In February 2000 I emerged from my underground bunker, a converted passage tomb near The Hill of Tara, to discover that the world had not ended and the dreaded Y2K bug had failed to wipe out our species. I was relieved but lost. Months later I discovered a novel called Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and consumed it numerous times because the lead character, Robert Langdon, shares my name, Robert Langdon. It changed my life and gave me a purpose. I have followed Robert and Dan on their adventures ever since and have penned several stories featuring my hero, my companion, my teacher…Robert Langdon. These are my stories. I am Robert Langdon.
The boy loved his father, his church and his home.
The boy was quiet and usually kept to himself. He studied hard because he wanted his father to be proud of him. He went to church with his father every Sunday and sometimes during the week too, depending on how many folks were in town.
This evening was a special evening. The boy steps out of the car and feels the warm Kentucky air press against his cheeks. He helps his baby brother out of the car. His father smiles at him.
“You ready to commune with the Lord?”
They open the trunk and remove two large boxes and enter The Church of the Golden Tabernacle. The church is full with worshipers. Most are from town but as usual for the midweek service there are a few out of towners. The boy never looks at them, all he cares about is God, but this evening there are two men that draw his attention. One is wearing a military uniform and the other is an older gentleman. They eye him with interest as he passes them and makes his way to the altar where he and his father set down their boxes and turn to the congregation.
His father begins to speak.
“Well now. Look at the swell in this room, I tell you this makes my heart glad and proud to see so many sinners come to pray for forgiveness. You’ve come to the house of the Lord, you’ve come to see us commune with serpents and you shall dance ecstatic and shout your sins and the serpents shall dance with you. Praise Jesus!”
“Praise Jesus,” the crowd replies.
“You all know who I am and what I can do but I’m sure most of you are here to see my boy. This here is my boy. He’s got a gift! He’s got a way with the snakes. He’s quiet as a mouse outside these walls but inside this church he becomes one with the serpents, it’s almost like there’s two of him, two…and that’s why we call him The Deuce.”
“Deuce,” cries the crowd.
The pastor opens the boxes and retrieves the six rattlesnakes. The boy stands motionless, arms extended and eyes closed. His father places the snakes upon his arms. The boy begins to hum and stomp his feet. The congregation are silent, their eyes wide and their mouths grinning.
The boy begins chanting and speaking in tongues, he dances with the snakes, they writhe with him as he channels their essence. He opens his eyes and stares out at the crowd, he is demented and angelic at the same time. His duality is there for all to see.
The boy, usually so lost, never takes in the crowd but today those two men in the middle row just draw his attention. Who are they? Why do they seem so familiar? He begins to think, his communion with the snakes begins to falter and suddenly the biggest of the six rattlesnakes bites the boy in his neck. The other five snakes follow suit, biting his arms and chest. His father jumps in and pulls all the snakes off him, the crowd screams and the two men rush to the stage.
“This boy needs a doctor,” says a voice in the sea of screams.
“I’m a doctor,” says the older of the two men who are now on the altar.
“No doctor! The Lord will heal my boy!”
“Please, he will die if he does not receive proper medical attention. You don’t want your boy to die, do you?”
The room falls silent.
“Well no, no of course not.”
The boy lies motionless on the ground. The man in the military uniform steps forward.
“Sir, Fort Campbell is only a few miles away and we have excellent facilities at our disposal where the doctor here can work on your boy. We’ll take him in my vehicle and you can follow along behind.”
“Well ok, the Lord must have sent you here today. Thank you.”
The soldier picks up the boy and leaves the church.
Minutes later they drive through the country roads as night encroaches. They drive fast and after a time the boy’s father loses sight of the jeep.
“I think we lost him,” says the soldier.
“Fine. Let’s get our boy to the quarry,” says the doctor as he injects the boy with antivenom.
“Is this how you remember it?”
The doctor smiles, “Exactly. This time we will succeed.”
As they arrive at the quarry the boy begins to wake. The soldier carries him out of the jeep and down into the quarry. At the base of the quarry the three of them enter a mine shaft.
“We need to hurry, we need to get back to Mu,” says the doctor.
They walk deep into the mine and eventually come to a large pool of crystal clear water that glows bright blue in the dark cavern. The soldier places the boy on the ground as he consults with the doctor.
The boy opens his eyes and looks around. He sees the two men speaking in hushed voices, the walls are blue and shimmering.
“Where…where am I? Where’s my Pa,” says the boy.
“Ah, you’re awake,” says the doctor.
“Who are you?”
“Why my boy, we’re you.”
“I remember saying those words. Do you?”
“Yes,” replies the soldier.
The doctor continues, “We’re all The Deuce, all three of us together. I’m the brains, he’s the brawn and you…why you’re the soul. The Deuce, the duo becomes a trio, we are The Trinity.”
The doctor nods to the soldier who moves forward and picks up the boy. They stand together before the pool and walk into the crystal waters and disappear into another time.
A scratching sound comes from above the pool and a piece of mud falls into the waters.
Robert Langdon is a neo-transcendentalist, a Sadhu of Samhain, an historic detective and a conspiracy factualist. He lives in Drogheda with his husband, wife and a dule of red eared slider turtles.