Bucks County Writers Workshop
Bucks County Writers Workshop

The Yellow Bus

Chapter Fifteen

oo much terror made the kids jaded, like too much sorrow leads to silly laughter. A bit of glee would have been superior to the listlessness of the children in their buses. They were not ready to defend themselves in the company of the Master, master of underage sex, abusive power and an alchemist's brew of the two. Imagine grade school kids making sense out of that heady concoction of sex and power. They would reach their destination naked spiritually, and if the master had his way he would exploit the children worse than John Wayne Gacy, that is, all the children except Alfred.

The vehicles entered a gated estate with a Gothic-like castle in the middle of a U-shaped driveway. As soon as they could see the gray stone structure Alfred stood out of his seat and shouted, "The Knight's Templar." The geometric construction, the perfect angles and circumferences, the phallic symbol of Satan protruding out of the eastern wall, it all spelled Templar to the young born again lad. After the second crusade they went underground after Martin the Proud was burnt at the stake. This had to be the castle of Martin the Proud. When Alfred was in one of his early incarnations he had heard of this man who liked young boys and girls. He did unspeakable rituals with the children which he did not then understand, nor did he now. He just knew it was evil and connected with the Evil One himself. He only knew that the mention of his name would cause people to bless themselves, draw their children close like Aunt Florence used to do just to show affection. But the peasants did it to protect and secure their offspring.

The children were misled by the castle, even excited at such a romantic, fairy tale setting. They were taking in the sweet side of sin and corruption, blinded by spectacle, like so many Hansels and Gretels eating the witch's house, like Snow White biting into the shiny red apple.

Alfred's natural courage and arcane knowledge led him to a plan. He knew the Knights could be foiled, put to flight. He knew if he revealed to them the secrets he knew about them they would take the children's buses and themselves flee. But how to get it straight, how to introduce his foil stepwise, in a manner that would terrorize the terrorists. He knew the questions to ask: what is a cubit, why is the world round, what was learned in the stables of Solomon, what is the connection between Jerusalem and the stables of Solomon, what actually were the gold ingots for, why did St. Bernard of Clairvaux protect your order, why were you suppressed, what is the secret of the island of Bornholm, and the most powerful secret, and here Alfred would have to bluff because he didn't know what the word really meant, why did they put you to death for sodomy, what were you afraid of in England when you left overnight after getting notice that you were going to be carted away?

For all the trappings of modernity the Master and his slaves and bonded servants were superstitious. Light, knowledge, secrets revealed all had the power to destroy them, or at least thwart their dastardly purposes. Alfred knew them and entertained the happy thought that if he saved his classmates from a fate worse than death at the hands of the Knights, this might, justice may be his last manifestation, oh sweet relief, thought he. This is the battle that I have been so impatiently waiting. And the magic, to them it will appear as magic, in my sack will clinch the victory and my friends' salvation. I will reveal the secrets they found in the stables where they labored nine years at the foundation of their order, that will do them in.

The children were led through the massive castle doors sculpted like Rodin's Inferno. Down long and winding corridors they were led to see the Grand Master. Torches dimly lit the pathway and the children were enchanted. Two lads in loin clothes opened the doors leading to the throne room where the Master lay on his divan, greedily eyeing his prey, dreaming the licentious dreams of a reincarnated Knight Templar. He didn't look like a knight at all; he was wearing a pair of tan slacks with a sharp crease and a Japanese looking Hawaiian shirt and penny loafers with actual pennies in them. The children took it all in fully expecting that the end of their journey would mean food, rest, relaxation, understanding and a return home as soon as someone explained to them why they had been subjected to such an uncomfortable journey.

While the others entered the grand hall Alfred hid between the length of two torches where no light shone and shadows could hide his limber body. There he would collect his thoughts, gird himself with the protection of the angel, pray to Our Lady of Loreto and invoke the power of Pope Innocent the Third who condemned the powerful knights and sentenced them all to death for unspeakable crimes against decency and humanity. He had once met Pope Innocent the Third in his early lives and remembered the man as much like himself. People were small in those days, so Alfred was not much shorter than the pontiff himself. Alfred also recalled that the pontiff was dark like him, Italians then being closer to their African connections than they are now. And he had the lithe, slender build of Alfred. What greater foreshadowing then these similarities could there be as the boy warrior went into battle to finally end his journeys, escape the wheel of Ahimsa and settle into the everlasting rest of paradise, that is, after he grew up, married, gave Aunt Florence grandchildren, became a doctor, lawyer or teacher and died. Life is so tedious for those who come back twelve times, and death so sweet before thirteen when someone became a lost soul.

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Bucks County Writers Workshop