A hidden Mayan civilization in Guatemala. Modern day greed and murder. Danger, suspense, evil and revenge form the backdrop as two lovers try to connect across the miles. Can ancient rituals impact a modern-day run for the U.S. Presidency? The priceless Stones of Bacal Ring of the Gods hangs in the balance. And final justice always awaits.
The first thing Wes remembered was a shrill, whining sound. Focus… he must focus. Nothing. Everything was a blur of red and orange. When he tried to open his eyes, the light felt like scalding water and he squinted them closed again. And that awful noise. Voices. Shrill voices… yelling, helping, screaming.
He pushed his hands beneath himself, his weakened fingers struggling against the blistering sand. He tried to rise toward the sounds, but fell back. Who knew how long he had lay there, burned by the sun, assaulted by the ocean. He knew he had drifted in and out of consciousness, but not for how long.
On this day the brave ones had come down to explore and play. They were horrified and frightened by what they saw. They had all seen the drawings. But here was one, barely alive. Swollen and bruised, with sun-blistered skin that was cracked and raw, he appeared near death. And there were things crawling on him. Crabs. His salt-caked white skin was being pulled, pinched, and eaten by dozens of crabs as they scurried over his body.
Tzutujil lowered the small, flute-like reed he had been blowing. He was 14 years old and wore a thick necklace of woven shells, and a beaded tunic. A huge knife hung at his waist. “He looks tall, like the drawings.”
The other five wore simpler tunics, and stared at Wes in amazement. Cocijo, a younger boy, poked Wes, causing the crabs to scatter.
“Don’t touch him!” Tzutujil shouted.
The low tide waves rocked Wes’s limp body back and forth.
“But the tide is coming in,” said Ixtana, one of the girls. “We should move him.”
Tzutujil was clearly the one giving orders. “We will put him in the hiding place. You will tell no one of this.”
The six of them pulled at his body, unable to lift his weight, and finally dragged it up over the rocks, inflicting more cuts, but getting him out of the water. Others knocked the crabs off, killing, but saving them. After all, why waste good food that otherwise they would spend hours trying to catch?
They finally maneuvered him into a small clearing in the bushes. This was a man, but not like one they had ever seen before, at least not in real life. They saw his mouth open, heard his soul cry out in agony as they pulled him away from certain death. His screams nearly frightened them away. Screams? Was that his own voice he was hearing? Why was he screaming? Perhaps this was what it was like just before birth, or just after death. An embryo. It would be some time before he would know how close he had come to finding out just what is on the other side.
Cocijo stared at him, trying to see if he could be breathing. “I think he is dead.”
“Not yet,” Tzutujil said. “Let’s cover him and come back tomorrow.” The children spread leaves and brush over him, and Ixtana pressed damp herbs onto cuts on Wes’s forehead and chest. Then the children disappeared through the foliage.
Wes awoke in the night. He could barely make out his surroundings. But he realized the bright light that had been blinding him was actually the moon. Through his still static process of thought, he backed his mind slowly away from the moon and onto the ground where he lay. There was no door, no window, nothing. Where was he? What had happened? Who was he? He groaned with pain and gradually hoisted himself onto his side. The herb compresses fell away as Wes stared at them, puzzled, then he fell back down, unconscious.
The next morning the children marched along the sunlit jungle trail carrying medicine and food. When they arrived, Wes was groaning.
“He seems stronger today,” Cocijo said.
“It’s my grandmother’s medicine.” Ixtana snapped some twigs from a nearby bush and began pulling off the leaves. “She has taught me the secrets to heal him.”
Tzutujil grabbed her, pinning her to the trunk of a tree. “You told her?”
“Of course not,” Ixtana said, yanking her arm away from Tzutujil. “She has been training me for years. She knows nothing of him!”
Yumil Kaxob, the third boy in the group, spoke up. “He swallowed some water yesterday. His eyes were still closed, though.”
Again the children dripped water into Wes’s parched mouth, and placed herbs on his wounds before covering him up again and leaving. And each day they would return, giving him bits of fruit and pinches of ground nuts. After a time he could recognize certain voices. He couldn’t make out the language, just the sounds. That one meant food, that one medicine, or something like it. And that one was soft, healing, massaging, magic.
“Ouch!” Something hit him. “Ow!” Another. “What the–” Another sharp pain. As fast as he was able, while yelling words he wasn’t even sure of, he heaved himself up on one elbow to see small brown faces staring back at his, mimicking his unworldly sounds. Ping! They were throwing pebbles at him. Slap!
“Stop it!” he shouted.
“Sta-peed!” came the chorus mixed with laughs and more pebbles.
“Quit it!” he yelled at the top of his lungs, so loud it hurt.
They yelled “Que-geed!” loudly, back at him.
Slowly, each movement agonizing, he picked up as many pebbles as he could, the same ones they’d been throwing at him, and drawing back an arm burdened by even this tiny load, hurled them at these crazed people to shoo them away. The pebbles barely made it past his body before tumbling into the dirt.
The small group groaned with disappointment and slowly moved toward the man. He tried to move away, fearful of what they were going to do to him. They scooped up the pebbles, put them next to his emaciated arm, then backed away. They smiled and yelled “Que-geed!” as loudly as they could. They wanted him to throw, to test his arm, to force him to heal.
He picked up one of the pebbles and worked it between his thumb and forefinger. With a skill probably honed as a child playing with marbles, Wes drove the stone straight and hard, thumping Cocijo in the leg and making him cry out in surprise. The children cheered. Then a chorus of “Que-geed! Que-geed!” rang out loud and long.
The children piled more pebbles around the white stranger.
Recovery had begun.