A generous grant awarded to the British Museum for further exploration into the Temple of Kukulcan, Structure 5B18, is when I decided to kill the plagiarist bastard for pilfering my latest codex on Mayan Sacrificial Rituals. The two of us were earmarked as archaeologists investigating the Classic Period of Mayan culture when I formulated my plan. I knew from previous research that the Mayans utilized such strict ceremonial standards for sacrifices that they could be deemed civilized by our own societal standards. I chose to hand weave my own peaked headdress to adorn my sacrifice with feathered plumes of every color I could find. A water-based paint of cobalt blue, a Mayan ritual standard, would be applied to his naked torso while shackled, bound and gagged. The liberation of an obsidian bone blade amongst the museum's vast collection of Mayan sacrificial implements would surely go unnoticed, and would complete, along with numerous texts and notebooks, my travel ensemble.
Our flight from Heathrow to Mexico City went uneventful, and I felt no apprehension allowing my subject the full perusal of my unpublished codex on Mayan fertility rites, knowing he would not be accompanying me back to the Museum. His disappearance into the immense Yucatan forest, an ever changing, growing and transforming biological entity, would be most regrettable. The Yucatan consumes everything. We changed planes in Mexico City for Guatemala, then a chartered flight took us to Yucatan where an autocarril met us at the landing strip. We traversed miles of banana trees during our journey until we reached a charming hotel with Mayan guest cottages. We made this our operating base and enjoyed a fine dinner before retiring. I stepped outside and gazed at Chichen Itza, which loomed a ghostly white out of a moon lit sky. I was quivering with anticipation about what the next day would behold.
Professor Adams had at least a dozen years to my 45, so I was genuinely concerned when he made the ascent of Chichen Itza's 90 steps (on four sides,) then the remaining five steps of the temple, (our calendar.) I prayed nothing would come about the Professor while we scaled the pyramid, which would be his last.
“May I help you, Professor?” I asked, offering an arm.
“I'm fine, my dear Quimby,” he said, panting.
The pyramid steps were made at a 45 degree angle, and a medical issue at this time would be most inconvenient.
As we were nearing the fiftieth step, Professor Adams stopped to catch his breath, panting hard with his hands on his waist. I was also feeling fatigued from the climb as I lugged about my leather service pouch, which was slung across my back.
“I would be happy to pull you along by hand if you'd prefer, my friend,” I asked.
He shook his head and trudged along, hands pushing against his thighs with every step up.
Professor Adams bent down to retrieve what appeared to be a loose stone artifact about the size of a fist.
“This should be properly remounted by our excavation team,” he said, placing it into the pocket of his field coat and marking its location with a metal tag, “they have all the proper tools and compounds to affix it back into its original location.”
I nodded in agreement.
“We're almost there, Professor,” I exclaimed. “The trip down will be much less challenging,” I assured him.
At the top of the pyramid I reached down and pulled-up Professor Adams by hand. When I turned my back to him, a bright light of excruciating pain erupted across my mind, and my body collapsed in pure exhaustion.
When I regained consciousness I felt shackles about my feet, and my arms were bound behind me as I lay on a cold, convex stone, which projected my chest upward. I couldn't speak because of a gag but my eyes wandered down sufficiently to make out my naked blue painted torso. I could also feel the tightened headdress about my forehead. My own hand made headdress! To my horror, I realized I was about to become Professor Adams sacrifice! May-God-Help-Me!
"Ah, my dear Quimby, I was afraid I hit you too hard with the stone, but you appear fine now. I have to confess my great envy of your work,” he said, “when you showed me your unpublished codex on the plane, I thought it was a brilliant piece of work. It was then I knew I just had to have it!”
“While you were indisposed in the plane's lavatory,” he continued, “I had a quick peek inside your service pouch. My, what an impressive plan you made. The perfect sacrifice, I should say! But I'm afraid, my dear Quimby, the sacrifice will be you!”
“Please don't feel your death will go for naught,” Professor Adams explained, “your sacrifice will go to that great serpent God itself, Kukulcan!”
His words resonated through Quimby's body, which caused him to tremble uncontrollably.
He removed the obsidian bone blade from Quimby's service pouch and held it just below his ribcage.
“To quote you, Professor,” he said, “Classic Period Mayan sacrifices were simple and direct; slicing across the diaphragm below the ribcage and cutting the heart free.”
A guttural scream echoed across the Temple of the Warriors complex, and the still beating heart cast its God nourishing blood over the great serpent effigy.
Michael Vines is a freelance writer who lives in South-Central Kentucky. His "Slice of Life" essays have been published in statewide newspapers and Amazon Kindle ("Ain't Life Peachy")
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