Rattler2
Akira proves her point.

The sky had grown dark, clouds covered the moonlight, and off into the very near horizon, a storm gathered.

Billy-Bob pulled the sleeping bag over his head not only to block the sounds of the wind, but to silence the noise echoing off the cave walls. Keeping him from his slumber was the sound of rhythmic breathing from the others, the sounds of bodies and sleeping bags rustling, and the incessant wind echoing off hard rock. While in Afghanistan, Billy-Bob had grown accustomed to sleeping outdoors. In heat, in cold, under any conditions—with the grumbling of fellow soldiers complaining loudly about aches, pains and the wounds they had gathered during the war. But in this cave, with these strangers—yes, he still considered his new found family “strangers”—the sounds here grew not fainter, but louder as they echoed off the stone: as if the sounds were being relayed by invisible town criers carrying a message deep into the abyss, or straight to the Devil himself.

“I can sleep anywhere,” he’d told himself, “That’s what soldiers do. Why can’t I sleep here?”

Billy-Bob unzipped his bag to peer at his new-found friends. Paul and Lasseter were motionless. Dead to the world. Akira was throbbing like a slow arrhythmic heartbeat. The very ground beneath her seemed to come alive.

“Was the gravel moving?”

Billy-Bob stared hard the dark light. The shadows must be playing tricks with his eyes. Not his eyes—his mind. Or was Paul in there playing with his consciousness.

Through the shadows, he stared at Akira. His body tensed.

Akira was sitting upright, talking. Her lips were moving but here eyes were far off in some distant land.

“It’s…it’s not possible.”

“You don’t think you’re any insect?” she whispered softly. The town criers carried her voice deep into the earth. “Entire generations of Billy-Bob’s volunteered to die in wars—wars fought not over principles, or freedom—but for money, power and resources. To help a handful of your white men get wealthy. Crony crackpot capitalism turned you into an insect slave long ago.”

“Guys, guys! Come-on guys, wake up!”

Billy-Bob’s voice was barely above a whisper, his head turning desperately toward Paul and Lasseter as his right hand reached for a Glock that wasn’t there.

Paul and Lasseter moved slightly. Akira pulsated imperceptibly faster. The clouds parted and moonlight lit the cave floor.

Through the shadows, Billy-Bob could see that it wasn’t the ground that had come alive. It wasn’t the gravel or the stone or the rock slabs that suddenly had become animated. Akira had attracted the dark soul of the desert—the insects and the pests and the vermin.

The vermin swarmed towards her as if she were nectar, swarming and crawling and covering her as if to drink of her essence.

Black widows, tarantulas, mice and rats; spiders of every kind, ants—both red and black—came out of the rock and out of the stones; crawling and creeping straight towards her.

And flies. Flies swarmed as if attracted by the smell of dead flesh.

Sensing Billy-Bob’s revulsion, Akira stared directly at him. Her eyes glowed hot red.

“Don’t you like my pets? They’re you. They’re insects.” Her face twisted into a rictus smile.

“I want you to see how I see you.”

“We’re not insects!” Billy-Bob screamed, hoping Paul or Lasseter would wake up.

He tried to stand, but her eyes held him down.

“For every school in the world, you have ten churches. Churches turn you into insects. Churches turn you into mindless slaves. You not only allow it, you enjoy it.”

Akira stood, moonlight casting her long shadow along the rocks.

Horrified, Billy-Bob screamed for help. Paul and Lasseter awoke, startled.

Laying on his stomach, Paul peered into the oncoming eyes of two deadly serpents—genus Crotalus atrox—Western diamondback rattlesnakes—coming straight at him.

Akira extended her palms.

“Come to me, my pets.”

The snakes crawled onto Akira’s arms. Their tongues flickering. Their fangs glistened.

Akira raised her arms high enough to allow their dusty tails to brush against Billy-Bob’s skin.

“Nine-Billion people live on this planet,” Akira continued. “Six-billion believe in one of hundreds of your religions.”

“Akira, stop! What are you doing?” Paul pleaded, his booming voice finally waking Lasseter.

“Look how he cowers faced with what he doesn’t understand,” Akira glared at Billy-Bob as the rattler brushed against his arm.

“Get the motherfucking snakes out of the motherfucking cave!” Lasseter yelled.

“Look how he cowers!”

Lasseter firmly pointed to the snakes, then pointed to the ground. Akira shook her head in disagreement.

“But it is not the snake he fears!”

“Then what?”

“He fears the symbolism! He fears what the snakes represent!”

“Akira, my love, just drop the snakes and tell us what you’re getting at…”

“Look at this soldier quiver! With six billion people brainwashed by religion, we must choose religious language and religious symbols to communicate! Forget science. Forget facts.  Give them ol’ time religion and we’ll get our point across.”

Akira dropped the snakes, and to Paul and Lasseter’s relief, both slithered away quickly.

“After running all your quantum simulations, this is your conclusion?” Lasseter asked, sounding dreary.

Paul didn’t wait for an answer. He reached down and helped poor Billy-Bob to his feet. He could see the soldier had become completely unglued. Paul smiled gently and tried to fill his voice with honey:

“Welcome to the new Eden.”

–More later.

40 thoughts on “Dances with snakes.

  1. Oh yeeesssss! Here we go, this was some awesome scene setting and development. Bugs used to not bother me and I slept like an old Tom Cat after a busy night anywhere I could find semi-horizontal surfaces. Now, I want me some comfy and nothing disturbs my comfy like light, noise, and BUGZ. I feel Billy Bob’s WTF growing to bug out proportions. Then the snakes show up. Loved Lasetter’s retort to Akira’s pronouncement. the girl is truly developing some Witchery techniques that might make it hard to snuggle up with her. Still, I could see her being a big hit with the younger crowd on tour. Great work. My skin itches thinking of the bugs rising up out of the rubble in the cave to envelope Akira. Okay, the score is 2 to 1 in your favor. I gotta get to work If I don’t want to get left behind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I shall now embrace the cliché and religious symbolism with a fervor. Their cliché because they work. Yeah, the storm thing, I get it…but this is not the beginning of the book! Mooohahahahahaa..! Not sure if I told you this, but back in the day I met Anne Rice after she published her first novel “Interview with a Vampire.” My first thought, having not read the book yet, was: “Oh. Another Vampire novel. How cliché.” I was wrong then…and I’m going to embrace my mistakes.
      ..So off if the near horizon…a storm gathered…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Embrace the cliché! After listening to Brandon Sanderson break down how to write a story, I realized why so much of what I watch is so cliché! There is a formula! Just gotta follow it! Formula’s are “predictable” but if that what it takes to get published, I’m gonna follow the path!
        “I can only show you the door. You have to walk through it…”

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      2. Respect Bro! I think I’ll take Brandon’s course as well and also throw in some Frank Herbert and Nabokov. That should give me a descriptive scifi cliché style that enthralled the reader and turns me into Muah’Dib Jr. 🦸🏻‍♂️

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      3. Dude, I seem to be unable to write the characters out of this cave, so I’m just gonna hop, skip and jump back to the President and see what he’s up too. Brandon Sanderson told me that’s okay to write this way. LOL!

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      4. I’ve had the lovely and intelligent Draculauren tell me she likes for the scenes to break out of the linear path to keep it fresh, I suppose. Do it. You can always change it later.

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  2. Intense. I could sense the cat’s hair standing and paws clenching. Left me throbbing and pulsating as well. And the echoes continue bouncing off those cave walls long after … Yesterday was Chinese New Year’s Eve, as the Rat year comes on in full swings, it seems just right and all fitting that you happened to release such thrilling dances of snakes – there is a term in Chinese ‘Snakes and rats are partners in crime’ (in a sense, kindred spirit 🙊🙈) … So deftly and incisive, like those fingers of Akira’s, words have become magic wands under your spell! You are a master at work …

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    1. I imagine you a peaceful Zen master, drinking tea and smiling at my story. I didn’t know this was the year of the Rat, so yes, I think it is appropriate that Akira develop her evil side at this moment!! Very coincidental. I don’t believe I am quite the master you are, but I do believe my best work is in front of me. Thank you very much your comments!

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    2. GONG XI FATT CHOY my friend. This is a strange coincidence that my scene should include rats and snakes at this particular moment in time. I really had no idea until you mentioned it. Perhaps the Universe it trying to get my attention…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Xie Xie, George. You’re right about the drinking tea and smiling parts. As for the ‘peaceful Zen master’ stuff, I am still working on it. It gets tricky at times, particularly when encountering brilliant intelligence like you and the captivating universe it’s destined to create. No amount of Zen would be adequate to rescue me from the trajectory of getting addicted …

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  3. Intense, and requiring intense retrospection, or is that introspection, on my part. Everything has turned again, except for Akira demonstrating a new kind of power, or rather a biblical kind in the snake symbolism. The snake is the Devil in Genesis, but becomes the healer in Exodus, so go figure. Which one will Akira choose to represent as the symbol of a symbol? Actually, since she commands the snakes she has to be something above the biblical symbolism: she has to be some sort of “goddess” to the Earthians. Now we are faced with two forces: Paul’s gentle power and Akira’s devilish one. Can they work together or will one try to overcome and destroy the other? Now get me out of that cave, or bring in some other actors to challenge the protagonists before they go for each others’ jugular! How you doin’ with those nanite beds, Mr. President you asshole?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good analysis on the story so far, and great commentary on the snakes…I was unaware snakes were the healers in Exodus…so that’s great to know. Yeah, now that I’ve established there’s contention in the ranks, lets see how or if they unify in the face of a greater danger. I’m swingin’ back to the asshole President and those nanite beds post-haste to get this story back on track. Always love it when you pop in! Thanks!

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      1. We’re being Googled, George, and I don’t even have to be in my “conspiracy theorist mode” to know and say this. Big Brother/Uncle Sam/The Illuminati/the Matrix… call them whatever, they know their time is running out on this world since they’re destroying it in exponential fashion, so they’re protecting their remaining exclusive turf with extreme prejudice. Now let’s see if this goes through… (I’ve made a copy)

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  4. You must be reading my comments on various blogs.

    Because in them, I commented on insects to make a point in one and commented on snakes to make a point in the other.

    Then I had a spirit coming up out of the desert in the blog post I wrote called Pachamama and The Spectre of Teilhard: The Devil Wore A Collar and Cassock.

    Of course I don’t think you’ve been stalking me and my comments.

    I happened to read a blog post on Jungian Synchronicity yesterday and I thought at the time, I will be encountering an example of it soon.

    Now I have reading your post.

    Just as things in dreams mean something to the individual dreamer so too religious symbols mean something to the race as a whole.

    You’ve got the individual unconscious and the collective unconscious.

    As for Eden, Genesis in the Bible does not say a snake, it says a serpent.

    Though all snakes are serpents in the earthly sense, not all serpents are snakes in the heavenly sense.

    Serpents in the Hebrew religion refer to seraphim – a fiery winged angel.

    You of course have heard of seraphim and cherubim as types of angels no doubt.

    Lucifer was of the seraphim variety.

    But not all seraphim are bad.

    As for the snake (not serpent) on the pole in Exodus was a type of foreshadowing of the Cross of Christ.

    The Hebrews bitten by the venom of the snake in the desert were to look upon the image of the Snake to produce an antidote to the venom caused by snakes.

    So the image of Christ on the Cross (God become man) was to serve as an antidote to the venom caused by men.

    To gaze on the Cross was the antidote to man’s own spiritual venom that he brought upon himself in the moment of the Fall (at the urging of a fallen seraphim).

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    1. You always raise my consciousness and awareness when you pop in. Synchronicity? Yea, I believe there are thoughts floating around in the Noosphere that we reach into… several minds at once if you’re tuned in…and we seem to be tuned in…which is why there is nothing truly original…could our minds be receptors rather than originators?

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      1. I’m now starting to consider whether the Akashic Records talked about in Hinduism and some strains of Buddhism (which gave Steve Jobs the inspiration to come up with the idea of the iCloud after a weekend spiritual retreat spent in a Buddhist monastery) aren’t in fact the remaining wi-fi cloud of an advanced technological civilization that’s mentioned in the early Hindu vedic literature and the Upanishads.

        They talk about flying airships (which I believe were called volors if I remember correctly) who fired at one another things that seem to resemble laser death rays (talked about in science-fiction and in DARPA’s things to do tomorrow list).

        It was in reading the Upanishads and early vedic literature that gave Robert Oppenheimer the inspiration that he needed to create the atomic bomb (although in retrospect that wasn’t a really good thing for humanity and the world) and caused Oppenheimer to note that he had become like Shiva the Destroyer god of Hinduism and said, “Now I have become Death the Destroyer of Worlds.”

        Akira does seem to knock all religions of the 7 billion people on Earth forgetting that just as there are flawed and faulty medical diagnoses so there are flawed and faulty religions.

        But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a correct and accurate medical diagnosis out there.

        So too there could be a pure and true religion.

        In the Spanish language Church I attend in my neighbourhood that I’ve been attending for 18 months now (and have now learned Spanish as a result no doubt pissing off some of Trump’s ICE officials), the Epistle of James 1:27 talked about in today’s sermon coincidentally says what pure and genuine religion is.

        “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

        It’s no wonder that Jesus told his Apostles that on the day of Judgment as a group of people find out that they’re about to be thrown into Hell, they start protesting “Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in your Name? Have we not performed miracles in your Name?” and Christ replies, “Depart from me you who work iniquity (the Hebrew word for iniquity used here means witchcraft altough in today’s world it has the more pleasant sounding euphemism Prosperity Gospel), I never knew you.”

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      2. The Akashic Records..yes, that is “the icloud” isn’t it?…and perhaps the remaining wi fi cloud of an advanced technological civilization…etc…etc…my Gawd, Dracul, you never cease to amaze me because this interpretation is the best I’ve heard! Keep popping in!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Evil is as evil does. But…the more I study and read about real evil…the more I realize my writing can’t even come close. True evil exceeds my imagination. It’s incredible what’s “out there…” Demons exist!!

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    1. Thanks Ray, I always dig it when you drop in. I’ve identified myself as a Happy Hack, and if I can take myself to the next level, as you have done…then I’d be even happier. The next scenes are going to teleport to a political environment…you missed a transitional segment which I deleted…so stay tuned if you wish.

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