The Mummies of Blogspace9: Chapter Twenty-Four
June 30, 2011
Magdalena de Paz, Peru
You know what can really help keep you from unraveling after coming face to face with a demon? Mescaline. Unfortunately, we’re all out, so I spent the day completely sober, contemplating the remnant wisps of my sanity. Every time I started thinking about what happened, I’d start to shake.
That demon, that muki lifted me off the ground and looked me in the eyes. Had Segovia waited one more second before shooting, my throat would have been slit, and I’d be a different kind of thing entirely
I lied about the sober part. Erdulfo found a liter of run inthe kitchen, and I have been nipping at it steadily all afternoon.
The local doctor came last night. He demanded to be paid before he would even enter the house, so I paid him. But he had one look at Kim and threw the money back at me. Then he shouted at Erdulfo for half an hour before leaving.
Kim has been sleeping for more than twenty-four hours now, if you can call it sleeping. She’s breathing, but her body temperature has cooled beyond the point at which life can be sustained.
Segovia won’t leave her side. He moved her to the couch by the fireplace, and he has her all bundled up. I suggested we get her out of here, take her to the hospital but he was adamant in his refusal. Finally I cornered our caretaker in the kitchen. It was time Erdulfo and I had a little talk.
“You’re not supposed to go inside the pyramid,” he told me, “not in the chamber.”
“What happens in the chamber?”
“They turn you.” He stared at the floor. “It was common in the past, even during the time of my grandfather. Many of the ancestors still roam at night, but it has been two generations since the last ceremonies, since the last mummies were made.”
“So that’s what they are? Mummies? No cloth, no ribbons, no special preparation? What makes them mummies?”
I felt a hand on my shoulder and nearly jumped out of my skin. It was Segovia. “Sometimes they used cloth,” he said. “The Inca wound their dead kings tightly in cotton, as did many of the other Peruvian Indians. But it wasn’t necessary.”
“Then what makes them mummies?”
“Mukis. If a muki bleeds them, they’ll turn. Then they dry out. It can take days or months or years. Decades even, but they dry out eventually. Then they walk.”
“And that’s going to happen to Kim?” I asked, but I already knew the answer.
Erdulfo stared at the floor.
“Can we stop it from happening?”
Segovia looked me in the eyes. “If we burn her before she turns, we can stop it. Once she gets up,” he turned to Kim, “there will be no putting her down.”
I felt a chill in the air. Erdulfo was crying. I’m half ashamed to say this, but when I looked over at Kim lying there, I swear she never looked more beautiful. I mean to say that there was considerable appeal. It was disturbing. I took another belt of rum.
“It’s my fault,”Segovia whispered. “I was supposed to keep her safe. I failed, so I will keep her safe now. I will do it tonight. I will build a fire outside.”
“No.” I couldn’t bear to let that happen. Absolutely not
“There is no other way,”Segovia told me. But I’m not sure he’s right about that. I got out the documents I had hidden, the ones the thieves didn’t find. Prior to going inside the pyramid, Kim had translated another page of Sebastiano’s journal.
“Malleus Momias” Hammer of the Mummies – entry #4
After seeing Father Vasco standing in the moonlight of his unholy mass, blood dripping from his face, I experienced a fear unlike any I had ever known. I fled to my house, latched my door, and drew my bedframe up to the door so that nobody could get inside.
I was quite willing to die before opening the door again. I begged the Lord to deliver me from this hell. I prayed until the sun was high in the sky, but my prayers were unanswered. The indian girl who brought my midday meal also brought news of a man who wandered into the church seeking my counsel.
I dined quickly, then I made haste to the church, uncertain what to expect. Upon entering, I saw an indian kneeling at the altar. A candle had been lit, and he was praying in the style of a Christian.
“Can I help you, my son?” I approached him.
“Padre Sebastiano.” He turned, and I knew him. He was an old man who came to town from time to time to sell his corn in the plaza. I remembered him because his wife had recently died. I said a mass for her, though neither the man nor any other indians attended.
His name was Acahuna, he reminded me. “Is it true your God offers life everlasting?
I assured him that this was indeed the case, and he asked me to baptize him in the name of Jesus Christ. So delighted was I by the thought of my first convert that I scarcely remembered the terrors of the night before.
He grasped my hands as I placed a small iron crucifix in his. He had but one tooth left in his mouth, I noticed as he smiled softly. “There is but one more thing I ask of you,” he whispered. “My wife, do you recall?”
“She is already in the company of the Lord,” I assured him, but he frowned.
“What is it, my son?”
“She is sitting on the floor of my house chewing on a cuy.”
I recalled that a cuy is a rodent that the indians roast for their food. “Forgive my misunderstanding,” I told him. “I had thought you spoke of the woman who died.” He stared in my eyes and I understood then what he was speaking of.
“She came back,” he whispered. “And I don’t want her back.”
I felt the tendrils of fear climbing up my back. “I don’t…” I began, but I didn’t know what to say. “I don’t understand how they…”
“I do,” he said softly, kissing the crucifix I had given him. “There is a way to return them to the ground. An old way, a shaman spoke of it long ago, but it may still work. We will do it together – you, me, and our Lord.”