The Last Diablero

coyoteThey say that the last diablero, a type of evil male witch, was killed in 1942 after having killed dozens of villagers with his sorcery.  This could not be tolerated, and so the villagers acting as a group took the sorcerer by surprise one evening, binding him and burning him alive.  Although the stake he was tied to was made of fresh wood, there were no ashes, and nothing was left following the burning except for a large pool of black grease.  The locals say that it is best not to speak of such things, and discuss it only reluctantly in hushed voices…

Wandering in rural parts of Mexico at night to learn more of such mysteries and whether diableros still walked among men, I came across a large, black dog that appeared to be strangely transparent.  Looking at the creature, I could see clusters of stars and even galaxies swirling within him, an entire universe in miniature. The dog froze and stared at me for a few minutes, then appeared to lose resolution and fade away into the night.  I shuddered and turned towards home, pondering the meaning of what I had seen. 

I slept deeply that night, and the morning was well-advanced before I awoke.  Emerging into the dazzling sunlight, I squinted and went in search of one of the village elders to see if he could make sense of what I had seen.  When I found one of the old men, he took me into his abode, listened to the story of my strange encounter, nodded knowingly, and gave me a concoction to consume which contained peyote. 

“Your journey is far from over,” the viejo or “old one” advised me.  “You must wander further in the desert for the answers which you seek.  I believe it is there that you will begin to understand,” he advised me.

I thanked the old man and embraced him.  As day wore on into night, I prepared a small pack and began my journey, my perceptions strangely altered by the peyote which I had ingested.  Advancing into the desert, I saw a number of coyotes, and somehow was able both to understand and converse with them.  Crows perched at various locations at my steps progressed, and seemed to be watching me.  Somehow, I seemed to share a kinship with all life that I encountered, and feel at one with it.

As dusk approached, I beheld a luminous coyote who was much larger than any of the others that I had seen that day.  He emitted a self-generated light which seemed to pulse and intensify as I followed him to the edge of a cliff, stopping in the darkness just in time before I fell fell from the precipice. 

“Be not afraid,” the coyote said from within my head.  “You know what you must do!,” he admonished, glowing brightly.  “Take the leap of faith!”

Trembling in the presence of this supernatural being, I closed my eyes at the brink, extended my arms, and fell forward.  The air rushed against my face as I fell towards certain death; the fall would certainly not be survivable.  Miraculously, however, I did not not fall far, for I opened my eyes to discover that my arms were now wings, and covered with black feathers!  I had transformed into a crow!  Exuberant, I soared effortlessly through the air, and could see for miles around me.

I descended to the ground surface, and by force of will shape-shifted into a coyote.  On four legs I returned to the village to greet the new day, shifting back to human form so as not to alarm the villagers with my approach.  They were sleepily going about their early tasks of the new day, but I could see all of their auras now; they appeared as glowing eggs of varying intensity with slender tentacles of light extending from them. 

I knew then that I was the last diablero, and embraced my destiny.  I would live long, see far, and know much.  And although my powers came from a dark place, they were not who I was, and did not define me.  I smiled at the villagers as they unknowingly moved about, eager to explore both my animal and my divine natures…this incarnation would be different!

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Black-Eyed Girl

black-eyed-kids

The knock came to my door late, far later than a girl of her age should have been out by herself.  Her face was veiled by the hooded sweatshirt that she wore, which combined with her downcast glance made it impossible to see her features clearly.  “Let me in,” she said in a flat voice, not raising her head to address me.

Participating in neighborhood watch, I held the door open.  “Sure, come on in,”  I responded.  “Is there something wrong?,” I asked, concerned.  “Is someone after you?  Are you being followed?”  Bullies were not unknown in the neighborhood, and reports had also been made of strangers trying to lure children into their cars; I thought that this might be such a situation.

The girl swept on in.  “No, I’m just really tired,” she said softly.  With that, she made to the couch in my living room, lying down upon it and curling into a semi-fetal position.  I could see her face to some degree now peeking out from under her still raised hood, but her eyes were closed.  Her skin appeared uncommonly pale and devoid of color.  The poor thing must have been exhausted, for she appeared to fall asleep almost immediately.  Questions I supposed could wait until later; it was most important for now that she was safe from whatever had driven her to my door.  Distant flashes of lightning appeared along the horizon; a storm was coming.

“Honey, do you know this girl?,” I called to my spouse, Claire.  She entered the living room from the kitchen, and we surveyed the small figure on the couch together.  She looked like dozens of other kids that were about; faded and torn jeans, running shoes, and a hoodie.  Her pale skin and black-painted nails might have marked her as one of the goth kids about, who tended to keep to themselves and their chosen peers and appear rather spooky to anyone else.

“No, I don’t know her, Ron,” concluded Claire.  “Should we call the police, or the school authorities?,” she asked.

“Probably not yet,” I decided, “not before we get a chance to talk to her a bit, and see what the problem is.” 

“Do you suppose she’s drunk or on drugs?,” speculated my better half.

“Sure hope not, but these days anything’s possible,” I replied.

“She’s sleeping.  Let’s give her a few minutes, and grab a bite to eat before dinner gets cold,” suggested Claire.

I nodded in agreement.  It had been another long, hard day, and I was hungry.  We settled at the dining room table, occasionally casting a glance in the girl’s direction.  She moved but little from her prone position as we ate.  Good thing that we had gotten the girl inside; the wind was up, and rain was beginning.

“Good dinner!,” I complimented my wife, patting my belly for emphasis.  “Say Hon, I’m really tired.  I’m going to lie down for a  few minutes.  Keep an eye on the girl for me, and call me when when she wakes up,” I asked.

“Will do,” Claire agreed.

Whether it was from overeating or my hard day, I was soon soon sleeping soundly, and for longer than I intended.  When I woke up in an hour, I felt disoriented and confused, as if I had slept through the night although it was still dark.  I had a strong, almost overwhelming feeling that something was wrong, terribly wrong.  Still groggy, I staggered to my feet and called out my wife’s name, but there was no answer. 

Growing increasingly concerned, I tried a light switch only to find that the lights were off; the damn electrical storm must have knocked out the power.  Still calling out her name, I made my way into the darkened hall, stubbing my toe painfully.  Cursing, I momentarily turned my attention to my throbbing foot, looking up a second later to see a dark figure standing in the blackened hall.  “Claire, thank God!,” I said through my pain.  “What’s going on?,” I asked, confused and seeking answers.

“You’re hurt,” she said.  “Let me help you,” she offered as she came close and extended a hand.  Thunder boomed outside; the storm must have been directly over us. 

I seized Claire’s extended hand and began to straighten up.  “I’m fine, really,” I began to say, freezing in mid-sentence as a sensation like a hundred tiny needles jolted my hand.  Instinctively I tried to pull my hand away, but it seemed to be transfixed, as if pinned by the needles that I could feel but not see.

“Claire, what…” I began to ask, being interrupted by a loud clap of thunder and flash of lightning that illuminated Claire’s face, although it was no longer my wife.  In the momentary illumination provided by the lightning, I could see that her features were pale and fixed, almost waxy.  Behind her in the hallway stood the hooded girl that we had taken in.  Most terribly, both sets of eyes which now regarded me were as black as night, as if the darkness itself had penetrated them. 

The girl regarded me with eyes as black as slices of night.  “I’ve come to collect you,” she said evenly without expression in a chilling voice devoid of humanity.

Insanity gripped my mind then, and I struggled desperate to pull away and flee.  The hand which held me was strong, however, and the invisible needles which penetrated me had injected some kind of paralyzing agent.  My panic was insufficient to overcome the potent drug which quickly seeped into my mind and obliterated consciousness.

I’m awake now in the dark coolness of this mortuary drawer, my mind again functioning but my body unable to move or respond.  I pray that I can somehow communicate to the mortician that I live before the embalming fluid enters my veins, and I’m plunged into the eternal darkness where the black-eyed girl awaits to tear my soul apart…

Days of Future Past…

AnubisThe jackal-headed god Anubis raised a hand-held anti-grav, and trained it on a stone block weighing hundreds of pounds, causing it to rise effortlessly in an invisible beam.  He guided the precision-hewn block to a gap in the wall of the pyramid under construction, and settled it carefully and quietly into position.

The human overseer in charge of coordinating the efforts of hundreds of men regarded the remarkable event as something forever beyond his comprehension, yet an everyday manifestation of the power of the visitors from the sky.  While the overseer had been given dominion over men, he knew that the gods in turn had dominion over him, which was part of the wonderful and proper order of things.  Only the great Pharaoh was the worldly equal of the gods, and would one day return to them.  It was a great privilege to be building Pharaoh’s eternal domain, a monumental undertaking that would occupy the attention and efforts of thousands of men for about twenty years.  The gods from the sky had arrived in the silver disks prior to the generation of his father, and taught the sons of Egypt many wonderful things.  Execution of those great undertakings such as the building of a royal tomb had given men purpose, and bound them together as a nation and a society.  

The god Anubis in turn regarded the thousands of humans who labored to do the bidding of the gods.  Glancing at what appeared to be a golden bracelet on his arm, Anubis recognized that it was time to recharge his holographic projector by which he maintained the appearance of the jackal-headed deity.  It wouldn’t do for the Egyptians to see him in his real physical form, which was much less inspiring.  Far better was it for those of his mission to key into the religious mythology of the populace, appearing to be their animal-headed deities and gaining the ready and willing compliance of the people.  The masquerade additionally amused the traveler through time and space, who rather enjoyed playing Anubis. The stone reliefs of him that they carved into walls would endure for thousands of years, giving him a practical form of immortality.

As he dematerialized, Anubis summoned another crew member who would appear to the Egyptians upon his arrival as the falcon-headed god, Horus.  He who impersonated Anubis beamed to his starship in the vast desert which was cloaked to the eyes of the ancient men.  The Egyptians  would never realize that he and his crew were in effect the distant descendants of themselves, having deployed light to warp space and travel backwards in time to where they might begin to organize their remote ancestors to make the evolutionary strides that would someday enable them to reach the stars, becoming in a way like the gods that they had once worshipped.

And Anubis smiled at the thought of those days in their future as he stood in his own distant past…

Dark Nativity…

RaptorJohn and Marsha were expecting a baby, but instead they got a Velociraptor.  At their prenatal sonogram, Dr. Janus examined repeated images, only to determine that there was no mistake.

“I’m afraid I have bad news,” the physician advised the expectant couple.  “Your child is grossly abnormal.  I would strongly advise that you terminate the pregnancy!”

Marsha shook her head in disbelief.  “What exactly are you saying, Doctor?- -Is the child deformed?  Is there a genetic abnormality?”

“No,” replied Dr. Janus.  “Your child is perfectly healthy.  It is also not human.”

“Not human?  What do you mean, Doctor?,” asked John, struggling to understand.

“Have you ever heard it said that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny?,” asked Dr. Janus.  “No, I suppose not.  Well, the development of the individual parallels the evolution of the species prenatally.  At one point in its development, even a human embryo has what would become in another species gill slits.  Well, for reasons unknown, your unborn child has failed to develop past a reptilian stage.- – You must abort it!”

Marsha shook her head firmly in the negative.  “Every child is a gift from God, Doctor…and I intend to carry this pregnancy to full term!”

“But my good woman!,” interjected Dr. Janus, “This ‘child’ is of a different species entirely!  It is not even remotely human!”

“Doctor, you heard what my wife said,” advised John.  “We’re having this baby!”

“You are within your rights,” said Dr. Janus, “but Marsha may not survive her pregnancy, and the product of the pregnancy will be completely unpredictable!- – Don’t say that you haven’t been advised of this!”

The couple stood their ground, and some months later found themselves in the delivery room where following a long and torturous labor Marsha gave birth to something inhuman.  The infant Velociraptor practically erupted from its human mother, drawing gasps from the attending physician Dr. Janus and nurses.  Pausing only momentarily, the small but fully functional creature sprang to the face of Dr. Janus, swiftly removing his nose with its hooked talons and needle-like teeth.  The bloodied Velociraptor then leaped to the floor, issuing a high-pitched cry and making good its exit when an additional nurse entered the delivery room.

Dr. Janus sputtered through the blood of his ruined face as he struggled to speak.  “So this is your ‘gift from God,’ eh?,” he gasped.  “Pray to God that He takes it back!”

The physician collapsed to the floor as the Velociraptor worked its way through rooms and corridors of the great metropolitan hospital, administering toxic care to everyone that it met.  Then it abruptly stopped to sniff at the air, moving with agitation and excitement in another direction.

Not far away, you see, another unusual birth had occurred.  Mary had a little lamb, and the raptor sensed tasty prey…

Anomaly

The Dig

Dr. Chan the paleontologist furrowed his brow and mopped beads of sweat from his forehead.  The newly-excavated Tyranosaurus Rex skeleton was highly unusual, with several remarkable features that couldn’t readily be explained.  The T-Rex appeared to have died violently, but that was hardly unusual for his species, a carnivore who often defeated large prey for his meals when he couldn’t scavenge.

What was unusual was the fact that the specimen had apparently suffered several
severe blows to the head, resulting in puncture-type damage to the cranial bone
structure.  The angle of the damage indicated also that the blows had come from
above, as if something had descended upon the fearsome predator from the skies.  
Even more strangely, the large skull of the T-Rex, even in its fossilized state,
showed indicators that the creature had additionally suffered burns sufficient to
cause charring to the bone surface.  Collectively, the injuries still discernible
upon the skeleton of the predacious dinosaur had almost certainly resulted in its
death.

Now the area in which the remains were discovered was not known to have experienced volcanic activity, nor was it believed to have been forested during the time when burning might have occurred to the bone.  There was simply nothing known to have existed in the area at the time which could have caused the damage.  Dr. Chan, however, had a theory as to what might have caused the insults to the remains of the dinosaur.  It was an explanation that presently could not be proven, but one which he nonetheless strongly believed because of his cultural heritage.  He could not offer this explanation because of fear that he would be ridiculed and professionally discredited, even though his explanation was supported by the mythologies of many cultures around the world and throughout time.

Dr. Chan, you see, believed that the formidable T-Rex had long ago engaged in battle with a dragon, and lost.  An earlier, more naive generation had regarded dinosaur bones as the remains of dragons…perhaps someday, the bones of the dragon would truly be found…

Dr. Chan smiled, and held onto his faith…it is said that faith is the “evidence of things hoped for,  the substance of things not seen…”  

Tomorrow’s Yesterdays…

Endgame by ff_b

In early December of 2012, CIA Director David Petraeus arrived for a secret meeting at the White House with President Obama.

“Mr. President,” began Director Petraeus, “I have extraordinary news!”

“What might that be, David?,” Obama responded.

“Mr. President, my information regards the wreck of the ‘Titanic,’ which as you’re aware sank a hundred years ago.–Sir, the ship is…reassembling itself!”

“What is this, David…some kind of joke?,” asked Obama.

“No, Mr. President,” Petraeus answered solemnly as he placed a pile of high-resolution photographs before Obama.  “Three months ago, the bow and stern reunited.  Since that time, hull fissures have somehow been sealing themselves.  Ship artifacts and components settled across a large debris field have also been reuniting themselves with the vessel!”

“You expect me to believe this absurd story from a few photographs?,” Obama asked, his face registering his disbelief.

“I know that this strains credulity,” admitted Petraeus, “but that’s not all.  Other things are happening that are equally remarkable.  For example, Amelia Earhart has been found!”

“You mean the wreckage of her Lockheed Electra?–That’s incredible!  Were bodily remains recovered?,” Obama asked, intrigued.

“Yes, you might say that,” answered Petraeus, “in a most remarkable state of preservation!”  He removed a pager from his pocket and activated it, issuing the order, “Send her in.”  A moment later the door clicked open and Amelia Earhart walked in, looking exactly as she had at the time of her disappearance in 1937.

“It’s an honor to meet you, Mr. President!,” said Earhart, extending a hand.  She regarded Obama’s skin color, her eyes widening almost imperceptibly.  “My, how times have changed!,” she added.

“Yes, indeed they have,” agreed Obama, shaking the aviatrix’s hand in wonder.  He then sank into his seat, overwhelmed.

“Mr. President, there’s more as well,” cautioned Petraeus.  “Flight 19 has returned from the Bermuda Triangle.  The Avenger torpedo bombers flew in under their own power, and neither the aircraft nor their pilots appear to have aged since they were last heard from in 1945!,” he advised.

“Mr. Director…what do all of these incredible occurrences mean?,” demanded Obama, eager for an explanation.  

Petraeus looked first at Obama then at Earhart.  “The ancient Mayans predicted that the world would end on December 21st, 2012,” he reflected, “and it appears that their prophecy is coming true.  Remakable events are transpiring as history draws up loose ends in preparation for the new age soon to dawn,” he concluded.

“And what,” asked Obama, “would you as CIA Director advise us to do?”

“At its current state of restoration, sources indicate that the Titanic will be fully functional and seaworthy by the December 21st deadline.  I would suggest that you book passage, Mr. President…we’re going for a ride!,” declared Petraeus.

“And just where might that ride be headed?,” pressed Obama.

“The Roswell pilots long quartered at Area 51 have generously offered to guide us through a rift in the time-space continuum that will open at that time,” explained Petraeus.

“Do you suppose that those aliens might let me try my hand at the controls of one of their aircraft after we pass through that continuum?,” asked Earhart playfully.

“Of that I have little doubt,” Petraeus reassured Earhart.

“Then hot damn!–We’re headed for the future!,” declared the woman from the past to two men of the present, eager to start her journey into tomorrow…

Visionaries…

The Artist

It was one of those unseasonably warm days in early January when the butterfly flitted onto my shoulder.  Those sixty degree days must have caused it to emerge prematurely, I thought.  Still it was strange, and I gently extended my finger for the creature to climb onto, marveling at its delicacy as it did so.  The butterfly perched on my finger as I examined it, realizing to my amazement that it was not organic!  As the tiny insect fluttered its wings, I saw that the wings were a polymer-type material, and I could see microgears meshing as the articulated legs moved.  Traces of microcircuitry could be seen running along the minuscule body.  As if aware that its true nature had been detected, the butterfly flew away, and I saw it no longer.

The technology that could create such a thing was still in the process of being created, and for what purpose had such an extraordinary thing, complex but delicate, been designed?  Apparently it had been devised just because its creator could do so, and he or she had engineered it for the joy of creating it.  Such a person lived in this time, yet ahead of it.  In all of human experience there had only been a handful of such individuals.

As a student of history, I knew that in the Hellenistic Age of Greece, there had lived an extraordinary man who demonstrated a knowledge of mechanics, hydraulics, and other technologies that was many centuries ahead of its time.  So great were this man’s capabilities that his understandings would not be approached until the Renaissance, and even then imperfectly so.  The great Leonardo DaVinci, himself a genius, could not get one of his predecessor’s machines to function, although in the present day they would, as Leonardo had incorrectly used square rather than pointed teeth in a gear design.  What if this remarkable intelligence had somehow managed to engineer around the problem of death, so that his consciousness in this world survived his physical body?  And what if that individual had continued to learn, grow, and evolve beyond a single human lifespan?

A few miles away, a most extraordinary butterfly flew through an open window.  Servomechanisms hummed and whirred as the consciousness of Archimedes smoothly extended his robotic arm to provide a roost for his returning winged creation…and a positronic brain turned to ponder other marvels that it was even then just conceiving…