r m p






The Devil's Steps

(version 1)

By Robert M. Price


Alice Spenser waited patiently through the routine. She stood on the plush but faded carpet in the oak-paneled reception office while the Great Man's secretary verified her appointment. Of course Alice knew Miss Briarton knew that Dr. Ap-Rhys was expecting her. She was a regular visitor. As the President of the Graduate Students Association at the Brichester University Divinity College it was her task to make regular reports to him as to the academic progress of her student colleagues, to make suggestions for the improvement of the program from the student point of view, and generally to keep the lines of student-faculty communication open. This she did well, for it had not taken her long to learn that despite Professor Ap-Rhys's frosty exterior, a vestige from the days of pre-War Old School decorum, he was actually quite warm and truly interested in the progress of the tiny band of apprentice scholars training at the prestigious school. The two had quickly developed a friendly working relationship.

            "You may go on in now, Ms. Spenser," said the bespectacled matron, one of that tribe of devoted secretaries who seem to eschew marriage as infidelity to her beloved Professor.

            With an appreciative nod, Alice passed through the door, as many in her position had done over the years. She was no longer intimidated by the look of the place, for it had the appearance of an old library in which a process of spontaneous generation caused new books to appear atop old ones with preternatural rapidity. She did half fear being caught in an avalanche. Knowing that this office, too, must be oak-paneled, she could nonetheless no longer see much of it, seeing that most of the vertical space was book-covered or festooned with framed photographs of the likes of C.H. Dodd, F.F. Bruce, T. R. Glover, Sidney Lampton, and other greats of British New Testament scholarship, Dr. Ap-Rhys's own field of study.

            And yet she could not stop her eyes from wandering to the shelves for a moment before settling on the owlish visage of the Professor, looking up from a shapeless stack of books and papers.

            "Good day, Ms. Spenser. I've been expecting you. I suppose you'd say we're in the mid-term doldrums now, so we may have little to discuss. Any news on the Colloquium speaker for next year?"

            "Not yet, sir. We're still waiting on Dr. Marshall, but his duties at Edinburgh keep him pretty busy. I hope to know before the end of the month, though. I know that's cutting it close. Dr. Lincoln at Sheffield is another possibility."

            "Very good. It's never easy. It will come out right in the end. Always does. Now what else is on your mind, Ms. Spenser?"

            "As you say, sir, there's little else to report--except for one bit of news that I think will surprise you."


            "It concerns that fellow Tedrick."

            "Oh yes, the poor chap who can't seem to arrive at a thesis topic. How long has he been at it?" Dr. Ap-Rhys sat back in his leather chair. He could not repress a note of amusement, though he did feel for the young man. Every few years there would be someone like him, with a substantial command of the scholarly lore, but with no discernible originality. British scholars were accustomed to the task of the archivist and the apologist, unlike their German rivals who made innovation their watchword, but some creative insight was necessary. One must after all prove oneself with a dissertation, and a dissertation had to have something new to say.

            "I don't know, sir. He was here when I entered the program. But he's apparently come up with something at last, and he promises to unveil it at the seminar tomorrow." This last was a regularly scheduled but unofficial function where the graduate students would meet to share ideas, present paper drafts for the scrutiny of their peers before handing in their final version to the professors.

            Dr. Ap-Rhys gave it a moment's thought and asked, "I don't suppose it would intimidate the lad unduly if an old faculty member were to sit in?"

            "I can't rightly say, Professor, but then I should imagine he'd be flattered at your interest. And it's certainly your prerogative." The interview did not last much longer.

            The next afternoon the small circle of students were indeed surprised when Professor Ap-Rhys stepped into their lounge just after the start of the meeting. He nodded and quietly took a seat. Mr. Tedrick could be seen to swallow hard, but he betrayed no other sign of nervousness as he launched enthusiastically into his presentation, setting forth the basic concept of the book-length paper he hoped to begin writing as soon as the appropriate committee approved his thesis prospectus.

            All were silent, keenly interested, and, Alice began to think, even vaguely alarmed. For Mr. Tedrick's researches had taken a peculiar direction indeed. Alice could not read Dr. Ap-Rhys's poker face, but then it rarely evidenced any real emotion anyway.

            Tedrick had reached the final lap. "Here's the meat of the thing. In both Synoptic versions of the Beelzebub Controversy, the scribes charge Jesus with 'casting out demons by the prince of the demons,' and he refutes the charge. But he does it in quite different ways. Mark's Gospel has him begin with a rhetorical question, 'How can Satan cast out Satan?' The 'Q' source underlying Matthew and Luke lacks this and instead substitutes two subsequent hypotheticals: 'If I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out?' and 'If I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.' This complex is plainly a secondary midrash applying to Jesus' case the Exodus story of Moses' triumph over Pharaoh's magicians who finally had to acknowledge Moses' superiority, saying, 'This is the finger of God.'

            "So, bear with me now, if you omit both Mark's rhetorical question and Q's midrash, you get close to the primitive tradition lying behind them both. And what's left is no refutation at all! Indeed, we must take Jesus' words as an admission and a defence of his practice of 'binding the strong man.' In other words, he did bind the power of Beelzebub to do his bidding. He was at first regarded not as the Son of God, but rather, as Celsus and the rabbis maintained, a magician who used the power of Satan against Satan, so that Satan's kingdom would come crashing down. I can adduce plenty of parallels from the magical papyri to show how well it would fit current practice, but I think you get the idea. Any questions?"

            All eyes swung over to the impassive face of Professor Ap-Rhys. After a moment he spoke, as if sensing the others needed him to speak. "Well, Mr. Tedrick, it's original, I must say, however unorthodox. Let me give some thought to the matter."

            Through all this, the young researcher seemed not one whit apprehensive, though he might have been expected to shiver at the prospect of being shot down in flames before his peers by a judge whose verdict was to be feared only less than that of God himself. But instead Tedrick seemed positively eager to finish and almost disappointed when the comments were so meager. When Dr. Ap-Rhys rose abruptly to return to his office, Tedrick took this as his clue to exit as well, as if he cared not a fig for his colleagues' suggestions. This left the rest of them more than a little dumbfounded and feeling abandoned.

            "Well, Ian, what did you think of it?" asked one blank face.

            "To tell the truth, the word 'blasphemy' comes to mind. I'd laugh it off if his reasoning weren't so bloody cogent."

            Alice paid little attention to the interchange which was beginning to take on a more heated tone. She rose to leave, feeling a strange urgency, yet unaware of her goal. She found herself walking at a brisk pace across the campus, through the venerable stone archways and past the megalithic, ivied halls devoted to Science, Archaeology, Literature. She could not get the shrunken figure of Hugh Tedrick off her mind. She knew little about the man. He was thirtyish, ill-kempt with the obliviousness of one who lives in his mind rather than in the world. His straw hair was usually greasy and chopped for convenience rather than style. He kept to himself, and, as far as anyone knew, his only diversion from his studies was his habit of taking moonlight walks through the wooded hills just beyond the campus.

            Dr. Ap-Rhys turned in early that evening, feeling strangely fatigued, even, he might even have said, spiritually fatigued. As he prepared himself for bed in his rooms at the University that night, he reflected gravely that today's students tended to seek novelty for its own sake, no matter that they stood to upset the faith of the humble in Christ's flock. But the church had, after all, weathered the teapot tempests of her own bishops, Colenso, Robinson, Jenkins, even that Pike fellow over in America.

            Once abed, despite his exhaustion, he had unaccustomed difficulty falling asleep. He dreamed, but upon rising with the dawn, the Professor had no recollection of what he had dreamed. And at this he felt somehow relieved. He reflected that he might as well betake himself to his office and make an early start.

            He had hoped to spend several hours at work on a new manuscript to deal with the theology of the Pastoral Epistles on the hypothesis that they had the Writer to the Hebrews for their author, as a few scholars held. Several verses might be viewed in a new light if one might make significant cross reference to a much larger corpus of material by the same author. But his plans were cut short with a burst of frantic pummeling on the door. It was too early for Miss Briarton to be at her post fending off annoying callers, so there was nothing for it but to answer the knock. He was readying his polite but firm dismissal when he saw who awaited him.

            Alice Spenser stood without, disheveled and hysterical.

            "Come in, my dear, and by all means tell me what has happened. Here, take a seat. Go ahead while I stoke the fire."

            It was a moment before she could compose herself sufficiently to answer. By this time, Professor Ap-Rhys had pulled up a chair beside hers so as not to have the width of his great desk as a barrier between them. He took her hand and held it firmly, as he had done with his own daughter in earlier years.

            "I still don't quite know what happened myself, Professor," she gasped between sobs. "It was yesterday afternoon, just after Tedrick's presentation... the bastard! He left shortly after you did. Then I left. I suddenly felt like I had to. I couldn't think of anything but his greasy face. Not his presentation, just him. Before long I found myself knocking on the door of his rooms. I hadn't even known where he lived, but there I was. He opened immediately, said he'd been expecting me. What kept me? I was already confused, but this made me feel panic. I can't explain it, but outwardly I was calm.

            "He reached for his coat and said he supposed I'd be warm enough as I was. Then he said he knew I must be wondering where he'd gotten the idea for the thesis, and that he wanted to show me! We would be going for a little walk. When we got back outside it was beginning to get dark. He took my hand and held me close to him as we walked. I was disgusted and wanted to run away. Somehow I couldn't, though, and we walked on past the edge of the campus and into the woods. We climbed a ridge and stood there arm in arm. Inside I was protesting, but I swear I couldn't make my mouth say what I wanted it to say. Then we... Oh, Professor, I'm so dreadfully embarrassed to be telling you this... we started kissing! I couldn't help it; it was as if someone else were in control of me.

            "As we stood there, the moon rose. It was getting colder, and a breeze was rising. I guess he thought it was romantic, almost as if he'd orchestrated it. Then he took me over to a clearing and pointed out what looked like a set of footprints set into the ground. The soil thinned out there, and it seemed like these four footprints were set in solid stone. The moonlight made it easy to see the contrast of shadows.

            "He smiled and said, 'Alice, this is where I come to get my prayers answered. It always works here. I just discovered it. I suppose it's something like Eliade's theory of Sacred Space. Some places are just more powerful than others--if you know how to use them.' I remember everything he said, because I was beginning to be afraid of what he would say next. I knew something awful was about to happen.

            "He continued: 'I wasted all that time, years, I guess, waiting for some idea to pop into my head so I could get to work and receive my degree. And then I learned about this place. Here's how it works. All you have to do is put one foot in one of the prints, then say your prayer, and it works. Why, it was no sooner than I prayed the first time than the idea came to me, the one you heard earlier today. You can only pray for three things, and I've got one more. And I'm not greedy. I guess it would happen anyway, but I'm going to pray that my thesis becomes accepted, not just by the committee, you know, but by everyone. I'm praying it will become 'critical orthodoxy,' and that on the strength of it I'll be offered a post at the Divinity College, or maybe at Cambridge. What do you think?'

            "For the first time I felt able to say something, so what I said was, 'But you said there were three prayers allowed. That's only two. What was the second?' He said I was. Then I couldn't say any more, couldn't scream like I wanted to, and... and..." She broke off into sobbing again.

            "I think I can guess the rest, my dear," said the Professor. He helped her over to the couch and put her feet up, then went to fetch a cold drink. "Now, you just settle down, Alice. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you a few questions when you feel able to answer them."

            Alice Spenser grew calmer and then slid rapidly into slumber. This Dr. Ap-Rhys was pleased to see, and in the meantime he stepped into the outer office where he found Miss Briarton settling in. She was quite surprised to see him already at work, then more surprised when the Professor explained as much as he felt he might vouchsafe. He instructed her to secure fresh clothing, a few medicaments, and to have the number of the campus infirmary at the ready. Meantime he must not be disturbed. She must clear his appointments, make up any excuse she liked.

            Then he busied himself at research among the volumes in his study. Something Alice had said gave him an idea. He took down several volumes of local folklore, more on historical demonology. These he had seldom had occasion to use, but he was glad now he had kept them. When some hours later Alice had awakened, he was ready to offer her a possible explanation.

            "Ms. Spenser, I wonder if you have heard of 'the Devil's Steps,' because whether you have heard of them or not, it is certain you have seen them."

            Alice looked puzzled. "You mean those footprints in the rock?"

            "Yes, quite," continued her benefactor. "Local legend has it that these were the footprints left by the devil as he fled the gospel preaching of John Wesley when that good man canvassed these parts some two centuries ago. But, to apply the words of St. Luke to the case, it would seem that Satan had departed only until a more opportune time presented itself. For darker cycles of local legend indicate that the site of the Steps themselves became a place to seek out the devil. If one arrived on the night of the New Moon, one had only to place one's feet into the steps one after another, making a wish, which the devil promised to grant. One dared not surpass the third step, for the fourth would cause the foolhardy to come to the devil in person, where there would be hell to pay. Most of the stories are, as you might imagine, cautionary tales, showing how this or that poor fool was led by his overweening greed to chance the last step for a fourth wish, only to be damned horribly."

            "So, Professor, you think Tedrick had learned of this legend, and that his prayers were prayers to the devil?"

            "That, of course, is exactly what I think. Ms. Spenser, I realize that you and I belong to different generations, and that your contemporaries, even when devout, are little inclined to the beliefs of my era. It is surprising that young Tedrick believed them, but perhaps desperation and ambition drove him to trying the legend for himself. And I am inclined to judge it more than legend, especially in view of what happened to you this evening past."

            Alice looked into the fireplace, the embers of which still lent their comforting warmth to the chill morning. "The truth is that I had pretty much consigned belief in the devil to St. Paul's bin of 'childish things' to be put aside. But now I have to wonder. He didn't hypnotize me, I'm sure of that. Suppose there is a devil at work here, Professor, one besides Hugh Tedrick, I mean. What is there to do? I've been raped, at least that's what I'd have to call it, but I can hardly press charges! There won't be any marks of violence. I couldn't exactly resist him. And no one would believe my story. How can I make sure he doesn't do it again?"

            "My dear, I doubt you have much to worry about on that score. He doubtless believes that his 'prayer' secured your slavish obedience in perpetuity, else he would never have divulged to you all that he did. That he was wrong is evident from the simple fact of your presence here. I cannot believe he would employ his last wish to bring about another encounter. And yet he may become upset and do something rash if he realizes that, knowing what you know, you are no longer under his control. So we will have to move quickly."

            "Move quickly?" she parroted. "You don't mean you're going to help me get revenge on him?"

            "That is not my intention, no. 'Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, I will repay.' And yet the end result may not be altogether different. You see, my dear, there are far larger issues at stake here, forgive me for saying it. Don't you realize the implications of Mr. Tedrick's other wishes? He has as much as admitted that his blasphemous notion of our Lord leaguing himself with Satan was inspired by Satan himself! I mean, directly." Here the old scholar rose and walked to the casement window overlooking the University Chapel. It was a tall and stately structure, built at the center of the campus, though subsequent expansion had thrown it off center. That was a sign of the times, he had more than once reflected. Christ and his Kingdom were no longer given the central place in the University and her affairs.

            "And that is only the start of it. He has said that he will use diabolical means to secure universal acceptance of his heresy. I doubt that our vain Mr. Tedrick has in view any more than his own personal renown. But 'We are not ignorant of his devices,' as St. Paul said. I am sure there is something altogether more far-reaching in significance here. And we must seek to forestall it if we may."

            Here Alice begged leave to return to her own rooms, assuring the Professor that she could see to herself and did not require the services of the infirmary. She promised to call him the next day. By this time the afternoon had far advanced, and Dr. Ap-Rhys felt the encroaching return of the previous day's lassitude. He locked his office, and his forgotten monograph, behind him.

            This time, he was barely able to climb into bed before sleep overwhelmed him, and he began to dream at once. He found himself robed for a convocation, marching with his colleagues down the great nave of the Chapel. He usually did not dream in color, but this night he saw the vivid and garish hues of the stained glass windows. These were not the accustomed colors of those widows to the celestial world. Now they opened on infernal sights, as one beheld depicted in their frames the frightful images of Korah, of Absalom, of Judas the Iscariot, Simon Magus, Sodom and Gomorrah, even the molten chasms of Hell itself. The Great Harlot Babylon flaunted her lewdness, while demoniac satyrs and unclean nymphs sported in depraved revelry. Here the apostles engaged in unspeakable acts, while there the Blessed Mother of God stood rouged and beckoning. And all the while the unseen organist kept up a mad storm of dissonance that fairly mimicked the screaming damned in Hell.

            Struggling to keep his feet as he continued in the line of march, the dream counterpart of Ap-Rhys steadied himself against the shoulder of the man ahead of him. To his surprise their robes were deep red velvet, not the traditional subdued blue-black. And the face of the man, as he looked back over his shoulder at him--why, it was the smiling countenance of Professor Hugh Tedrick!

            They had seated themselves now, and the crashing cacophony of the insane organ subsided as the Chaplain of Brichester began to speak. Ap-Rhys could hear no words, but only the roaring as of a great furnace. And now the dream changed: the Chaplain seemed to be presiding at the Holy Eucharist, but it was a crying infant he held aloft to consecrate. Dr. Ap-Rhys could not watch and so shoved aside those around him, emerged unsteadily from the end of the pew and lurched stumblingly back down the nave to the outside doors. There stood Miss Briarton, grotesquely naked and obscenely tattooed, warning him with a finger to her lips, not to disturb the service. He lunged past her and collapsed onto the handrail, half walking, half falling down the long steps.

            He staggered onto the green lawn before the Chapel, narrowly stepping aside when he noticed he was about to trip over the squirming bodies of two students locked in sexual congress out in the open air. As he looked around him, the whole of the yard was covered with such scenes, several of the fevered couplings between members of the same sex, some involving animals. He made his way to the broad sidewalk where he hoped to find a clear path. The massive slabs of pavement were defiled everywhere with spray-painted graffiti obscene in the extreme. It nauseated him to look upon the scrawled filth.

            Finally he sank to his knees and raised his old eyes to the beckoning heavens. They, too, had changed. Above him he saw a low dome of roiling red, as if the heavens had turned to magma. He regained his feet, old knees aching with the effort, and made to run again, as far as he might. After only a few yards, as his heart began to pound dangerously, he dropped himself by the base of a statue whose shadow loomed over him. It should be a statue of the Saviour, his arms beckoning. In relief he clasped the knees of the stony Jesus. He lifted his eyes to meet the haloed visage--only to

flinch at a horned and grinning Antichrist.

            Then it was that he woke up screaming, torn shreds of sweat-soaked sheets held tight in his white-knuckled fists. He sat for a while at the edge of the bed, this time remembering every vivid detail of the nightmare. At length he turned on the radio to nothing specific, counting on the crackling noise of the mundane to make him feel part of the real world again. He went to the cabinet and opened some brandy. He did not seek more sleep for fear of what it might hold. As for what he had dreamt, he did not doubt it qualified as a true vision, much like those recorded and discussed in such detail in Lampton's classic Apocalypses: the Apostolical and the Apocryphal, though from what source they stemmed he was not yet sure. Neither could he discern whether the vision were purely symbolic or actually descriptive, but in either case it surely heralded what might be in store--if young Mr. Tedrick were allowed to proceed with his third wish.

            Earlier in the morning than he would ordinarily have considered proper, Dr. Ap-Rhys rang up Alice Spenser. She was surprised to hear his voice since neither was it the Professor's custom to make telephone calls himself, unmediated by Miss Briarton. The Professor, whose voice sounded to her strangely hoarse, as if he had missed too much sleep, simply requested that she drop by his office at her convenience sometime that day.

            Miss Briarton appeared worried as Alice entered the outer office, whether more concerned for the young woman in view of her recent ordeal or for the haggard-looking Professor Ap-Rhys, Alice did not know. She thanked the older woman for her silent hand-clasp of sympathy and progressed into the inner sanctum.

            There the Professor had dozed off, and she gently prodded his arm to wake him.

            "Ah, Ms. Spenser, I regret my inattentiveness. I have not been sleeping especially well, you see."

            "Nor I. And I daren't tell you what I dreamed, Professor."

            "I think you needn't. Then we are in this together." This terse pronouncement Dr. Ap-Rhys punctuated with a rare smile.

            "It is clear we must act against the too-deeply delving Mr. Tedrick. By all means we must prevent him from taking the next action he has planned. We must contrive to be present when next he treads the Devil's Steps. That must be one week from now, as he is limited to the night of the New Moon. Until then, you will have little choice but to meet him. I suggest, my dear, that, insofar as you can manage it, you feign a romantic devotion to him."

            Here Alice reflexively rose to her feet. "Doctor Ap-Rhys, I don't care what's at stake, I'm not about to suffer the advances of that... that..."

            His raised palm quietly interrupted her. "Of course not, Ms. Spenser. God forbid! But if you can bring yourself to speak to him as if his spell had taken hold, I believe he will not doubt his continued hold on you even when you make excuses not to accept his advances. He is smitten with infatuation, and any young man in that position finds it difficult to understand the actions of his young woman. The sweetness of your words will be enough to sustain his illusion even if your behavior frustrates and surprises him. As I have said, he is unlikely to spend his last wish regaining your obedience."

            Alice nodded her head soberly. "And in the meantime maybe I can find out more information."

            "That would be most helpful, except that I think we probably already know enough."

            "Why, Professor, what do you have in mind?"

            "Let us wait till the night of the New Moon, shall we?"

            The week passed more quickly than Alice expected. She actually saw little of the hated Tedrick, and when the two did meet, he paid her scant attention. She was relieved no little at this turn of events and speculated that he had simply been interested in the initial conquest, that now his beloved thesis again occupied him totally. She was only disappointed that she had no more opportunity to gather information helpful to the Professor. And it was he that she now went to meet, this time at the Field House.

            There he was, his stout form incongruously wrapped in black pants and turtleneck sweater. Alice, too, had remembered to wear the color of the night to pass unseen among the trees. She knew the way through the woods all too well from the adventure of the previous week and led the way once the dusk began to deepen.

            The odd pair stopped some yards from the radius of the clearing and crouched down to wait. The Professor, fatigued as he still was, was not long in falling asleep. Luckily he did not snore, so Alice smiled and decided to let him sleep till she heard or saw anything out of the ordinary.

            It was about midnight, as they had half-guessed, when Tedrick appeared. He was alone and, like them, clad in black. He showed no sign of noticing their presence. He fumbled in the dark for a few minutes, while Alice gently awakened her mentor. Then both watched as Tedrick set up a small platform and made a peculiar arrangement of candles atop it. These burned strange colors, some greenish, and they cast a baleful light over the scene. The two watchers were made uneasy at the increase in illumination, but they had hung back at a sufficient distance to remain unseen--or so they dearly hoped. It was now evident that Tedrick's garb was a black robe, probably one cribbed from the Choir College, but this he soon shed, revealing a scrawny body painted over most of its surface with astrological and alchemical symbols. Alice suppressed a titter. At the same time she felt a shudder of disgust and rage, recalling the last time she had seen that naked body, albeit unpainted.

            "Look," Dr. Ap-Rhys whispered, "he's taking out a book. That begins to explain how not every common fool who knows the legend has been able to gain his wishes from the Steps. There must be some ritual. I'd advise you not to listen."

            But that did not stop the old academic from listening himself. The chant was in Latin, and though Tedrick had a workable knowledge of the Koine Greek of the New Testament, it was clear he had only a passing acquaintance with Medieval Latin. The longer the Professor listened, the more audible snatches he could pick out. Yes, it was a copy of the Gospel of Herodias, the scripture of the Witches' Sabbath. He had to credit Tedrick with one thing: he had certainly done his research well this time.

            He felt a tug on his sleeve and turned to the wide-eyed face of the worried Ms. Spenser. "Why aren't we trying to stop him? When are you going to do something, Professor?"

            "My dear," he replied as calmly as if fielding a classroom question, "I have already done it, as you shall shortly see."

            Tedrick had seemingly come to the end of his chant. He now placed his foot gingerly in the first footprint, and the second, and then he paused, possibly getting the wording straight in his mind, so that his wish would come out right. Finally he took the fateful third step. More fateful than he realized, as it happened, for instantly he seemed seized by an impotent panic. In another second, as inertia carried him down to complete the step, his body seemed to be enveloped in light, then to half-disappear, as if he had passed halfway through a door. As his form stepped or fell completely through, a terrible cry was heard, and the two hidden observers were momentarily blinded by a flash of sulphurous cloud.

            "It's all right to stand up now, my dear. There was light, but thank God, no fire, at least not on our side!"

            “Where is he, Professor?"

            "Where he would have ended up sooner or later in any case: in Hell."

            "But, I mean, it was only the third step...!"

            "In fact, it was not, Ms. Spenser, though like yourself, the late Mr. Tedrick thought that it was. You see, it took no elaborate sorcery to defeat the likes of him. Last week I simply engaged a local sculptor to come up here and camouflage the first step while carving into the ground a fifth footprint. Thus our unfortunate Mr. Tedrick thought to step into the third but actually stepped into the original fourth print. And in the bargain he stepped into Hell where he and his hypothesis belong."

Copyright©2004 by Robert M Price
Spirit of Carolina Web Design