There’s a bang like lightning cracking off and the trees turn black against a cotton-white flash. There’s a sound of rope going taut with deadweight; hundreds of flies swarming the face of Christ. Rigid toes drag across the top of his head and a low drumbeat sends the sunflower field down on all its faces. Dust burns his eyes—hot ash blown off Papa’s cigarette—and for a moment he sees nothing but the darkness between stars.
There’s a evil out here, cowdog. I know you smelled it. You seen it rippin’ through the milky night and you been wonderin’ how you ‘spose to catch it.
The voice shreds like a dry harmonica and his hands clap against either side of his head. The toes begin to flex and rake through his hair. Brown eyes tear open.
Get yourself a taste of that voodoo power between those nicotine teeth; feel that honey-sweet feelin’ the Devil gives his kids.
A lonesome flame swallows the sunflower field and claws hungrily into the sky, breathes desperate, scalding prayers across his sweaty brow.
Do you believe in God, cowdog?
A rope slides across the front of his chest before snagging beneath his chin, forcing his lower teeth through his tongue. The rope pulls so tight his feet slide free of his boots, falling upward into a Hangman’s sea, and he sees Hell across the sunflower field.
‘Cuz I don’t think He believes in you.
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