Friday, June 15, 2012

Xibalba: The Room of Winding.

The ghost stepped toward the next door of black obsidian. There was an ominous sound coming from behind the door: a sound of creaking and grinding, the screeching of metal. The ghost knew that whatever was behind that door wouldn't be very pleasant. For a moment, he wondered: Why? What have I done to deserve this kind of afterlife? But he knew there was only one way to find out; and it lay through that door, and all the other doors that followed. So he gritted his teeth, opened the door, and quickly stepped in before he had time for second thoughts.

Immdiately, he was seized by two giant figures, twins, one dressed in gold and radiating golden light, the other dressed in silver and shining with pale light. He did not know who the twins were; he only knew that they were his enemies.

The Twins laughed and gloated over him. "You are ours!" they cried. "It is our time now; we own the days and years, and you shall be broken on our wheels."

"You are only demons," the ghost said angrily. "You are surely no more than the other fiends in the pits of Xibalba."

"We will show you what we are," the Twins replied. They took the ghost high up into the night sky, where he could see the universe.

All the cosmos had become one great clockwork. The ghost had never seen so many wheels in one place. Everywhere there were gears gripping other gears in their iron teeth, wheels spinning on axles, turning and turning. All around there was measure and motion: millions of legs marching in unison, clocks ticking and ringing, bells clanging and dinging, pendulums swinging, everything going round and round.

The ghost saw people's lives regulated by the clock and calendar, getting up and going to sleep at the appointed hour, going to work and punching time clocks, factory whistles shrilling, rows and rows of people standing at assembly lines which kept rolling and rolling.

It was a new world, a new universe, in which everything was timed and tuned and regulated, everything moving in order.

"The Fourth Age is on its way," said the gold twin, "and it shall be built by the breaking of your body."

"Never!" cried the ghost. He struggled to escape, but he was like no more than a tiny bird caught in the two giants' hands. They only laughed at his desperate attempts to get away, toying with him for a while before they got down to business.

Then, the Twins began the great ritual. They stretched the ghost out, one taking hold of his hand, the other his foot. Holding him suspended over the celestial mechanism, they chanted an incantation:

Your time is over,
Our time has come.
We are now the Moon and Sun;
The time of Measure has begun.

The age of rhythms and cycles;
The time of straight lines and circles.

The time of Euclid and Newton,
The age of wheels and axles,
The time of pistons and crankshafts,
The age of the turning engines.

We are the glory of monarchs,
The splendor of civilization;
The age of flags and armies,
The time of states and nations.

Hail the age unfolding,
Hail the turning spiral!

Now we are arising in brightness,
Now is our time of morning.

And so the Twins put the little spirit on their iron wheels; they wound and unwound him. They stretched him out and knotted him up. They spun him on a spindle, turned him on a lathe, roasted him on a spit, stretched him on a rack. They spun him out like thread, like wire; they wound him up like yarn, like a clock.

The ghost screamed and screamed. He could do little else. He was only a powerless shade, while the Twins were the harbingers of an inexorable power.

They pulled him tight and taut, stretching and tearing and twisting, until all his tendons and ligaments snapped, and he was broken apart. They ripped his ectoplasmic flesh from his spectral bones. They pulled him apart until he was nothing but a heap of disconnected pieces, a pile of scattered bones.

When they were finished, they left him lying, a pile of dry, bare bones, on the dusty ground.

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