SAGA OF DARKNESS VISION OF LIGHT
Chapter Fourteen - Blackmail
by Dennis R. Cook
More than one thing had begun to bother me about
Prometheus since his return earlier in the day.
he was no longer clothed in the skin tight
in which we first found him in. He had on a
monstrous sweat suit. Since his body maintained
perfect temperature regardless of the weather, why
Another thing which had begun to gnaw at my
insides had to do with his choice of lingo. I
couldn't figure it out. Had Prometheus spent
few days around high school students on the beaches of
southern California, or watched a lot of tasteless
television? At any rate, Prometheus seemed much
and I wasn't sure I liked the change, although
certain I could adapt if the rationale was
acceptable. His comment to Ketchum that he had
as a man needed clarification, but I had
decided to keep quiet for the moment.
Ketchum had been intrigued by our recap of events
leading to the discovery of Prometheus, but
remained "untouched." That is, we hadn't
converted him to faith in God.
"That's for you fellas’," Ketchum said,
meaning he was perfectly satisfied with his life
way it was, and wanted no "new" realities to
complicate his rationalist, materialist perspective.
I doubted Old Blackgoat needed to make the
to encourage Ketchum to invite Jesus into
heart, knowing the Spirit of God needed time to
prepare the ground before sewing. The seeds of our
would need a little time to germinate. The
fertilizer of a little personal combat with the
Blackgoat would say, would make a believer out
him. After all, I knew Old Blackgoat's
experience with hardcore (you ain't gettin’ me in that
door) nonbelievers suggested a conversion
pattern. Faced with the loneliness associated with
most chose some form of repentance from their
unbelief, asking somehow, if possible, after all the
they had done, if God wouldn't somehow reveal
himself to them in a way which would enable them to
death was not a thing to be feared. I knew it
Blackgoat's experience that God never failed any
I didn't know exactly how the Lord would work on
Ketchum, but I was certain of one thing, Satan
going to take lightly the spoiling of perhaps
most favorite earthly habitation. In fact, I was
convinced in a whole-hog-kind-of-way that we had all
more than our fair share of affliction, not to
mention, temptation, trials, and testings,
persecutions and the like.
At any rate, having given Ketchum the kind of
thorough exposition of the problem we had promised,
with him having taped every word, the silver-tongued Texan then invited us to view what his men
discovered on the west side of the elevator.
That stirred me up! But before made our
through the double doors leading to the unholy
sanctuary, Old Blackgoat joined us. "I must go
to the church to prepare for the evening
service," he said. "Can I count on the two of you
water the sheep and make it to the church on
"Whew, is it that time again, already?" I said.
"Don't worry, Old Blackgoat," Steven reassured the
"we'll see the sheep are watered".
"Hey, no need to run off," Ketchum piped in.
is your reservation. You need to join your two
compadres here and come see what we found on the
side of the elevator".
"Are you going there, right now?" Old Blackgoat
needing to make the most of the time he
"That's where we're headed," Ketchum said,
showing signs of fatigue.
Ketchum’s men had removed the back wall of the
And it didn't surprise me that the corridor leading
elevator continued on the other side of it. We
found wooden steps at its end that led down to a lone
cavern. It had few frills, if any, I could see.
marks covered the damp cave floor.
Ketchum used a remote device he had found in
Sheolman's other car to elevate a hatchway. The
demonstration showed how Dr. Sheolman had made
All loose ends, save one, had been tied up. It
unfortunate, but Ketchum's men hadn't, to the
moment, located any device which might have been used
help hypnotize Steven and me, if indeed we had been
hypnotized, but of course Dr. Sheolman could have
that with him. However, that still left us
the mystery of the vortex.
Blackgoat departed soon after Ketchum had
completed his little demonstration. I marveled how
the ol' fella carried himself as he sauntered
the direction we had come. He was one tough
Soon thereafter Ketchum got on the horn and
radioed an all points lookout for Dr. Sheolman in the
southern California area. In the mean time, Steven
high-tailed our way back up the mountain where the
were waiting, and made ourselves some lunch of
butter. Somehow,...I wasn't surprised when
Prometheus picked up the jar.
I nudged Steven when Prometheus started eating.
isn't supposed to need food, is he?" I
Steven gave me a puzzled look. "He has been acting
little strange this morning, hasn't he?"
"My thoughts exactly," I said.
Steven and I jumped up from the weathered rocks
we had been sitting eating our sandwiches, and
casually walked over to where Prometheus was standing
other end of the shed.
"I might as well tell all," Prometheus said,
Steven and I could pummel him with questions.
Prometheus sat the empty peanut butter jar on
post a few feet away from the outside edge of the
and turned toward us. "I've become mortal,"
Prometheus said in a soft voice, a voice that
cloaked both humility and embarrassment.
"But how can that be?" Steven and I asked,
exploding with incredulity. "We've seen you appear
reappear. You've read our minds. You still
"All true," Prometheus acknowledged, waving an arm
air to suggest an inability to explain his
"Why, you even told Ketchum you were an angel
most high God," Steven said.
"I...I..still believe I am, in a way,"
Prometheus said. "I do still have all my
original powers, I just seem to have acquired the
of the flesh. Don't worry, having read your
I understand my human behavior has been
immature, and that I haven't chosen the best examples
human behavior to emulate. I will do better.
"It's just that since my moment of glory to
on the cross, I've found that I have emotions
desires. I get tired and have to sleep. I
and have to eat. I feel cold and heat."
"Do you still have the pure oil of lamb's
blood?" I asked.
Prometheus rummaged deep into the well of his
suit, an oversized pocket that as a marsupial’s
could have hidden a young Kangaroo. Steven and I
marveled as the titan's hand and forearm disappeared,
reappeared holding the familiar bootblack can
containing the pure faith. He handed to Steven.
"I wonder," Steven said, "if the other side could
somehow used this stuff to strip you of your
"Perhaps," Prometheus said, "but somehow I
my mortality has to do with my conversion to
Christianity. That Father has honored my belief in
Son cannot be denied. Perhaps the price I must
for salvation must be that of a man, to live out
mortal life trapped in an imperfect shell, subject
its failings, my present hope secured by
only in what Father supplies me through Son and
I suppose if my future return to Father's house
I must forfeit my immortal shell for a time in
to learn what it is to rely on Christ and all
He is more completely, then and only then, to be
enabled to comprehend and appreciate the greatness
what God did for us in sending his precious one to
the penalty for our perverseness, then I accept
challenge to endure the sufferings inherent by
fortune of inhabiting this mortal robe, and purpose
endure to the end, as it is written, and be saved.
accept my role.
"And that is?" Steven asked
"The role of a servant," Prometheus said humbly.
will live as Jesus gave us commandment, to walk in
and faith, even to the death on your behalf if
"This is without precedent," I murmured, head
"Maybe so," Steven said, "but all precedents
covered in one parameter-less statement.”
"And that is?" I said.
"All things are possible for God, and, for those
believe," he reminded me.
"There is no doubt," Steven said, addressing
Prometheus, "that God has made a special case of you
the experience of most any born of man. Joseph
witnessed your conversion, and not only did we
witness it, the Spirit of God bore witness within our
spirits, that you had indeed become a child of God.
"If the Lord desires your faithfulness to
withstand the test of time, we ain't goin’ to stand in
way. It ain't easy being mortal, and it ain't
being Christian. It may well be God's way of
certain you won't change sides again when
comes tempting you with some global scheme of
rebellion. And brother, considering the signs of
goin’ on all around us these days, you can bet
bottom dollar, a scheme of global portent is
around the corner."
"True enough," I said to Steven, "the Lord
doesn't take betrayal lightly. Look what humanity
had to endure as a consequence of Adam's
"I suppose it really does make sense when you
about it," Steven said. "Since you have
received the gift of salvation, it's fair you suffer
“Oh, I remember now,” I said.
“What?” asked Steven.
“Somewhere in the Old Testament there is a prophecy
Lucifer. And in that prophecy he is described at
end as just a man. Perhaps Lucifer has to take
himself humanity in an attempt to overcome the same way
did. You know, to keep planet Earth and its
kingdoms from becoming the kingdom of our Lord. Of
he fails, but it does at least shed some light
change in nature apparent in Prometheus.
Dark, ominous looking clouds were gathering in
west as we finished watering the sheep. The area
been dry for some time, which wasn't unusual of
course, but a good rain was always appreciated on the
reservation. I, however, wasn't sure how I would
working in it.
We were running on Navajo time. Rushing around
help. We were still late for church. Even
few men were standing outside the front door as
drove up in Steven's old 4X4. I assumed they were
Approaching them, however, I detected an overall
of concern on their faces, a concern that
quickly melted into curious wonderment as they caught
of Prometheus. I expected a barrage of
questions, but the group stumped me by resuming their
deliberations. That puzzled me! "Something's
here," I thought. Two of them, I observed,
on the church governing board.
"Ya’-ta-hey," the men chorused in unison as we
"Ya’-ta-hey," we replied, taking care not to give
offense as we moseyed on in and sat down behind Mrs.
who also seemed to be wearing a stark look of
concern on her face.
"Have you seen Old Blackgoat?" Mrs. Begay
whispered, using caution not to alarm any of the
seated in the sanctuary.
"Isn't he in the pastor's study?" Steven
"No, he isn't back there," Mrs. Begay whispered,
the first one here this evening. The church
was still locked. That hasn't ever happened
before. Old Blackgoat always unlocks the church,
for as long as I can remember. I had a few of
men go over to his house a few minutes before you
arrived. He didn't come to the door. His
behind the church as usual, but no one seems
know where he is."
Steven and Prometheus were half way out of their
before I could get "let's go check" out of my
Reaching the front door where the Navajo
gentlemen were still gathered, we checked to see if
had searched inside Old Blackgoat's trailer or
barn area, and received firm negatives on both
Prometheus was first to arrive at the trailer.
Finding the door locked, he forced his way in.
any sign of Old Blackgoat. It didn't appear
he had been inside either.
The men who had been standing out front when we
arrived were way ahead of us, having observed that we
find Old Blackgoat in his house. They raced
barn area ahead of us, throwing open doors and
overturning bales of straw in what, it seemed, had
a frantic search for Old Blackgoat.
If they were thinking along the same line as I,
seconds could mean life or death for the old saint.
suspected a heart attack or stroke. He was the
With everyone else inside the shed, I
circumvented the conventional entranceway and trotted
to the side of the shed which opened to
grazing land. A six wheeler pickup neatly
shed's open bay brought me up short. Dr.
A lightning charge shattered the air and
scorched the earth not fifty yards from where I was
standing. Mammoth rain drops began pummeling the
semi-arid turf. A tumultuous thunder clap
noticed the hair on the back of my neck was
Steven, Prometheus, and company, startled by the
onslaught of the storm, having found nothing
other side of the bay, bolted through the
doorway that opened at the hood of Dr. Sheolman's six
"Look out, Joseph, behind you," Steven screamed,
the roar of the storm.
A half turn of my torso storm-ward froze me in my
tracks. Two man-like, green scaled, serpentine forms
yards from me were approaching fast.
Two arms clutched my shoulders from behind,
sending chills zinging up and down my spine, but I
quickly realized it was only Prometheus pulling
back to join the others in the bay.
Within seconds the beasts stood before us. We
about to be addressed by ambassadors from the
netherworld. Prometheus bristled.
"Wait!" Steven commanded, stepping in front of
Prometeus and placing a hand firmly against the
giant's waist, as if he could
restrain him. "They are here to deliver a message.
have to let them speak.”
"Our master has taken the one called Blackgoat as
payment for that which you have stolen,” the one to the
of us said. “If you desire the man to be returned
alive, then those responsible must deliver the
substance stolen to the gate of the Adamic Plain. You
only reach the Adamic Plain by passing through the
which shall appear here this night at the
"In addition," the green-scaled specter on our
said, "there is one more item which our master
desires to have returned to him in exchange for the
you call Blackgoat".
"And that is?" Steven asked.
"The fallen one who stands there," the specter
serpentine lips turning upward, displaying
obvious pleasure with the demand, knowing we were
position to bargain.
"We await thee," the serpent on the right
ominously, pointing a crooked gargoylean finger at us
Struck dumb by the spectacle, we stood
speechless, hearts in our bellies as the serpents
turned, and disappeared into the fierce thunderstorm
pummeling the semi-arid turf.
I felt the perplexed eyes of the Navajo
Despite a rich and cultural spiritual
tradition, these Navajo had little knowledge of real
spiritual darkness. I hated the idea that they had
face to face with the gargoyles only to discover
shepherd, Old Blackgoat, was firmly in their
"Is it true?" Harold Yazzie asked. "Have they
"Yes," said another, "don't you belladonnas
we have a right to know about all of these
happening on our reservation?"
"Of course you do," Steven said kindly, "but
hold your questions for now. I'll explain
everything when we get over to the church. I think
sisters need to hear, too, so they will know how
"Joseph," Steven said, "you head over to the
pastor's study and get hold of Ketchum if you can.
address the congregation."
I wasn't lucky enough to catch Ketchum at
but I left a message on his answering machine
him the church phone number to call. I hoped
would hear from him before the bewitching hour.
Meanwhile, I waited patiently by the
with the study door open. I wanted to hear
everything Steven had to say. It didn't surprise
gasps and sighs coming from the sanctuary as Steven
recapped the events of the previous weeks. He
anything out. He started from the beginning
the theft of the sheep and carefully detailed
the events. It had to be overwhelming for most
them. I didn't envy Steven one bit, but it had to be
He told them of our discoveries about Dr.
Sheolman and the pure oil of lamb's blood, the
passageway of the serpent, the unleashing of
Prometheus, our confrontation with Death, our escape
to Prometheus, our trip to California, the
recapture of Prometheus, our vision of his torment
conversion to Christianity, his subsequent
escape, our stakeout above the passageway, the
kidnapping of Torre and Arlena, the involvement of
FBI, our deliverance from the bear by Prometheus,
finally, Dr. Sheolman's gambit, which set up the
kidnapping of Old Blackgoat.
One thing Steven failed to say about the vortex
still had me wondering, was that perhaps the
wasn't a ruse after all, but a true entranceway
the fifth dimension. Otherwise, Steven was
thorough, so much so that the men were shaking from
the women were wailing. Nasty stuff this
business of spiritual warfare!
I had some of those disgusting carnal thoughts
it all. You know, how dare the devil touch
God's elect! They didn't last long. I could
from where I was sitting, Steven had remained
unperturbed by it all. That helped me some.
hand, I wondered if he hadn't lost his marbles,
spiritual man sensed otherwise. Steven reined in
bleating sheep like the good shepherd he was, and
to preach. Then a strange thing happened, the
of which I've never seen before. A glory cloud
in through the front door and filled the room.
Everyone was filled with the most astounding peace.
incredible! God had the answer to Satan's
And comforted everyone with the fact...He knew
was going on!
"Whoa, glory!" I yelled from the back of the
"Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus," Steven
"You have often heard Old Blackgoat stand
you and warn of the wrath of the Almighty God
is to come, for which cause many of you have
repented of your sins and believed on Jesus Christ of
Nazareth to the dawning of a new day upon your soul.
have all become new creatures in Christ Jesus by
Him as your savior and making Him Lord of your life.
have all become born again and Spirit filled believers.
Therefore, I say to you, fear thou not! For even our
Jesus did describe these days that are at hand,
saying, false Christs, and false prophets shall
and show great signs and wonders, in so much
if it were possible, even the very elect would
"But take heart, my beloved brothers and
sisters, for you are God's elect, and He has saved
from the wrath now coming on this present world.
"This evening, after the specters of terror
departed from the brothers and me, one dear friend
profound statement. He said we have a right
know about all these things that are going on
us. I'm sure our brother didn't realize it at
time, but the phrase, all these things, is the
phrase so often repeated in our Lord's great
judgment discourse of Matthew chapter twenty four.
"I dare say it is of the utmost importance that
person in this generation who has called upon
name of the Lord know the truths revealed in our
sign of all these things.
"Wars, such as in the middle east, rumors of
as with Israel, famines as in Ethiopia,
pestilences such as AIDS, false Christs such as the
and false prophets such as the Satanists, are
fulfillments of this very prophecy, the sign of
"But fear thou not, for there is yet one sign
must be fulfilled before the Almighty God's
day of wrath can come, the testimony of which,
sign, is as legally binding upon man, as it is
our Father in Heaven. For it is written, this
of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the
for a witness unto all nations before the end
come. Brothers and sisters, 'this gospel' is
contained in the following phrase: he that shall
to the end, the same shall be saved."
Ketchum still hadn't returned my call by the
few people began filing out the front door.
then I made my way to the front of the
sanctuary where many were still praying for Old
Blackgoat. I was about to join them when I noticed
figure standing just outside the doorway, as
waiting for the crowd to disperse so he could
in. It was Ketchum.
It didn't take him long to make his way to where
standing up front. I took him aside to the
pastor's study and closed the door.
"When I got your message I came straight on,"
Ketchum began. "Didn't figure you really wanted me
disrupt your service by ringin' in, besides,
thought I would try and talk with Torre and Arlena
more time, but didn't find them at home."
"Listen," I said, "we have real trouble. Old
Blackgoat has been kidnapped by Dr. Sheolman. He's
holding him for ransom. Old Blackgoat is going to
we don't meet Dr. Sheolman's demands by
"Why, it's 11:00 P.M. now," Ketchum
countered. "What's he askin' for anyhow?"
I gave Ketchum a look of skepticism steeped
concern to clue him in beforehand that he was
to find Dr. Sheolman's newest gambit hard to
swallow. Ketchum picked up on it.
"I was afraid you spiritual types were goin’ to
me in on something strange," Ketchum moaned.
"All I can tell you," I said, "is that
is believing. Dr. Sheolman has ordered Steven
to deliver Prometheus and a small amount of
Sheolman's sheep oil to a place called the Adamic
a location somewhere inside a vortex which
appear behind Old Blackgoat's sheep shed at
"Where's the note?" Ketchum questioned.
"Sorry, no note," I responded, trying not to sound
was playing a game with the man.
"Well, then," Ketchum asked, "did he make
demand by phone?"
"No," I said.
"Awe crap! Joseph, quit playin' twenty questions
me and cut to the chase. How, who, what...let's
"O.K., you aren't going to like the truth, but
it is," I said. "The messengers that
delivered the blackmailer's ultimatum were of the
skinned, gargolean, serpentine, demonic type
defy gravity and disappear into thin air
whenever they want to. Are you satisfied?"
"Oh," Ketchum sighed, throwing his head back
signify his disbelief, "then what you're tellin'
some ghosts showed up and gave you and Steven an
ultimatum. Is that right?"
"That's right," I said sheepishly,
convinced of the absurdity of it all, but added, "I
realize you have every right to be skeptical, but you
witnessed Prometheus demonstrate his power."
"Point well taken," Ketchum said, "but
else saw these ghosts?"
"Nearly a half dozen men of the congregation,"
said, knowing from his question he was at least
to give me a chance to prove I was telling the
Something else flashed through my mind as well.
seemed my ability to perceive had been switched on
some unknown hand. I knew why Prometheus had
allowed to experience the flesh, so to speak.
free to demonstrate the reality of the spirit
to Ketchum. If he hadn't been, Ketchum and
wouldn't have been this far into our conversation
Blackgoat's kidnapping. Ketchum would have
vanished seconds after I told him how the message of
kidnapping had been delivered. Prometheus and
bear had made an almost believer out of the FBI
"Alright," Ketchum said, "get those other
here. I want to check out their story to see
corroborates your own. You wait in the
It was 11:45 P.M. by the time Ketchum finished
interrogating each of the men who had accompanied
Steven, Prometheus, and me in search of Old Blackgoat,
who had seen and heard the specters. Time was
running short. I was anxious to hear what Ketchum
offer as a solution. Steven was standing withme
when Ketchum came walking up. Prometheus had
already headed to the shed area.
"Let's go," Ketchum motioned, extending his
arm toward the door. I could tell by the
anxiety in his voice he was masking the frustration
feeling forced to believe something he didn't
to believe. I suspected that most of his
thoughts played havoc with his trained rationalist,
materialist mind. He was being asked to accept a
that sounded something like mass hypnosis
blah, blah. But I knew his spiritual
perspective was soon to include greater
enlightenment, and beyond that, I was firm in my
conviction, the Lord was going to make use of that
The rain had long since stopped when we made our way
toward our rendezvous with death. I prayed hard
my breath God would allow us to complete our
mission by saving Old Blackgoat's hide and nabbing
Satanic scourge of the Navajo nation, Dr.
Sheolman. I knew Steven was chomping at the bit to
person behind Satanism in the southwest, but my
thoughts were elsewhere. "It's a fearful thing to
into the hands of the living God," I thought,
what is it to confront the minions of His arch
The passageway of the serpent which held our
beloved brother Old Blackgoat appeared right on
schedule. At the bewitching hour the vortex appeared.