Dark as a Dungeon

The Gospel According to Willard (1)

Arrival

The Lord has guided me to walk in the wilderness and tests me daily, so as to purify my soul and strengthen my faith. He suffers fools and wicked men unto me, and it is not mine to question his reason but to do his bidding.

My Employer stinks of cabbage and ghostrock.

“Idlehands are the devil’s tools”, the Good Book says, so I have taken employment with a strange and incomprehensible kraut mining engineer, whose name is difficult to remember for its tedious length. He has brought us to a mining town called Melody, Colorado. By He, I mean our Lord. The German himself is short of funds and so I have paid my own way here.

Melody, Colorado

The town carries the stink of a modern Sodom or Gomorrah, like all those other towns I’ve been. These must be the End of Days. How else is a body to explain the strange things that come to pass daily in this world?

The doctor is unable to furnish me with lodgings, but elects opulent quarters for himself. The genius is unable to locate the town’s mining office, so I have serious doubt that I will find myself long in his employ. A porter directs us to the mining office where the German discusses matters of business that are beyond me. He has his trade and his purpose and I serve mine.

Newsman

We are followed by a young tinhorn looking to be a newspaperman, who makes fast friends of the doctor and invites himself to bed with the doctor. He says that he is committed to printing the truth, but does not carry a Bible and seems more concerned with gossip.

The Widow Zimmerman’s Misfortune

Most significantly, we encounter a half-celestial widow outside the mining office whose husband has apparently been a victim of necromancy. The widow believes the Hemmer’s Toll Mining Company is to blame for her husband’s death and rebirth. She set her husband’s body to rest herself, which speaks well of her character. She spoke blasphemy, however, so I rebuked her as Your Word bids me.

The dandy Beauregard

Her consort was a silver-tongued dandy, who calls himself Beauregard. His hands were soft and uncalloused, so I know he’s no honest man. His words and actions demonstrate that Mammon is his master. Avarice is a deadly sin and he shall reap what he sows.

The drunkard

They have among them a feller called Roscoe, who has debased himself with drink in public and in the company of a lady, albeit a half-celestial one. His manners are coarse and he reminds me of those vile patrons of the Black Rose back home. He appears to be a gunman by trade, which could either redeem or damn him. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. When Roscoe meets his end, his soul will be laid bare before Your judgment, like all the others.

Our First Expedition to the 7G Mine

We ally ourselves and travel to the 7G mine where the Widow Zimmerman’s husband worked, before his becoming walking dead. The mine has been closed by the mining company and boarded up. Evidence inside confirms it is not for reason of it not being a going concern, so surely it must be a more sinister purpose. We explore that evening, eluding prairie ticks on the travel there. Inside the mine, the German repairs an infernal engine that lowers us down the mine and we explore several tunnels. We encounter nothing, but the German carves ghost rock out of the walls and presents me with some, as payment for my services. For all his flaws, he may be honest in matters of employment.

Preparations and Visiting a False Prophet

The next day, some have appointments and I take the drunkard trading in town. We buy equipment and sundries to further explore the mine, including barbed wire, spikes and nails, hammers, tin snips and a dog whistle. Roscoe buys shovels and other digging gear.

I pay a visit to a local church. There are no Baptists in town, so I settle for a Methodist one. The ghost rock I place in the poor box in hopes it will be used to tend your flock. Later that day, I visit the church and meet an unimpressive church mouse of a preacher. His manner is too content. Where is his righteous zeal? Necromancy at work in his congregation and he lacks holy outrage. Like so many other men of the cloth, he does not seem truly moved by the Spirit. So, I rebuke this false prophet as Your Word bids me.

Dust to Dust

Roscoe the drunkard and I collect the others and make our way via a wagon the Widow has procured from a neighbor. We make our way out to revisit the mine, and during daylight we encounter two undead miners who accost us. Your rod and staff comfort me as we walk through the valley of death. So, I fear no evil, but instead dispatch one of the zombies with a bullet guided by Your hand. To his credit, Roscoe does the same with his Lemat. The rest of our journey passes without event.

Second Expedition to the Mine

At the mine we explore until we focus on a collapsed section of the mine. Honest toil, peppered with avaricious doddling, and the passage is cleared. We hear an infernal drilling machine and follow its path, sound, and terrible-smelling exhaust. The machine smells of sulfur, like hell itself. It crosses the path of a mine whose mining cars operate along a rail unguided by man or beast and it is an unnerving sight.

My companions and I brace ourselves for more unholy mechanical terror and forge on deeper into the depths of this wretched place. Some to enrich themselves, but I to send You souls for judgment. Mercy is mine, sayeth the Lord. So, mercy I leave to the Lord.

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