“Oh mama don’t walk away, I’m a goddamn sore loser. I ain’t too proud to say,” a gritty and harrowing voice bemoans from the speakers of the van Rob is riding in. He’s tired enough to hear the words through the road noise and commotion, his ears perking to this foreign voice speaking to him. There are few men on this Earth that can paint such a vivid picture of the type of pain Rob Williams knows. He’d only ever really felt it in the words of Hank Sr. Hank Sr. walked so Ray Lamontagne could run.
“Oh mama don’t leave me alone, with my soul shut down so tight just like a stone cold tomb.”
He is weary. Weary from the hunt. Hungry and tired and sad. Mostly sad. He watches the overhead powerhead lines out the window, playing a game he has since a child where he pretends he’s jumping over them as they pass. And he thinks of Charlotte.
“Oh so don’t pay no mind, to my watering eyes. Must be something in the air that I’m breathing. Yes and try to ignore all this blood on the floor. It’s just this heart on my sleeve that’s bleeding”
The “Reborn on the Bayou” event was a bust. While the air was thick with the stench of the False Prophet, he was not there. There were stories of his “congregation”, however. A rolling Televangelist who spreads his sickness across the land, slinging his wares out of an RV. Even if Rob were not filled with the spirit of the Father, this is someone he would loathe.
Rob removes his cell phone from his pocket and dials Charlotte. The signal fades on the radio, forcing the long haired driver to twist the analog dial. Static for ages. Until finally a smooth and inviting voice overtakes the speakers.
“We thank you again for joining us on this Christmas Eve special edition of the Church of the Sacred Bleeding Heart of Jesus. Now we go to our friend, Father Don from His Word and Light Ministries for their His Word and Light Christmas Concert.”
“Can you turn this up?” Rob questions, his throat dry and voice cracking.
“Yeah, Brother!” The long-haired driver plucks in his southern twang.
The driver’s hand reaches up to the archaic FM in-dash radio to twist the volume knob.
From the speakers the televangelist announced continues, “As you may know he has partnered with the Max Kael? Adoption Agency. Without further ado, here are the Wayward Diamonds Illegitimate Children of Daytona Diamonds Children’s Choir performing a rendition of “This Christmas”by Set It Off, in honor of Rob Williams.”
“Behold, I have told you before.” the Father whispers in his ear in a deep hiss.
Rob shoots up in the seat. His strength is renewed.
“Stay vigilant, my child. You are the holy one. The only one who can stop this antichrist.”
The burning ember of Charlotte’s cigarette hisses as she pushes the butt into the ash tray with a chesty cough.
It’s been two weeks since she heard from Rob.
“Merry fucking Christmas,” she says to herself.
This isn’t the life he promised her. Despite his years of drinking and rambling, she envisioned they would settle down eventually. Maybe have a little girl. His beard was red when he was younger so maybe she’d have red hair and green eyes.
With her manicured finger she traced “Lucy” into the glass of wine in front of her.
“Where the hell are you, Rob?”