Monday, July 9, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Lords of the Pulpit Part 4


There's a certain level of trepidation when you see your father again for the first time in years.  Even more so, when you've parted last time under less than favorable conditions.  Like him killing your mother.  There aren't butterflies exactly.  I wouldn't use any living creature to describe the feeling.  It isn't some positive jumpy nervousness.  It's like an icy cannonball is sitting in the pit of your stomach with worms wriggling in and out of it.  It's disgusting and it makes you feel infected every time you think about the person.  It just gets worse the closer the time comes to seeing them, and when you do finally see them...  the worms erupt out and you have to choke back the bile in your throat.

I couldn't tell if Rebecca was feeling it, but I sure as hell was.  I kept looking at the metallic thing in front of me and seeing the vague memories of a father that carried me on his shoulders and a mother with her head spun around backwards laying in a puddle of blood.  I adjusted my tie and stepped forward next to Rebecca.  Her fists were clenched and I was willing to bet her lips were still invisible too.  She was facing father down with a resolve I certainly wasn't used to.  Maybe it was the sight of Abraham that had done it to her.

Abe looked bad.  His robes were torn and rumpled, blood staining great swathes of the cloth.  How much had been Mr. Jonathan and how much had been father, I wasn't sure.  I was, however, pretty certain, that even if Mr. Jonathan had extracted my brother's eye, he wouldn't have ripped out the optical nerves and half the veins attached to it.  Brutality was a favored domain of our father.

Adam snickered behind his clanging teeth and raised a gleaming hand.  He clenched his fist and my bowler crumpled into a ball.

"You will pay for that you bloody ignorant excuse for a steam shovel."

I spoke before I really observed.  His eyes were spinning, focusing, refocusing.  He hadn't intended on crushing my hat at all.  He was intending on crushing my skull.  Tink tink tink.  A metal eyeball rolled past my father's feet.  He spun around and hissed out a mouthful of exhaust.  Abe stood there, bare-chested, only in the black slacks he had worn under the robes.

"What are you doing?"

"Excommunicating you from our church, on the charges on heresy."

"How dare you?  I am Adam 2.0.  My disciples are the body of my church and I am the head."

"Then the Disciples of Adam will be beheaded, and if God is willing, a new head will grow in the old one's place."

Adam snarled and went to clench his hand again.  His cleanly machined fingers stopped in mid-air and bent backwards, steel screaming.  Five lassos were looped around his cold metal digits and continued to tug at them, forcing them flat against the back of his hand.  Adam screamed out a mouthful of exhaust and jerked his entire arm forward.  Rebecca was jerked off her feet but stopped in mid-air as Abe raised a fist.

"So all my children turn against me?  I will strike you down and create a new legacy.  You were all weak.  That whore's blood runs too strongly in your veins."


"The weak slut begged for me to spare you if I killed her.  She even knew the gravity of her sin, the impurity of her foul blood.  The heathen bitch got what she deserved and so shall you."


I didn't have to raise a fist, I just shut my eyes.  Honeysuckle.  My little man, so sharp in his suit.  Glassy eyes.  Keyboard keys and my baby teeth.  The gear brand in my brother's face.  Long, sweet hair dangling down around me as I cried with a battered shin.  Mommy kiss it better.  I opened my eyes and Adam was screaming.  Abraham backed away quietly, swallowing hard.

Where Rebecca had been, Mother was.  I couldn't see her, I never could see just what I was making happen when it was someone's else head I was screwing with.  But Adam and Abe saw her.  That was all that mattered.

"You're dead.  I killed you.  I broke your neck for deceiving me."

She spoke and her words poured into my ears like sweet tea on a blazing summer day.  At least I could hear her.  At least I had that much to clutch to.

"No, you didn't.  Your entire existence is a lie.  You grew scared as they neared the completion of your so-called "upgrade" and you broke out.  You came home to me and I was slow to let you in.  You blew apart the door and I backed away from you.  I put just enough distance between us to watch you, to watch what you had become.  It made you angry that I was cautious.  You punched the table with your new fist and snapped my neck without having a clue how to control yourself.  You were a weeping wreck.  By the time Abe came home, you had already created a new story.  Michael was asleep in bed.  You branded Abe and made him try to kill Michael.  You are a sham Adam 2.0.  Your existence is blasphemy against your own church.  You are the heretic here.  Not any of your children.  Not the one you failed to protect, not the one you deceived and tortured, not the one you attempted to murder.  You."

Adam was in a heap on the floor, screaming.  He was shaking, every screw rattling loose, every bolt wiggling free.  I looked at my brother and nodded.  He stepped forward, caught a piece of hair extending from the glowing form he saw as our mother, and looped it around our father's neck.  I let go of the nightmare and Rebecca pulled the hair tight.

There was a gush of oil and cling clang against the floor.  I stepped forward, scooped it up, kissed its forehead, and handed it to my brother.  Abe nodded and stepped outside.  I hugged Rebecca as we both began to weep.  I heard the fighting outside screech to a halt.  Not a bomb went off, not a gun fired, not an engine revved.

"Adam 2.0 is dead."

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