Jack Hardcock: The Wrath of God (Part I)

Brother Joses stood over his parish like a specter from the past. He was no mere preacher; he was a prophet of things to come.

“The Lord is not a Lord of peace,” he proclaimed to his captive audience, “as Isaiah told us: See, the day of the Lord is coming — a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger. . . . I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty. . . . Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated. I shout to the world with the power of a thousand trumpets: repent! For the Lord shall have His vengeance!”

The parishioners nodded, too awestruck to proclaim their faith with revelry.

In the front pew sat Jack Hardcock, his hands trembling. He had seen the wrath that Joses spoke of, for he was It’s one instrument. And Jack’s own instrument of Death was none other than the Smith & Wesson .38 special. It was holstered securely underneath his jacket. But the fiery message of Brother Joses was speaking to his God-given urge to kill.

Jack quietly stood up, buttoned his jacket, and proceeded to exit the chapel. Halfway to the door, with his back turned toward Brother Joses, the preacher shouted: “Brother Jack, the Lord does not call upon the faint of heart!”

Jack turned around, unbuttoned his jacket, and pulled out the .38. The parishioners sat silently as he unloaded the revolver, leaving one in the chamber. “Do you trust the Lord?” asked Jack.

Joses said nothing as beads of sweat poured down his face. Jack spun the revolver and placed the stubbed barrel up to his chin. “I certainly do,” he said.

Then he pulled the trigger.

A few screams echoed through the chapel, but there was no gunfire. Jack stood there, barrel still to his chin, laughing at the weakhearted parishioners.

But Joses didn’t flinch.

“It appears as though I am one of God’s chosen,” Jack said to Joses. Then he pointed the .38 at the preacher.

“Are you?” he asked.

Jack pulled the trigger, unleashing a bullet that went clean through Joses’ shoulder. Blood splattered all over the Christian flag. Pandemonium broke out as parishioners rushed to their preacher’s aid.

“Faint of heart?” Jack chuckled to himself. He shook his head and walked out the front doors. As he proceeded down the steps, Jack looked out into the barren Utah landscape. He noticed a lone figure standing in the dusty wind.

Jack squinted.

“Could it be?” he thought.

It was his own flesh and blood; his brother. It was Peter Hardcock.

“Don’t you know that Mormons are godless heathens?” Peter asked.

“Peter,” Jack said, “I’m so sorry. After my last case, I had to go somewhere. The Mormons were the only ones that would take me in. I’m sorry that I never reached out.”

“Nevermind that,” Peter replied, “our father is missing.”

“Our father?”

“Yes. Our father is missing and he needs your help. Rod Hardcock has been taken prisoner by Mexican cartels.”


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