Robert Thornhill
Lady Justice And The Avenging Angels


Lady Justice and the Avenging Angels


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In the hills of the Missouri Ozarks, a religious fanatic, believing he has been commissioned by God to strike terror into the hearts of carnal sinners, rallies his followers to embark on a terror-filled rampage into the heart of Kansas City.

Walt must rely on his skill and experience of sixty-eight years to battle the fire and brimstone of the Avenging Angels.






    The last rays of the setting sun shone through the massive oaks of the Ozark hills and cast long shadows on the grassy field that had been carved from the dense forest. Locusts buzzed in the treetops, and the shadow of a great horned owl beginning his evening hunt drifted through the trees. Nearby, mist was rising from the Osage River that wound its way through Missouri’s St. Clair County past the little villages of Monegaw Springs, Roscoe, and on to Osceola.
    In an old barn built at the turn of the century, a group of men began to gather.
    A brown haze hung in the air from the dust of the old gravel road, stirred up by the tires of a dozen pickup trucks, each with a rifle mounted in the cab.
    The men were of hardy stock, well muscled from hard labor, and their skin was parched and tanned from long hours laboring in the sun. They drifted into the old barn and found seats on bales of straw, awaiting the arrival of John Blackwell. They talked with one another about their crops, their cattle, or the big catfish they had pulled from the river, but the room fell silent when John Blackwell strode into the room.
    Blackwell was the kind of man that commanded respect, a natural born leader. He stood six feet, four inches, and his two hundred-and-fifty-pound body filled his Big Smith bib overalls. His once-black hair was now streaked with silver and hung to his shoulders. But it was his eyes that caused men his size and bigger to cower in his presence. They were almost iridescent blue, as hard as steel, and as cold as the ice that covered the ponds on a January morning.
    He stood in the old barn and surveyed the men who were seated in front of him. As he stared into the eyes of each man in turn, he seemed to be peering into the depths of their souls and held their gaze until they turned away.
    Finally, he spoke. “My friends and brothers, I have called you here because we are men of like mind. Like our forefathers, we have worked this land and raised our families in these beautiful hills.”
    He turned to the man on his right. “Levi, you are fourth generation on your family farm. Your great-grandfather claimed his land from the red savages and fought to drive them away.”
    He looked at the man on his left. “Jacob, your grandfather fought the bloody Jayhawkers who burned Osceola and helped rebuild the town after the civil war.
    “Each of you are God-fearing men, and your heritage is to protect and defend that which is right and good.”
    He stood to his full height, and his ice-blue eyes seemed to glow in the shadows of the old barn. “Each of you knows that we are in the last days as prophesied in the Bible. There are wars and rumors of wars. There is a scourge among us. We are the chosen ones, and yet we are surrounded by and outnumbered by idolaters, whoremongers, money changers, homosexuals, and people of inferior races.
    “Even as God called upon his chosen in ages past to cleanse the earth of these abominations, He is calling us here, today, to take up his sword of righteousness and smite the unholy.”
    A murmur of affirmation spread among the men, and they nodded in agreement.
    Blackwell pulled an old Bible from his pocket and read, “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain and all the inhabitants of the cities and that which grew upon the ground.”
    He looked at the men seated around him. “It is fire and brimstone that shall consume the heathen, and the Lord has delivered these tools of destruction to us.”
    He turned to a man in his mid-fifties. “Micah, the Lord has seen fit to give your family a farm of four hundred acres. Such a farm requires much fertilizer. Do you have it?”
    “Sure do,” he replied. “I got nearly sixty bags of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in my barn.”
    “Excellent, and how about you, Luke? Do you have the proper fuel for that drag racer of yours?”
    “Yep, there’s a fifty-five-gallon drum of nitro methane in my garage.”
    “Perfect. Jerrod, how is your new job at the rock quarry?”
    “I love it, and I come across a crate of Tovex sausages that no one is using.”
    John Blackwell smiled. “The Lord has delivered not only the means of destruction but the sinners as well.”
    He opened his Bible again. “Thou shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination. If a man lieth with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death: their blood shall be upon them.
    “Next weekend is the Gay Pride Parade in Kansas City. We will be there as instruments of the Lord.”
    He opened his Bible again. “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, and shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels.”
    He looked at the men now standing, with arms raised above their heads. “You and I, my friends, are the avenging angels of the Lord.”