The Revelator

By Robert Kloss

Unnamed Press
September 2015


Now as word of your preaching spread along the land so too did the story of how the testament came unto you. So your name and story appeared on the front pages of the gentile newspapers, and there the gentile experts and gentile natural scientists and gentile philosophers and gentile preachers and gentile schoolteachers and gentile professors denounced your explanations and words as "obvious fabrications." And in town squares they derided your religion as a "confidence game." And in the press they mocked your prose as "rudimentary" and "childish," and your followers as puppets and dupes, for who could believe God would call a mere butcher, without education or degree, to translate such a text?


And the gentile priests sermonized about the ancient laws you sought overturned, and they preached how you preached of their illegitimacy, their corruption, and their coming damnation, and the damnation of all who followed them, and the damnation of all who did not follow you. And they scoffed, "He does not believe in burnt offerings, yet he claims to know the ways of God?" Services along the land were interrupted by crazed indignant cries, and some threw hymnals, and many stomped their boots, and others screamed, "Let's tie em up!"


And the gentiles called every man of your flock a scoundrel and a threat to their rule, for you kept to yourselves, and during elections your priests only voted for those men the Almighty told you to vote for, and your priests shopped only at shops owned by your priests. Yes, your way was the ruination of democracy, and your way led only to oppression. And you responded, "The Almighty never spoke of separating the church from the state."


And gentiles accused you of "corrupting" their young, for whenever you saw a gentile lad on the street you handed him your book, saying, "This is the best way to avoid hellfire, lad," and when this did not work, you said, "Say, I bet you like pretty girls, don't you?"


And now gentiles sent letters to the editors of newspapers decrying your influence, insisting you and your followers must be "driven from our valley." And the editors called your influence "shadowy." And they called your followers "warped" and "dangerous." And now gentiles lurked in the shadows, tossed bricks through windows with twine fastened notes reading "LEAVE HEAR" in charcoal lettering. And they set barrels ablaze, rolled these through your streets, embers cascading and smoke spiraling, while children and women watched the glow through parlor windows. And your priests gathered their muskets and rifles and Bowie knives. And they bunkered behind porches. And they roamed the streets, shouting, "Show yourselves, gentile dogs!" And the gentiles uprooted your gardens, and the gentiles pulled the bungs from your casks of ale and cider, and the gentiles left your pet dogs buzzing with flies. And they menaced your followers on public roads by whispering phrases like "I would watch myself" and "Heard the weather's mighty nice out west" in passing.


And you waited for the creature and no more did the rough wings beat. And you called for the brothers and heard only silence. And you called for Harris and he was moldering. And when you stood before your wife, she said, "These gentiles mean to impoverish us. They want to take our house, and diminish the inheritance of our son." Against you now she pressed, "You are our shepherd. Now, darling, a shepherd deals roughly with wolves."


So you gathered the cruelest and the stealthiest of your priests, and when gentile bodies were found sprawled on the streets and rotting in fields, headless and emptied of blood, none could cease whispering of your "avenging angels."


And fights between your priests and the gentiles broke out in the streets and shops, men rolling in the mud, on floor boards, your priests beaten with pipes and planks of wood, your priests left moaning, spitting black blood, eyes mashed in and lips split, burst and gushing. Stray dogs slunk through the streets, wagging tails and licking wounds. And gentile children scampered about, giggling and thrashing bleeding priests with hickory. And these priests moaned and waved at the children and the children spat in return, calling the priests "devils."


Now you barricaded yourself within your home. When supplies were needed you sent your wife, and you delivered all new revelations via envelope, with your crest, the lion, pressed into red wax. And when commanded by the Almighty you positioned four husky priests before the entrance of your home. These priests hefted pistols and pipes, their expressions a mystery beneath the slouch hat shadows. And you told them to "shoot on sight" any gentile who wandered near. How many shots were fired, the shells gathered into mounds, the gun smoke a choking fog. And there were those who said to clear the world of gentiles would mean to clear the world of people, for the doctors were gentiles, and the professors, and the mayors, and the senators, and the architects, and the schoolteachers, and the newspaper editors. And indeed all those who wrote laws and passed laws and enforced laws were gentiles and these gentiles now decreed the eradication of you and your church. And you offered this decree to the greater nation as proof of your persecution. Now stampeding hooves and rifle fire, now taut ropes and sharpened knives. Soon none could find the mayor, or his family, and his house was burned to ash while his faithful hound roamed the streets, half blazed to blistered flesh, wagging its hairless tail and whimpering for alms.


And the police raided your possessions, and the police smashed your icons, and they battered your priests, led them to jail, bleeding from busted lips. And jeering crowds spat. Nights now in feces and blood-smeared cells, listening to flies, skittering rats. And the police fired pistols into your neighborhoods, their faces covered by hoods or smeared with black polish, glinting in the firelight like pooled oil, whooping in alien tongues they believed mimicked native languages.


And when the names and addresses of policemen became known now too their bodies were found in fields, fly covered and headless.


Now your priests found their shops and places of employ set ablaze, and now into ruin and ash while the fire department stood by with water wagons and horse drawn engines, smoking cigars and telling jokes, ignoring those priests pleading for help. And when the flames rose to impressive heights firefighters wet the neighboring rooftops of gentile owned buildings. And policemen pulled your priests from the blaze, beat them with billy clubs and tossed them into the paddy wagon, gasping and sooty and drooling blood.


And policemen brandished their billy clubs and stroked the edges of their pistols from your steps, and they called into bullhorns that if you ever preached from your book they would arrest you, and none could be certain of your fate for "many mishaps happen in jails." And while your wife held you back you opened your shirt and laid bare your breast. And you said "Draw your pistols upon me if you will." And you said, "Kill me, I am not afraid to die; and I have endured so much oppression that I am weary of life. But I am more lion than man, and from the mountain of my fathers I will cast you down." So these officers merely repeated their warnings and left without further harm. Once indoors you stared into the shadows, and you did not weep, or shake, but from your mouth now such a horrid lonesome sigh that your wife called from the kitchen, "What has happened?"


Now you summoned your priests round. "The Almighty desires some quiet on our part," you said. "He does not wish to see his Revelator come to harm." And there was a great uproar. These men with blotched eyes and torn apart lips, bloody bandaged arms and legs and brows, suggested you "re-consult" for "we have already shed much blood" and they "heard no weeping from His mountain." So your parlor was filled with such men, looking upon you harshly.


And when you next stood before them at the pulpit you thumped your book and railed against the gentiles and their wickedness. You said the gentiles would be cast into fires and brimstone, for the Almighty was no small plant to be bent by "malicious winds." And you said "our will, our conviction, our mission cannot be detoured by the acts of the damned." And you said, "The time for conversion is done. We stand at opposite ends and there they lay for us in the weeds. Lo, behold their great wickedness—" and you gestured to the rows of bloodied and battered priests, and women who lost their homes, and children who slept not for the nightmares of masked riders in the night, the pistol shots of policemen, and their fathers, arrested and flogged and hanged. And your temple quaked with applause and hooting and men shouted: "You tell 'em Preacher" and "Give 'em what for!" The shadows of the gentile police loomed as you said, "I come to you waving not an olive branch, but brandishing the sword of His everlasting vengeance." And then the shadows disappeared.