Saga of Darkness Vision of Light
by Dennis R. Cook
Torre was feeling much better
by the time we
arrived at the Fort Defiance Medical Clinic. He
assured us their outpatient services provided common
pharmaceutical treatments for infectious diseases one
might incur as a result of contact with a non-sterile blade. "They can handle any routine
emergency," he said.
Old Blackgoat had concurred
with Torre's assessment
of the Defiance infirmary, but, I had my reservations,
so did Steven. Not about the quality of care, mind
had other concerns. If we would have taken Torre
on to a
hospital in Gallup, at the very least, we could have
the aid of the McKinley County Sheriff's Office.
Steven started to argue with
Old Blackgoat about our
concerns, but was cut short. Use the phone, Old
said. That ended the melee. Why hadn't we
thought of that?
Sometimes, I guess, the most obvious and practical
solutions to a problem get overlooked...,whatever!
One thing was for certain,
police on the reservation
were not equipped to handle our blockbuster case.
the FBI. At least, with the FBI, we knew they had
to do a thorough investigation. Whether they would
based on recent performance, was a matter of conjecture.
a strange society we live in, but I digress. Back
to the story.
Torre and Arlena were only part
of a much larger puzzle.
First, of course, there was the vortex or whatever.
recounted the details of my abbreviated trek through the
passageway during our short jaunt from hell central to
Defiance. Steven and Old Blackgoat were as
perplexed by my
experience as I was. What did the vortex have to
Dr. Sheolman, Torre, and Arlena?
Other parts of the puzzle were
just as complicated.
Coming up with logical, intelligent speculations about
the why of Dr. Sheolman's actions and disappearance,
stretched our cognitive abilities to their limit.
Everything pointed to radical
failure to keep the passageway of the serpent top
and Prometheus under wraps, had to be serious offenses
in the kingdom of the devil, deserving severe penalties.
Dr. Sheolman must have at least thought Satan was going
to kill him for his gross incompetence, and used what
time he had available to him to escape or make amends.
We didn't know which, but the
speed with which
Dr. Sheolman acted gave us another clue. Dr.
Sheolman, perhaps, at some juncture, had learned how
to open the passageway into the spirit realm. We
thought it was clever of him to save it for just such
a scenario. Was he or wasn't he in the vortex?
didn't know, but I offered my two cents by pointing
out that I hadn't sensed his presence there.
Maybe the devil didn't know
either. If not, Dr.
Sheolman had bought himself some time, time to
Dr. Sheolman's intent seemed
obvious at the
time. It seemed his intent was to expose the
of the serpent and embarrass Satanists everywhere for
they really are in their hearts, murderers.
the Satanists would make it difficult for them to
kill him out in the open. The flaw in Sheolman's
plan, it seemed, was his exposure as well. On the
other hand, had he disappeared within the vortex, and
vanished to the far side of the universe, his
exposure here wouldn't matter.
One question still plagued us.
If Dr. Sheolman's
intent was to escape via the vortex, why hadn't heclosed it behind him to avoid being tracked?
I could say, based on my own
perhaps Dr. Sheolman's intent hadn't been
to enter the vortex at all. Perhaps, like me, he
gotten caught up in the thing accidentally. If he
then all our other assumptions were wrong. His
intent had been to murder; sacrifice to the devil in order to regain favor. That made more sense.
After all, leaving the passageway of the serpent
open for the world to see was a horrendous blunder,
a blunder from which all humanity could profit.
The entire mess presented a
brain teaser for
minds more in tune with criminal thought than our
own, it seemed. Nevertheless, all our speculations
were about to be brought into sharp focus.
"Come out of there, you
Belladonnas!" I heard a
vaguely familiar voice shout, from just outside the
"What's going on out there?"
Old Blackgoat said,
poking his head out from the room where Torre was
Sounds like we have an angry
night visitor, Steven
said, parting mini-blinds with his fingers toget a look outside the infirmary.
I did the same. It was
Harley. Before I saw his
face, I recognized his six wheeler.
"Well," Steven said, opening
the door to the parking
lot. "We might as well see what the young buck wants."
"Get back in here!" I
"He has a gun!"
As I pulled Steven from the
doorway, a booming shotgun
blast ripped through a near-by window scattering glass
everywhere. Two other blasts followed.
told the rest of the story.
Steven cocked his head and gave
me a perplexed look
as he rose to his feet. "You know," he said, "I
Sheolman in this thing somewhere, but a big chunk of the
puzzle seems to be missing. Any idea Joseph?"
"I was afraid you would ask," I
bothers me, is, I think I am beginning to understand
this mess. You see, it all began when we were back
Furry making preparations to purify ourselves
While you were off looking for shelter, Harley, that guy
that just shot at us, showed up, and demanded we get off
his sacred mountain. I didn't mention it to you at
time, thinking it was no big deal. I guess I
You know, hindsight, and all that.
"Anyway," I continued, "I'm
pretty sure Torre and
and Arlena were with him at the time. Harley, the
that just shot at us, kept telling Arlena to shut up.
Seems she was opposed to Harley's actions."
"Ohhh.., now I am beginning to
see," Steven said. "This
Harley must be Sheolman's apprentice."
"Exactly," I said. "Now
things are beginning to
make sense. Sheolman's motives are more clear.
"Being what?" said Steven.
"Revenge, torture, and
sacrifice," I said. "Arlena
and Torre stopped Harley from roughing me up.
out about it and decided to make an example of them.
know, one of those do not get in our way things."
"I'm following you," Steven
said. "Go on."
"Well," I said, "here is what I
think was to take
place tonight: Sheolman was to pick up Torre and
them to hell central, torture them, and leave.
to show up later, kill them, and dispose of their bodies
in the vortex."
"Makes sense to me," Steven
said. "They just didn't
count on us spying on them."
"Right," I said, "and they
didn't count on their
timing being off, either. My guess is, Sheolman
with his part, or Harley was late."
"Speaking of Harley," Steven
said, "how do you
think he located us here?"
"I bet we passed him on the
highway, or he just guessed
right," I said.
"Well," Steven said, "it's high
time we made that phone
call don't you think?"
"Be my guest," I said.
Steven located the number for
the FBI in Gallup.
Meanwhile, I held my breath, hoping we would somehow,
Special agent William Ketchum
was indeed on
call, and awake. Understandably, he was not too
on the idea of coming up on the Res to Fort Defiance
in the middle of the night. He consented for the
preserving the evidence. Steven, as mentioned, had
the talking, convincing Ketchum that Torre and Arlena
might not be so willing to talk if given the
time to reconsider.
Ketchum arrived at the Defiance
medical center where we waited at midnight. He
wasn't disappointed. Arlena and Torre were eager
tell their story. Ketchum received their
permission to tape every word, making their testimony
key, even if something should happen to them.
I figured we'd get our turn as
well, but that would
come later. After calling the local constabulary
monitor the situation at Ft. Defiance, and putting out
an all-points on Harley, he turned toward us and said,
Ketchum followed Steven, Old Blackgoat, and I
north, back to the cold foreboding confines of the
wicked dead. He seemed eager. Perhaps he had
awaiting the moment for some time. I was convinced
Ketchum had been in on similar investigations in
the past, although not to the same extent, and I was
almost certain our little scenario presented him with
his first live witnesses; thus explaining his
We hoped Dr. Sheolman's car was
near the gorge below the passageway. We
there first. Dr. Sheolman's car contained evidence
directly linking him to Torre and Arlena. Once
impounded, we had another nail in his coffin.
Turning right off the mountain
rolled down the side road that led to the gorge.
Ketchum followed. Would Dr. Sheolman's car be
"There it is," Steven said,
excited by the
prospect of our discovery.
Steven parked his 4X4, but left his
on to illuminate Dr. Sheolman's car. Ketchum
joined us carrying a heavy-duty, hand-held, lantern.
We stood to the side giving him space to confirm that
indeed we had Dr. Sheolman's car.
"Well," Ketchum said in a
accent, "unless someone else with a school faculty
parking sticker left his Acura here, we're in
Old Blackgoat shook his head.
"I had hoped
Torre and Arlena had been mistaken. That is
Sheolman's car. I have seen him in it often."
While Old Blackgoat was
lamenting Dr. Sheolman's
apparent loss, Ketchum returned to his sedan to
radio for backup and a tow truck. Afterward,
Old Blackgoat and I gave Ketchum a short tour of
the cave. He was taken aback some by the elevator
shaft. Of course we couldn't go up since the
elevator was out of commission, but Ketchum was
impressed nonetheless, realizing something big was
indeed going on.
"Let's drive back to the main
Ketchum said. "We can wait for the tow truck
there. After it arrives we can proceed on up the
mountain to that there hideaway. I'll radio
to meet us there.
"Well, I'll be," Ketchum said
after we had
parked our vehicles inside the hidden mountain
garage, eyes marveling at the impressive detail the
frequenters had gone to. "Didn't spare any
did they?" Ketchum said, eye expressions
changing from marvel to stone cold contempt.
"Before we go on, I better let
what's goin' on up here," Ketchum said, before
returning to his gray 4-door sedan.
Once patched through to the
center in Phoenix, I overheard the law enforcement
professional request a forensics team to be delivered by
Ketchum's countenance didn't
change as we gave
him the tour of the complex. He kept the same
cold look about him the entire time. He did, of
course, ask us a barrage of probing questions, but
didn't wince at the sight of the throne monuments to
the wicked trio, or blink as he contemplated the
significance of the vortex.
"Don't touch that," I warned
Ketchum as his
hand came dangerously close to finding the pressure
plate which would open the pit.
"Here, I'll show you," I said.
a step back. There," I said with satisfaction,
as I pressed the plate and moved aside.
"Well, I'll be..," Ketchum
showing surprise, taken aback by the smoke billowing
up from the pit.
That had done it. He lost
his stone cold
demeanor for good, taking on himself the attitude of
the good ol' Texan he was. His comments were all
filled with the surprise and wonder of a
fiscally conservative cattle rancher's first look at
the apparel found in a Beverly Hills lingerie shop,
"Well,.. would you looky there!"
He found drugs, tools of
tapes and novels, vials of blood; and something Steven,
Old Blackgoat and myself had overlooked; a library.
The library, like the dungeon,
was located by
touching a pressure sensitive plate. Ketchum
located one behind the unholy trio's thrones. The
wall separated to reveal a room containing volumes of
forgotten lore Edgar Allen Poe would have enjoyed
reading on some midnight dreary. In fact, I had no
doubt that every ancient evil incantation ever written
was hidden somewhere on those book shelves.
I couldn't believe my eyes..they even had a
computerized index system sorted by author, title,
and subject. Unbelievable! I could just see
well-dressed executive walking into the room carrying
a lap top at his side sitting down and logging onto
Neither Steven, Old Blackgoat,
or I breathed a word
to Ketchum about the one diminutive book still
resting on one of the study tables. Blackgoat and
parked ourselves between Steven, the book, and
Ketchum. Ketchum seemed oblivious to our ploy,
and failed to notice Steven lift the book and hide it
away in his clothing.
"Why don't we all sit down here
at this table,"
Ketchum said moments later. "I'll take your
statements and you all can go home."
"I'm not sure that would be
best for you," I
said. "I mean," I stuttered, "to leave you
"Don't worry about me none,"
unperturbed by his environment. "My men will be
in a few minutes. I doubt if we finish our
consultations before then. You see, I have to talk
with y'all one at a time."
"Oh," we all droned in unison.
"Well, who's gonna be first?"
asked, pulling his mini-recorder from a pants
"Guess I will," Steven said.
Old Blackgoat and I walked around the corner
through the double doors and took seats on the marble
steps. I was about to ask Old Blackgoat for
book when I remembered Steven was the pilferer. I
tad antsy to see if the page Arlena had read from
while Torre was being filleted matched the book in
I, for one, was certainly not
going to re-enter
the vortex without at least knowing as much about it
as Sheolman, and even then, I determined I wasn't
going alone. I only hoped the manifestation of the
vortex lasted long enough for us to have that
opportunity. That would be our first problem.
The second problem would be
getting back inside
the unholy fortress past the FBI. I had no idea
we were going to accomplish that. I figured once
yellow tape went up we might as well pack things up
and head down the mountain.
Ketchum had been correct.
His forensics team
had arrived by the time he finished interrogating us.
Ketchum was polite to us, but in no uncertain terms
encouraged us to "get the hell out of there before we
further contaminated the premises".
I yawned. The sun was
coming up as we shuffled
up the mountainside to where the sheep awaited us.
I didn't look forward to seeing them at all. No
doubt we would water them first thing...then head up
the mountain slope and over the top to pasture them
on the other side.
I was comforted by a few
analyze any data the book could offer us, and we could
sleep the day away after we finished with the sheep.
I supposed I would survive.
I had completely forgotten
about Blackgoat's new
dog. She was a cheerful thing. Catching our sight
she bounded down the hillside to greet us as we
parted the pine trees and advanced into the clearing.
She was a midsized Border
Collie with a flowing,
silky black coat that glistened all the more in the
brilliant morning light. She cut a few kitties
around us as we neared the sheep pen to let us know
how eager she was to get to work.
"The sheep need to eat more
than we do," Old
Blackgoat said, eyeing me and Steven, tongue in
cheek. "But here, you can chew on this for
breakfast," he grinned, reaching into a backpack to
retrieve a healthy chaw of homemade beef jerky for
each of us.
Shep moved the sheep from the
pen to the pasture
and on toward water. It took us a good hour to
Meanwhile, Steven and I studied
the text he had
snatched from underneath Ketchum's nose. It was
written in Greek, but that didn't deter us from
locating the spot from which the page Arlena had been
chanting had been taken.
I wouldn't say that either of
us was a Greek
scholar, but both of us were adept at the art of
exposition when in possession of a good Greek/English
lexicon with parallel translations. Without one
odds were not good our memory of Greek words would be
adequate to decipher the text. Nevertheless,
horses couldn't have dragged us from the task. The
countless hours we had spent memorizing Greek
vocabulary words in seminary would have to be put to
From what we could decipher
during the short
time we were at the stream, the book was old as the
hills. The book's translation into Greek had
at Pergamos around the turn of the first century A.D.
by a scholar named Hermodias. According to
the book had its origin in ancient Babylon a few
thousand years before his time.
"Pergamos," Steven observed,
"that's where Satan's
seat was located at the time the "Book of Revelation"
was written by the prophet John.
"No coincidence to find it
here, then," I mused.We didn't have time to get any deeper into the book's
translation as Old Blackgoat barked a few meaningful
commands in Navajo at the dog. Another hour passed
before we could return to deciphering the book.
sheep stopped frequently to nibble at every splotchy
clump of mountain foliage on the way, which made the
hour seem like a decade.
In addition to the historic
roots of the occult
manual, further inspection confirmed the book was
intact. It contained all the information anyone
need to produce lamb oil. The lamb oil of the
world could have been compared to the proverbial
philosopher's stone fabled during the days of castles
The substance, the book
revealed, could be
derived from the blood of goats, sheep, bulls, or
other cud-chewing animals of domestic origin, but the
preferred sacrifice was lamb. In addition,
the book detailed several practical uses for the
substance, foremost of which was "quote," capturing
the evil jinn. Other tricks included turning rock
into gold, coal to diamond, human to animal, and so
on to absurdum.
The advantages the occult
masters had, holding
sway over others, raised the hair on the back of my
neck. One pagan king had such lust for gold, he
sacrificed twenty children in exchange for lamb oil.
The sorcerer increased his power every time he served
up a child to the devil.
Murder, murder, murder,...,
ritual,...there seemed no end to it, but conditions
had to be met of course before the devil got his due.
Only blood trapped in chambers of a victim's heart
could be used. The heart had to be severed from
victim and maintained at body temperature. Babylonian
phrases had to be chanted over the victim's severed
heart. Then, and only then, would the substance,
book called, "the pure oil of the lamb," form in the
chambers of the severed heart.
An exact reference was not
given to the vortex, but
all the basic information was there in the book to
conclude a closer examination would reveal one. I
doubted that just anyone would be allowed access to
the realm of the spirit. After all, such a
had brought about the scattering of humanity beneath
the Tower of Babel. Entrance into the heavenly
was not legal and Satan knew it, but apparently that
hadn't kept him from sneaking a few chosen followers
in and out over the course of human history.
Scary thought! Buried
somewhere in the pages of
that book was a spell that could bring down the wrath
of God on mankind. "Perhaps we better back off
digging any deeper into this thing," I told Steven,
tossing the book at our feet as we sat gazing out
across the semi-arid plain stretching to the horizon
"Even though I have traveled
vortex I can't say whether the realm is good or evil,
real or surreal. Spirituality is certainly
in the void, I know that much, but how might that
benefit Dr. Sheolman, I do not know?"
"I don't know, either," Steven
said, picking up a
small rock at his feet to examine while reflecting on
circumstances. "Perhaps we were his guinea pigs.
know, he could have opened that hole in the sky to see
what kind of reaction he would get from heaven.
fact you entered the vortex and survived may have
told him all he needed to know. And even though he
wasn't in there with you, he may be in there now."
What Steven had to say made
sense, but we needed proof.
Was Dr. Sheolman in the vortex? I glanced once
at the book I held in my hand. We hadn't found a
spell which could produce an open way to heaven, but
the pure oil of lamb's blood, pure faith, whatever,
was purported to be so versatile, could Dr. Sheolman
have invented a new use for it? We couldn't
Arlena hadn't observed the
She had been so engrossed reading the ancient
script, an unknown tongue to her at that, she
couldn't be held accountable one way or the other.
Based on the evidence, what she was reading had no
bearing on Sheolman's scalpel work on Torre, or in
opening the vortex.
Torre had passed out soon after
Dr. Sheolman had
begun torturing him, but neither mentioned having
seen Dr. Sheolman do anything but put on his robe.
None of it made any sense, but I was certain of one
thing, I had seen the pure oil of the lamb radiating
from the outward surface of the vortex. The glow was
Dr. Sheolman, it seemed, had performed
perfect vanishing act, and left a trail which
apparently, we couldn't follow.
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