Red Jaguar Rises Again

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Chapter Five

After they’d eaten, Becca asked George, “Senior Hor Hay can you show us the temple called Apartment with Writing in the Dark? I thought it was the most interesting temple here.”

“As you know, Mrs. Clark, it is in a different area of the ruins,” George said. So they walked past the main entrance, crossed over the highway and onto a crooked path between low shrubs and short, spiny trees to the section of ruins with the temple.

The path ended at a wide spot. It was a large open square with four temples of various sizes around it. But in the distance, they could see many other stone buildings branching off the plaza in several directions.

Becca went to stand in front of a low, stone building built on a big platform on the north side of the plaza. Two huge pillars stood in front of its entrance as if to guard the wide doorway that lead into the temple.

No other people were at the ruins. Other tourists and Mexican soldiers were no where to be seen. It gave Cody an eerie feeling with no one else around.

“Thank you for your service, Senor,” said Becca extending her hand to the guide. “From this point on, I’d like to show the ruins to Cody just by myself. So, please be excused. But, return for us at the hacienda in two days to take us back to the airport in Merida.”

“As you wish, Mrs. Clark,” said George who shook the hands of each of them, then leisurely walked away.

Once they’re inside the temple, Becca thought about something, and snuck back outside. She went behind one of the large stone columns. “He’s gone,” she said with relief as the figure of the guide disappeared in the distance.

Cody came out the temple, too, when he saw her go out. He rose up behind the other pillar and looked around the empty plaza.. “No sign of George. I thought you liked him. But, sometimes he acted as if he wanted to be somewhere else than with us. He lay around a lot, too. I didn’t think guides got paid to do that.”

Becca didn’t answer, just went back inside the temple. The room was small. A little stone statue of a seated man wearing a jaguar skin sat upon a raised stone right in the center of the space. He wore a big hat with feathers.

The only light came through the doorway. Becca fished a flashlight out of her little black purse hanging from a strap over her shoulder. She said, “There’s an unusual wall over behind that seated figure,” she says. “It’s like a gigantic puzzle. You’ll see once we get closer.”

She flashed the beam of light past the little figure on the platform and onto the wall. The large space was made up of stone blocks, each about a foot wide. Many had little red marks on them that looked like numbers.

In several blocks there was the figure of a weird-looking man who held a spear. “Let’s go behind this platform so we can really see the carvings,” said Cody.

“Great idea,” said Becca. “I’m looking for something really special.”

With the tiny beam of the flashlight to guide them, they moved behind the platform. As they did, their feet struck bits and pieces of rock on the cold, stone floor.

Becca shone the light over the wall onto several of the blocks. In many places there were empty spots without a stone. One cube has no carving on it at all, but all had a tiny number.

Cody asks, “Who put numbers on these stones? Why?”

“Archeologists must be putting this wall back together. They also number small pieces they find that might belong here. The empty places must be where bits and pieces are still missing,” said Becca.

Her flashlight moved onto a man wearing a jaguar robe. “He’s the one, Cody. He’s the one I’m looking for. I thought he was so handsome the first time I saw him.”

The figure had a big sloping forehead, a ski-nose, a big chin and a thin mouth. A wicked-looking smile was on his wide face.

Cody moved in closer to see another figure carved a block. His foot hit a piece of stone on the floor. He picked it up and said, “Maybe I can find where this one fits.”

Becca came over and put her hands on his shoulder. She moved the little beam of light as he went around the wall trying to place the jagged piece of stone into a likely spot.

Cody stuck it into a block high as he is tall just above the stone with man in the jaguar robe. As he did, there was a loud, fierce animal scream above their heads.

His heart stopped. He cried out, “Was that a jaguar!”

“Sure could be,” said Becca who moved in closer to him. She shone the beam around to find the source the sound. The light struck a small opening in the wall and the whole wall began to slide. The ground clashed and scraped.

The wall rumbled and stopped. Cool drafts of air came from below. Becca pointed the beam down.

They looked down what might be a very deep hole. Their feet are right on the edge of it. Cody cried out, “See. There’s a ladder! It’s wide enough to hold both of us. Let’s go see what’s down there!”

“I can’t see the bottom,” Becca said. “I don’t know if we should. The ladder might be old and not be safe.”

But, Cody could tell she was just as excited as he was feeling. They had to find out what was below.

“We might be on the top of another pyramid,” he said, keyed up. He broke away from the grip she had on his shirt and sat on the edge. His legs dangled below. The cool air from below washed over him. It felt good on his legs. He wiggled his tennis shoe so the sock inside didn’t rub up against the blister as hard.

Becca nestled beside him. “It might be safe. Unless this ladder is too old and can’t hold both of us.”

Down is Sometime Not Better

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