4006 words (16 minute read)

Nine

From the memoirs of James Pradley, written three days before his suicide on August 7th, 1876 in Deadwood, South Dakota:

August 4th 

"Held trial for McCall yesterday. He swore murdering Bill like that was an act of retribution. The others believed him about his brother in Abilene, but I don’t trust him. His confession was more like a boast. But that’s not what bothered me about it the most.  

It was his eyes when he told us. 

That wretched look in his eyes. I’m fearful. I’m fearful all the time. And It isn’t the vicious lawlessness of this place that makes me afraid. Deadwood is not a special case. It is no different than any other shithole patched together around imbeciles sifting through the dirt like dogs. Once all the gold’s been took, they’ll move on, and this place will be an empty, rotting monument to the avarice of men, a pathetic reminder of the shame and brutality that grows on this age like a bitter mold. 

My father and mother used to call this country the New World. But this soil has the same thirst for blood as the old one. Worse even. There’s an almost...mocking feel to violence. McCall, at his pitiful excuse for a trial, is a perfect example of this. He had a reason for what he did. But even if it wasn’t a bluff, I know with every fiber of my being he took great pleasure in it. 

I know vengeance. And the emptiness that follows.

His eyes did not betray emptiness. No they did not. 

There’s plenty of reasons for the random and vicious nature of this place, some even justifiable. But I know in my heart that things are this way, just to show that they can be if they want to. And they do. Always, they do. 

I’m rambling again. Its getting worse. I have not touched that godforsaken flower in over a month now. Some of the others call it ’The Grey Bitch’, and I consider the name an understatement. 

It never really leaves you. Even now, with this dark little hole I call home shaking from the high wind outside, I can hear them. Little whispers in the back of my skull. Lord knows I’ve run to the bottom of every bottle I can get my hands on to escape it, but after a while, the whiskey doesn’t drown them out anymore.

It is Her. 

She’s all around us. 

Always. 

It has been two hours since I wrote that last line. I fear to commit these thoughts to paper, but I feel that I will not live much longer. 

I will be truthful and assure you that I intend not to live much longer at all. 

I, James R. Pradley, confess that I was involved in the burning of the town of Harmony in the spring of 1875. My Lord Jesus, help me, I was one of them. I was a man of God. But that flower. That putrid, hateful, despicable flower.

I want to trust in the Lord and condemn these visions, these whispers as a trick orchestrated by Satan himself but I do not believe Satan meddles in the affairs of men anymore. Perhaps the Adversary never needed to. Perhaps the Devil doesn’t exist at all. Why would there be any need of one? When you have seen how well men and women damn themselves?

No, these waking nightmares, these are something God did not intend. Men and women damn themselves, yes, but the flower, the Grey Bitch compels you to excel at it. To teach others to do the same. To defile the very ground you stand on and the air you breathe. A lush garden fertilized with screams and watered with blood and what grows, what grows is not human and She is everywhere goddamn you, She is everywhere and inside all of us and when She has all of us in Her grasp She will slither up into the very fabric of creation itself and rip and bite and tear and mutilate and 

I had to stop again. It started to take hold. I don’t have much time.

I buried the book in Harmony, far off into the trees, away from the smoldering rubble. I was the only one left to do so. The language in it is a dead one, but with the flower, we understood it just fine. I was hesitant to even hint at the existence of these things, but I do not believe anything can be done to stop it now. I understand prevention is a useless endeavor, as the concept of a future does not matter. I came to Deadwood and the fucking flower was here too.

It is said that God created it all in seven days, but this is human nonsense. Of what use is the concept of time to God? He is unburdened by it. 

The Beginning, The End, This Very Second, it is all the same moment to God. Your birth and your death and everything that happens in between are all in the same instant. The past is happening now, the future is already done and it is ALL RIGHT NOW.  

All of us, everyone who ever lived, everyone that WILL live, it is all now. All of creation is a completed work. We are a painting on God’s wall. He has completed it. It is done. Beginning, middle, end. All done. All right there. What need does He have to trouble himself over us? He has already decided how things are, how things will be. Which means He does not need to watch us.

But She got in. God isn’t watching and because He is not watching She got in. Time does not matter to Her either. And the second She touched us, She was everywhere. Beginning, middle, and end and everything in between. And She feeds.

It does not matter if I burn these pages and fire a bullet through my head because she is already there tomorrow. The flowers are growing from the blood spilled in Her name yesterday and today and a hundred years from now. Somewhere people are sitting around and reminiscing about the good old times, where there was peace and people had kindness in their hearts but THAT TIME DID NOT EXIST. SHE WAS THERE TOO. 

Every burned house, every broken, scorned heart, every hateful and jealous thought, and the killing. Every killing. Innocent or guilty, as long as it is done in Her name, every war that was birthed by Her whisperings in the ears of the belligerent. I saw Her in Jack McCall’s eyes when he told us how he murdered Bill Hickok in cold blood.

Doesn’t anyone understand?

SHE 

IS 

FEEDING 

OFF 

OF 

ALL 

OF 

IT. 

She’s whispering again. I can’t make it stop. Why does God not see? Has She blinded Him? 

Is it already over, Oh God someone, please, tell me its not over, tell me, tell me, tell me tell me tell me tell me tell me tell me oh God the screaming so much screaming it is everywhere oh God oh God oh God oh God oh God oh God oh God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God God 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