10 – Old Testament, Bloodlust and a Hairy Denver Omelette
Serone’s stomach was still turning from the appalling image of Dasher melting a man to death and then booting his head twenty feet into a thorn bush. The nickname of “God Hand” was certainly being displayed in its full might. Dasher wielded power with all the carelessness of a drunk lighting the wrong end of a cigarette. Serone was still grateful to be alive, but he hoped the next method of survival wouldn’t shatter him emotionally like the first one did.
“Serone, you’re looking a little yellow over there. You never saw a man’s head turn into scrambled eggs huh?” chuckled Dasher, as he knelt down working very hard on something. “Looked like a Denver omelet at Denny’s, didn’t it? Clumps of hair and all!” Dasher continued.
He grunted one last time and stood up to reveal a stick sagging over with the decapitated head hanging from it like an enormous ornament on Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. Dasher had formed the face into an infuriatingly smug smile.
“Dasher, what the hell have you done!?” screamed Serone.
“This time, you don’t have to be the bait,” Dasher said, giving Serone a slight nudge. He pressed a small button in his hand and the sickening remains of the head lit up. “Let there be light,” continued Dasher. He then went on a twelve-minute rant about how the destroyed head was technically similar to when God granted the universe he created with light. Serone nodded, unable to take his eyes off the dripping sculpture in front of him.
“I don’t celebrate Halloween because it’s a holiday for the devil, but maybe I should start!” Dasher laughed as he examined his handy work on the head. “I’m just kidding with you Serone. I would kill myself before celebrating that heathen holiday,” Dasher continued in a profoundly stern tone.
Serone’s head instinctively nodded as it had been doing since he met Dasher. Absolutely nothing could be said about the objectively awful scene before them.
Dasher detailed the plan in which they would use the light within the head to signal SOS to the comrades they had not slaughtered yet. When Serone asked about the feasibility of someone ramming a flashlight down his or her throat and then using it to signal for help instead of a walkie-talkie, Dasher stared at him as if he was crazy before returning to the final part of the plan. Serone was just happy to be a part of the program this time instead of sitting completely nude in a crudely fashioned box.
Dusk approached and Dasher gloated that this was already a successful first step in his plan. Then, they heard someone rustling in the forest.
“Get your popcorn ready Serone. It’s go time,” said Dasher. Serone was relieved he didn’t have to endure any more conversations with Dasher for the moment.
The shrouded figure approached the head carefully, examining it from several angles. Dasher maneuvered the strings in his hand to make it appear as though the mouth was talking.
“Peace be with you,” said the face, as Dasher threw his voice in that direction. The head tilted inquisitively as though expecting a response from the figure who gave none.
“Accept this Eucharist and experience salvation,” continued the face, but as Dasher yanked the string, the bottom jaw fell limply onto the ground with a dull thud.
The stranger gazed down to a sawn off-hand, missing several fingers and holding a circular piece of cardboard with a cross crudely sketched in permanent marker in the center. Serone stood on, wondering why the absurd interaction had gone on for as long as it did.
A fully-grown man stared at a talking, decapitated head for close to a minute and a half and had just consumed a piece of bread from a bloody stump. Maybe everyone who inhabited this world was equally as sick these two men. Dasher was always the first to explain biblical parallels with the actions he took, but was this what God really wanted? According to Dasher, there was no doubt in his mind. This was the path of the righteous and would fast track Dasher to a spot in heaven. Dasher whipped a knife going a hundred miles an hour at the being’s head, but it dodged it seamlessly. Dasher was shocked by its reaction time. It’s yellow eyes now focused directly on Dasher and Serone.
“Alright, so you caught us. Now what?” Dasher said to the being.
“Addison Beach. Pleased to make your acquaintance Dasher,” Beach said with a childlike bewilderment.
“Life isn’t meant to be pleasurable, Beach. Didn’t your dad teach you anything?” Dasher snapped coldly. For a brief moment, Beach seemed to take pity on the brute before him.
“Looks like you got your vision back, Dasher,” said Beach, his tone both impressed and enraged.
There was a sulfurous smell in the air, as though someone had hardboiled an egg immediately after cooking a tuna melt in a shared office microwave. The same scent that Dasher smelled right before he was blinded. His mind flashed back to what Joel Oscreen said about killing his first-born child and he immediately made the extremely loose connection between the Egyptian plagues and the men trying to kill him. Someone was definitely trying to turn his religion against him and make him mistrust his God through the hands of these mercenaries. Little did they know, Dasher had been blindly following his faith for years with virtually no concern about its archaic approach to the modern world. Three men who had been constructed as representations of the Egyptian plagues in an attempt to kill Dasher served as a mere, loving reminder that he must persevere and never, under any circumstance, change his rigid way of thinking.
“If you haven’t guessed already Dasher, I represent pestilence,” said Beach, breaking the incredibly awkward silence that had persisted over the last three minutes, during which, it appeared Dasher was deep in thought wrestling with his own spirituality.
“I could have guessed that, Beach. You look like Samson after that whore shaved his head and he got his eyes gouged by the Philistines,” said Dasher. The poor attempt at extremely specific biblical humor wilted immediately upon leaving his mouth. Serone offered a sympathetic laugh, which only served to accentuate the pathetic joke.
“Anyways, I will be bringing both of your corpses to Popov soon enough. One touch from my poisonous fingertips and you will wish you had been shot,” replied Beach, throwing the gun he had been pointing at them into the weeds.
Dasher was not going to have the luxury of dying by gun; he was going to be forcibly poisoned by this apex predator. Beach approached slowly, the smell of sulfur reaching a frenzy. Dasher pedaled backward in unison with Beach’s forward momentum.
“Now, Serone!” yelled Dasher. Serone began painstakingly dragging out a baby pool filled with the mud he had used to cure Dasher’s burns.
He dragged the pool for what seemed like an eternity into the clearing where the two men stood. Mud sloshed over the sides of the pool and onto the ground below. His back appeared to give out several times during the endeavor, but Dasher had been explicit in his planning. Dasher slowly stripped naked, never breaking eye contact with Beach. He entered the pool calmly, submerging himself entirely and rising out of the pool with only the whites of his eyes showing, still gazing deeply at Beach. Beach stood, completely stunned at what he was seeing. Serone sprinted back inside the house and retrieved a hairdryer with a lengthy extension cord. He furiously dried the mud on Dasher until no wet spots remained. Dasher’s mouth finally opened.
“Didn’t expect this, did you Beach? I learned a thing or two about Serone while I was recovering from my burns. You think you’re gonna beat me? Well, it will have to be without any of that pussy ass poison you’ve been boasting about,” said Dasher, the mud forming a protective layer on his skin.
“Well then quit it with this preachy goddamn homily and let’s do this,” replied Beach.
“I can live with getting poisoned and going blind; what I can’t live with is you taking the Lord’s name in vain,” said Dasher.
The two men sprinted at each other. Serone was ready for the fight of a lifetime – two warriors trained in multiple martial arts battling to the death. Two trained killers who held the honor of fighting over everything. Combatants who would give everything they had to prove they were the superior soldier. No guns, no knives. This was a matter of who was more of a man. Before they had touched each other, Dasher reached into a bush and grabbed a sawed-off shotgun. He approached Beach and blew one of his legs clean off. Serone’s prior assumptions about the confrontation were proven wrong. Serone threw up once more. Dasher walked up to the screaming Addison Beach, who was cursing and crying.
“What have you done, Dasher? I thought we agreed to no weapons!” shouted Beach, thrashing on the ground and spraying blood on anything within a three-foot radius.
“I’ve made three agreements in my life: one to my God, one to my country and one to my wife, in that order,” replied a sneering Dasher.
He reached Beach and asked him what he meant by delivering their bodies to Popov. Before Beach could answer, he jammed the shotgun as far as he could down his throat and blew his head clean off, spraying bone fragments and grey brain matter into an enormous sopping wet spider web on the floor of the forest. Serone lay in the fetal position on the ground several feet away. The awesome power of Dasher, combined with the grotesqueness of the slaughter at hand, had simply overwhelmed him.
“Dasher, I’m trying to figure out why we had to fill that baby pool with mud and then spend several minutes awkwardly blow drying you if you just had a shotgun in the bush the entire time,” Serone said several minutes after recovering from the scene of the murder.
“Optical illusion Serone, much like Jesus turning water into wine, classic misdirection,” replied Dasher.
“You don’t think God would willingly encourage people to sin by drinking do you? It was an optical illusion, and thus the most impressive miracle in the Bible in some ways. Serone…you were technically part of a modern-day miracle today,” Dasher laughed, his explanation making Serone wonder if he had ever actually read the Bible before.
Serone pondered how turning a man’s head into 60/40 ground beef on a forest floor qualified as a miracle, but he supposed Dasher knew the qualifications better than he did.
“An eye for an eye,” Dasher continued flippantly, walking back towards Serone. “Gonna have to do a few Hail Mary’s for that one,” laughed Dasher, referencing the potential penance he would get when he confessed to his most recent body count. Thankfully, several Hail Mary’s would wipe his slate completely clean no matter if the kills were justified or not. The thought of unlimited chances at heaven through confession comforted Dasher greatly.
“We just evened the playing field Serone. Now we do the hunting,” said Dasher.
Serone had no idea what he possibly meant by them now hunting. After all, wasn’t trapping and brutally murdering your subject technically hunting? Serone dreamt of the moment where he would abandon Dasher and immediately seek out therapy and perhaps several strong prescriptions that would make him numb enough to aimlessly wander through life.