Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Dinner out in the Yucatán

Rowena blew dust from the stone tablet.

"Look here." She pointed at some blurred characters.

"I can't read them," I replied, "these are pre-Mayan. No one can read this script."

"I know," she replied, brushing a lock of hair away from her face. "But last night I dreamed about a stone city. I read this inscription on a temple gate. Listen."

As she recited the alien syllables I felt that I almost understood them, that I knew the dread city of which she spoke.

I clapped my hands over my ears. "Stop!"

"People stood around an altar. A priest cut out your heart with a gold knife. The heart was given to me." I looked at her, but she turned away. "I ate it. You were dead."

"We should leave,” I said. “Now."

I seized her arm, but she slipped out of my grasp, darting through a door that gaped nearby. I ran after her. She eluded me among the shafts of light and darkness. When I came to a courtyard I was surprised to see her standing there beside a stone table the height of her chest.

"This is the place," she whispered, "this is where I saw you slaughtered."

"That was a dream."

Even as I said this I thought I remembered the scene she had described, and I felt something stir within me. Her sorrowful expression changed to one I could not interpret.

I was on my back. I tried to tell her that I needed food, that I felt hungrier than I ever had, but no words came. I sat up. I caught her hands and tried to explain, but she would not listen, trying to pull free, and shouting. I gave up on talk. There was no time for that now. Hunger was all I had, my vision shrank to a blurry point, and I could do nothing but fill my belly.

I came to my senses on the open hillside. My shirt was wet. The sun set in a welter of crimson and ragged shreds of cloud. A couple of Mayan youths in shorts and dirty shirts stood near. I called to them, but when they approached me their faces changed and they fled. I struggled to my feet, felt the awful hunger returning. Maybe the young men would give me food. I stumbled after them in the gathering dusk.

Publ. Daily Cabal

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