Manic or Manioc
|Writers: Espero - Wiesblaize
Manic or Manioc – Benjamin Found a Mayan Coin.Benjamin's head was spinning! An archeology student, he decided to visit the library to do some research. He found himself in the basement archives looking at a most unusual leather bound book written completely in hieroglyphics. He paged through the old book, his hands covered in gloves, as required when viewing ancient works when suddenly a coin rolled out onto the table.
What in the world! He picked up the heavy gold coin, then grabbed a pen and paper to document what he saw. A disc shape etched in the middle had rays spreading out on the bottom side towards a line of what appeared to be mountains. The upper background reminded him of a starry sky. Hieroglyphic writing circled the outer border. The reverse side had the figure of a man with a feathery headdress, looking as though he were in a cockpit of some kind, in a planetary world. He looked around the room but saw no one there. Knowing that he shouldn't, he put the coin in his jacket pocket, promising himself to return it as soon as possible.
Glancing at his watch, he had time to grab a bite to eat and then head to class. If he were lucky, he may get a word with the professor. Wishing he could have brought the book with him, he hoped the professor would be able to tell him what civilization the book may have come from. Still feeling guilty about the coin, he hurried upstairs and pushed open the outside door. He began feeling dizzy and hot. A vision came to him of a fire pit around where native dancers were chanting. They had straight black hair with colorful headbands, wore grass skirts, and twirled batons of fire above their heads. He grabbed the handrail, sank down onto the steps, and took off his jacket. Slowly, his senses returned and he lingered for a moment wondering what had just happened to him. Carrying the jacket over his arm, he hung it in the hallway when he got home.
That night he could barely sleep. He awoke several times and found himself pondering through the house. It’s a full moon and the clouds are blocking his view from the window…but there is an ominous atmosphere of which he is well aware.
“Go to bed!” he mutters a little bit irritated.
When he closed his eyes for the zillionth time he felt a strange sense of upcoming doom. His skin turned icy cold and he started shaking. First slowly, then uncontrollably faster.
When his eyelids closed again it started happening…
Guatemala AD. 900. He is surrounded by cassava and beans, a mountain as large as his eye can see. As he turns he finds himself standing on the steps of a strange-looking pyramid. He wants to enter, there is a great sense of urgency, but he is afraid…he is so afraid he can smell his own sweat.
A door opens: inside a long corridor with elaborate reliefs and inscriptions carved in the gray walls. He recognizes a calendar of some sort and mathematics strangely familiar.
As he walks on, the door behind him closes, and he is utterly alone in the dark.
Suddenly there is the beautiful voice of a girl; she is singing in a strange and unknown language:
“C’yant ceex Naacon
yetel Noh Yum Ah Kulel
ah tan caan chee.
Ah Culel hkay:
c’tz’a c’olaalill tu taan X Zuhuz
X Ciichpan Zuhuy
Colelbil u Lolil Loob ayen
Tut can caan che
U Colebil X M Zuhuy Kaak u,
beyxan x cichpan X’Kamleooch,
X ciichpan Xah Zoot,
yetel x’ciichpam colel
x zuhuy X T’oot much.
Laitie tz’iic utzil
cuxtalil uay yok peetne
uay yok chakme
tu zuut lumil
But an instant later he knows the meaning of the words…
“Accompanying you will be the Nacom
and the Great Lord Ah Kulel
present on the platform.
Ah Kulel sings:
"Let us go, let us go
lay down our wills before the Virgin
the Beautiful Virgin and Lady
the Flower of the Maidens
on the high platform,
the Lady Suhay Kaak,
the Pretty X Kanleox,
the Lovely X Zoot
and the Beautiful Lady Virgin X Tootmuch.
They are those who give goodness
to life here in this Region,
on the Plains and in the district
here in the Mountains." [note1]
With a sudden gasp of air, he regains consciousness. It’s seven o'clock when the alarm goes off.
Shaken by the evening, and feeling as though he had not slept at all, he fumbled getting dressed, grabbed an orange for breakfast, and headed to school. As he walked the few short blocks, he remembered the dream and somehow knew that he had heard the words of a Mayan wedding ceremony. But how? Had he studied this in school and forgotten about it? The coin! Darn, he had left it at home.
Class began and Benjamin tried to put the strange events out of his head and concentrate. They were studying Egypt, a subject that interested him greatly. At some point, Benjamin once again felt strange. He rested his head on his hand, closed his eyes, and leaned forward in his desk. He heard drums pounding out a rhythm, a steady humming chant, and saw yellow eyes moving in the background. The sound became louder and faster, he could feel his hair standing up on his arms, and his heart thumping against his chest. Then the yellow eyes grew bright, he heard a long, loud screech, and a menacing black jaguar jumped straight at him.
Looking up, he realized he had fallen out of his desk. The professor stopped speaking and stood with his mouth hanging open as if time had suddenly stopped. Students were turned in their seats, staring at him. Embarrassed, he brushed himself off, stood up, and said, "I'm sorry, I must have fallen asleep." With that, the professor gave a little scowl and continued on with his instruction. Benjamin could feel eyes peering at him for the rest of the period and decided that he might have to visit the doctor if this continued.
When class is finally finished the Professor asked to join him in his small office at the back. Benjamin is embarrassed, doesn’t know what to say, and follows the little brisk man into the back.
“Well, Ben, what on earth was the matter with you today? You were really distracted, I could tell. Care to explain?” The professor asks almost gently.
“Mm, I am, I mean, there is, I really don’t know...not for sure anyway,” Benjamin replies.
“Problems with your research? What is it you do, I don’t seem to remember?” The professor puts on his reading glasses and begins sifting through some papers.
“A paper on ancient hieroglyphs. I found this book; I meant to talk to you about it. It’s mysterious and I have so many questions…”
“I’ll make an appointment for tomorrow. Bring the book with you, we will talk then. ”
“That’s not possible, sir”, Benjamin replied. “The book has to stay in the library.”
“Tomorrow 4 p.m. in the library it is, then.” The Professor was already busy with his work. “Leave the door open on your way out, will you?”
Benjamin turned. "That's the city library sir, not the school library. Downstairs in the archives."
The Professor pursed his lips and looked down his nose. "Oh, the city library. Well, I suppose I can make it. This better be good, Benjamin, it better be good."
Benjamin wasn't sure why he hadn't revealed the discovery of the coin. He had a gut feeling to keep it a secret. The rest of the day went by routinely. He forced himself to concentrate on his other subjects, then met a friend for supper. He mentioned nothing about recent events. After supper, he returned to his apartment early in the evening.
At home he showered, then surrounded himself on the couch with his books, hoping to get some required reading done. Soon, his overtired mind drifted off to sleep. Once again he found himself inside the pyramid; this time touching some of the strange inscriptions on the walls. Running his fingers over the ancient hieroglyphics. He heard the slamming of the great door but remained calm as he forged ahead down the corridor. On a tall platform straight ahead, he saw yellow eyes. He stopped and waited as if he had been summoned to do so. The words came to him from all directions, seeming to bounce off the walls. A diffused light beamed down onto the platform and the form of the panther emerged behind those golden eyes. Large, sleek, beautiful, and dangerous. Benjamin gulped but stood in place, like a soldier awaiting orders.
"We meet again Benjaaaaaaaaaaaaamin," snarled the panther. "You have something that does not belong to you, nor does it belong to this world. We have been looking for it a long time. I see you're trying to involve others in your quest. I must warn you that you're treading in dangerous waters; a journey that you may not be able to stop once it has begun. This is the last time we will meet - in this world. I hope we do not meet in the other. I will leave you a souvenir so that you will heed my warning. Leave this place now, before it is too late! Growwwwwwwwllll!"
The growl reverberated through every cell in his body. He fell to the stone floor in a heap, holding his hands over his ears, wishing it to stop. His body shook uncontrollably. He closed his eyes and waited for the end. Then, he felt the silence, so dark and deep that each beat of his heart sounded like the pounding of a drum in his ears. When he opened his eyes again, a strange green light shone down upon him. He unwound himself from the floor and saw drops of blood dripping onto the cold stone floor. He reached up to touch his cheek and found it to be wet and sticky. He heard the groaning of the door opening and light led the way back to the outside world.
He awoke on the couch in his apartment, morning sunlight reaching into the room. Still full of shock and fear, he ran to the bathroom mirror and stared at what he saw. Three long scratches were on his face, from the bridge of his nose to his jawbone. "Oh God, oh God, what just happened to me?"
Nothing made sense, everything was just mixed up and impossible to comprehend.
Was this the end of a sane life? Was he losing it completely this time?
To find some answers in the dreadful whirl of his thoughts, he stood up, walked trancelike to his jacket, still hanging in the hallway. He took a deep breath and felt inside one of his pockets. Nothing, nothing was there. He reached out for the other side of the jacket, but before he could feel it properly the doorbell rang.
Like he had been bitten by a snake, he jumped up and had to physically hold his posture by touching the wall to keep standing upright.
When he opened the door it was a familiar face, his best friend from downstairs, Gilles.
“I am just coming in for five minutes, Bro”. Gilles smiled as he passed Benjamin to the sitting room of the one room apartment.
He sat down on the couch. “What’s up?!”
Benjamin sat across from Giles in the recliner chair. "Not much, same old, same old. Get up, go to school, study, go to bed. Nothing changes."
"Humm. Clearly, something has changed, did you tangle with a woman?"
"Huh? No, what are you talking about?"
"Dude, your face. The scratches. Must have been some night!"
Ben's mind whirled, what to say, what to say. "Oh, nothing like that. I had a big load of books, stumbled, and fell into the bushes."
"Sure, whatever you say Bro. You don't look too good."
"Seriously, I haven't been sleeping well, that's all. What have you been up to? Want a beer or something?"
"No thanks, can't stay long, just wanted to check in. Taking Darcy to the club tonight. Gotta keep her happy, you know how that goes."
"Can't say that I do, it's been a while since I've had a girlfriend. No time for all that dating right now."
"Well, all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy." Giles laughed.
"OK, get your point. Let's go out and raise the roof in a couple of weeks. Maybe I do need a break."
"That's a promise, Bro, I'll hold you to it! Gotta run, see you later."
"Later," Benjamin replied.
Once Giles was gone, Benjamin had a couple of hours to study before meeting the professor at the library. He checked his jacket pockets again and couldn't find the coin. Drat! Now he had not only stolen an ancient coin from the library but he'd lost it. He tried to study but couldn't fixate on the work. At 3:15 he grabbed his jacket and headed to the library. He didn't want to be late and keep the professor waiting. Along the way, he kept reaching into his pockets trying to find a hole or tear somewhere. He was so angry at himself for being careless with the coin; especially for taking it in the first place. What a moron, he thought.
He stood on the library steps looking out over the thick grass of the grounds. The library was one of the oldest in the country, and quite impressive. He had heard that genealogists flocked here for research; he could understand why. Soon he spied the dour little professor walking toward him. The serious man looked all business as usual. He smiled and held out his hand, "Professor, thank you for meeting me here, it was very kind of you."
The man shook his head, "No problem Ben, let's have a look at this discovery of yours, shall we? I must tell you that it's highly unusual for a library to have a book of this nature. I believe our college would have been notified of such a valuable addition to the library's collection."
Down the two sets of steps, they went to the caverns of the library where the archives were kept. "Right over here, Sir," Benjamin directed, leading the professor toward a table at the far end of the room. "Have a seat at this table and I'll find the book and get some gloves."
Ben, nervous that the professor would soon lose patience, hurried to the desk, picked up two sets of gloves, and then bustled back to the shelf where he had found the book. He scanned the books but couldn't find it. "Sorry sir, it was right here the other day, let me ask someone." He found the portly librarian at the desk. "Madam, I'm sorry to bother you but I was looking at a hieroglyphic book with a leather cover the other day. It was right over there but I can't find it now. Could you help me?"
She removed her glasses and dropped them onto the beaded chain around her neck. "A leather-bound hieroglyphic book you say? I'm sorry sir, you must be mistaken, we have no books like that here in the archives."
"But I saw it right there, the other day." Benjamin turned to look at the table and saw the professor staring at him.
"I would check upstairs, we have some wonderful research on Egypt, Inca, Mayan, and other civilizations there. I don't believe the library has been fortunate enough to have an original hieroglyphic book. Those are usually held by museums as they are very rare."
Benjamin nodded. I must be stark, raving mad, he thought. I'm sure the professor will think so. Head hanging, he walked back to the table. "I'm very sorry sir, the book seems to have disappeared." He eased himself down onto a chair.
With a tut, tut, tut, sound of his tongue, the professor stared at Benjamin. "Son, I'm not sure what's going on with you. Sometimes students become overly stressed by studies and life in general. I suggest you see a doctor, you have not been yourself. Where in the world did you get those scratches on your face?"
"It's nothing sir, I fell in the bushes. I haven't been able to sleep well. I've been having dreams."
"Take care of it, Benjamin. I wouldn't want to see you fail this year after all the work you've done already. I'll see you in class, and please, no more silliness. My time is more valuable than to go running around looking for something out of your imagination, as your time should also be. With that, he stood up and rapidly left the room. Benjamin could hear the clip, clip, of his feet as he ascended the steps.
Feeling like an idiot, Benjamin wondered if he was going insane. He slowly rose from the table, hands in pocket, when he yelled, "Ouch!" He felt like something hot had burned his finger. Carefully he peered into the pocket and then fell back into his chair. The coin was there. How was that possible? Then, ever so slowly, heart in his throat almost paralyzed with fear, he turned to the bookshelf. The book was there! His head was throbbing, or was it something else? Louder, louder. Then the most insidious, evil laugh, rang through his ears. He couldn't stand it, he couldn't!!! He wrapped his arms around his head and let it drop onto the table.
A booming voice said, "We told you not to involve others, you are in our control now, Benjamin."
A loud, bloodcurdling cry could be heard echoing throughout the walls of the library.
That’s when he fainted. He felt his blood circle inside his head, his body and arms, and legs. Within seconds he slid onto the ground, hit his head on the floor, and passed out under the prying eyes of the lady-librarian.
Sand. Sand everywhere. Little, tiny, minuscule grains of sand all over the place.
A girl, raven black hair to her waist is sitting naked in the sand, her beautiful slender body glistening under the hot sun that is high up in the sky, like a magic, yellow and gold omen. Beams of white and purple strands fall upon a greenish shore.
The ocean is rolling its waves to the beach, roaring like an animal, closer…subtracting, attracting.
Benjamin looks at the girl, can’t keep his eyes from her. She is so beautiful.
Then she sings to him, again…and he recognizes her shy, but powerful voice.
She crawled to him as he lay in the hot sand and he can't help but think of the sleek, black, panther. He stroked her long back hair and ran his fingers down the length of her back. She turned to him and he smelled the coconut oil emanating off of her firm brown body. He felt drunk with passion, the touch of her driving him into a frenzy. As she pulled herself onto him, he realized that he is unclothed, like her. A steady sound of distant drums matches the beat of their bodies as they united together. They fell asleep in each other's arms.
"Will he be OK doctor?" asks the nurse as both stood beside the hospital bed looking down on Benjamin.
"We'll have to see what the test results bring, it's too early to tell. He seems to be in a deep coma for now. It's unusual. The librarian said he only fell from the chair to the carpeted floor. She did say he was screaming prior to the fall so perhaps he had an aneurysm. He's young, that's in his favor."
Benjamin, now in a coma, dreamed on - unaware of the fate that was to befall him.
The girl quietly removed herself from Benjamin, found her clothes, and took the path through the jungle to the City of Tikal. She arrived at the pyramid door where two sentries escorted her inside. Fearfully, she slowly made her way down the corridor where Yik'n Chan K'awiil, the King, awaited. Reaching the platform upon which he sat, she cast down her eyes and folded her slender body with respect.
The haughty King spoke. "Boxito (my dear), have you completed the assignment you were given?"
"Yes, my King," Palerque replied. "I have left him sleeping on the beach."
"Very good! You have performed a great service for the Mayan people. Now that the seed has been planted, we will finally be able to have a sacrificial ceremony. We can summon our forces and make ready to return home to our planet. Your reward will be as promised. He raised his hand to summon two ladies, waiting on the side. "Take Palerque and ready her for the wedding ceremony tomorrow. She will be my new Queen and sit beside me for the service she has done."
Palerque, having no choice but to do as bidden, nodded her head and left the foot of the throne with the ladies. The destruction of the Mayan Kingdom on earth had begun but a highly anticipated reunion in a faraway planet was waiting. The coin's power had been unleashed.
The day of the ceremony.
Palerque has put on her wedding gown with the help of the Two Devine Sisters.
They‘ve bathed her thoroughly with holy water from the ocean. Her hair is in a bow held in position with a thong of black leather. Her eyes are black from the coal used underneath the eyes; her lips are red with moisterous jelly.
She is ready…
And still, the comatose Benjamin drempt on.
The wedding couple walked a path to the beach, led by a fierce-looking Shaman. The King is resplendent in a necklace of jaguar and crocodile teeth, jaguar claws, and feathers. His head carries an elaborated headdress adorned with gems and feathers. When all have gathered on the beach, the Shaman begins a ritual. He asks the sky, mother earth, and superior beings to consolidate and strengthen the couple's love in the coming years. Palerque gulps, she accepted her fate but her heart wished for love with another. Then, Copal incense smoke is released purifying the environment.
It was time for the celebration of the wedding. Singing and chanting took place, drums, and flutes played. Mayan dancers face painted, stomped and twirled among the crowd. The wedding couple sat in chairs while their arms and necks were tattooed with a pyramid; open at the top to portray a starry sky where oval discs appeared to be floating amidst the stars. It was done! Matching tattoos symbolized a lifelong devotion to each other. All that was left was the consummation.
Tomorrow would be a day of Blood Sports. Teams in a ball court would compete to vanquish each other. They would play with hard rubber balls that had human skulls inside. Human sacrifice would follow, appeasing the Gods so that they would be welcomed back to their home planet.
In a cold and stark room inside the pyramid, the captured Benjamin lay on a bed of palm leaves, not knowing what these strange people were going to do with him. He could still feel the touch of the beautiful woman on his skin. Sounds of beating drums could be heard outside the walls.
Meanwhile, back in the hospital, the Doctor and Nurse were having a conversation over the prone form of Benjamin lying in the bed. "You say he has been making noises?" the Doctor asked the nurse.
"Yes, Doctor, he was groaning for some time, then his hands and feet began to twitch. He let out a sound that I can only describe as a cry of fear. Since he has been breathing heavily in a deep sleep."
"Maybe he's coming out of it. The test results showed nothing wrong. Frankly, I'm perplexed."
Inside the bare cell, Benjamin dreaded the seconds into minutes that passed into hours. He feared for his life, for his existence since the guards of his prison chamber looked awfully serious and uptight on the other side of the thick wooden door. He could hear them pace up and down the corridor outside, chanting strange words. He was afraid they would enter anytime now to break his fingers or legs or waterboard him…he had read about that in a magazine somewhere. All irrational thoughts and ominous feelings of doom and disaster came down on his head like a sudden thunderstorm.
Suddenly, the door to the room burst open and four Mayan men entered, carrying a cage on their shoulders held by four wooden poles. They prodded at Benjamin and forced him into the cage. All he could do was crouch above them as he was carried down the long corridor to the outside world, there was no room to stretch or stand.
He was taken to a large arena around which Mayan people sat on stone seats. The cage was put down at the far end of the sporting area. The game was vicious. He watched several Mayans taken away after getting hit in the head with the hard balls. Cheers could be heard all around. Benjamin assumed everyone had picked a favorite like they did back home. How he wished he were back home now and this crazy dream was over. He blamed the coin for all that was happening to him and wished he could put it back, never to look upon it again. His sin was having stolen it in the first place.
Drums started a steady beat. The cage was picked up again and taken to the center of the arena. He was raised above the heads of the Mayans. Dancers circled around them, chanting while looking skyward and raising their arms upward. Their heads were covered with feathers, crocodile skulls, and what appeared to be jaguar hides. Some carried wiggling black snakes in their hands and he quivered hoping they would not be flung into his cage. He thought he heard thunder but was unable to see the sky because of his crouched position.
Bolts of lightning came shooting toward the ground with fury, the skies darkened, and a light rain began to fall. A procession was formed. To his amazement, being carried in two chairs, in front of him, were a vividly decorated couple. He recognized the woman as the girl from the beach. She never turned her head to acknowledge him.
The procession moved toward the pyramid. When the great door opened to receive them, the earth started shaking. He turned his head and saw the vacated arena shuttering, and it crumbled to the ground. He trembled for his life, thinking the end of the world had come. They entered the pyramid and he could see a great white light beaming down in the center. The couple in chairs were set down. The man reached a hand to the beautiful woman and led her to a platform where they sat in what appeared to be thrones. Benjamin was puzzled. Was this the King and Queen of the Mayans, and if so, what was she doing on the beach seducing him?
The beating drums and incessant chanting began again. A crew of Mayans came with a stone table and placed it in the center of the light. The cage was brought to the floor, the door opened, and he was given something to drink. He didn't want to partake but they pushed him until he finished the vile tasting liquid. It didn't take long before he felt the room spinning and his eyes became heavy. They led him to the stone pillar and made him lie on it. The chanting and drum beats became louder, louder. Spinning, spinning. He wasn't afraid anymore, an out of body feeling came to him as if he were watching from a distance. A loud creaking noise was heard and the last thing he saw was the top of the pyramid breaking apart. Suspended above the pyramid was some type of large floating disc. Two fire dancers leaped into the light and pierced Benjamin with their swords. A loud shriek reverberated throughout the pyramid as the panther, seemingly out of nowhere, jumped onto the stone table and severed Benjamin's vocal cords. Benjamin didn't feel anything, he was no longer alive. The panther growled once and jumped down. Mayans moved aside as he streaked down the long corridor and out the door.
The men came and moved the table with the lifeless body of Benjamin to the side. The King and Queen were escorted into the center of the light. With one final decree to his people, their forms slowly rose upward toward the waiting disc. Two by two, the Mayans stepped into the light and ascended until they all had disappeared.
Constant lightning lit up the sky, thunder boomed, and the earth around them began trembling and shaking until the pyramid tumbled into a heap of stone. Several discs of light skimmed through the dark and angry clouds.
A loud steady, beep, beep, beep, was heard coming from Benjamin's hospital room. The nurse rushed in to see what was going on.
"Get the paddles, stat!" yelled the nurse. Code Blue was called. Doctors and nurses worked together, but it was no use, Benjamin had died without ever regaining consciousness. What had happened to him, remained a mystery to the hospital, but his sacrifice would be remembered by the Mayan people for centuries.
In a faraway planet, his seed was now inside of a Queen whose husband, the King, was sterile. There was no doubt the seed would grow, they were highly advanced in genetics. The Queen would certainly bring forth an earthling. The child would be a vessel back to this planet if they ever had a need to return.
There have been varying concepts about the disappearance of 90% of the Mayan population ranging from destruction of the forest, disease, or a deadly earthquake. Only a few historians acknowledge that it may have had something to do with the acute knowledge the Mayan people had with astronomy and mathematics.
Title: Manioc means cassava in the Mayan language, it is the vegetable they were famous for to grow back in their time.
[note1: from The Songs of Dzitbalché, Ancient Mayan Poetry by Ah Bam, Translated by John Curl]
By Espero and WakeUpAndLive