?” Billy said turning away to look at the stars again, but not before the priest saw a quick glint of red in his eye.
Father Moses started to stumble back, slowly, until he hit a tree and it startled him. The reality of the moment landed hard on the priest and he started walking, half stumbling toward the men of the group.
“Nicolas, Brian!” Father Moses shouted to them. “We must not go in, we have to stop this man!” The priest moved quickly toward the group, looking back at billy with every other step. “You have to help me!” He shouted his voice in panic.
The man he referred to as Brian grabbed Father Moses and spun him around landing him clung to the man’s chest, Brian’s large, calloused hand pressed tightly over Father Moses’s mouth.
“Shut the fuck up,” Brian whispered in a shout as he slowly raised up his hand and extended his pointer finger. In front of them in a dark mound of thorns and grass were several sets of glowing animal eyes, staring right at them.
Next on Of Eons and Stars: The Call to Nicolas
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