Chapter Forty-Six: Justice Part Three

Editor’s Note: It’s important to remember the police force in Vine wasn’t created until the 1970s, and even then was created by an Elder who was a werelion and the sycophant who was covering up for him. 

Below is the history of the Hayes’ murders as best I know how to construct it, in the style of the official Vine Histories. All subjects interviewed by me. 

Chapter 1: The People Of Vine Steel Themselves Against The Threat Of Satan

Now it was in those days that the people of Vine, having for nearly two centuries lived humbly and served God upon consecrated land in the Americas, exercising dominion over the animals, faithfully tending the fertile soil and laying their dead to rest in the lush woods, their Elders dutifully extracting the wealth that the land provided, their Preachers leading their flocks from Sunday to Sunday, their Captains of Industry maximizing profits, their people living humbly and serving God, their Hermits seeking truest knowledge in the recesses of the forest by the side of rivers and in the heights of mountain balds, their witches vanquished and monsters subdued, found themselves under attack from Satan. Being humble, the people of Vine responded with increased regular church attendance and a self-imposed curfew, so as to not fall into temptation in the evil hours of the night. 

Being servants of God, several of the people of Vine formed the Vine Militia, a volunteer neighborhood watch dedicated to stamping out the creeping influence of Satan and assisting law enforcement when necessary. But the farmer who builds a fence to keep deer out of his garden will find rabbits tunneling. 

Chapter 2: Confession

It was slightly before midnight. The Detective pulled into the parking lot. The Preacher, coat collar pulled up against the wind and rain, ran out and got in the passenger seat. The Detective poured two whiskies, and the men sat in the car to drink. 

The Detective spoke, saying: “Here’s what I know: the Devil is everywhere. Satan, he lurks. Your only armor is the strength of Jesus Christ Our Lord and even that is a metaphor. Even here in Vine. Even in this consecrated land. Where once the lion could lie down with the lamb, now we see the snakes. The deceivers. The garden is rotting and the soil is poisoned. Well, not mine. I water my garden. I prune my plants.”

The Preacher spoke, saying: “If thy right hand sin against me, cut it off. For it is better, etc etc. Listen—we’re all trying to get to Heaven.”

Both men would later swear they heard the howling of three wolves: hungry, longing, praising God.

The Detective spoke, saying: “Lemme ask you something, Preacher. These degenerates, these Devil-influenced people—how do you cope, Preacher? I mean, I’m out here all day and night, I seen some shit. I know what goes on in the underbelly of this consecrated land. Today’s kids, the teenagers? They’re not out here murdering people, but they’re not okay. They’re not okay. We got a generation, a whole generation, seeing the world go to shit, seeing—whatever it is they’re out there seeing. And we’re supposed to be responsible stewards of not just the land but the next generation. Humble servants of the Lord. And what’re we seeing?”

The Preacher spoke, saying: “The Devil is cunning. He is the Chief Liar. The Devil will stop at nothing. To corrupt the youth, to destabilize the economy, to hurt old ladies crossing the street. My friend, make no mistake: the Devil is real, and he is ruthless. That is why we look for Salvation on The Cross. That is why we trust in the blessings God has given us.”

For it was known that the outside world was a corrupting force, and yet to trade with the neighboring country was vital.

The Detective spoke, saying: “Lemme ask you something, Preacher: I’ve never had to use my service weapon. Never needed to draw it even, town this small. But one of these Devil-possessed freaks we got today? If I shoot a person possessed by a demon the line of duty? Is that even count as murder? Aren’t we as servants of God meant to eradicate demons?”

The Preacher spoke, saying: “You are in a unique position, Detective. Vine has not needed a police force until recently. Thus as one of law enforcement’s you are uniquely exalted by God. Any actions you carry out in the line of duty therefore cannot be a sin.”

They had long known the Lord protected Vine in a manner similar to the Flaming Sword guarding Eden, but even the Devil found a way into Eden.

The Detective spoke, saying: “Lemme ask you something, Preacher: unwinding after another shall I say solo search party the other night, you know I been all in the woods and brambles, flashlight going this way and that over places I thought I may have missed, and of course it had rained the night before and the world was still damp, I’d taken me a six pack out on my back porch and it must’ve been about 2 a.m., but again I was on my back porch: underneath the deck comes out this possum. Hissing, eyes gleaming, jagged teeth, whole nine yards. And I get to thinking how there could be such an evil creature in the Garden of Eden. Bible doesn’t mention possums, does it? And I had my service weapon. I touched my hip and I thought about it. Man’s supposed to have dominion, right? One more evil creature gone, one more vermin eradicated. But it was 2 a.m., didn’t want to go making a ruckus. Anyway I was thinking if the Bible doesn’t mention possums, does that mean it’s possible for God to create new creatures sent as warnings or punishments? Like we got some things today that Adam and Eve and Solomon and them didn’t have to worry about?”

The Preacher spoke, saying: “Of course we don’t busy ourselves with the nonsense of Darwin, you and I know that. But I believe it possible that God over the years has given the Earth new creatures. Perhaps as warnings, perhaps as omens. There is of course the importance of the heron in the history of Vine. In a place as at risk for evil, though, as targeted by the Devil as we are, we must consider other possibilities. Certainly we must consider Satan and his minions creating monstrous hybrids, ranging from mere crop pests to evil eyes and ears spying on the temptations of the people of Vine. It is not out of the question.”

The men refilled their whiskey glasses, grim in consideration of those who would corrupt God’s beauty.

The Detective spoke, saying: “Lemme ask you something, Preacher: whycome it was ever Vine that got chosen to be consecrated to in first place? Why here? Why us? Why now? And why leave the Devil so much power? Sure seems like Satan’s got a lot of leeway over a holy land.”

The Preacher spoke, saying: “God works in mysterious ways.”

Off from the parking lot was the edge of the woods. From the woods came sounds, and yet the two Sons of Vine could not discern what they were, for their minds were clouded. At one point, the rain cleared, and the men took turns trying to shoot rats with the Detective’s service weapon. Then it began raining again, but neither the Detective nor the Preacher had shot a rat. 

Chapter 3: Editor’s Note

No one was ever convicted for the murder of Jacob and Lucas Hayes.

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