Dear Brother #13 was pretty harrowing to write, and if I’ve written well, it should be tough to read. I can only hope I’ve done justice to the emotions of the session.
You God-damned bastard! You bastard! I am shaking too much to write but I will write this down anyhow. I am angry like I have never been before and I wish you were here more than anything. You may be my big brother and I have never had your strength but you best know I would beat you down worse than a mule, you bastard, and God-damn your soul, Waylan!
You will remember some years ago that we saved Daddy from doing a damn-fool stupid thing, because we knew it was a damn-fool stupid thing. Well, and now you have turned around and done the same thing and not even let me save you from yourself and somehow you turned it all around so it is my fault. Yes, I know it is my doing and that is what makes it hurt most of all. But you could have said. You could have said.
God-damn it. I will write it down because the red swims behind my eyes and I fear that if I do not write it I will make myself forget. But it is all too important for that. The storm has broken and the rain is my tears.
We came into Chicago with the college boy still acting all strange, and wanting us to meet up with that girl Sue who does not much like men in any way. We were not any of us too sure of her, with her love for the Moon and all, like that Lady Selene down in New Orleans. But the college boy said we had to talk to her.
He said, and damn him too, that we would take that fire ka you wanted so badly but that it was guarded by one of the Selenim. I am not clear in my own mind what those are, but he said the old Leviathan down in Florida that went and ate Barron Collier was one of them. I thought they were the things of the silver lovers, just like the Nephilim are of the gold, but I am not sure of anything now.
But he said we could not fight the Selenim ourselves. Well, we knew that after seeing Leviathan. According to college boy we had to get this Sue girl to summon up the Wicked Witch and then the Witch could make her child Selenim stop and we could get the fire ka. Then we would go find his grandpa, old Dan Siegel, and kill him and use his head to bring up Abaddon and do for him as well. Just like that Wally Church down in Florida. The heads of the wizards have power.
There was some foolhardy talk about me not being there because of what the Pinkertons had done to me and the brainwashing but me and you made short work of that. I said that Beulays were made of stronger stuff and you smiled and nodded and now look what you have gone and done.
Well, we went and took up with Sue. She said that Miss Angie had to be about watching some videotape, like a ritual. You were none too trusting but in the end we listened to the college boy, which I think we had to if we wanted him to be King. And we do, we still do, or it is all nothing and ashes.
But before the trust there was more talk and more bad pancakes than I ever want again. The damned goldbugs brought down the great fire on Chicago back in the day, and that was the fire ka. That was how it came to be in Chicago. It was all stored up in the Sears Tower.
We would later find out that it was that William Jennings Bryan who did some of these deeds. He wanted a monument made of the bones of the people who died in the fire, but Chicago said no — but then the goldbugs went and put all those bones and teeth into the Sears Tower anyway, capturing the fire ka. So the city of Chicago is a city of death. Ask the cattle in the killing places about that, or ask me and Danny, for we spent some time in one of those ourselves at the hands of John Moses, curse his soul. Curse them all.
But I am losing my way again. I will find it and stick to it, though. There is nobody in this black country who can find a road as well as I can, no matter what anyone says. No matter what.
We went to the Best Western and we put in the videotape. Alongside it Sue made us play that Dark Side of the Moon album, which I remember thinking made sense. The moon and all. Even if that band was not from America, perhaps they knew something. I wish we had not done it.
The tape was the Wizard of Oz, but it was not anything you would see in the movie theaters. There was the old color movie but it was all cut to pieces and mixed up with all the other movies ever made about that place. It made the music seem like it was made just for the videotape.
Do not show… oh, that is funny that I would write that. I guess I do not have to worry about Ma seeing the bad parts of this anymore, do I?I do not think I can go back there anymore.
Well, a little while in the movie started to have men and women sleeping together, and other things as well. There was a woman who college boy said was the Judy Garland who was in the old movie, but older, playing the Witch and doing things that should not be filmed. And there was worse, there was lies. There was something very old, and I recognized the people in it, playing the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodsman and the Cowardly Lion. They were all meant to be the original League of Good Roads, but I know that is a God-damned lie!
Because in the old movie, the oldest movie, they were taking a girl named Dorothy out and I will God-damned not write the lie they want me to write. I will not say what they want me to think, because it is a lie and the League that wrote the Book of Good Roads would not do such a thing. I will not.
Then the music went to songs that Angie says were not on any copy of that album she had ever heard, just like the forgotten songs Danny used to sing. Oh, I miss Danny. He was the good man, and where has he gone?I cannot remember. The music seemed like it was just for him. There was a song, “God Is Red,” and that made me think of poor forgotten Danny.
And on the bed, there sat Sue, with Black’s gun pointing straight at her head for if she made a wrong move. I wish he had shot her the moment she started getting larger. On the screen there was another making of the Wizard of Oz story, and Waylan’s Mary was in it. We should have shot Sue, but we did not, and then she was the Witch and it was far too late.
The Witch said a bunch of things which were all just threats and more lies. Everyone lies. She said she was the mother of the Selenim, and the Sun was their father, and I suppose maybe that is true. The college boy told her what we wanted, and she said she would not do it for free. Why were we surprised? You said I was a fool for bargaining so cheaply, but I do not much care any more. We said we would go out and kill that Naked Goddess of Sue’s, and the Witch said she would do what we wanted in return.
We left the motel then and went to the Sears Tower, and talked about those things I wrote before. The dead people in the walls and such like. The college boy said the movie we saw was true, and said that there was a baby from it, born dead like the babies in Lady Selene’s photographs in New Orleans. But worse, a boy and a girl stuck together like those twins you read about. He said Bugsy Siegel from Las Vegas got a hold of it, and Black looked all surprised. But it makes sense. It is the kind of marriage that can not stand, like the way Bugsy tried to make gold and silver into one thing.
There was something about Abraham Lincoln in there but I cannot remember. It is not fair to ask me to remember it all. It is hard enough remembering what happened to Waylan, what happened to you.
Oh, and on the way we stopped in the railyards to dig up old Dan Siegel’s grave. Not the lying Dan Siegel, Grandpa Dan, who is really General Jake Coxey’s get. The real Dan Siegel, whose name was stolen by the liar. College boy wants to do something with his remnants, I do not know what, but it will be respectful. I trust him in that.
Then we went into that Sears Tower through a way I found. I always find the path. College boy led us to a secret place in the heart of the tower, all covered in markings, and we climbed up the stairs and the elevator that was there. At the very middle there was an office with a window that should not exist looking out over the city.
The walls were pocked with bones.
Waylan brought a spark plug out of his pocket, and we stood there and drained the fire ka out of the Sears Tower, capturing it. Not so different than the goldbugs in a way. And right away we could hear the thundering hooves of the Selenim set to guard that place, and we looked out the window, and a fiery bull was above the city galloping in a great arc like a meteor. Soon enough that arc turned and pointed straight back at us. Now was the time for the Witch, that old crone, and we left her there to embrace her child while we fled.
Of course the Pinkertons were outside. Of course. We could hear that John Moses, him and his men and the police of the White City. I knew where there were two ways from the basement, and one led out and away and safe, and one led right to John Moses and his black heart and his guns which killed our cousins and his hatred which put out my eye in that slaughterhouse.
We took the second way, and I will die not knowing if it was my choice or yours.
Still. Still. It was glory in the heart of the city of the enemy. When you put the spark plug in your chariot it lit on fire, like the bull, and we drove up that ramp sending sparks all along like heralds of our new dawn. We went over John Moses’ head, and Black and I filled him full of lead the same color as his eyes. You were shot, and Black was shot, and the college boy was shot, but that did not stop you from reversing and killing John Moses under your wheels. I wish I was half as brave as you, Waylan. I wish a lot of things.
And then you stopped a moment at the firehouse where Legal Tender and his aged boys were waiting and me and Angie and his grandson got out to do him in. Sue showed up then — I do not know how, and do not care —and took the two old Shiners aside. It left us facing an old man who only then realized that his time was done.
There can be no thinking twice about what happened there. Maybe if the old bastard had broken the habit of lying and cheating to get his way, maybe if he had told his grandson true and not tried to make him leave us. Who knows? But that was not the road he took. And some roads end.
God-damn it all. I want to write… I can not. I went for him, to take his head. College boy was strong. I remember thinking that I had to stab myself, and I did. I think Angie tried to stop me. I think I stabbed myself again. I think in the end the college boy shot his grandfather and someone took my knife and the college boy cut off old Legal Tender Coxey’s head.
Oh, we summoned Abaddon all right. He came to the smell of blood on the smoke in the sky as Chicago burned. He came just then, as Waylan drove up in his damned Chariot, all fire up and down the sides. Why did you get out? Why did you leave the Chariot? Maybe it would have worked out different in the end.
My God-damned brother got out of his car and took up Legal Tender’s head, and we could all see that John Moses had hurt him sore. The Pinkertons always hurt our kind. It has been that way for a hundred years. Chalk up another death on their slate, and put it behind the bar so that we will never forget.
My brother stood there and held Legal Tender’s head up as Abaddon spoke through it, spouting his Nephilim lies and his follies. My brother told us, told the King, told us we must drive forward. You kill Abaddon’s kind with orichalka — with John Henry’s Hammer. With my brother’s chariot. With the car.
God help me, we drove forward. And my brother and Abaddon died.
Now we are on Route 66 and we will not stop. It is me and Miss Angie and Black and the college boy. That is all that is left. The storm is broken, brother, and it is raining like to drown this country in blood.