William Doonan

I write books and stories.

The Mummies of Blogspace9: Chapter Twenty

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June 27, 2011
Seville, Spain
Cuellar                        http://www.perdido.blogspace9.ex

Duran, you yet live!  I’ve long believed I was the only conquistador left.  You disappeared after Cuzco leaving me alone with our secret, our curse.  And now you question my sanity?  Always the deep thinker, weren’t you, Gumecindo? 

Why not steal half the kings gold, you suggested, and hide it in a portal to hell?  What’s the worst that could happen?  We died, Gumecindo.  We were murdered by malignant demons discontent to let us remain murdered.  That’s the worse that could happen.

I too fared poorly after we parted company.  I wandered the countryside for years, traveling by night, avoiding the villages when I could.  My presence was alarming, I surmised because I had become something alien, not a man, but something understood by the indians, if not yet by me.

I set myself a goal one evening as I feasted on a sea lion washed onto the beach – I would reacquire my soul.  So I marched into the city of Lima and reacquainted myself with the one man in Peru who I believed could help me; Vincente Valverde.

Do you remember him, Gumecindo?  The great priest – a Bishop he became.  That day in Cajamarca when the Inca emperor was captured, it was Valverde who shoved the Bible in his face.  And though the story is told otherwise, you and I know better – the Inca threw down the Bible not because it was a Bible, but because it was a thing shoved in his face.

Though nine years had past, Valverde remembered me well.  He paled when he heard my confession.  He was returning to Spain, and I begged him to take me so that I might take Holy Orders myself, and embark on a penitent life. 

We sailed within the month, but when our ship made urgent port on the island of Puna, we were captured.  Wild indians they were, and I screamed that night as they roasted Valverde in their fire.  Horrified, I watched when they carved him up for their consumption.  Horrified still, I took the bowl handed to me, and began to eat.

I was ordained in Seville in the Spring of 1550, but I confess my mind had well-unhinged by then.  No man in Spain understood what those cannibals saw clearly back on that island; that I was soulless.

I didn’t sleep, you understand, but I dreamed.  I dreamed of those things in the pyramid, and of their master who lived below the flooring.  I prayed for those dreams to end, but they would not.  Nor would the hunger.

I was not well-tolerated by my superiors in the Church.  My howls, my cries to God discomforted them, so they dispatched me to an impoverished village high in the Pyrenees, a congregation of nearly two hundred miserable wretches.  They hated me the moment I arrived, and I ate the last of them just before Christmas, saving me from the chore of crafting a holiday sermon.

I spent decades wandering my empty parish, dining well on the occasional pilgrim, but the dreams would not abate.  I concluded one morning, after a fine French meal, two gentlemen from Toulouse having recently arrived, that I would redeem myself to God.  I would return to the darkest place on earth, to the place of our transformation.

I returned to Peru.  With great trepidation, I conspired to become a missionary priest, and one evening I plied the Bishop of Truxillo with such fine Alsatian brandy that he agreed to my proposal.  I would bring the word of God to those indians who guarded our very pyramid.  I was going home, Gumecindo

We built a small church, but it was of no consequence.  Those indians knew what I was.  I went inside the pyramid that first night.  I wasn’t afraid, and the indians made no attempt to block my entrance.  The walls had been freshly painted with the blood of animals.  I closed my eyes and I licked the blood from those walls, as I would every night hence.

I never entered the room with the gold, Gumecindo.  Never.  I had no use for gold.  Nothing I sought could be purchased.  I had come for redemption, but redemption was not at hand.  Before long, I had become an altogether different sort of priest.  The language of the Sopays flowed freely from my mouth as I delivered my sermon, my dark mass, to my dark congregation.

For two years this continued, until the Bishop arrived to evaluate my performance.  He expressed great concern about my failings.  I had not a single convert, and the two indian women who shared my home were quite marginally clothed.  My Bishop shook his pious head, but our Church works in bewildering ways, and I was transferred, given a larger parish.

I tried, Gumecindo.  I tried again to speak to God, to beg his forgiveness, but it was not forthcoming.  To my old church, the Bishop dispatched an idiot priest called Sebastiano.  I prayed that his counsel might lessen my burden, but I nearly ate him on nine separate occasions, so I kept him at some distance.

Finally, I made one last effort at redemption.  I penned a long missive to the only man alive who had the power to intercede with the Heavens on my behalf.  No, not that flatulent imbecile Pope; I’m speaking of Gaspar Quiroga y Vela – the Grand Inquisitor of Spain.

I wrote my confession.  I told everything, and I begged his forgiveness.  It took several months but he came.  He came with his servants, his soldiers, and his priests and his chroniclers, and he bade me sit quietly with him by the fire, just the two of us one evening, so that I might share every detail.

In the morning, he cast me in chains.  I was shipped back to Spain and imprisoned in a remote monastery.  The penitent monks who guarded me had taken their vows of silence, and I heard not another human voice for three hundred and fifty years.

Not until the ravages of the Spanish Civil War came to an end, did a lone misguided soldier who couldn’t have been more than nineteen years old, but tasted like fifty, release me from my prison.

Did the dreams stop during those long years?  What do you think, Gumecindo?  I call myself Perdido because that is who I am.  I am no longer a priest, no longer a man, no other than a howling revenant unleashed into this world.  I stopped being Vasco Cuellar centuries ago. 

As for Sebastiano, I never heard from him again.  But it’s not him you have to fear.  You’re wrong, Gumecindo; the sopays are not long gone from the world.  There is one left.  You did not sense him when you returned to the pyramid because he had by then departed.  He was invited in by my captor, by the man who chained me.  Invited into his heart, that Sopay was, by the Grand Inquisitor himself.


Written by williamdoonan

March 15, 2012 at 11:42 pm

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