Character Series: The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones, Vol. II, by Samuel Bostick.
SnakeMan Jones is back!! This is Vol. II of Samuel’s short story The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones. Vol. I was featured a couple weeks back, and we’re super excited to see this project continue to build and expand. Check it!
The Adventurs of SnakeMan Jones
As dawn reached its rosey fingers upward and pulled above the horizon, the Gnomads set the attack. Wasting no time they caught the morning breeze as it lifted and moved across the south side of the island. With the wind strong at their tail and the greed growing dark into the depths of their hearts they ascended upon StaggMoreFalls. Seeing the port ahead, the Gnomad Captain let loose the order for the crew to set up and prepare for a full on attack. With swiftness of motion the commanding mates kicked their respective bands into gear.
The artillery was first to be set, cannons loaded with no lack of extra rounds positioned at the side of the mechanic catapults. There were 12 on each side of the ship, 24 in all. Next in position were the ground force, set up in small groups—5 each. There were 3 lean mates, one squad leader and one Brawny giant in each set. There were 3 small boats on each side of the ship, 6 total, which allowed for each of them to reach shore and set havoc to the content of their malicious hearts. Finally the ship bound mates, archers and deck hands prepared their places. The archers took post on the 3 masts of the ship and set aiming measures from a distance. They unbound their arrows and bowed them, stretching the hide strings taunt and holding for further instruction. The crew that were to man the ship took the oars and rowed with all their might, the others that were set to stay post close to the Captain and tend to his orders did so.
The Captain let out a loud groan of a yell and the entire crew called back. Their blood rushed. Again the Captain let out the yell and again they responded—the anticipation and energy grew as they built the hype and pulled closer to the shore. One last time the captain let out his shout and the crew responded. This was the green light. He ordered first for the ground attack to launch, and then called for the archers and cannons to shoot as soon as the boats hit land. They did just that. As soon as the 6 boats rammed against the shore and the 30 men reached the pebbly coast and began to climb up the green landscape the archers set flame to their arrows and let them loose. Only a second later the cannons burst, kicked and recoiled…smoke filled the lungs of the shooters as the heavy lead projected out toward the island. It had started. Ill intention was closing in on the town and commotion was soon to spread across the land.
In that moment the StaggMoreFallians had converged in the center of the island and began to commence the morning celebrations. Again, everyone was in attendance – Women, children, and men, young and old alike—all of course except for the monks who had dedicated their time to attending the fireworks and preparing the show for the evening. There were rows of heavy oak tables and benches, amber in color, set with wreaths so lush they shined as if they still had morning dew on them. Each table had a center piece, built upward toward the heavens and mounted with a three set stock of the golden poppies that the Full Moon Festival was intended to celebrate. The scene was as elegant as the moon that would rise that night and light the day’s most revered moments.
The torches were being lit and the ceremony commenced, in that same moment the arrows hit, one after another, wave after wave. Without warning cannonballs boomed into the buildings and homes that were located in the center of the island. The first and most natural response was shock. A split second later they realized that they were under attack and began to move into a panic. The women and men grabbed their children and held each other tight as they ran toward anywhere that looked safe and didn’t bear holes from the cannon or flame from the arrows. Screams and cries filled the once peaceful air as the people ran and the chaos grew.
The Gnomads were empowered by the wildness of the scene and the people who were usually a peaceful folk quickly set post and created a militia as best as they could. There was one young man who stood out as leader among the ranks, his name was Chad-sama. He had never been in battle; still, his intuition and boldness made him a natural leader.
As the 30 Gnomads ran up and invaded the festival space, the village set to fight back. The women and children built post at the houses and armed themselves with anything that could do damage. The men had divided themselves into five squads of 20 and took on the invaders from each side as they entered. They were no match though. The Gnomads were highly skilled in head on attacks and well experienced in combat. Chad-sama realized that even though his team was greater in numbers that the Gnomads were advancing with incredible force. Even as the islanders fought as hard as they could they found themselves constantly being backed down by the attack. Chad-sama took quick notice and with determination at his heels he swiftly broke from the pack, grabbed one of the torches and slipped away up the nearest hill. There at the base of the hill he met one of the monks who were in charge of the evening’s firework ceremony. They spoke quickly and as the monk understood the growing urgency of the situation he provided direction and urged Chad-sama along his way.
He began the climb. First moving along the narrow path at the bottom of the hill and up into the mouth of the forest selvage, then racing through and through the muddy way. As he climbed deeper into the hill and ascended up the lengths of the land the heat and steam of the humidity met his face, nose and mouth with its smolder of earth and foliage pressing into his lungs. Further and further he went, as his companions battled below against invasion, his fight was against that hill. He took on the mountain for all it was worth. The large leaves reached out to impede his path, vines grabbed at his limbs, fallen branches tugged at his feet and from time to time his face would be blasted with a flurry of bugs that had swarmed in the path. Finally he made it to the top and wasting no time he set the torch aflame and shot one of the large explosives into the air.
The firework shot into the sky and plumed bright red and spread across the heavens. Another one shot up even higher and exploded with a large yellow plume into the sky. One more went up and out with a bang. This time a sparkling champagne blue—with a sigh of relief Chad-sama send his prayers up to the heavens the same as he did the three pluming flares and hoped that some sort of help would come by divine guidance.
SnakeMan Jones was taking his bike on a morning spin as he caught glimpse of the high off plumes. They struck him as odd and something inside moved him to cruise a bit closer and investigate. As he often preferred to be alone, he had never been to the island, still he had seen the celebration many years and never had a firework climbed the sky before nightfall.
Chad-sama took his last breaths to regain his strength at the top of the hill and began his descent. Jones routed himself to close in on the island just to check in on the rare sighting. In the same moment that Chad-sama reached the bottom of the hill SnakeMan heard the commotion from the island and saw the ship harbored at the south dock. As the arrows and cannons continued to rain onto the island and the celebration, Jones felt the anger swell up within him. His face down to his fingertips and feet all burned instantly with anger and that intensity fueled his ambition directly towards the ship. His vision was red as he sped past the cove where the Gnomads had hid out the night before and his grip on the bars of his bike was vice tight.
The closer he got to the Gnomads ship and the more he realized the havoc that had been taking place on the island the less his senses connected and his primal instincts heightened. As he approached the ship he increased his speed and with a fury even he himself had never known he busted into the ship with his bike and tore a hole in the side of the vessel. Wood planks, dust and water sprayed everywhere. His eyes glowed. Quickly the hole began to fill with water and the bottom level of the ship began to flood. Jones revved his engine and spun round for further wreckage. Without a thought, he was sure he would finish what the Gnomads had started.
His eyes were as red as an angry autumn moon and his spirit aflame with rage.
To be continued…
the LIFESTYLE’s role is to create collective space for active Reflection and Response through the arts. This space is built around dialogue, expression, collaboration, and artistic (ex)change involving international craftspeople and their realities. The Porch Swing series opens up a Reflection and Response residency where we feature a Collective member’s ongoing project through weekly installations.