Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #964258
Dr. Seth Bradley finds a secret Aztec Pyramid.
|Featured in the "Horror/Scary" Newsletter DTD: 14 AUG 2008.|
Featured in the "Short Stories" Newsletter DTD: 7 FEB 2012.
* This short story can be found in the Horror Anthology "The Tabloid Purposes II". It is currently availiable at http://www.lulu.com
Dr. Seth Bradley carefully walked up the steep stone steps of the Aztec pyramid. This pyramid was remarkably free of the jungle’s vegetation. It was as if it had been neatly preserved in another dimension until now. And if he found what he was looking for, he just might be able to prove it!
“This find ought to be worth a small fortune,” Bradley muttered to himself. It was about time that his work in archaeology yielded more than grime beneath his fingernails. The years he spent frying under the hot sun for little more than bones and trinkets with nothing to show for his efforts but sweat and dirt were over. This time, things would be different.
Bradley’s heart beat wildly in his chest for this was no ordinary Aztec pyramid. Twenty years ago, he discovered a dirty, yet well- preserved parchment at the main temple in Tenochtitlan that spoke of a secret, hidden pyramid, built fifty-two years before Tenochtitlan was settled in the Valley of Mexico that only appeared the last five days of the fifty-two year cycle. Now in his early fifties, the finding of this pyramid enthralled him. He was certain that its discovery would make him a wealthy man, for the mysterious structure was bound to contain priceless treasures and artifacts the likes of which had never been seen before.
Bradley was a well-known Aztec archeologist. He fell in love with archeology when he discovered a dinosaur bone in the backyard of his Montana home as a child. From that moment, he read every book, took all the classes he could, and studied hard. In his early twenties he got a job as an intern assisting in an Aztec dig. It drew him into the fascinating culture that existed in the Americas so many years ago. But archeology didn’t pay the bills and the grants were getting thinner because of that clown in the White House!
“Sir, I’m tired.”
Bradley looked down at his assistant, Justin Waverly, a young, pale, red-haired intern. Bradley paused, then wiped the sweat from his brow with his bandana. The sun had started its descent over the pyramid, but the humidity didn’t help to make the climb easy.
Justin was young and smart, but not tough. Still, he was the only intern brave enough to come with him.
“Son, it’s not much further to the top. Another fifteen minutes. Take a drink from your canteen,” Bradley instructed, pausing to sip from his own. The water felt cool as it slid down his throat.
“Do you think we can make it, Dr. Bradley? The steps grow narrower as we go up. This isn’t like the other pyramids I’ve seen.”
The sound of Justin’s voice bothered Bradley. His eyes narrowed. He didn’t expect such complaints from the young man. The old archeologist adjusted his sunglasses as he wrinkled his nose in disapproval. It cost good money to pay his intern and the incessant whining was beginning to get on his nerves. “Son, you knew what you were getting into when I asked you come. I showed you the parchment. You knew this pyramid was different.”
Bradley turned around and once again they began their arduous ascent. According to the ancient parchment, there would be a gold-metallic lever at the top of the pyramid. It would open a secret door that would allow them inside. No other pyramid in the world had anything like that! The notes hinted the structure might be hiding a great, powerful machine. Bradley was stunned by the thought. Machinery in the Americas that long ago! It seemed beyond possible.
In prior adventures, Bradley discovered the earliest Aztec writings dated back to the Twelfth Century. The Aztecs were led into the Valley of Mexico by their chieftain, Tenoch. The Aztec god, Huitzilopochti, spoke to Tenoch, who guided the people from the island of Aztlan to their new land in the Valley. The Aztec people raised up the city of Tenochtitlan, which grew into a thriving culture until Cortez confronted Montezuma II in 1520. Then it all went to shit.
The Aztecs had a most advanced culture considering the times. While the dark ages consumed Europe, the Aztecs developed reading and writing. They had a remarkable currency minted in gold. The Aztecs showed off their knowledge by creating a solar year calendar that lasted exactly the amount of time it took for the Earth to go around the sun – 365 days! Just the thought that such a primitive culture could determine the number of days it took Earth to revolve around the sun fascinated him. What was their blasted secret?
They also developed another calendar – a ritual one. Their ritual year lasted fifty-two years. At the end of the fifty-two years, they believed the world was about to end. The close of this cycle made this the most important event in Aztec life. They thought the gods were coming to destroy humanity. But, if the gods found favor with them, they showed the Aztecs the constellation of Pleiades to tell them they had another fifty-two years to exist.
Bradley always believed there was so much more to this and it had something to do with the gold metal lever. Something or someone had to have influenced this beastly culture. Then, as he put his hand on the last narrow step to brace himself, he wickedly chuckled - the Aztecs truly were beasts. They believed in human sacrifice and cannibalism. No other culture on the planet had been so enraptured with such morbidity. Because of this, he had developed a theory. The only thing that made sense to him was that space travelers had landed on the planet and were responsible for influencing the Aztecs. If he could only get inside this pyramid, he just might prove that theory true! And if it was true, this discovery would bring in a fountain of money so he could retire.
The top ledge was small, but as his eyes peered over the slender space, he saw the lever sparkling in the sunlight! A small trickle of sweat dripped down his neck.
Frigging pay dirt! He had one of the major archeological finds of the twentieth century if this panned out. The whiney intern made it to the top ledge. With little regard for his crybaby, Bradley used his foot to kick the lever and the floor of the ledge crisply slid out from underneath them. They went tumbling down a slide into the pyramid and the ledge quickly closed, surrounding the duo in utter blackness.
Bradley and his intern landed on a hard, cold metal structure. The force of it knocked the breath out of both of them. Bradley felt a sharp pain in his ribs, but his adrenaline seemed to wash it away.
“Sir…my stomach…” Justin whined.
“Shut up!” Bradley hissed as his eyes began to adjust to the cold, damp darkness surrounding them. His hands reached out. A metal structure supported them.
Silence. Complete utter silence. What frigging now?
Bradley reached for his belt to pull out his mini mag-light.
A fierce clicking sound began to ring out in the chamber. A sudden flash of light blinded the duo. The pyramid came to life and Bradley found himself and his intern sitting on the top of a spacecraft.
“Holy shit,” muttered Justin, as his pupils narrowed at the bright light.
“Get out your mini cam and start recording this,” Bradley harshly ordered. There wasn’t just one spacecraft in the pyramid – there were two! Their outer hulls were surprisingly dust free. Bradley surveyed the area, discovering the lights that filled the pyramid were guide lights on the craft.
The vessels were long with sleek, with smooth sides and covered in a light material that seemed very strong. Titanium? Or something similar? Bradley stood up and walked to the edge, guessing the ship was about the size of a space shuttle.
“How the hell do we get inside?” he muttered.
Justin flashed the mini cam on him. He spoke softly as the recorder picked up his voice. “Maybe there’s a button?”
“Or a gold lever…” said Bradley with a smug smile, as he spied a gold-metallic prompt in the middle of the spacecraft’s hull. He walked over to it, got on his knees, and pushed against it. A quick, sliding panel opened. Bradley fell through the hole and landed inside the spacecraft. Before his intern could follow him, the door slid shut.
Bradley groaned as he clutched his ribs. He landed on some type of console and bounced off it. A sharp object pierced his side and blood trickled from a wound onto the console. He took a deep breath to help him deal with the pain as he grabbed his bandana and put it on top of the injury. Suddenly the console whirled to life and thousands of images flooded his senses.
“Merope One missed you, Huitzilopochti,” a loud metallic voice spoke to him.
The thing thought he was the Aztec god, Huitzilopochti! Bradley’s sweat pooled at the back of his neck.
“Did you have a good feast? Did the meat taste good? Can we report back to Tezcatlipoca that the expedition here to this planet is a success?” the ship’s computer asked.
Bradley wrinkled his brow. Tezcatlipoca was the chief Aztec god. Huitzilopochti was the war god for the Aztecs.
“I am not Huitzilopochti,” Bradley finally replied, not sure how to talk to the computer.
“Of course you are. How else could you enter? We should report to Tezcatlipoca immediately. Is this world inhabitable? Will it support the life of our planet?” The computer continued.
Bradley felt the air’s cold chill against his body. He stumbled back, practically faint now by the loss of blood.
“I smell the blood. It is rich in iron, Huitzilopochti. Tezcatlipoca will be pleased.”
Smell blood? My blood…what did it mean? Was it more than a computer? Was it artificial life?
Suddenly he felt the urge to get the hell out. His eyes wildly looked around. His rag was soaked. Why wasn’t the bleeding stopping? Was the wound worse than he thought it was? Why was the air so damn stale?
“Help me…” Bradley choked. He fell to the floor, passing out.
When he woke, all of his five senses were being assaulted. Pictures flashed before his eyes in seconds. The stale, porous air stung the capillaries of his lungs. His flesh was covered in goosebumps. Noise rang out in his ears. A warm red liquid poured down his throat from a rubber pipe that had been inserted. He realized he was extended on a metal pentagram before the spaceship’s computer and automated drones were attending to him. He was naked and they were examining his bleeding wound.
His glassy eyes watched a three-foot drone thrust a crown-like object on his head. The minute it did, Bradley felt like he had a sixth sense – extra sensory perception.
Merope was a red star in the constellation of the Pleiades. The first planet that revolved the star simply called itself Merope One. Its inhabitants were vicious. Two warring nation states were destroying the planet. The inhabitants of Merope One needed iron to survive. The plants that provided it were almost gone, and they were killing each other for the iron in their blood they so desperately needed. They sought to explore other worlds to look for iron-rich environments. All this occurred in the twelfth century of Earth’s history. Huitzilopochti was the space commander of this vessel sent to determine if Earth would be suitable for the Meropans to relocate to.
Bradley’s body quaked with fear. His head throbbed from the crown being too tight. His own bleeding wound wouldn’t stop and the drones collected his blood in a bucket. Then they made him ingest blood through the tube in his mouth? Why?! He was going to die if they kept this up! Did they think they were giving him what he needed to live? His lungs would drown at this rate! He began to struggle, but the thick ropes that held him bound were tight.
A drone slapped his cheek. The images came back. Huitzilopochti met with Tenoch, the leader of an Indian tribe on Aztlan. There had to be more people on this backwoods planet. Tenoch led the tribe to the Valley of Mexico where the city of Tenochtitlan was founded.
Huitzilopochti gave them everything. He provided them a written language to complement their oral one. He gave them gold. He nurtured them – teached the people how to count the years. He gave them calendars. Merope’s rotation around its own sun was fifty-two years. He promised to return to Tenoch and his people to check on their progress every fifty-two years.
That wasn’t all. The most brutal thing Huitzilopochti taught them was how to kill. Human blood was more than rich in iron. Huitzilopochti determined when the time came, and his planet was finally decimated beyond reason, then the Meropans could come to settle on the Earth and the Aztecs would think their gods had returned.
Bradley grew weaker. His stomach felt heavy with fluid. His heart beat furiously in his chest. Where was that stupid frigging intern when he needed him?
“Let me go…” Bradley’s weak voice pierced the air.
“Go to where, Huitzilopochti? We will save you,” the computer announced.
Shit, Bradley thought, a human being only had four to five pints of blood in them. Yet the supply seemed to never end…!
The drone slapped him again.
“Concentrate, Huitzilopochti. Only you can lead us back to Merope.”
Another round of images assaulted the bleeding archeologist. The end of every fifty-two year cycle, during the last five days, the inter-dimensional gate was opened between Earth and Merope making space travel possible between the two planets. The Meropans slipped through the barriers with these sleek, long ships, that folded and bended through time and space.
The Meropans were similar to humans. They had two legs, two arms, and a head but their skin was a dusty gray color. They had no hair on their bodies. They saw through narrow flaring slits on the top of their forehead. A heavy protective flap of skin covered their delicate eyes from the intense rays of Earth’s sun and they could be easily blinded if they let their guard down. Still, they were ugly little beings. Huitzilopochti barely stood five foot tall and he was tall for a Meropan.
“I’m going to die here if that stupid frigging intern doesn’t do something…” Bradley choked loud enough for only him to hear. He was now weak and dizzy. His head never felt so light in his life. His heartbeat was faster than it should be.
Suddenly all thoughts of pain left his head. He was walking in Huitzilopochti’s steps down the corridor of the ship. Huitzilopochti spent one fifty-two cycle here and another fifty-two on Merope. He had returned for one last visit. It was time to advise his leader, Tezcatlipoca, that the humans had embraced their ways. They ate flesh. They believed in sacrifices for the gods. The Meropans would be gods to these people. They could now come to Earth.
Huitzilopochti flicked the button. Static. He turned more switches. Nothing. Practically hysterical, he took the key from around his neck and inserted it into a thin slot. A visual came up before him. Death. Destruction. A meteor bigger than Merope’s largest moon crashed into the planet sending the already delicate ecosystem into ruin. The Meropans had been killed as the climate of the planet cooled. All of Huitzilopochti’s people were dead. The only living Meropans were he and his complement of five crew members.
Huitzilopochti had Tenoch’s grandson hide his ship in this temple from the Aztecs. He made the chieftain bring him human females to breed with. These half-lings became Tenochtitlans’s rulers. Then suddenly, Huitzilopochti disappeared after 150 years. His descendant, Montezuma II, though a conquering explorer was he, came back to the Aztecs.
The computer knew Montezuma was wrong. Huitzilopochti would not slaughter his chosen people so viciously as the invader did. No, Huitzilopochti would make a beautiful sacrifice and drink his worshiper’s blood in loving fashion.
This frigging crazy machine has been dormant so damn long it thinks I’m its captain. It doesn’t fucking realize how much time has passed and that its stupid ass planet was annihilated!
“Drink, Huitzilopochti. Drink the blood of your worshiper and live.” The computer pleaded.
Bradley looked up and found his intern, Justin dead. He was sacrificed in a similar fashion that the Aztecs used before their time. The drones were collecting the intern’s blood and forcing it into Bradley’s body.
“Talk to me, Huitzilopochti. Tell me what to do. Why do you die and not live from the human’s iron?”
Seth Bradley had no more words to give as he bled to death.
The drones picked up his dead body along with his intern’s and deposited them outside the pyramid. Three days later the pyramid disappeared in the dimension between Earth and Merope, not to return for another fifty-two years. The drones went to sleep. No one found Bradley’s body as it decayed in the Valley of Mexico.
© Copyright by SG Cardin 2005.