Tuesday, October 4, 2016

billy blood, part 2

by timothy t jones

illustrations by pete palomine

part two of two

for part one, click here

“take two men,” said frank
“take skull face jones and elmer dank
ride out a ways and find a trace
of this accursed mongrel race

just to show that they exist
and are no will o the wisp
to calm these devil-fearing cretins
who are worse than women at a revival meeting

as for me, i’ll take the others
from this band of sorry brothers
and make them search these huts
just to make them show some guts”

jess said “i feel there's nothing here
but you are right - we can’t show fear
though i would rather press right on
and find another town before dawn”

with faces like thunderstricken masks
the brothers proceeded to their tasks
jesse, with elmer and skull face
out in the darkness found no trace

of anything at all
not even an owl’s call
the silence and darkness were complete
jesse nodded to retreat

but when to the village they repaired
a curious sight their eyeballs snared
the berry tree had disappeared
and on its site a gallows reared

the noose that from the tree had hung
on the gallows beam was careless slung
the riders had all gathered round
yet no hangman could be found

stonefaced quantrill kept aside
frank looked fit to be tied
the others were babbling in their beards
but at what were they a-feared?

jesse heard a shout forthwith
from that fool blameless smith
“such things were never meant to be -
this is arrant deviltry”

professor porter with a frown
tried to calm the others down
“it is just a trick of the light -
it was always here all right”

frank’s frown grew more intense
“enough of this nonsense!
let’s saddle up and ride
the countryside is wide

there’s bound to be another village
that we can raise hell in and pillage
without the foolish mystification
of this accursed unchristian nation”

“look there!” cried blameless smith
the others all looked up forthwith
and spellbound, kept their eyes on
a figure that appeared on the horizon

but they all laughed as it approached
it seemed no demon and no ghost
but only a dark-skinned native small
with a face older than adam’s fall

“what’s going on here, chief?” asked frank
the little man looked at them blank
took his time, and cleared his throat
he wore a strangely embroidered coat

“gentlemen, you have disturbed
the balance of the eternal world
i say to you, and won’t say twice
the gods demand a sacrifice”

jesse responded with a sneer
“i’ve got your sacrifice right here”
and pulling his trigger, which he did best
blasted the little man in the chest

the little man was quite unfazed
and as the gang looked on amazed
he shook his head like the king of france
and said “you had your chance”

and before they could respond
he vanished like a ripple on a pond
into the thin morning air
as they all silently stared

“boys,” said professor porter, “it seems
that we are in somebody’s dream
pretty soon he must awake
so let us our departure take”

the youngest member of the crew
billy blood, with eyes of blue
who heretofore had silence kept
now approached the gallows steps

little billy, child of sin
serpent spawned and demon's kin
battle born and gunfire bred
and never quite right in the head

his eyes were blank, his arms hung loose
he placed his head within the noose
an unseen hand the noose then tightened
billy smiled, he was not frightened

as quantrill and the gang looked on
a ray of light presaged the dawn
bewilderment had stopped their tongues
the trap door fell, and billy swung

the aztec dawn was blossoming
a jaguar cried, a crow took wing
they rode away beneath blue heaven
but now they only were eleven

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