Chapter 19: The Land Without Footprints: Shadows Amongst Shadows

Posted: September 15, 2013 in Novel: The Land Without Footprints
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19 – Father Tillicum

On the left and right, sixteen priests sat in comfy chairs. Eight fools to the left. Eight fools to the right. Seated at the center of them all was, for once, Father Tillicum tightening his cassock. It was nice to look out from the head of the council rather than to be staring at it. The enclosure now seemed twice the size it had been when Father Panis led.

“A group of anthropologists discovered one of the spaceships from Earth.” Father Welcome shifted the spectacles on his face, rolled up the parchment of human skin.

“And what did they find inside?” Father Tillicum did his best to shift his testicles without notice.

Sometimes he imagined what it would’ve been like not to have them. And then he tried to forget the thought all together. Castration would make his life safer but it would also make him impotent. Besides, he wasn’t sure if he could survive without boys. That release of hardness was his greatest thrill. Of course he enjoyed the good it did the youth as well. Of course.

There was no better sexual union than between a man and a boy. The Greeks, especially Aristophanes and Socrates, understood the importance of such relationships; they’d both gone as far as granting the highest value to male-male copulation. And who argued against Greek knowledge? After all, they were founders of philosophy.

Father Welcome passed the parchment along to Father Nocum and Father Nocum to Father Willkomm. Each priest read and passed with no more than a mumble of “Oh”.

“What did they find inside?” Father Tillicum asked again, and he pounded the arm of his chair to emphasize how he expected an answer.

“A warehouse of pornography,” Father Welcome said, tucking his other set of eyes into his pocket. “Mostly filled with visual books and movies. But what are movies to us now? We haven’t the means to watch them. Obviously the books are the only artifacts of any value.”

“More books,” some long-nosed priest said. “Is that all that is left of our ancestral home?”

“Art is all that history leaves.” Father Logrip crossed his legs. “Perhaps we should give more money to artists so we aren’t lost in time. People will always need books.”

“Keep the artists starving,” Father Income said. “No good work has come from a well-fed writer or musician. Hunger keeps them hungry.”

“Enough of this small talk,” Father Tillicum said when finally the parchment reached his hands.

“No talk is small,” Father Income said.

Everyone should’ve taken note of his tone. But which priests actually did?

Quickly quick, Father Tillicum read. “Over 500 years of Playboy.” Now Father Tillicum was intrigued. “Do we have any actual physical material or just words?”

Father Welcome clapped his hands, and as soon as he did, a handful of handsome altar boys entered by the main doors. “I’ve done my duty and looked over the findings.” Of course he had. Father Tillicum wondered what the man had already kept for himself. “I don’t know why they call it Playboy,” he added, as a slender boy placed a copy of the visual book in Father Tillicum’s hands. “I’ve yet to find a single boy on any of the pages.”

Father  Tillicum  flipped  through  the  pages.  The  book  contained nothing but nude Earth women that looked so unflawed that it was hard to tell if they were, in fact, women at all. He’d seen enough female breasts to recognize the difference between a creation of technology and of God. How could one achieve arousal by staring at inorganic material?

“A man attracted to females couldn’t even appreciate this.” So he didn’t vomit, he clenched his jaw. “Take it away.” He handed the book back to the boy. “Did these anthropologists send anything worth our time?”

Another altar boy handed him an instrument shaped like a phallus. All the priests released their laughter. Not a single one remained quiet.

“Does it come with instructions?” one priest asked. Since he held no power his name was unnecessary.

“What does one do with this?” Father Tillicum shook the foreign object. “It is called a dildo,” Father Welcome said.

“I’ve read about these strange toys before,” Father Logrip said. “Shakespeare wrote of them in his famous play A Winter’s Tale. They have been around since the dawn of recorded history. They’ve helped many women control their urges.”

Father Tillicum was appalled. A toy such as this could rid Masago of virgins. Where would he find virgins for the Mystic then—across the sea? “I want all of these toys brought here. Kill everyone that knows of their existence.”

“The history of the dildo cannot be questioned,” Father Welcome said, coming out of his seat, “but the people of Masago have already developed many other uses for it.” He snatched the toy from Father Tillicum’s hand. “Allow me to demonstrate.”

Slowly slow, the priest inserted the fake penis deep into his mouth. When he put it in as far as possible, he quickly quick removed it alongside of his meals. Vomit covered floors. Many noses were pinched in horror.

Father Welcome wiped his mouth. “The dildo can be used to incite regurgitation,” he said. “A magnificent remedy it is in case of a poisoning.” Father  Tillicum  snatched  the  dildo  back.  “I’ll  keep  this  in  my trustworthy   hands.   We   don’t   want   just   anybody   surviving an assassination.”

*  *  *

“Then it is decided. In our church, relationships between a man and a boy will be held in the highest of value amongst sexual unions since they promote, as the Greeks say, leadership and virtue. The union between a man and woman will be second for its inclination toward procreation. And unions between women and women will be, well, they will be for pleasure. Such a vile word for us men of God.”

All the priests chuckled, some snorted.

“Most vile,” someone said quietly quiet, but not quiet enough as to not be heard.

With a hand Father Tillicum silenced the crowd. “Now, for the next order of business, as we always say. We’ll vote on the possibility of using Cassandra Dagen’s womb to create the Mystic’s new heir and wife. Please, by a show of hands?”

Eight hands went up and eight stayed down. Perhaps this was where Father Panis and Ferret could’ve been used to break the tie. Such a shame they had died, Father Tillicum thought.

He tightened his cassock. “Father Income, explain what you want.”

“I already have what I want,” Father Income said, and he smiled. Not one bit did Father Tillicum like the answer or the smile. No, that smile looked like it would last forever. “In the breeding process, a Dagen will always overtake a Jormungand. A Dagen’s hair is too dark; their eyes are too blue.”

“This is truly true,” a silly priest said. Unbeknownst to him, he’d be dead tomorrow for agreeing. Father Tillicum would make sure of it. “We have to think of odds. If the child doesn’t look like a Jormungand we’re all ruined.”

Yes, Father Tillicum would kill that silly priest twice. “Then what is the vote now?”

It was unanimous. Not a single hand rose in his favor.

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