In Rancho Nuevo, nothing is what it seems.

Much time passed, but no one could ever be sure how much, because time was not measured in days, minutes, or hours. It just passed all too slowly. The people of the town, who could never truly leave, had glanced up from time to time at the hill that overlooked Rancho Nuevo. A lot of time had passed since they first noticed the angel hanging from the cross, looking down upon them with diamonds in her eyes. The red riders, who used their ability to stir great fear to enforce blind obedience, had crucified the angel. She had fallen to Rancho Nuevo from somewhere less hostile to the spirit of the soul. This was her punishment for doing so. Angels were not allowed in Rancho Nuevo. It was part of the great unwritten laws.

As more time passed, the people of Rancho Nuevo began to ask the question. How could an angel be consigned to this fate? While the people of Rancho Nuevo were forced to submit to an eternal existence in purgatory, the crimes of the angels were never punished in this way. Other angels had come and gone once confronted with the nature of the great unwritten laws. This angel seemed fated to remain forever.

"They will come."

The bartender at the Blackjack Saloon muttered the phrase regularly. Those who functioned at the saloon, submitting to whatever existence they were consigned to, never had to question what he meant. He always looked up towards the hill where the angel hung when he spoke those three words. It would not be long before the angels arrived to see about their sister. No one dared to visit such a fate upon an angel, for the angels were all too dangerous when forced to defend themselves.

The passage of time in eternity
changes the very meaning of patience.

A stalemate is only useful when you are without ambition. Some ambition is very dangerous. Sometimes there is a delicate balance that must be maintained. The angels permitted Rancho Nuevo because it was necessary for reasons they chose not to acknowledge. Individual angels were known to sometimes have ambition, but when they flew together on a wing they were without. The red riders were the same way. Until now. They wanted this confrontation and were tormented by the slow passage of time. They desired to change the nature of their existence and could only do so by ending the stalemate.

The humiliation of angels
also went against the great unwritten law

One of the primary responsibilities of the angels was to guide souls. Those that went without any guidance or were controlled by their darker urges and ambitions were consigned to places like Rancho Nuevo. In a way, the red riders and their masters depended on the failings of the angels. The angels looked upon the ability of souls to avoid selfish and destructive goals. Rancho Nuevo depended on them not avoiding such ambitions and goals. The people of Rancho Nuevo had eternity to reflect on their choices and what those choices did to the very nature of their souls. This was a greater pain than any torment inflicted upon them within the confines of this tragic town.

"They are here."

It was hard to tell if the bartender at the Blackjack Saloon was pleased by his realization. He was able to see things that were transpiring. His senses were heightened by the healing of his soul. Much that he had done over many lifetimes was beginning to be understood within his soul, and he was growing from the experience. He had been here almost since the beginning of eternity. Four angel wings had landed at the outskirts of town. The bartender knew who and what they were. The Sixth Angel Wing of Uziel was the first to land. They were known to prefer quick action and certain resolutions. When they were dispatched, no one failed to take notice.

"An angel wing based on a mythological name.
They don't take prisoners.
Then again, angels never do."

An angel stood on every street corner of Rancho Nuevo and they all looked up at their sister, hanging on a cross overlooking the town. Their eyes never left her. The people of Rancho Nuevo fell to their knees, but the angels demanded that they stand and remember who they could become. Once they stood, the sound of horse hooves pounding the ground of the empty wasteland became louder than the sound of thunder. One angel, who flew on the First Angel Wing of The Poet, walked into the Blackjack Saloon and accepted the drink he was offered.

"Salvation only comes from within.
Let me drink until I am filled."

Chaos came. The streets were empty, aside from bodies piled as high as the eye could see. The merger of two separate but dependant realities could produce nothing else. When it was over, only three remained alive. The bartender at the Blackjack Saloon, the angel who accepted his drink, and the angel who hung on the cross overlooking the hill. She hangs there still.

The Rancho Nuevo Series:

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