Friday, May 13, 2011

Bolonchén Mysteries

Ysalane's steps faltered on the black basalt. She trespassed in the feathered serpent's sacred temple, but she'd had to come when she'd heard the rumors. Kukulcan, the high priestess, guarded the entrance to the room like a simple warrior. Ysalane grasped her left wrist with her right hand in the formal greeting. "Your highness."

Kukulcan wore a ceremonial cloak, its black vulture feathers gleaming in the torchlight. "You intrude where you don't belong."

"I heard a rumor --"

"Rumors are like a flock of swifts, swooping through the air, separated into two kinds, bits and pieces of truth, and the misunderstandings of those who don't understand. It is best to ignore them."

"But, Chiam..." Ysalane hadn't seen her husband in a month. Something had happened in the Bolonchén vault.

"Is not here."

"In the city, they speak of a disaster in the vault. They say the survivors are being nursed in the temple. I didn't mean to trespass. But, I needed to see."

"Do not worry about Bolonchén. The water flows. Kukulcan's energy suffuses the sacred city even now." The high priestess gestured at windows in the temple wall and the flickering of lights could be seen in the city. "Go home and return to your life and offer the sacred prayers at the prescribed times."

"My husband."

"It is not --"

A voice moaned from the room the high priestess guarded. Ysalane knew Chiam's voice. Quickly, before the priestess could block her way, Ysalane darted into the room. She gasped. Chiam lie glowing on a bed. She ran to his side, taking his hand.

The high priestess shouted from behind the wall. "Do not touch the man that glows. He is not your husband. He is other."

Chiam's blood glowed like sick starlight, sweat staining his sheets, his skin sloughing from the body, leaving bloody sores. Ysalane dropped to her knees, pulling his hand into hers. "My love, my love. What have they done?"

He moaned again. Ysalane pushed the hair out of his eyes. "You're so hot."

"Don't touch him. A false god's energy poisons him. The poison spreads through touch and can traverse through the air infecting anyone not protected behind rock. You must leave before it is too late."

Ysalane pulled Chiam's head towards her. He wasn't dead yet even if his skin was peeling. "No. Someone must ease his passing."


  1. I like the 'old world' theme running through this piece and the haunting glimmer of what really happened and what is to come.

  2. tried to comment before, blogger wouldn't let me.

    anyway I like how this mood feels, the hints of a an other culture, the descriptions, everything. And it's pretty the woman's husband is dying.

  3. Blogger lives again!

    Meanwhile, he probably won't. Her desire to ease his passing is the highpoint, a good way to close sharply.

  4. @Lara, glad to hear you recognized the old world in this flash.

    @Sonia, I'm glad you came back. I had the idea for Ysalane's character and this prompted the rest of the story.

    @John, I fear you are correct, Chiam will not be as lucky as Blogger.

  5. Once again, you've managed to build a really rich world within the walls of the story. I enjoyed this one a lot. =)

  6. I really enjoyed this, you managed to describe a big world and mythology using few words, which isn't easy!

    One crit - should "lie glowing" be "lay glowing"?

  7. A nicely written story with an old-world feel, where mysticism still thrives in the absence of science and understanding. I love how true the dialogue feels in this piece. Like others, I don't hold out much hope for Chiam.

  8. For some reason I pictured this taking place in a Mayan-esque world. I like the word choice to indicate the ritual around this occasion too.

  9. @John, I'll probably have to write more about what sparked this one, since it was a somewhat unusual spark that initiated this world.

    @Icy, thanks; I'm sure you are right. I need to figure out a way to convince myself of the right way to lie before I spend a half hour convincing myself I'm wrong when someone points it out.

    @Stephen, I'm currently on a kick of being interested in how science appears like mysticism. Glad you found that part interesting.

    @Tessa, did the names give away the mayan-esque world or did the images create it? I hope the latter because that will make me feel really good. I took people's comments on old-world to be a pre-technology world. However, one could describe this as new-world because it is explicitly intended as Mayan.

  10. Hi there Aidan --

    Lovely, compact slice of fantasy, once again -- you do create these like little, Fabergé Eggs. Nice character story. I liked the vulture feathers and the suggestion of radioactivity. Always an entertaining read.


  11. The names were the first clue, but the images reinforced it. The choice of the serpent temple, ceremonial cloak of vulture feathers, reinforced by references to warriors, gods, and starlight.