Red Jaguar Rises Again

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Chapter Eight

Cody and Becca become part of an ancient world. He is barefoot and has bells around his ankles. A feathered cape lies over his shoulders. His legs are bare. He wears tight black shorts.

Becca’s long white skirt has a blue border with bells on it. Over her white short-sleeve ruffled blouse is a beautiful blue and green feathered cape. She wears long green earrings from which little gold bells dangle. Her long jade necklace has four layers of green jewels. A huge green pendant of a jaguar hangs from the end of it.

Bright green of the jungle frames the temples, platforms and pyramids that are now brightly painted beautiful colors. They are just as they were when they were built. There is no modern highway through the jungle, only a sackbe.

Four loud blasts come from deep within the jungle. Then, two short ones are heard from conch sells.

Cody no longer calls her ‘Mom.’ She’s Teotl, Queen of the Jungle.

The sun is setting, a ball of bright orange in the sky. The red jaguar statue, the one they saw inside the pyramid, is now on top where it once belonged, not hidden away inside. It’s powerful eyes keep watch on the stone city below.

Cody, or Balam as he now is called, looks among the standing priests for Tonatuih. He is not around. But, the man who gave Tonatuih the codice called Kicah (Ci-Ah) is climbing the steps of the pyramid. There’s just a little piece of cloth around his dark tan body at the waist. His nose is long and his forehead is slanted. He’s in a big hurry.

The lilting sound of flutes is made by three priests.

Three barefoot men, their pants held up by ropes and wearing torn shirts, run out of the jungle. Cody somehow knows that these are bad people. They are chicleros (chick-lair-os), prisoners called by that name because of the trees they are made to harvest as their punishment.

They got away and now do bad things. They pass drugs through Chichen Itza. The priests want no more of that. They want Teotl and Balam to stop them.

An old priest sidles over to Balam. He says, “The end is the beginning. Yes?”

Balam replies, “The ancient city will rest better if these men are stopped.”

The three priests with the flutes move to the edge of the pyramid. Teotl calls out, “The fifty-two year cycles is ending.” Her skirt and cape swirl as she moves to be near to the priests.

The sky turns red. The flutes stop. The jungle is alive with the rasp of crickets, the hooting of owls and more blasts from the conch shells. The shells sound the alarm. The blasts are long and then short. They say that these priests have meet in the Cave of Cala below the Temple known as Apartment with Writing in the Dark and have planned what to do about the chicleros.

The sound of them beats through the jungle. A priest in the background says, “All can be glad. The missing codice is found. Peace can return to the Taysal villages.”

The chicleros are now at the base of the pyramid. Kicah has reached the platform at the top and rushes Balam. “Save the codice. They want to sell it.”

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