“You saw those rocks right?” Cook inquired.
“When you were training did you notice any stones in the jungle?”
Everything had been a blur.
“Hmm…” Cook said furrowing his brow.
“Isn’t the rainforest famously rockless?”
“Si…yes…for the most part but…you are telling me that you did not see the huacas?”
“Huaca… WAKA?” Sam quipped.
“Yes, you can also say waka. It is a Quechuan word.”
Sam laughed. “Holy shit I’m a fucking shaman. And you guys think I’m the dumb one. None of you had sudden god damned blessed burst of halleluiah glossolalia. I’m Quetzalcoatl bitch!”
Sam waved dismissively.
“As I was saying,” Cook continued. “All roads lead to Cusco.”
“Yes, you have no doubt heard the saying: ‘All roads lead to Rome?’”
“We’re familiar with the concept.”
“So haucas are all over South America but mostly concentrated in Peru.”
“And you’re saying that we should have seen some, that they’re rocks?”
The doctor responded by placing a glossy picture book of various Andean glyphs on the table. I passed it to my right.
“Well…a Huaca can generally be anything but is often a stone or stones sort of like Menhir in England.”
“Anybody see anything?” I asked scanning the faces of my comrades. Every expression was blank.
“Huacas are shrines, that served various purposes, many of which had to do with pilgrimage. They are sort of politico/religious outposts of the Inca civilization leading to its center in Cusco.”
“Do you think we should have seen some?”
“O certainly, yes….they were right beside your camp. I was going to give you a lecture on them when I returned but of course, you know I was interrupted..and…actually…about that interruption…”
There was a long silence.
“Apparently that uncontacted tribe wasn’t ever supposed to be there. They were from deep deep in the jungle to the East. Coming from the direction that we were heading. The Kuikuro chief told me that these strangers had chased some very strange looking folk who they had describes as enemies and thieves…”
None of us were sure what this had to do with rocks. Despite several days of airconditioning and rest, we were too tired to make even the most basic deductions.
“Lot’s of weird stuff going on lately.” Anna chimed in. “Doc thinks these ‘enemies’ have been stealing sacred items.”
“Yes, which is very strange because most of these things aren’t worth much and even less when moved from their original location.”
Chuck looked especially lost in thought.
“Say, didn’t Sam’s sketch have a pile of stones in it?”
The doctor paused a bit, obviously trying to recall the subject.
“Si! As a matter of fact, it did.”
“I thought it was ruins but …maybe it’s one of those Waka thingies?”
“Yes, your little drawing there, you said you’d made it under the influence, in a sort of shamanic state?” Dr. Bohm’s urbane voice inquired.
“Coupled with the map Hoyt brought along this has all the hallmarks of an authentic vision…which makes me think…that someone out there in the wood has heard…and is destroying what remains of an ancient road.”
“Did a vehicle…land somewhere out there …in the Andes….” Sam sang under his breath.
“Hah, Inca roads!” I exclaimed. This was getting interesting.
“I don’t know what song that is… but yes that is my latest theory…. that Cusco was the epicenter of a far vaster empire than we ever imagined. Though of course, Manco Capac was a rediscoverer of that sacred place. The scion of a remnant who returned and kindled the last flicker of memory before the arrival of Pizzaro.”
“Alonso are you guys familiar with the cosmic bellybutton?” Anna was fond of calling me Alonso…how that arose from Alan I guess only a Suomi would know. I had no idea what she was talking about.
“The Quecha word q’osqo is anglicanized – Cusco. In that original language, it means navel. Based on the geology of the surrounding rivers Cuzco fits into the dark rift north of Sagittarius that aligns with those rivers.” She answered my raised brow in a lilting paragraph.
“So South America was the birthplace of all civilization? I mean yeah, I guess the Amazon is far more Eden like than Mesopotamia.” Chuck mused.
“That’s one possible explanation. And explanations are what we have been seeking and why we brought you here as soon as we heard the news about Hoyt’s awakening.”
“So we’re still going…?”
“Si…but…Lobo is really against it now…and I can’t go without him… at some point the native guides and even the mercenaries will abandon us…”
“They are afraid of the Chachapoyas…”
“Those are the folks that the visitors were chasing. A group of light-skinned savages originating in Peru who till now were nothing but a faint and wispy myth.”
“Are they dangerous?”
“South American empires are renowned for their violence…”
“We theorize that they’re a lost priesthood…and well if the stories are to be believed…Jack the Ripper is a friendlier face in a dark alley…”
I was getting excited again. Maybe I would get to die a beautiful death.
“No bedpans for me…Valhalla here I come…let’s go now!” I yelled to a chorus of eye rolls and giggles.
“To be honest I have no problem dying of an overpowering bowel movement during a Lawrence Welk rerun,” Chuck said.
“You would.” Lucas laughed.
“I am heartened by your enthusiasm but there is still much to prepare. We will begin yet another round of training as soon as I finish up arrangements with Costa and Lobo.”
We all groaned collectively.
After the final banter ceased Anna caught up with me in the institute’s hallway.
“So I heard you made friends with my sister.”
I smirk blushed. “Uh…yeah…actually that’s who I was about to go see.”
“Good…good…hey…” She said pulling a revolver from her purse.
“What the fuuck…”
She aimed it at me…
A little red flag with the word BANG! Unfurled from the barrel.”
“If you fuck her up…I swear…I swear…the Candiru is more merciful…”
“Jesus…hey…I’m not the marryin sort…ya know…”
“Good you’d make a shitty brother in law…but I swear on my life …I will end you…”
I shook my head. “Hey, I usually don’t respond well to threats but well before right now I really liked you and I’m a sucker for redheads…sooo..fucking relax ok…”
She laughed and tugged on my ear.
“Owww…! Fuck god damn it lady.”
“It’s alright man I’m just fucking with ya…” She said stepping into one of Cook’s mercedes and roaring off.
‘Jesus Christ she didn’t strike me as much of a Tomboy…I guess first impressions are bullshit.’
Part I – Kentucky Door
1.1 (Intro) The Sketch of Sam Monroe
1.2 The Cajun Prayer
Part II – The Wizard’s Nod
Help a Hipster