THE INSURGENCE of CHAN SANTA CRUZ
BOOK TEN: THE BOOK of SKULLS
Now... as to the fate of Idznacab: Armando Feliz grew old and finally died during the years of the second European war, after Lazaro Cardenas had ascended to the Presidency of Mexico. José Macias never returning, his whereabouts and fate unknown, the estanción was divided and the land sold... some to a few of those whose families had worked upon it for generations, the rest to strangers. But henequen was no longer valuable, so corn was planted and the inheritors scratched out a living only slightly better than that their ancestors had known.
Some remembered don Antonio's younger son and averred that he become an assassin of Mexico City, others averred that he had gone to California to become a cinema actor, a player of parts who had changed his name so that the Americans would think him one of their own. Still others, hearing rumours of great fortunes won or lost, placed him in Cuba (perhaps to tutor Castro and Che Guevara in the art of guerrilla war!) or in Paris, or on Wall Street in New York City. We only know this... under the name of his birth... José Macias would never be seen again.
But... for our patience... Juan de la Cruz grants us some fleeting recognition of the one known to José and his General as Consuela, la víbora. A remark by the stationmaster of San Sebastien that an "indian-appearing" woman in a white, woolen sweater, dark skirt and high boots had bought a ticket to Mexico City... a creature of unnaturally reddened skin, wet in places with a creamy ichor, like chicle sap. "Hers seemed the flesh of a newborn, or of an animal whose pelt has been removed, preparatory to gutting and cooking," this stationmaster might have said, to nobody in particular.
And one more glimpse... a barrio in the capital, or Durango... or Merida... the swollen belly, the writhing little worms with human faces (the Jackal's? the Major's?) and Consuela Kan's smile as, one after another, the little white eggs tumble from her womb and are cracked open...
El huevo es su amigo!
And, at last, it has become the proper time to ask: what of Esteban's old companion, the young Silvestro who had grown intoxicated with a mouthful of stars, had faced a demon in human form without flinching; the man of years who had become a sublevado jefe and had flown with eagles?
The years of Silvestro Kaak were long in number, but lacking in satisfaction.
When the ropes binding Maria to the altar were cut loose, Silvestro was already a jefe without kingdom. Gathering her fineries and the little tiger-baiting Pablito, Maria fled the territory, life already stirring in her belly as Consuela Kan had similarly fled the hut of Cuahtenotl, bearing the oblation of violent men. (These tumbled towards Mexico, as all great cities, as water seeks the drain - we may be certain that don del Muerte came for them, in time, but, also, that in their multiplied offspring and in the children of these children, that which is Mexico's underworld… and that of the world beyond… endures and is unendingly reborn.)
Deserted by his allies, his wife and children; ridiculed as a creature of the dzulob by his Oficiales and by the rebeldos (who accounted the incident of the jaguar and blue woman to the fear engendered by the drought, and an excessive consumption of balche), Silvestro retreated to Santa Cruz to lick his wounds. Some of the mazehualob, such as Moises Lum and Clarencio Pec, followed Juan Bautista Vega one way, Pedro Yoac and the Teniente, Adam Chol, cast their fortunes with Francisco May and also departed, leaving Silvestro only his hat, a broken watch and a pittance from Don Venus... which also stopped at such time as did the heart of the First Chief.
Silvestro made a home in the rubble of a profaned Chan Santa Cruz, which still remained unholy to the rebel Maya. He planted and weeded corn, he cut chicle in season and hunted deer and birds and made the occasional rare pilgramige to Belize City. Six years after Maria's departure he married an unwanted girl, an orphan of Peto, barely in her teens, who would bear many solitary children. The Kaaks were adjudged a surly lot, touched both by the malocchio and contaminated by contact with the whites... and they were left to their own devices for more than a decade.
Finally, men of an affiliation with Francisco May determined that the city of the Holy Cross was simply too valuable to be left to one insolent patriarch and his growing brood of outlaws. They entered the village with machetes drawn, fearing Silvestro's Belgian rifle but, perhaps more viscerally, anxious that no uay magic descend upon them from the trees that had sprouted in the no longer tidy plaza. But these were young men who were the sons and little brothers of those who had feared Chankik, and when neither brujo nor tiger sprang at them, they boldly told Silvestro that the village would revert to the authority of May, that he might live on the outskirts and pay the tribute of a lowly Cabo of the Cross. To their disappointment, Silvestro gathered his property and family and followed the remains of Bravo's railroad to the east, settling in an even more ruined and desolate a place... near that alien ground which the dzulob had given the name Akbal. Food could be raised, with difficulty, and among the gnarled, decaying roots of a great old ceiba trunk was a small cenote. Several generations of Kaaks thrived there as did, over time, men and some women of bad repute, unfit for life in such of the civilized villages that dotted the Territory... neither May nor Vega nor any other Oficiale interfered with these since the air of that place was considered unhealthy to the mazehualob as to intruders.
So... what was to become of the territory and its capital?
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