Inspired by lyrics as written by Jim Morrison
and performed by The Doors
Extrapolated upon by my unworthy ass
Rancho Nuevo style.
He entered the town sideways because they would not otherwise permit his admission. The town of Rancho Nuevo was closed to those with wings, and those that dared to defy the rules were hunted. Everyone was supposed to abide by the rules. He could not comply. There was something to be done. There was someone to be liberated. It was for their own good as well as for hers. Properly motivated she would bring Rancho Nuevo to its knees.
The streets were empty. They were lined with burning fifty-five gallon oil drums that offered a sacrifice to those forces who looked down upon the town. For him they were not all that unlike landing lights on a distant airfield. When he landed he encountered no opposition. This was not the way of things. In Rancho Nuevo there was a welcoming committee, but it was always your move first. Home field advantage was strong enough that no one needed to make an opening statement.
"You risk too much coming here, you know," said a voice from the shadows.
"To exist without risk is to damn yourself to the judgment of the overseer. I make my own path."
"It can only end one way."
"It can end many ways, but it is more likely not to end at all. Thank you for your sentiments."
There was a broken house at the end of the road. It was one of the places where Rancho Nuevo's terrified majority hid in darkness. There were many hiding places throughout the town, but this house drew him in. He felt the aura of unfulfilled promises and his heart grew heavy. His wings were stashed away in the light that could not be seen in the permanent dusk of Rancho Nuevo. He entered the house without fear.
"Who are you?"
"I am who I have always been."
"What do you want?"
"I want what I have always wanted."
The huddled and terrified masses overwhelmed him with their collective pain. They dreaded their sentence and dreamed of escape. Not one amongst them knew the way outside. There was no way outside unless you lived without fear and without reservations. You could escape. In legends it had been done, but at a great cost. Few were willing to pay those costs. To come so close to bankrupting the soul was something that could burn you too close to the core.
"I think it's time to find a way outside."
There was a collective shudder. Forces were at work in Rancho Nuevo to destroy the spirit and reduce the individual to their most base level. It was the way of things. The faces that stared at him out of the darkness were drowning in fear. They had no faith left in them. He did not have to hide his wings. They would not have seen them anyway.
"No one here gets out alive," mumbled a quiet force on the edge of nothingness.
"No one here came in alive."
He left them for the moment, feeling her presence there but pretending he did not know. He had come for her, but there was much more that had to be done. There were forces to confront and situations to embrace. He watched a wild stallion ride across the road and burst into fire. It was a warning but he gave it no mind. They could only destroy him here by feeding his fears and giving them life. An image appeared in the road. It was the image of his beloved, but he knew better than to believe it was anything more than an image. He walked through it and drained its energy. Even he who wears wings can make use of dark energy when the need arises.
"How about letting me buy you a drink, cowboy?" A woman in a long, ragged red dress on the front porch of the Blackjack Saloon asked him the question with a tired smile. Her lipstick was smeared and her makeup was melting almost as quickly as her face. She held a dying flower in her left hand, displaying her lost innocence for all to see. It was part of her sentence here.
The stranger nodded and followed her into the saloon. Behind the bar, the bartender shook his head before pouring a double shot of tequila for the stranger with wings.
"You don't belong here," the bartender told him.
"I don't belong anywhere." He drank the double shot in one breath and tossed the glass back to the bartender for a refill. The bartender was only too happy to oblige.
"No one here gets out alive. Your wings mean nothing in Rancho Nuevo."
"It may take me an eternity, but I'll get what I came for."
A curtain at the back of the saloon was pushed aside. The stillness of the room was broken by the presence of the one who controlled the very nature of all things in Rancho Nuevo. He wore the only tailored suit in town and nothing was out of place. The newcomer recognized his weakness as vanity. Everyone knew that, but no one knew how to take advantage of it.
"I appreciate the selfish acts of those who wear wings. It helps them to advance beyond my waiting rooms and into my kingdom."
"Such things are open to interpretation. You only control what you believe you control."
"I've always controlled more than that, my winged friend."
"I'm hunted on both sides of the board. I fly alone. Your vanity is fed by your need."
"Fallen angels never really recover and they never really fly again."
"I've never needed to fly."
"Neither have I. Your next drink is on me. Convince me to give you what you came for."
"I don't need to. I will take it regardless."
"Are you sure the enemy of your friend is your enemy as well?"
"I am sure of very little and I chose my friends carefully."
The newcomer downed another double shot of tequila and swallowed the glass. Two women came out from behind the curtain and dropped their satin robes to reveal perfectly formed naked bodies. The newcomer was not distracted.
"Ride on my wing. I will give you back your true wings, for they have always been the same as my own."
"Nothing is the same. I would never preside over such a town as this. It would never give me pleasure."
"I've never wanted pleasure. You should know that."
"You know who I am. I need not explain why I can undo everything you have done here."
"The angel of defiance has no measure of authority here. No one here is capable of defying anything. They are the weakest of the weak and that is why they are forever trapped in Rancho Nuevo."
"No one has ever inspired them before."
"And no one ever will. I grant you what you came for and you will find the door you came in through still open. I trust you will take advantage of my kindness."
The one who controlled Rancho Nuevo left the room and the newcomer was given another glass of tequila. He sipped it quietly and smiled at the bartender.
"Quite a statement coming from someone who doesn't understand trust or kindness, eh, barkeep?"
The bartender handed the newcomer a time card. It was promptly torn in half and given to the floor. The tequila was finished and the newcomer headed back out into the road. Time was running short and there was another meeting he needed to attend. Three red riders appeared in the street. They were on foot rather than on horseback. The newcomer knew they were too smart to bring their horses here. Without speaking a word they led the newcomer into an alley. There was an old burned out Buick in the alley that was only scheduled to be around for the afternoon. The newcomer knew what to do. He got into the front passenger seat while the three riders took their positions. One sat behind the wheel while the other two sat in the back. The newcomer smiled, knowing this was meant to mislead him about who the leader was. The red riders protected themselves with deception. It was likely that none of them was really there.
"You gamble too much to be effective," accused the rider behind the wheel.
"I don't gamble enough. What do you have for me?"
"As always, an offer you cannot refuse."
"I've refused many such offers."
"This one you will not refuse."
"Rancho Nuevo is part of the delicate balance of things. The complexity of the balance is something only the overseer understands. Take only what you came for and you will be granted peace in your war with the seraphim."
"Maybe I came for more than you think I came for."
"Only what you told the overseer you were coming for. Take the girl. She can still be redeemed in the eyes of the overseer."
"That doesn't tell me much. Everyone can be redeemed in the eyes of the overseer. You are talking in circles. Why shouldn't I take Rancho Nuevo while I am here?"
"This morning was a very long time ago. The day you are living is lasting an eternity."
"You know, when I woke up this morning I got myself a beer and then I opened the blinds and welcomed this day. I don't make deals with anyone."
"We will destroy you if you do not comply."
"I wouldn't be so sure of that," the one with hidden wings told them with a grin. He stepped out of the car and walked off while they watched. It took only a moment, but moments can be much longer when mapped on a landscape of eternity. The dragon swooped down and picked up the Buick. It was crushed between his mighty claws and dropped onto the roof of the Blackjack Saloon. By his command the building exploded through a series of explosions and was then consumed by flames. It wasn't the first time this had happened and it would not be the last. Nothing is destroyed for long in Rancho Nuevo.
"You're all getting much too old to play this game the way I run it now," smirked the stranger before openly revealing his wings and flying off into the distance.
Something happened to the spirit of Rancho Nuevo after his departure. The annals of town history tell many tales, but to this day no one is sure what the stranger really came for. The spirit was envigorated and the people rose up in opposition to those who held them down, controlled them, and crushed them regularly. The superior numbers of the powerless overtook the smaller numbers of those who maintained control and a new mayor took control of the town.
Meet the new boss.
Same as the old boss.
No one ever saw the stranger's beloved in Rancho Nuevo again.
This is how an insane prophet writes a parable.
The Rancho Nuevo Series: