In a room atop the ancient pyramid. Pyramid looks out over a plaza, with the world’s worst ball court across the plaza (and something that terrified Vivienne); on the other cardinal sides of the plaza are: a tall stone platform with over 100 stone pillars; a path leading out into the jungle, maybe towards another clearing.
As we look at this room we’ve taken shelter in, can see faded bloodstains all around the altar.
V says the altar is an upside-down Chock Mool, a traditional kind of statue from Mayan temples. (So it’s worse that the altar is of a man, in pain, unwillingly carrying a bowl of blood? It’d be BETTER if the bowl-holder was happy about the blood? Foreigners believe some terrible shit.
Channels for blood lead to small holes in perimeter of the floor carving. Seam around the ditch looks like a trap door. Probably to the chamber below where the guy who shot at me is. Trapdoor is locked, sealed from inside. Trapdoor opens…probably swings or slides downward. That’d be about typical for this jungle place.
On some study, it’s obvious that some kind of liquid needs to pour into the holes, probably a counterweight of some kind.
We ransack the packs, and find a few more containers of kerosene to flow into the blood-bucket. Once most of the liquid has flowed in, there’s a click, and the circle glyph slides apart. Unbelievable stonework—couldn’t even see the seams, no grinding, nothing! Reveals hole, down into darkness; 7 foot drop.
Rustling from inside the hole. Viviene shines her flashlight down; 2 shots ring out. Then shouts.
Guy down there is panicked, says his name is Alvar. Was here with the Dominguez expedition, exploring the pyramid. He was here, in the pyramid, studying symbols. Heard shouts, screams, terrible growling. Said the beast was like a jaguar, or a lizard, or a beast.
“We have to get out”…”I can’t leave!”. Make up your mind, idiot, or we can close the door again.
H and E drop down to check out Alvar, this space. Square chamber, unnatural red stone covered in carved symbols, windows. Alvar Vasquez: scraggly, goofy-looking egghead.
From above, hear a gunshot! In sudden panic, muttering about need to “find a way out” he blows his brains out.
Trapdoor has a lever to open from the other side. We all head down into the chamber as slightly safer, but leave trapdoor open—V is uneasy about the stone on the walls.
E finds Alvar’s notes, I look through them. V and the kid peer at the walls trying to decipher the symbols.
Notebook: some pages ripped out. Scrawls show he was increasingly obsessed with the symbols on the walls. Talks about the stone walls being a shell to protect a “traveler” against “that place outside”. More pages missing: it moves when you’re not looking – it knows when you’re not looking – must take great care or they will slip through the slits
And notebook ends with what Alvar claimed was a magic spell. Probably just like E’s claim of magic travel? Very detailed instructions.
Henry spots the beast, peering out into the courtyard. We all go to look. And apparently each see different things, all of them horse-sized and horrible. Lots of confusion. I calm them down, have them give eyewitness description.
Talking about Alvar’s notes. V remembers book about all pyramids being somehow the same, E’s claim of having a spell that she can cast; stories about fishers from another world pulling people through the mouth of Zozul. Alvar’s notes claiming that this chamber can move along some predetermined path, to view or travel to other places. Can you move a room between buildings, between…worlds? Just by thinking at it? That’s crazy, right?
But how much crazier than giant mouths erupting from walls, dripping perversion juice? Or than so many people around the world fixated on…
V announces that she knows how to operate this room. To travel to other places. To see other times. She’s insistent on trying, frantic. We barely talk her down to just—just!—trying to see through time, back to the building of the pyramid.
Horrible sounds from her mouth, insane chanting; first try seems to fail, V looks shaky, then tries again. Trapdoor slams shut. Room lurches horribly. V weak, shaky. Now dark in here—no light through windows.
What has she done?
H looks out; it’s nighttime. Torchlight fills the plaza which is packed with of mostly-naked savages hard-packed dirt. Shouting from the ball court. Scream from the altar room above. Coming up the stairs of pyramid, priests and warriors carrying a conquistador.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph what has Vivienne done??
Scream again, and wailing. I grab my gun, sticks of dynamite, get set to open door to save the poor bastard above. E tackles me, smashes me into the wall. Screaming stops, murmuring.
V opens door—savage priests staring at her, shouting. Dead Spaniard. They drop a ladder down.
Henry shoots out into courtyard, everyone notices…I try to grab a stick of dynamite, throw it up at the crazy savages who are trying to get in…but V repeats her crazy jabbering again, and the lurch flings us to the floor.
Now…a strange green light pouring in through the windows, flickering. Cracks in the wall.
E looks out the windows. Everything in Chichen Zozul is ruined. Enormous green flames on the horizon. Unearthly, devilish red foliage, ash, craters. Giant purple planet looming in the sky above, in the center of it there’s an enormous eye. Or eyes. Looking down at us. In the plaza, froglike monster giving off steam, great black wings. A dozen beasts stalking around…they all swivel around to look at us.
I stagger to the window…
We are damned and gone to Hell. The devil and his beasts are waiting for us.
V keeps repeating her mad chant, trying with no success to do…something. Beasts start to climb the pyramid, the Devil starts to rise from where he sits.
The kid tries with the equations, but something is holding the room here. The space is shaking.
E starts scrawling lines on the floor.
We’re going to be devoured her. We used satanic magic and we have been cast to hell as we deserve. But even if we cannot kill the Devil, I’m going to try.
A demon starts sniffing at a window, so I shoot it in the neck. It starts pawing at the window, roaring in pain. Henry comes over and joins me in firing at the monster.
Behind the snuffling beast, the Devil flies up onto the pyramid above us and the door opens…a huge blinking eye, the entirety of evil staring down at us, crackling with lightning, unblinking, we are caught in place by the Devil’s stare.
But it’s not the Devil…
It’s not even…
It’s older…viler…it was what was here before God. Before the Devil.
It looks at…the worst thing we’ve ever done.
Me: finding out that my son-in-law, just days after my granddaughter was born, was the serial killer I’d been tracking for weeks. Then choking the life out of him; a man finishes what he starts, and I had to. It was that, or he’d get away. Or I’d catch him, and break my family’s spirits forever. I looked in the eyes…
Emma: euthanized a patient…her own mother, who was awful, abusive, harsh.
Henry: Under heavy fire, during the war. His sergeant was wounded, couldn’t get out. Henry panicked, left him behind. Someone else brought him in; Henry doesn’t know whether his
Vivian: while at college, she and an easily-persuaded friend got drunk, stole a car, went joyriding. V walked away without a scratch; the friend died instantly, was found in the wreck and got all the blame and shame from the act. V untouched.
Golgaroth…seemed pleased with us.
Visions of greatest desire:
Henry: his sister and family in a good home, safe and happy
Murphy: his granddaughter and her husband living out safe lives, never knowing this
Vivian: father never died, brother never died, she’s a creature of pleasure; parties, carefree,
Emma: her father, safe and happy.
Vision of mouths, moving through the world, eating their way out through the rocks to the surface.
When was a time something precious was taken from you?
Henry: parade through Harlem after the war; his dignity is stolen from him—colored man in the US, having been a war hero fighting alongside the French, treated well…but now…
Emma: her mother stole her childhood from her
Murphy: age of 55: picking up his box from his desk as precinct captain, leaving his rank insignia behind being kicked out onto
The Liar has usurped my place, stolen my name, worn my power
What have we hidden from:
H: from the truth of the cowardice
M: hiding from the truth that none of it mattered. Nothing I did ever made areal difference. There are still crooked cops
V: from responsibility, adulthood, ties
E: hiding from the shame of what she did, knowing that if her father found out…he’d never talk to her again.
Vision: we lie on our backs, mouths gaping open, the great bulk of golgoroth flowing down into our bodies.
Golgoroth is offering each of us what we most want.
To gain the power to summon his aspect…to give Golgoroth a path to come into the world to destroy the mouths, the source of the mouths, this cult that has been perverting people and apparently stealing golgoroth’s power…and in exchange, we each get what we most want.
I would get the knowledge that my family is safe, and will never be touched by this…everything…and in return we help destroy the nectar, the mouths, the cult?
Nothing else has mattered…if I have to damn myself to actually accomplish something GOOD in the world? Then yes. I have known I’d be damned to hell since I killed my son-in-law and covered it up.
Murphy, Emma, and Vivian damn our souls and take the deal.
Henry steps back…horrified at what we’ve done.
I’m rationalizing it away.
V, to Golgoroth: “Where is the enemy?” “The maw of the mouth lies within the devouring mountain”
Asking “How do we get home?” : Vision of legions of Zozul stomping feet, spears, threatening us. If we return, we will die.
The eye drifts up, away…V’s spell starts up again. She tries to return us to our original location in space and time.
The lurch lasts longer, is stronger this time. We snap back into place. Shifting feeling stops. Dimming light appears through the windows. We’re back…in Mexico. The beast is no longer in the plaza.
We return to ourselves, shaken by the events…H and I shake it off. Emma and Vivianne seem to go catatonic, staring madly, wildly, incoherent, delusional.