In 1995, C. W. Wilson discovered something that would change his life forever. He shares this insight in a new novel, inspired on his own experiences and fueled by his own imagination.
Kentucky-as he called by his friends, customers, and the police-is known as a self-serving guy, out only for himself. As he recklessly navigates his precarious life as a drug dealer, he encounters the guardians of the dark world he has come to embrace. While visiting one of his "business associates" one day, he discovers satanic iconography veiled in one of the world's most recognized Catholic symbols. Kentucky's best friend is convinced they have been given a sign from God.
His discovery thrusts him beyond the facade of reality, where he is taken to physical and mental limits he never knew existed. This new knowledge comes at a grave price, though, and Kentucky is tested on every possible level. He endures the anguish of losing loved ones through a series of horrendous murders. He can't even trust his own mind; vivid, terrifying hallucinations constantly afflict him. Kentucky struggles to come to grips with the fact that nothing is as it seems-or is it?
He doesn't quite grasp the reality before him, let alone that he's sitting atop Christianity's darkest and most closely guarded secret. Will the promise of an eternal life in heaven still hold sway once the world discovers death is merely an option?
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|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.37(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Lying beneath the Virgin
By C. W. Wilson
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 C. W. Wilson
All right reserved.
The Ford Bronco's oversized tires sang as it headed into an area of downtown Phoenix that for all practical purposes was northernmost Mexico. The night was oppressively hot, and even with the trucks windows sealed tightly to keep out the desert heat, Stevie Ray Vaughn's hit single "Tightrope" could clearly be heard blasting from the stereo as it rumbled past. Just barely visible through the thick, recently exhaled clouds of crack cocaine smoke, the two occupants could be seen arguing in the dim blue glow of the interior lights.
"Cover that flame when you light up!" I screamed for the umpteenth time. "Are you tryin' to get us pulled over?"
"Ah Tuckster you know they can't see us I've got the cloaking device engaged," joked Jake.
"You'll think cloakin' device when we're waitin' downtown for someone to post our bail!"
"Hey that was Cindy!" Jake shouted spinning around in his seat to track the passing car, "turn around Tuck, I need to talk to her!"
"No can do bud," I said, thinking here we go again, "that wasn't Cindy. That one wasn't even close. Cindy's car is gray. That car was dark blue."
"Dark blue?" puzzled Jake, "You're sure?"
"Yeah I'm sure. That was a dark blue four door Honda and a black dude was behind the wheel."
"A black guy's driving Cindy's car, turn around!" Jake panicked.
"No damn it!That was a black guy drivin' his own damn car, but he's probably headed over to Cindy's to give her some dick because you're too fucked up to get it up anymore!" I exploded losing my temper.
Stunned by my outburst Jake just sat there in shock with his mouth hanging open, but only for a moment. Thoughts of Cindy were shuffled to the back of his mind as he realized he was still holding the glass crack pipe. Smiling like a little kid with his favorite toy, he lit up and surrendered to the euphoric rush. "You're just fucking with me aren't you Tuck?" his words slurred as he exhaled the sweet smelling smoke.
"Yeah I'm just fuckin' with ya'," I said feeling thoroughly ashamed.
Jake is in the final stages of cocaine addiction. Every time he hits the pipe, if he gets a full pull, an ear ringer the users like to call it, he spots Cindy. No matter where he is she will magically appear. Tonight she was driving by in her car. Tomorrow, who knows where Jake will see the ex-love of his life. Of course she is only a ghost, a left over memory from Jake's prior life that replays itself every time he tries to escape the misery of his new non-life by using cocaine. Mental self—destruct. A masochistic memory loop compliments of whatever's left of the mind he is so determined to destroy.
Jake Babbott; born with a silver spoon in his mouth and a heart of gold, troubles all started when he learned how to use that silver spoon to free base cocaine. By the time our paths crossed Jake had already dropped out of life, been mostly disowned by his family, and was picking up speed on his downhill slide into the gutter. Highly intelligent, college educated with all the opportunities in life open to him, and completely lost, all thanks to the glass pipe he keeps constantly attached to his lips.
We had just turned east onto Monte Vista off of 35th Avenue and I was lecturing my friend on how I expected him to conduct himself during our visit. He was responding with his usual okays, and I knows, when suddenly he yelled, "WATCH OUT!" I came down hard on the brakes causing the big truck's front bumper to dive towards the asphalt in a tire squalling stop.
"What the hell!" I demanded.
"Didn't you see that guy?" Jake came back, "he ran right out in front of us!"
"I didn't see anybody! Jake you've got to stop doin' that!"
"Sorry Tuck," he apologized, "I swear it ran right out in front of us."
"It, I thought you said it was a guy?"
"Did I say it?" questioned Jake, "I mean he, I think. Whatever it was it was running on two legs, running fast. I can't believe you didn't see it."
"Well I didn't," I scolded. "It seems like you pull this stunt almost every time we head over here after dark. Man you're goin' to give me a fuckin' stroke."
Jake's cries of wolf were annoying, but not the least bit unexpected. After all a ghost is a ghost, regardless of whether it's in the form of your ex-lover, or a shadow that darts across your path. In fact, I am personally acquainted with the shadow people. Ten years earlier, and fifteen hundred miles east of this God forsaken desert, the shadow people had come to be my constant companions. Though I wouldn't touch the stuff now, at the time my own cocaine addiction was running its course, destroying everything in life that was dear to me.
Unlike my friend Jake, I was quick to recognize the shadow people for what they were; hallucinations brought on by near toxic levels of cocaine in my system resulting in sleep deprivation and complete loss of appetite. With the insatiable cravings produced by free based cocaine it's easy to sustain these deficiencies long enough to create the condition needed to experience the waking dream. Fatigue and starvation, both requisite components in ceremonies practiced by American Indians to open the gates to the spirit world, and necessary steps in the Buddhist Monk's quest to achieve nirvana. It was a perfectly logical explanation that allowed me to maintain my sanity when reality became undistinguishable from my dreams.
After Jake's outburst I slowed to a crawl as I steered us through the maze of half lit streets that made up the poverty stricken southwest Phoenix barrio. I kept thinking Jake's ghost could easily have been some kid chasing his ball into the street. Besides, I needed time to knock back a few ounces of my 101 proof nerve tonic before I was ready to deal with the task at hand.
"Jake why don't you put that pipe down for a minute and take a pull off that bottle of Wild Turkey I've got in the glove box. I know I could use one."
"This stuff is like drinking gasoline," he coughed as he lowered the bottle from his lips and passed it to me.
"You don't know what's good girly-boy. Oh yeah, that'll cure what ails ya'. Want another pull little buddy?" He didn't.
We had arrived. I turned into the wide gravel lot that ran between two rundown mobile homes, and parked behind one of the dozen-plus cars that always seemed to be there. Way in the back looking like the office of a used car lot was the fifty-year-old framed duplex that served as one of the Mexican drug cartel's safe-houses.
We exited the cool comfort of the truck's cab and stepped into the blast furnace-like heat of the desert night. The smell of an early evening barbecue still lingered in the air as the oompa-oompa sound of canned mariachi music drifted out from the duplex. Except for the small patch of light that escaped the house's curtained front window the entire lot lay in darkness.
As we worked our way through the rows of parked cars I heard my Mexican nickname being called from the front porch of one of the trailers. "Kentucky fried shicken, qu'e 'onda." It was Poppy, the cartel's guard dog, and in truth the only one of these Mexicans that I felt I could really trust, and actually considered to be my friend. He stepped out of the shadows reeking of recently smoked marijuana and smiling his ever present gap-toothed grin. "Kentucky you have amplifica?" he hoped.
"Si amigo, por supuesto, it's in the truck," I said tossing him the keys.
"Muchas gracias hermano, muchas gracias," Poppy's smile widened as he hurried off to collect his gift.
"What the hell is an amplifica?" Jake asked.
"Amplifier," I explained, "for his car stereo. Though why he needs a thousand watts to listen to accordion music I'll never understand. Come on we're late."
As I said before, it serves as a safe-house and is owned by a family of one of the smaller Mexican drug cartels. I know what you've seen in the movies; glamorous mansions manned by expensive suited Mafioso, but in real life it is not like that at all. The small, weathered ranch-style house is little more than a slumlord's hovel. Each side of the duplex consists of living room, kitchen and bathroom. With the exception of a rickety old kitchen table and a couple of chairs, this side of the house has no furniture. The only door leading to the outside is paper thin and doesn't even lock. No high tech security system is needed, not with Poppy lurking outside in the shadows.
The men that stay here don't mind the sparse living conditions. This is not their home; it is merely a place to rest before sneaking back across the border into Mexico for another load. But rest doesn't come easy. They all sleep in the living room on mats, or in sleeping bags around the house's only closet.
They sleep with one eye open because stored in that closet are several well worn and frequently used suitcases; each containing obscene amounts of highly illegal, extremely valuable bags of cocaine and methamphetamine. That's why I've come here. Tomorrow, like I've done many times before, I will escort the contents of these suitcases to waiting customers on the east coast.
Without knocking I pushed open the flimsy door on the smoke filled room of carousing already drunk Mexicans. The room fell silent and beers sloshed as they whirled around with guns drawn to face down their intruder. Then over the tinny accordion music blaring from a cheap boom box were cries of "Kentucky fried shicken" as they welcomed us to the fiesta.
Jake and I shouldered our way through the crowded room, shaking hands and taking slaps on the back from my adopted family of illegal aliens. To these guys family is everything, and not too long ago they accepted me into theirs. They trust me and would do anything for me, just as long as I keep the money rolling in. Of course I knew that if the money ever dried up all bets were off.
Standing on the far side of the small kitchen leaning against the bathroom door frame is the soft spoken baby faced young man I have come to meet. Barely over five feet tall with neatly trimmed hair and mustache, this twenty-five year old man's clean cut, almost childlike appearance is deceivingly convincing. The way men twice his age jump at his orders without question leads me to believe that the rumor of his murderous exploits across the border in Mexico are all too true. Martine is the undisputed boss, The Jefe (Pronounced hefay).
As is evident by the poster tacked on the wall beside him, Martine, like most Mexicans, take's his Catholic religion very seriously. The image on the poster is known as "Our Lady of Guadalupe", and almost without exception can be found in every Mexican dwelling and Mexican owned business establishment. In their country she is unanimously considered to be the patron saint and savior of their people. I had glanced at the poster a thousand times without ever paying it much attention, but tonight this venerated icon was about to change my life forever.
The Lady in the poster I am referring to is none other than the Virgin Mary herself, floating in the center of some expanding holy aura with head bowed and hands held together in prayer. She is dressed in a long flowing patterned robe that drapes over an upturned crescent hovering above and behind this welcoming baby angel whom is positioned beneath her. Beyond that, all I knew about the icon was that the outlaws who stayed there never left the house without bowing down and offering her a quiet prayer. One time I asked Martine why, and he simply told me that she protects them. I remember thinking well she'd better cause that flimsy front door sure ain't gonna do it.
Back to that night in the kitchen. Well I'm standing there nodding my head pretending to understand some elaborate, and apparently funny story Martine and his cousin are trying to relate to me in broken English when the crowded room parts to give me a clear view of the poster. I don't know if it was the way the light was hitting it, or the fact that I had been awake for almost a week; I'll get to that in a minute, hell maybe it was divine intervention. For whatever reason, my eyes were drawn to the baby angel with outstretched arms. Except what I saw was not an angel, it was the sneering face of Satan.
At first I thought my imagination was working overtime; that I was inventing what I was seeing like finding animal shapes in the clouds. I rubbed my eyes and moved a step closer, but focusing only caused the demon to grow more prevalent. I was more amused than shocked or scared, and I think I may have actually laughed out loud when I considered how ironic it was that all these grown men were unknowingly praying to an icon that contained the subliminal image of their feared Satan.
I should probably explain exactly what I mean by subliminal. Even though you are blissfully unaware of it you are subjected to this type of imagery on a daily basis. It's a common practice used in advertising to make your mind see things that your eyes miss. But I never expected to find this technique being used in such a sacred religious icon. It had to be a fluke.
It's not as if there is actually a clearly intended picture of the devil beneath the "Virgin of Guadalupe", but when you take the shape and features of the baby angel and combine them with the upturned crescent, the unmistakable form of Christendom's Satan appears to be hiding there.
The torso of the angel creates the chin, or jaw line, and the outstretched arms become the cheek bones that give the demon's face its shape. The little angel's bowed head forms the snout, complete with nostrils. And in the open spaces above his arms the conveniently placed back bone of his wings look remarkably like the elongated pupils of two slitted yellow eyes. The folds in the bottom of the Virgin's robe appear to drape over the beast's head, and the two ends of the upturned crescent could not be positioned more perfectly to form the demon's horns. This was no fluke.
Now the first thing you want to do when you spot something unusual, or out of the ordinary, is share it with someone, if for nothing else to confirm that you are actually seeing what you think you're seeing. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to realize that my discovery might be considered blasphemous to persons of the Catholic faith, so I ruled out telling my Mexican friends. Instead I elbowed my buddy Jake in the ribs having no idea he too was Catholic.
"Hey Jake, check out the bottom of that Virgin poster over there. Now stay with me ... Imagine that the tips of that crescent are horns, and that space above the little angels arms are eyes ..."
That was as far as I got. Jake dropped his beer and seized my arm in a death grip as he screamed out at the top of his lungs, "We're having a fucking vision! We've got to get the hell out of here!"
The color drained from his face and his eyes were wide with shock as he turned and bolted for the door. Jake parted that crowded room of outlaws like Moses at the Red Sea; knocking one guy flat on his ass in the process. And just that quick he was out the door and gone.
All hell broke loose. Now my amigos are some friendly guys, but they don't like surprises, and they didn't care too much for Jake in the first place. He was a junkie after all. How he made it out of that house and off the property without catching a bullet in his back is a miracle in itself. That by no means meant this unneeded emergency was anywhere close to being over. All eyes were on me expecting an explanation. Guns were drawn pointing in every direction. Men were rushing to windows and out into the yard in anticipation of a raid. At any moment the outlaws expected the house to be shaken by the sheriff department's helicopter as the Phoenix Drug Task Force came crawling out of the woodwork.
"Calmar, no problemo, calm down," I pleaded trying to get a handle on the fiasco I'd caused.
"Kentucky, why Jake run, is Jake policia?"
"No policia, no problemo," I assured them.
Excerpted from Lying beneath the Virgin by C. W. Wilson Copyright © 2011 by C. W. Wilson. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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