Trampled Under Foot

Satan fell like “lightning from heaven.” Many believed this explanation for how Altus Bonum manipulated guitar strings with otherworldly energies invoking images of Robert Johnson’s Crossroads. He wrote lyrics debated like those of The Lizard King and said his name arrived nocturnally. He also stated “as said before, ‘many will hear but not understand.'”

Rumors persisted Altus was a mirrored acronym for Satanists United to Trample as Lucifer’s Angels. People who played his music backward at chimerical speeds reported hearing perversities spewed from deep space. Those same people saw anarchy, a pitchfork, and the Kundalini Serpent in his autographs while others saw an ichthys, a cross, and a three.

Beneath a falling star, witnesses outside a club heard Bonum thunderously proclaim, “Light falls again to bless my unworthy presence.” Bonum dropped to his knees and appeared to sleep where 23rd intersected Stephen before six sleeveless men crushed his skull with bricks. Seven people independently reported hearing doves cry while a man named Tracy swore he saw snowflakes on a warm night in April.



(Body of story: 173 words)

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, Week of 03-01-2016, hosted by Priceless Joy



13 thoughts on “Trampled Under Foot

  1. This is one unusual guy but sounds like he was a great musician! I’m still not sure if he is the devil or some kind of God. Snowflakes on a warm day in April and doves make me think he was full of good and not Satan. Wow, what a great story!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! This story was fun to write, although I admit there were a few moments the air around me felt uncomfortably charged.

      If we’re brave enough not to recoil in absence of any buffer in the still hours, we see there is undoubtedly at least a bit of both the devilish and divine in all of us. We’re free to do with one or both or neither as we please. That is the exhilarating yet terrifying human condition.

      You mentioned two out of three references to Prince in the last sentence. Basically everything from the title to the very last word (and even the word count) is a tribute to musical genius, the Protomartyr (first Christian martyr) Stephen, or a reference to the often erroneous interpretation of Christian and Satanic symbols/numerology. I’d been doing some research on demons and angels for one of two “next” novels I’m writing. It’s not the best plan, but I’m still torn between the two. :/

      In the story, Bonum could be any number of things but people contend he is either outrageously blessed or has sold his soul because they can’t imagine someone being so gifted—a talent sui generis (or in a class of his own). I’m sad to say I’ve witnessed it to a lesser degree. When a guy excels in the gym, people often accuse him of using steroids. When an academic writes a paradigm-shifting paper, she faces the perils of speculation of plagiarism or some other malfeasance. If a person does both, some people assume he must have sold his soul. We’re wise to follow the observation of Voltaire, regardless of how conflicted he might have been on an number of issues: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

      Little things like Bonum’s name and the clues you mentioned point to my desires for the source of talent. But that doesn’t change certain other conditions in the story and “real-world” truths. It’s safe to say this is a tale of unrivaled talent meeting envy, speculation, and mass hysteria… as well as a rise and fall of contrasting energy sources like those embodied by both the music and lyrics of Fuel’s “Jesus with a Gun.” It’s also a tale of how the things we can imagine, conceptualize, and visualize are absolutely within the realm of possibility.

      It’s a little modern allegory based on a theme as ancient as the first book of the Bible. I tried to refrain from explaining too much. A crossword hint is one thing, but filling in nine of ten letters is quite another. Nonetheless, I’ll be more than happy to explain or elaborate on anything. The stupidest questions are the ones we fail to ask and never get answered, right?

      “But I’ll rip the sky from the ground
      Tell me now, who’s my saving one
      Jesus or a gun…”

      from “Jesus Or A Gun” – Fuel

      …as if the Sun had inexplicably found a way to offer extraction from the event horizon of a black hole, life stares and hangs by the thread of a moment’s decision.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will agree that there are both the divine and the not so divine inside all of us and hopefully we align ourselves more with that good part of us. I believe you are right. People accuse great athletes of using steroids and people with great talent as having “made a deal with the devil.” I think that is because of the ignorance of those people. (However, some of them may be right, especially about the steroids). I found the divine and the not so divine woven into your story but it seemed to me, at the end, the divine won the battle. Your story had great imagery, made the reader think, and had a terrific ending!


      2. Thank you! I think ignorance is the most common culprit. Some people are helplessly ignorant. Some are willfully ignorant. There’s a big difference in being dumb and stupid.

        Your use of the word “align” is interesting and compelling because it has so many connotations, the most important arguably being that we do indeed choose how to align ourselves. Like the Pink Floyd song, “One Slip” suggests, a moment can determine circumstance but it does not necessarily determine the person.

        As John Bradford said, while watching criminals being led to their execution, “But for the grace of God there goes John Bradford.” Many years later, Bradford was burned at the stake during the reign of Queen “Bloody” Mary for criticizing the Crown’s rejection of God and sharing the principles of forgiveness, love, and Grace through the redemptive story of the Gospel. During his last moments of life, he not only sought forgiveness for his own shortcomings but for those of his persecutors. Can you imagine that?

        Oscar Wilde said, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Today there is plenty of evidence to support his assertion, but I have difficulty imaging art imitating the last moments of John Bradford’s life. So much of what people quibble about is so inconsequential. It’s a tough world when the most evil wrap themselves in the most loving of messages and pervert them in such a way that others are turned away from them. I feel certain the dark energy of hate and light energy of love, as physicists have suggested about physical matter, cannot be destroyed. They accrue and can be transformed, but are not destroyed. I have no doubt the light will ultimately prevail, even though it may not be until the next phase in many cases. Good will win!


      3. I can’t imagine what Oscar Wilde means by that statement. I personally think that art and life are mirrors of each other. In my humble opinion, John Bradford was imitating Christ and lived and died as a “good” Christian. I too hate seeing evil wrap itself in most loving of messages and pervert it in a way that turns others away from it. But, this happens a lot in these times. (wolves in sheeps clothing). I agree with you. Good will ultimately prevail and I have seen that for myself many times. Yes, Good will win!


      4. I had to spend some time considering Wilde’s quote after I first read it. My conclusion came perhaps days later and now I think you’ve altered it. Initially I thought he was being provocative but perhaps little else. After some consideration, I could see that he is at least partially correct. Life (i.e., people) often aspires to be what is conceivable only in art. (But then we have the example of Bradford and others.) Like Voltaire, Wilde wrote some things that give me pause but I believe in finding perspective wherever we can because God sometimes uses the “foolish to humble the wise” and the evil or even the indifferent to accomplish all sorts of things. We’re all foolish and wise about different things in different ways. Principle compels me to give the proverbial devil his due. Wilde also wrote one of my favorite lines, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

        Your “mirror” contention is probably the most accurate. I tend to believe I typically avoid falling into either/or scenarios when other options are available. C.S. Lewis, who became arguably the most brilliant Christian apologist ever when he wrote Mere Christianity, tried to warn of rabbit holes. (Tolkein and Lewis not only encouraged each other as writers but one helped the other heal his relationship with God, as the link below explains.) In this case, however, I became too focused on the unraveling of the thing to look beyond it. The “mirrors” assertion seems most plausible.

        We tend too often tend to believe miracles occurred only in Biblical times. There are little miracles surrounding us. I’m able to do what I do only by the Grace of God. I’m also happy to report The Advocate (or Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost or Spirit of Truth) is still available to those who follow Christ’s repeated commandment to love one another. After intensive study of The Gospels, I can understand why Christ is so often taken out of context. But I also see the search for Christ isn’t intended to be easy. Few things of great value are easily attained.

        I can take issue with neither the teachings nor life of Christ. Unfortunately, the misapplication of religion has twisted Christ’s teachings. I’m grateful for the role religion has filled in the progress of civilization, but it’s a tool and people have managed to misuse probably every tool ever invented.

        So I definitely agree with you regarding Bradford’s conduct. It’s the only explanation for me because what’s impossible for people is possible through God. (Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26)

        To your point regarding wolves in sheep’s clothing, Christ most sharply rebuked the Pharisees for doing things that turned people away from seeking God. They used the temple for their own profit, mercilessly punished people, and judged others (while holding them to unattainable standards). We see those behaviors turn people away from not only religion but also God. For many people, separating the two is almost impossible. They subsequently perceive God as a lie. They’re left with no hope. You can see why Christ, despite his unending mercy, could not condone such behavior. It hurts people in the worst way possible.


      5. I’m not sure that I understand everything you are saying but what I do understand, I agree. I hope you will forgive me, but I prefer to bow out of deep discussion of religion (and politics). Thank you for the link.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. There’s nothing to forgive. I apologize for creating any confusion. The bottom of this blog stipulates it’s not a place for debating dogma or politics, because they’re too divisive. You and I had a discussion about spiritual faith in which I agreed with your “humble opinion” and all other statements you made. Gandhi said, “Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.” I also think honest agreement is sometimes good for the soul.

        Again, there’s no need for apology. I just tried to explain why I agree with the statements you made. I don’t want you to think otherwise. If you have a question about something you don’t want to ask on this blog, send me a FB friend request through the blog (or let me know how I can contact you, etc.). I’d hate to think you misunderstood something and had the wrong idea. I would be more than happy to clarify anything you didn’t understand. Please accept my apologies.


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