June 16, 6:44 am
Exhausted but intoxicated, Sutton Deary came out of his trance atop the Stone in the Stream.
The sun was now fully up and streaming over the Oniqui and Oquirrh Mountains—the two ranges that separated Salt Lake City from The Dugway Army Depot and the vast deserts further to the west. The brilliant sun was even illuminating the tendrils of black smoke rising on the other side of the mountains, like the legs of some writhing Lovecraftian god down below.
The world here was silent. It was hard to believe that the desert could be so quiet, so calm, and so strangely normal, when the very fabric of existence was being torn apart for the people of Brigham Young and Porter Rockwell.
Sutton stepped down from the rock, and instantly collapsed to his hands and knees in the dust of the wash.
The adrenaline rush he had been under had momentarily allowed him to forget that the body he was inhabiting was now very old and very ill, and that he had been standing atop the rock for over eighteen hours without food or water.
And yet, he was content.
In fact, more than content. The great itch that had tormented him for more than a century was finally being scratched, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it. He had set loose his angels, and they would kill, and continue to kill, until there was no one left. Rockwell’s beasts were doomed. They would all feel his vengeance. The sins of the fathers would be heaped upon the sons and daughters—heaped and multiplied, and his wrath would wash this valley clean.
He pictured it: With each new hour that passed, there would be fewer of the villains. In the end, they would all be dead. And of course, that would be the awkward moment, when his angels looked to him to take them all into the ocean of God and grant them all salvation.
When they realized that he had lied, and none of them would be saved, their anger would be monumental.
But of course, he wouldn’t stay to witness that part. He was only keeping this body alive by a force of will. As soon as his work was done, he’d loosen his grip on this flesh and let it slip away. The rot in his guts would carry him over the threshold, and he would merge into the Ocean of God. Alone.
That thought did not terrify him. He would go, knowing that he was leaving behind an army of furious angels who would take out their betrayal on any of the living that ever crossed the border of the Hereafter. Their rage would serve as insurance: an army of the damned, forever guarding this, their master’s most exquisite work.
In time, the living would see this valley as cursed, and refuse to enter it ever again… And then, as he watched from paradise, the wild horses would run free here once more—just as they did generations ago. The wild horses, and his invisible army, would bear witness as the centuries turned the empty buildings of Salt Lake City into rubble, and then into dust.
He nursed his aching body for a few moments until he felt that his strength had returned enough to rise to his feet. The razor sharp pain in his back and the pins and needles that ran down his limbs were an annoyance, but a temporary one.
He had been foolish to worry about Richard Pratt. Foolish to have wasted his time trying to find him or control him. He would simply become one of the damned left in this valley, like all the other ghosts who had not given themselves to his will. He could not prevent the inevitable.
He was a far weaker mind than I had feared, Deary mused, with a smile.
He left the ravine on shaky legs and made his way back to the ward house, where he wolfed down a box of brown sugar Pop Tarts waiting in his Jeep. The desert was eerily quiet, and the road was empty as far as he could see in either direction. Traffic on State Highway 199 was always light, but he’d heard the convoys roll out of Dugway in the middle of the night. The roadblocks would now be in place, as he had known they would be. The vast majority of the military personnel would be gone from the base. At the Ditto, which was the research area of the West Desert Test Facility, there would now only be a few scientists and a handful of security personnel. And the scientists weren’t trained soldiers.
Perfect, he thought.
As he started his Jeep, Sutton Deary smiled. It was all now as inevitable as an avalanche. His angel army no longer needed his direction. All he needed to do now was sit back and wait.
And yet, I am impatient.
There was only one act left to perform. He must still prepare the killing blow.
And for that, he needed help.
He needed the pilot.
He reached out with his mind…
Yes, they are on their way…
The Last Handful of Clover is a supernatural thriller by Wess Mongo Jolley. Thanks for reading! If you are enjoying this story, please consider supporting the author on Patreon.
For more information (including maps of the story’s world and a contact form) visit the author’s website.
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Copyright 2021, Wess Mongo Jolley. All rights reserved.