THE INSURGENCE of CHAN SANTA CRUZ
BOOK NINE: BOOK of the JAGUAR PRIEST
CHAPTER FORTY NINE
A gray cloud enveloped the old stones, from which issued the stink of fifty centuries... a rank, feline odor that dropped Solis and the Tatoob to their knees with the twelve other Oficiales, senses reeling as the constellations in their flight veered from their course, crashing and sinking one against the other like diamonds cast down after the setting sun.
Through the distenor, only Pablito's clamor held that cord which kept Silvestro's eagle spirit from snapping, floating entirely away, straight upwards towards oblivion with Lord Kin.
The cloud dispersed with contentious lightnings. Maria, still living, twisted and screamed on the old stones.
Atop her, its muzzle frozen in the sorrows of immortality, stood a great jaguar, the gato del monte thrusting, thrusting once again and turning its head to throw a final, mordant grin to the feet of the uinicob. Confronted, then, by the yapping poodle, it dismounted and loped insolently down the temple steps, graven with grinning skull tzompalli, then across the clearing to the monte's redoubt, turning again to offer a last contemptuous sneeze before disappearing.
"He was the last," Moises Lum said tremulously, after many minutes passed. He crossed himself repeatedly... up, down, left to right and back, without discrimination or thought that the involuntary movement of his hands might be undoing, almost in simultaneity, the blessing intended. "The last of the uay."
Carranza's pistol fell out of the fingers of the Tatoob, thudding to the dust of Quintana Roo. Silvestro ignored it. As a sleepwalker, he approached the old stones and picked up Chankik's fallen knife, regarding the blue woman who had fallen silent, prostrate, terrified. He glanced towards the west. Lord Kin had dropped beneath the horizon of trees... the sapodilla, the palms and cottonwoods of the Territory.
He raised this knife… and cut away the sisal ropes that bound Maria to the rocks. "Go to the Colonel," Silvestro said, "he will return you to Mexico City."
Like the pistol, the knife slipped between his fingers, bounced upon the stones and shattered. The Tatoob removed the gold watch with Carranza's dedication, which no longer ticked, its hands frozen at the eternal instant of his decision. He held it to his ear.
"I am no longer Halach Uinic," he said, "nor an Oficiale of the Cross." He pointed to Moises Lum. "That one is General and Governor until a council of the mazehualob chooses otherwise."
A small black cloud could be seen to the south and west, just above the purple horizon. Another followed it, and then it seemed as if hundreds more came streaming across the tomb of Lord Kin, bringing a sanguinary pall to the darkening sky. The tops of the trees began to riffle with the thrusts of breezes, heavy with impending rain.
Silvestro returned the dead watch to his pocket and turned his back on all, making his solitary way along the path, back to Santa Cruz del Bravo.
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