Kennon 11

Justin Kennon

The Circuit Rider: Damned Mines

The Circuit Rider stood with the boy's father in front of the drift mine that the boy was playing in before he arrived. The sun burned as the ka of an eagle could be heard overhead. The Circuit Rider stared into the mine under his black Stetson hat. His right-hand tingle under the bandages, feeling whatever was in those mines. He gripped the lantern in his left hand, and pulled his bandaged right arm under his black duster coat, closer to his chest. His cross-spear strapped across his back, ready for when he would need it.

"Are you sure it was the mines that caused that demon to possess my son?" the father asked. He was wearing blue jeans, flannel shirt, and mining boots. "How could that be? Most of the men work in this mine."

The rider walked a bit up towards the mouth of the mine along the tracks the miners used to roll out the coal. He heard his horse panicking. "It's the mines all right."

"How can you tell?"

"Testament is freaking out." He pointed over at his horse. "I believe there is a gate down there in the mines."

"What's a gate?" the father asked, scratching his head.

"There are areas of this world that act as holes, or gates, as we call them." The Rider looked over at the man from under his black ten-gallon hat. "Most demons possess the sinful and the unsaved, but sometimes a small child can be used for their purposes as well. Demons will use a child's foolishness, innocents, or naiveite to possess them."

"What are you going to do?" The father pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the sweat off his head. "Is there any chance that my son could get possessed again?"

The rider walked up to the mine, Testament was still neighing and stomping the ground with his front legs. "I'm going seal up the gate. After that, I'll let you know what you have to do. For now, just keep anyone from entering the mines till I come back. And could you please keep an eye on my horse?" The father nodded. "Thank you." With that, the Circuit Rider lit the lantern and entered the cave.

This cave was clearly dug by the people of the town. As the Circuit Rider continued down, he looked at the support beams, wanting to make sure that they would not break. He shivered at the idea of this being his grave, walking farther and farther away from the light.

"One step at a time," he whispered to himself. "You've done this before. You can do this. The Lord is with you, even in the darkest of places." Those words helped him to calm down.

The rider found himself before two passageways in the mine. The tracks went down both ways, but that was not going to help him find the gate.

Taking the bandaged hand out of his sling. he pointed it down both paths, trying to get a feeling.

"Lead me to the gate," he whispered, pointing his wrapped-up arm at both entries. His right arm started to feel warm when pointing at the down the left path. Just like Hell itself, the gate would give off heat, but only a heat that his right arm could feel. "Got ya."

Going down into the dark, he remembered the night that changed this life forever, and put him on the road he walked right now.

When he was priest-in-training, his teacher was battling a demon that was as white as bone and as tall as Goliath. It had white scales all over its body and stood with a slump. Demonic markings cover it like scars cut deep into the flesh. The markings were shapes and writings in no language known to man, but one clear symbol was the pentagram on his left chest. The demon had no ears, having a completely smooth head like a skull. The nose was just one big hole between the cat eyes staring down than the soul, and the mouth was filled with dagger-shape fangs. It could be mistaken as human, if it hid its body from the world.

He was hiding behind some boulders, watching the battle. The night sky covered over the desert landscape as far as he could see with no moon or stars sighting overhead. Despite the darkness that surrounded them, he could see the two as if the sun was out.

"I damn the demon back to the pit of fire and suffering!" His teacher screamed at the demon. He was an elderly man, but still seemed strong and able to fight on his own. His priest's robe hid all but his hands and head, holding up a wooden cross in his right hand and an opened Bible in the other. The priest glared back at the demon, fearless of his foe.

The demon smiled at the priest, showing the dagger-like fangs. "Do you honestly think you can command me? Think highly of yourself, do you?"

"I do command you!" The priest shouted back. His old eyes stared the demon down with a strong spirit behind them. "But it is not by my word! But by the word of he that commands all things! By the name of the Father! Go back to the pit!"

"Come with me." The demon charged at the priest, but the priest kept up his cross, plugging it to the demon. The cross burned into the demon's chest, causing it howled to the heavens in a pain no man wished to experience.

With the cross holding the demon back, the priest started reciting from his Bible the words that would send it back to Hell.

"I will make you suffer!" It screamed, as a strange seal started to form around it. A circle of white light surrounded the demon on the ground, as holy word wrote themselves in the dirt. Three crosses formed out of thin air, trapping it in a triangle of holy light. With all of its strength, it reached out, and was able to push the arm holding cross away from its body.

The priest loss his focus for one second, but that was enough for him to misread the one word in the verse. The seal broke, and the demon smacked the priest with the back of his hand.

The priest flew through the air, losing both his cross and his Bible, as his hit the ground.

"Teacher!" The young boy cried out to the priest. He watched him tumble on the ground, then looked over to the demon that was looking over at him with smiling fangs at him.

"Now priest…" It turned its attention back to the old priest. "You're mine!" The demon lunged at him.

The priest ducked under its arms, rushing behind the demon to get his cross and Bible, as the demon stumbled.

Once the priest had his items back in hand, he restarted the verse.

"No!" The demon shouted. "I won't go back!"

The seal reformed. Holy symbols drew out on their around the demon and under its feet again. The three crosses reappeared in the air, trapping the demon as its cries were so loud, the boy had to cover his ears, but the priest just kept going. The skin and flesh started to melt off of its bones, falling away. As muscles and joints became separated, and fell a part to the ground.

The boy walked over to the priest, as the last of the demon vanished into the air, leaving only its bones.

"Is it dead?" The boy asked.

"No." The priest answered. "Demons cannot die. I was only able to send him back to Hell where he belongs."

The boy walked over to the demon's bones. His curiously and getting the better.

"No! Don't!" The priest shouted, as the boy started to poke at it.

The boy did not see any harm in it. The demon was gone, and it was just the skull.

Then the skull opened its jaws and sunk its fangs into the boy's hand.

"Ah!" The boy screamed, as the fangs sunk deeper, seeming to try to bite his hand off. He threw his hand around wildly in pain, trying to get it off.

The skull flew off, but the fangs stayed in his hand. "Let me see it!" The priest rushed over. Looking at the hand, he reached in his robe, and pulled out a bottle of holy water.

"That wouldn't work." The voice of the demon spoke. The two turned towards the skull, where the voice was coming from, but the mouth didn't move. "Once my fangs are in the flesh, they can never be removed."

"I can remove them." The priest declared, and started pouring the holy water while reciting the Bible. They were not falling out, so he tried pulling them but that didn't work either.

"Congratulations boy…" The skull said, causing the boy to look over at it, "You have the honor of being my new body. That is, after it consumes yours."

The boy was terrified at its word, but the priest forced the boy to look at him. "Don't listen! Demons are liars by nature alone. Their master is the god of liars. We will free you from this curse and save you. I swear on my title as a priest."

"Better start working on that," the voice mocked, devolving into a normal human skull. "or get yourself a new title." The demon's laugh filled the night air, chilling the boy to his bones.

"I'm sorry you never got to keep your promise." The Circuit Rider said, back in the mines. He kept his right arm out to feel for the gate. The arm of the demon that bit him. The arm that was now covered half to his elbow. The arm that would not stop till it consumed him, body and soul. And the arm that helped him fight Hell's minor wherever they were.

The arm was burning when he reached a section of the mines that was blocked off. Wood planks were nailed all around it, and one of them read "Keep out." He found a hook the miners use to place their lanterns while working. He hooked his lantern, and looked over the bored up enters.

"What makes you so special?" he said, leaning in to see. Gently whispers could be heard coming from it, pulling him back for a moment. "I wish I could say I was going crazy." He felt his arm burning. "But that's not the case."

Looking over the planks again, he noticed that some of them were hammered in twice. "That's how…" He stepped back again, and pulled out his spear. He held it with his left hand, cutting the wood away.

He continued down the path. The support beams and walls seemed unstable. If the miners had kept digging here, they could have caved themselves in. "Lord, keep the roof over my head, as I do your work."

"What work are you planning on doing" Strange voices hissed like snakes. They seemed to echo in the mines, but were not of the same speaker. "You wouldn't be trying to banish us? Would you?" They came from behind him and next to him.

As his right hand got hotter, his body got colder. He felt as if he was being circled by ghosts: their voices coming from everywhere, and nowhere. He would turn with his lantern, but find nothing standing there. He had to be getting close.

"You can't stop us." The voices mocked him, as if whispering in his ear.

"Shut up!" The Circuit Rider shouted at them, swatting his arm. The speed caused him to loss his lantern, as it broke and to go dark. He whipped out his golden spear, fearing whatever was in the mines with him.

"You are part of us." They started to appear around him. They flew around, appearing and disappearing from his sight in seconds. He could not tell what they were. All he could tell, was that they were white.

"I am nowhere near what you beasts of Hell are!" His voice raised at them. One came up to him, and he planting his feet, making sure the cross was between them.

"Are you sure?" It questioned. It was like a ghost. He could see through it, and saw the gate.

The gates glowed red, but could only be seen through the demon. When looking around the ghostly demon, only the unending darkness of the mines stared back at him. The Circuit Rider believed he could hear the screams of the damned beyond them. Their pled and cries for mercy only heard, never helped.

"You think you can keep us back with that?" The demon chuckled. Its face was long, and the jaw completely unlike anything that could exist in God's world. It seemed to be a skeleton, looking for flesh to live in.

"This cross, this spear, was made from a special gift from Heaven." He told it. "You would burn faster than the victims that you have tricked."

"Shall we test that?" It hissed. As soon as he blinked, Circuit Rider saw all the demons swirling around like a tornado. Their laugher echoed throughout the caves, confusing him till all at once came in, and attacked him from behind.

Circuit Rider fell to his knees, feeling the demons' attack sting his back. He tried to get back up but was knocked down again. The more he tried, the more they knocked him back down, laughing all the while.

Getting sick of these demons, the Circuit Rider jammed his cross in the ground so it could stand up straight, and reached inside his vest pocket to grab his Bible. He turned to the passage he was looking for, and took a kneeling position.

"Giving up are you?" The main demon asked, the others just repeated, "Give up" over and over in one voice, but many tones.

He said nothing to them, as he seemed to bow. The demon thought he was giving up, but really, he was just making sure he could see his Bible, and started reading.

He read quietly at first, letting the word of the Lord slowly fill him. His cross started to glow, causing the demons to take notice. He read faster, his voice rising with each word he spoke.

"Stop him!" The leader of the demons ordered. The others stopped swirling around, and lunged for the Circuit Rider, but it was too late for them.

He read faster, his fear dying, his confidence growing, the golden cross pushing always all the dark back. Once he read the final word, all the demons screamed in one last tortuous voice, and the Circuit Rider was all alone.

Once the cross slowly stopped glowing, the Circuit Rider breathed in large gasps of stale air. Getting on his shaking legs was hard, even with the cross there. He looked the darkness, listening for smallest sound. But only his breathing filled his ears.

"Now…" Turning his attention to where the gate was last seen, "Time to seal you, and throw away the key."

Picking up his Bible, he placed the cross between of him and the gate, and did the same thing. It was easier this time. No need to worry about anything attacking him, because the cross blocked them. And once his right arm didn't feel hot, he knew it was sealed.

"May the Father of Heaven forever keep these doors locked."

He turned back, using his spear as a cane through the darkness. Something came to mind, and the Circuit Rider searched till he found one of the support beams in the tunnel. With one big swing, he cut the support beam, and kicked it, causing the tunnel to cave-in.

Quickly running, the Circuit Rider couldn't help but think how stupid it was for him done that without lantern to see the rest of the way. He could hear the celling falling behind him, as he ran, trying to hold his hat, and protect his head with his bandaged arm. Small rocks dropped like hard rain, and dust entered his lungs. He saw the mouth of the tunnel, and ran out, still hearing the tunnel caving-in.

"Lord," he said, looking up. "Forgive of my foolish."

The Circuit Rider saw a light coming his way, and the sound of footsteps. As the light came close enough to show that it was the father of the small boy, the Circuit Rider realized he survived.

He came up to the rider, letting out a sigh of relief. "Oh thank the Lord, you're alright." He said, bending over to catch his breath. "I started to hear rumbling, and thought you were buried alive." The father continued breathing for a while, till he was able to stand up straight. "Were you able to seal the gate?"

"Yeah," He nodded, taking a moment relax. "I also collapsed the tunnel to it, to make sure no one else would be able reach it."

"Are you insane?" The father asked, realizing what the Circuit Rider was saying. "You could have gotten yourself killed! Not to mention you did have your lantern on you! How in the world did you lose it?"

"To answer your first question, I asked myself the same thing after I did it." He explained. "As for your second question, I lost it sealing the gate."

The father took a deep breath before saying, "It's just good to know that you're alright."

"Thanks." The Circuit Rider lightly bowed.

"Let's get out of here. I'm sure your horse is still worried about you." The father patted him on the back, and led him out of the mines.