December 16, 2023
The bus is unusually quiet. I would say that I’m back here alone, beaten and bruised of body, mind, and ego, with only my thoughts, but even they have deserted me in this moment. The members of my congregation are all here on this bus, but none of them will speak to me. I’ve gotten so little as a glance tonight. They expected a victory. They expected a message. I have failed them, I have failed myself, and I have failed His Word and Light.
Would they be wrong to question their faith? Would they be wrong to leave the congregation? Am I a false prophet who has led them astray? I want to believe that their belief in me and His Word and Light is steadfast, unwavering, but when promises start to be broken, they turn into lies and that will steer us all away from His Light. I have to trust in their faith, and mine as well. I thought we had forged an unbreakable bond in service to His Word and Light, but if I’m a subpar blacksmith, well…
She keeps calling, at least once a day. I’m trying not to listen to the voicemails, but impulse always wins out. I haven’t seen her in years, not since I got out of Kellen’s mess. I can only guess showing up on television once again has started making people ask questions. Eventually I’ll have to answer them, but I don’t know if I can go back to her. She’ll try and talk me out of all this again and I just… can’t let that happen. Not again.
They say every cowboy fashions himself the hero of his own story, no matter what terrible deeds they commit. They ride tall into a small western town or camp, six-shooters at the hip, a pristine white ten gallon hat blotting out the midday sun, just looking for a fight. Soon enough, that fight comes. Drunken brawling, a gambling mishap, a general argument. It always comes, the hero always draws fastest, blows the smoke off the end of his pistol and holsters it victoriously.
Even the cowboy at Colossus was able to come out victorious despite himself. He rode in and out of New Orleans on that high, high horse I was so desperately trying to knock him off of. I gave him nearly everything I had and still came up short. I can begrudgingly admit he was the bigger man on the night, but that cowboy is no hero. He’s no hero to his or any story, but it feels like nobody wants to believe that.
I didn’t want to believe what I finally reckoned with. At 39 and 40, I was naive, misled, and tricked. He never had any intention of joining His Word and Light. I should have seen those words ringing hollow the moment they left his whiskey wetted mouth. I should have heard those honeyed lies for what they were. Now I truly understand the task that lies before me.
A famous movie once said “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was proving to the world he didn’t exist.”
We have lived with that lie for a long, long time. Until tonight. Until now. I came face-to-face with Satan and I failed at the first attempt. The battle between Good and Evil is one that will rage endlessly for all time. One in lock-step with the other at all times, the push and pull all for incremental gains. All to prove good can triumph over evil.
I have stared Daytona Diamonds in the eyes, I have seen his crooked Cheshire grin, and I have felt pure evil radiating from the depths of his rotting, blackened soul. If this is the battle He has spoken of, then I am the Warrior of the Light. I will be the aegis that protects His Word and Light from the impending darkness, and I will not be denied again.
The Devil rode out of Colossus with his head held high, the ruiner of all he touches. I guarantee I will find him again. I’ll mount my own horse, put on my black ten gallon hat and chase him across this whole wide world until the bitter end.