Your epic is like walking through a forest. There are times when, looking up, you hope you can see sunlight, but are witness to darkness. Each burst of light is fully absorbed when it breaks through the treetops. Lines like the silver lining, about the wind whipping up her skirt, to inspire Blue to dance—those are bursts of light

As brutal as the truth is, Blue is the good result of bad storms.  The facts are not the sum of who you, or Blue, is about.  Blue’s Salvation, who I’ve told you from the start is you, is contained by the same shell you have developed over the years: that certainty of desertion.  There is a Lily.  Please be patient.

Blue makes waves. He finds what is good, lets it go; and then proceeds to seek what isn’t, like water breaking to the surface—only to dive back in, sometimes deeper than the first time. Through this, you add a depth in your writing of him, yet there’s a particular shade of this depth that perhaps he cannot recognize. Yet, like you have, in the conquering of it, he will find his salvation.

Blue is intelligent, cunning, and tells himself that money is everything.   He loves his momma, and checks every heart in hopes to find one like hers, but discovers only shadows. He has a waking horror in him that whispers that are no more angels left in the world; and maintains the strong belief that earth is hell.  He is a cowboy and doesn’t need anyone, anyway.

As he keeps searching, he grows tired.  Blue would find relief if he realized it’s okay to love and need someone. There are passages in Blue where you write of the body—the ribs, the bones, etc. I feel this is where he feels the actual exhaustion, but I think he denies that it goes deeper than this.

Despite what Blue has done, he has done it all to survive. The noble deed is often not the most gentle, yet gentleness is needed by the noble heart to do what needs to be done. Being optimistic me, I love the moments when he radiates with a breaking-through-the-treetop light. Every time, I want to say, “See? Things aren’t as bad as you make them out to be, Blue.” Yet, I don’t say, because Blue can’t respond back—but maybe you can make him, eh?

  • Holly Holt, first editor

And I looked, and behold a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death. Hades followed him. And they were given authority over the earth, to kill with sword and with famine, and with pestilence by wild beasts of the earth.

Revelation 6:8

“You feel better, boy?” Father Hammer held Blue by the shoulder.

“I’m hungry.” Blue whispered.

“We will eat when we’re done, honey!” Lily laughed licking tequila off her fingertips.

“I cannot bring back what is damned.” Father Hammer said.

“Father, where this ends you cannot follow.  My vow won’t be your gallows.  The Lord allows us to slaughter the sons and daughters Rice resurrected.  We are the dark work angels can’t be expected to finish.”

“Let it go.  You want revenge on love.  We live forever because the Lord won’t let us in, and Old Scratch was told you sold your soul.”  Father Hammer murmured.

The remnants of a front door is now scattered across a stash-house floor.

All this blood is born from chaos created by Blue Crawford’s crew.

Windows are empty, sucking mouths. The dozen dead are due

to the bad shots of desperate men. It is said that the cowboy is new

and can’t be killed.

 

Those who still escaped: Mabel, Rice and Azazel, were not able

to put down the furious four from Georgia.  Blue believes in forgiveness

the more he witnesses evil evicted from his South.

Soulless, Cowboy Blue Crawford stands smoking.

 

The wretches that rolled in with Rice fell before Father Hammer

had use for his cannons. Lily and Sword & Shadow

brought back Old Testament effectiveness in the first fifteen seconds.

 

Impressive you two archangels.

Blue sees this rage of his as an art above any other. He is a monument standing.

His motion, the music, the machinations Lily made within his muscle

responsible for the crucifixion of Miss Dixie’s affection.

Lily’s heart is his charge.

 

You see:

The four found this forty year war

more fun than peril.

For them,

night ends well.

 

Blue Crawford allows two wolves, and a witch, to commit murders,

but denies them any mortal sins heaven decries.

Blue Crawford bears that burden. He wears the inevitable end

under his nails like filth hard-earned.

His actions are from a premonition

that plans for misfortune, sans the guilt.

 

At half past six on this Louisiana afternoon, drug dealers

were dealt a hot box of bullets.

Death, dismemberment, and sacrament are sealed shut by did-in

bad business. The trophies and hides are divided not in gold,

but nickels, quarters, and dimes.

 

Blue saves the change of maligned henchmen

in a back pocket bound for an offering plate, while Lily

doesn’t consider the church her shawl of chains.

Instead, like Father Hammer her share is spent on Maker’s Mark.

They left the bartender above ground to tell the tide coming

behind them that Blue would be back

for their lack of bravery.

 

Then you see pounds of flesh flung far from the original melee,

you’ll be a man sure this lurid hymn is hewn from heaven’s brimstone hail.

A nail from the original sin and crucifixion affixes Blue’s

best memories to a moral obligation

for vacation away from Malbolge.

 

Two men, lupine in loyalty, unconditionally kind;

the two who shoot, and cut, and strangle from every angle

in every, single room are rowdy kin from a land of ash.

Father Hammer stepped down from the pulpit, and Blue knows his friend

is also his missing father.

 

That being said, don’t doubt that Death has heroes,

and Hades, each more dangerous day,

has a house howling louder. Blue and his crew are respected

by the demons in these ranks, but Hell isn’t a cowboy’s

first calling. Heaven has not held either. Purgatory is the only oasis

in the afterlife that makes any sense.

 

A groan of the few not to go, then there is silence. Errant shot,

Lily lashes in, hard. The lot with coin and contraband, all of them end.

Not our kin, cool reader, no, not from among the Four.

Their fierce ethical fiber clings because the alternative

is annihilation.

 

Blue, the other gentlemen, and Lily, precious Lily, (she guts more than

her three balladeers). The four are family full of fire and attrition.

Their prayers are kept in a cloth now clean

but bloody rags.

 

The last sound is a sword, slow-sheathed. Only the lonely still breathe,

silence in street, a goat bleats and bleeds, an occult

act of business-keeping concluded. But, that sound, the blade back in, a slow shhhhhhhhhhhh-snick……

It clicks closed beneath his thumb, and all four go from being bulletproof

to bemused and numb.

 

Father Hammer:

Where the wicked rot is here.

Their corpses are cancerous.

Do not clean the blood spilled.

Leave this cemetery cherry-sin.

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