Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cabracan Bites the Dust.

[This story takes place in the time period after the death of Seven Macaw and before the Flood. It follows the Popol Vuh plotline closely, with additional descriptive detail and character development. Contains profanity.]

Cabracan was very alone in the world now. Not only were both his parents gone, but he hadn't seen or heard from his brother Zipacna for a long time. No one that Cabracan had met knew what had happened to him. It was as if he had vanished off the face of the earth.

The world was very dark now that the Sun and Moon had died. At the times of day-night when the sky turned pitch-black, his father's sign, the Big Dipper, hung low over the horizon, upside-down, its bowl turned over as if about to pour rain on the world. Cabracan still felt a pang of grief every time he saw it.

Cabracan couldn't stop the hurricane alone; the storm kept coming closer, slowly, as if to mock and torture the world's people with their impending doom. For the first time in his life, Cabracan was afraid.

Then, one day-night, as Cabracan walked down the road alone, two young men, just in their late teens, came out of the forest.

"Hello," said Cabracan, with a good-natured smile. "I'm Cabracan."

"Hello, Cabracan," said one of the two boys. "I'm Juan, and this is my brother Jose." The other boy nodded. The boys were almost exactly the same height. Juan stood slightly in front, a bright, mischievous smile beaming on his face, while Jose stayed a few paces behind, looking quiet and thoughtful.

"Nice to meet you," said Cabracan. He looked the pair over curiously. "Which one of you is older?" he asked.

"Neither," said Juan. "We're twins." Jose nodded, and asked, "What about you, Cabracan? Are you all by yourself?"

"Yes," Cabracan nodded sadly. "All I've got is one brother, and I haven't heard from him in a long time. I'm worried about him."

"Well, why don't you come wifh us?" said Juan. "Jose and I travel a lot. Maybe we can help you find your brother."

"Okay," Cabracan nodded. He joined the pair, and smiled. "Thank you. It's good of you to help."

"No problem," said Juan. They walked along together for a while, and Juan asked, "So what do you like to do, Cabracan?"

"I break mountains," said Cabracan proudly.

"Really?" asked Juan. "Can you really break mountains?"

"Sure I can," said Cabracan. "Just watch!" He stretched up, and made himself grow really tall, like a giant. Then he hopped on top of a nearby mountain, and tapped his foot a few times. Rocks began to tumble and roll down the mountainside. The whole slope slipped down like a landslide.

Juan and Jose clapped their hands, applauding. "Wow," said Juan. "That's amazing. Really impressive, Cabracan."

"Yeah," said Jose. "I've never seen anyone do that before."

Cabracan beamed happily. "I'm the only one who can." Then he hopped down from the mountain and returned to normal size as he rejoined the twins.

"You look like the kind of person we've been wanting to meet," said Juan. "Jose and I like sports a lot, too." Jose nodded.

"Oh? What do you do?" asked Cabracan.

"We play ball and we hunt," said Juan. "This is what we hunt with." He pulled out his blowgun to show Cabracan.

Cabracan watched as Juan showed off his weapon. "Are you any good at it?" he asked.

"My brother Juan is the best there is," said Jose. "He can hit things no one else can."

"Wow. Could you show me?" asked Cabracan.

"I'm sure I will," Juan nodded, "once we find a suitable target."

So they continued along the road. "You know, Cabracan," said Juan, "we just saw a really huge mountain the last day-night. It was just humongous."

"Yes, it was," nodded Jose.

Juan continued, "I bet even you couldn't knock it down, Cabracan."

"I bet I could!" replied Cabracan, planting his hands on his hips. "Where is it? Can you show me?"

"Sure!" said Juan. "Just follow us, Cabracan." And he and Jose led Cabracan off the road, into the mountains, where no one would see them.

Afer they had walked through the rocky foothills for a while, Juan said, "Are you hungry, Cabracan? Let's get something to eat." He and Jose pulled out their blowguns, and went hunting for wild quetzal, while Cabracan tagged along. To Cabracan's amazement, the two boys shot the birds without using darts or pellets. They just blew air, and the birds fell down.

"Wow, that really is amazing!" said Cabracan. "Thanks for showing me. You really are cool guys."

"Anything for a friend," said Juan. "Now, Jose and I are going to cook these birds. Why don't you go in the forest, Cabracan, and look for some fruit and vegetables to go with them?"

Cabracan nodded, and went off to forage in the woods. He was very happy to have found his two new friends. Juan and Jose were such great guys -- they really knew how to have fun. Cabracan needed some fun in his life now; he hadn't had any for a very long time.

Meanwhile, while Cabracan was away, Juan and Jose dug up gypsum and plaster from the earth, and coated one of the birds with it. Then they roasted the birds over a spit.

Finally, Cabracan came back from the woods with a bag of fresh vegetables and fruit. They all sat down around the campfire to eat.

"This roast fowl is really good, Juan," remarked Cabracan. "What did you put in it?'

"Oh, just a secret ingredient," said Juan. "Come on, let's go and look for that mountain." So the three got up and went walking again.

But, before they had gone very far, Cabracan began to feel very strange. First his arms and legs became weak and numb; then, his stomach began to hurt. Soon, it was aching terribly, like he'd just swallowed a whole pile of rocks.

"Juan, Jose -- I think something's wrong with me," Cabracan said. "I don't feel well." He sank down weakly to the ground.

"Aww," said Juan. "Maybe something you ate didn't agree with you."

Lying helplessly on the ground, Cabracan held out his hand to his two friends. "Help me, please."

"Sure, we'll help you, Cabracan," said Juan. "Won't we, Jose?" Jose nodded. The two boys opened their packs, and took out some rope. They began to tie up Cabracan's wrists and ankles.

"Please, don't," said Cabracan. "If you want my money, you can take it."

"This isn't about money, Cabracan," said Juan. He looked at Jose. "What do you think, should we hogtie him?"

"Good idea," said Jose.

The two boys bent Cabracan's weakened body backwards, like an arch, and then they tied his wrists to his ankles. Soon, Cabracan's back was beginning to ache just like his stomach.

Sandwiched between twin sheets of pain, front and back, Cabracan gasped and cried out. "Why?" he asked. "Why are you doing this to me?"

Juan leaned against a tree. "Let's just say we've got a score to settle," he said. Beside him, Jose took a shovel and began to dig.

Lying on the ground, hogtied, Cabracan craned his neck, trying to look up at the two boys. It was hard to see their faces from where he was. "You work for Hurucan," he said.

"Wow, this kid is a bright one," Juan smirked. He reached into his pack and pulled out a cigar.

"Yeah, he must be related to the sun god or something," said Jose. His shovel thudded in he ground as he tossed up piles of dirt.

The two boys laughed mockingly. Juan reached into his pack again, and took out a brilliant scarlet feather. He stroked the end of the feather, and a bright, radiant flame burst out of it. The feather burned without being consumed. Juan used the flame to light his cigar.

When Cabracan saw that, he felt even more sick than he was already. He knew where that feather had come from. And, now, he knew exactly who his two "friends" really were.

Cabracan knew the whole story -- he'd heard it from his brother, who'd heard it from someone who had been there in the great city. These same two people, these twins, had shot Cabracan's father, Seven Macaw, with a dart. Seven Macaw hadn't let anyone take the dart out because he was too angry, and he'd gotten very sick -- as sick as Cabracan was now. Then, these twins came back, disguised as friendly strangers. They promised to help Seven Macaw -- and what had they done to him? What had they done?

Cabracan knew, now, that it would be no good begging the twins for mercy, or trying to talk to them. They weren't people who could be reasoned with. They were just enemies, nothing more.

Cabracan's father had held out his hand to these two, and said, "Take pity on me." And what had happened to him?

Now, Cabracan knew that he, too, had been just as naive as his father. He had fallen into the same trap, and now he was paying the same price. But his father had also been brave; and now Cabracan had to be brave, too.

For all of his life, Cabracan had been just a boy -- but now, he was going to die like a man.

Cabracan set his face into an expression of cold defiance and contempt. He would not beg for mercy, nor cry before his foes. He made himself hard as wood, cold as stone. He became firm, stiff, unbending, with a wooden person's unbreakable pride.

Jose jumped out of the deep hole he had dug. "Okay, let's pitch him in," he said. He and Juan picked up Cabracan's hard, wooden form and tossed him in the hole.

"Goodbye, Cabracan," they called mockingly. "Goodbye, little friend."

"Fuck you," said Cabracan.

And they piled the earth on top of him, and he was buried in the ground, along with his bitter, hard-won wisdom. But Cabracan did not die, for he was one of those condemned by Hurucan to be among the more-than-dead: to become a lifeless, motionless object, turned into stone, into petrified wood. But it is said that at times Cabracan manages to regain his power of movement, and then he struggles to escape. And that is what causes earthquakes.

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