The sound of dark icy laughter gives me the creeps. It drips with evil. Out of Lamont’s body, I see a spectral form arise like a ghost taking leave of a dead corpse. At first, the spectral form takes on the shape of a multi-hued blue feathered hummingbird. It then sheds its skin and out of dense blue smoke appears an indigo skinned Hispanic male dressed in a plumed headdress, multicolored leather skirt, and leather sandals. He holds the fire serpent shape sword and spear.
“Who are you?”
“We are Tezcatlipoca! We are one and four. To our dear heart, we are the dark one of the North. For you, we have shown our form as the warrior of the south. The sun’s zenith, the warring sun. The blue Tezcatlipoca. We are also known by the name Huitzilopochtli , the hummingbird of the south, in your ancestor's tongue.”
“Actually you have got it wrong. My direct ancestors, my grandparents, were not native to this land, and did not speak English. I am only a second-generation English speaker.”
“Ever the insolent child.”
“Yes, that is me.”
I listen for Boots, expecting some kind of retort or come back, to my remark, but there is none. Oddly, I am surrounded by silence. Someone has messed with the audio portion of this picture. I have been so caught up in arguing with this apparition that I failed to notice what has been going on around me. Or, should I say, has not been going on.
“Everyone has just stopped moving. How did this happen?”
“You noticed. We have stepped out of the river of time and now we walk along its bank. Only we and thee are unaffected by the flow of the river.”
“I am flattered. So, tell me, why me?”
“You are obviously the leader of this band of women. You are strong and tightly bound. When you walk amongst the others, you move like an eagle across the sky.”
“Oh. Really? We do not actually have an official leader, but I guess I am the unofficial one. I am impressed with all this time stopping magic and the costume and all, but the bottom line here is that you have got to leave. My guess is that our magic was working and we forced you out of Lamont. You have stopped time and thus stopped our spell. But, we cannot stay here indefinitely. Can we?”
“You babble like a brook. You are not as clever as you think. We are outside the flow of the river that is time. We can remain here as long as we so choose.”
“That may or may not be the whole enchilada. This is a spell, and like any spell, it takes energy to cast and maintain it. I wonder how long you really could keep this up. Forever? Somehow you do not impress me as the forever type.”
“You prattle on. Your words are as scratches made in jade. You show no respect. To your women you are an eagle. To us, you are but a pigeon. We are your master. There will come a time when all will come and tremble before our mat.”
“What an inflated sense of self you got there. Who and what are you really?”
“We are a God.”
Suddenly I am falling. I feel the rush of cold air and the roar of the wind like the sound of a dozen lions. I am falling. All I see around me is the bluest sky, the whitest white wispy clouds, and nothing else. The colors are so clear and bright it stings my eyes. I look down and far, far below is the earth.
“Look upon your doom. You are helpless as you rush to embrace your death. Now, do you believe?”
“Me, helpless? Not likely. Watch O’ Southern Tezcatlipoca. Ignite Basha, Ignite!” I feel that rush of searing red exploded in me. I am aflame! I am fire. Gravity no longer has any hold over me and I hover under my own flaming power. Then I see Him Standing on a cloud next to me. “See O’ Blue warrior of the South. I too know some tricks. So, Mr. God. What did you call yourself? The blue Tezcatlipoca? What people called you their God?”
“We were worshipped by many peoples, the Olmecs, the Zapotecs, the Maya, the Toltecs, the Aztecs, many peoples harkened to our voice. As soon many shall once more come before the mat of the
Eagle and the Jaguar and tremble before us.”
“Sorry. Never heard of them.”
“You will. And sorrow will fill your lungs like the smoke of my fires.”
“What makes you think you’re wanted now?”
“We have smelled the offerings made to us. Millions of souls burned in the sacred fires. Their ashes floating like beautiful feathers in the wind. Mountains of fire. Cleansed white bones dazzling in the sunlight. Such a delight for our eyes. Your people were offered up on those sacred pyres.”
“Fire? Ashes? Mill...! O Dear Shekinah, Mother of All. You are talking of them, may their names be blotted out forever! The Nazis. The Holocaust.”
“Such devotion has not been shown to us in so long. That sweet smell filled our nostrils with delight and out of death’s deep slumber, we awoke. And thus we know that not only are the stars almost right for our return, but now so many people are willing to worship us in accordance with the sacred rites.”
“No way! No Goddess blessed way! You like fire, here have some of mine!”
My rage burns out and I blast Him. My hands are like twin flame-throwers as I bathe him in my rage. All he does is laugh. How can this be?
“Pretty eagle. Pretty pigeon. You do not still understand before whom you stand.”
“So? Enlighten me.”
“We shall. It amuses us to so instruct you. Feel the crushing weight of our night.”
From his hand, a ribbon, which shimmers like indigo silk, floats in the air. Then like a rattlesnake, it rises up and strikes. It envelopes my hands and begins to wrap around them. I struggle with the indigo ribbon. It feels as smooth as silk but it has a life of its own. It manages to wrap around my flaming hands and bind them together. The other end of the ribbon wraps around my legs and continues to wrap around me. As it does it smothers my flame. Without my flame, gravity wraps its hands around me and yanks me downward.
Soon I am an indigo mummy plummeting earthward. There is a roaring sound like the ocean. It is the air rushing by as I all too rapidly descend. I cannot move.
The ribbon fights me and tries to inhibit my slightest movement. Even the labored rising of my chest to breathe is met with resistance. I cannot take this confinement. My muscles twitch, aching for release and freedom. I am being crushed like a serpent’s victim. It is getting harder and harder to breathe.
Think Basha. Concentrate. But, then, there is an impact.
Blackness with flashes of scarlet. Agony. Pain from my arms, legs, and chest. Now I know what broken bones feel like. Pain lancing throughout my body. I cannot move-my every limb is shattered bones. I just want to sink into the pain and disappear. I hear laughter! His laughter! Damn him. Who does he think he is? He is treating me like I am something he can dismiss with a flick of his finger. No. I have to stop him. Lamont is counting on me to free him. Arrgh! Dear Mother! My chest is being used as a pincushion. Each breath I take moves my broken ribs and they cut into my lungs like blades of a hundred swords. That is it. Go into the pain, Basha. Dive into and let it become everything! Dear Mother, I hurt! All there is, is pain.
Now I must burn. Become a ball of searing fire to consume my flesh. Become the setting sun. A ball of flaming agony, which sets into the sea of pain.
Heat. Warmth. Life. Breathe. I am the sun that rises with the Dawn. I am born anew once again! This is the cycle of life that is eternal! I am the sun and I fill the world with my healing, life-giving light! I feel exhilarated as I rise and my light pushes back the night and the fear that night once brought.
“Did you find amusing my ribbons of indigo night? That was a trifle. The smallest expression on my will, of my power.’
“You cannot stop me that easily. I am like …”Arrgh. He thrusts his spear into my chest. Arrgh! He yanks it out and my blood bubbles out of the hole left behind by his spear.
“Why do you continue to challenge us?”
“Why...have you possessed Lamont?” I gurgle out.
“We are the asker of questions. It is you who must answer.”
“Why does everyone seem to get so annoyed whenever a question is given as a response to a question?”
“You are insolent.”
I am thrust through with his spear again. Arrgh! “Quite true and you are arrogant. Ohhh. I never knew how immensely painful...having a spear rammed into one’s gut can be. Damn...I thought it was...bad enough to have it pushed in...and then pulled out. It does not feel so good...to have it just hang in me. Ohhh. Damn! It would be a real inconvenience...to bleed to death, there is so much to do here.”
“We are weary of this game. Leave us.”
“No. Not until...you have agreed to leave Lamont.”
“What is he to you?”
“He is someone who needs help. And I am someone who is in a position to help.”
“That is all? He is not kin? Not of your tribe?”
“No. He is a stranger to me.”
“You risk your life for a stranger? Again, I must ask, what is he to you? A lover?”
“Absolutely not! No way! Where did you ever get such a crazy idea? He is just a kid. Okay, he is Cute. But...but...he is still just a kid. We are friends. That is it. Just friends. Nothing else.”
“The Lady doth protest too much, methinks. ’ Then why do you endure all of this?”
“What you are doing is evil.”
“What we have done is not evil. We are offering our Corazon a great gift. A gift of power.”
“Did he ask for your gift?”
“He did not know to ask. He was chosen. The gift of power goes to the chosen vessel. That is how it must be.”
“He did not ask. You forced yourself on him. This is evil. You took away his right to choose. And I believe that if we asked him, he would refuse your gift of power. He does not seem to be the kind that wants power.”
“He cannot refuse. He is the Chosen One. That is his fate. That is his destiny. He is the Opener of the Way.”
“You see, you impose your desires without any concern for his wants. That is why what you do is evil.”
“To you it is evil. To us it is necessity.”
“I cannot hear of such evil being done and ignore it. If someone threatens a stranger today and is not stopped, then tomorrow someone I know, or perhaps even me will be next. Evil acts must be stopped. Evil acts inevitably threaten everyone.”
“Thus you must pay the price of your interference.”
Damn! Ohhh. He’s turning me into his personal pincushion.
Hades balls! Arrgh! Another one! This is getting to be painfully repetitious and boring. I need to do something. I grab one of the wooden spears and burn it into ashes. I burn each out of my body that way. I am still bleeding from each of the wounds. My life force leaks out of me. I have had enough of this. The next spear comes whizzing at me and I form a staff of flames and knock his spear out of the way. Then another comes at me. I move to knock it aside. Then another. Block it with my staff. Then another. My arms move on their own. It is as if I am a spectator. I watch as one after another of the oncoming spears are deflected. How long can I keep this up? Enough! I go nova! I become a searing sun that burns all the spears out of the sky.
“I can burn your spears all day. But this is getting us nowhere. Perhaps the fire of Righteousness will give you pause.” A fiery sword of justice forms in my right hand and I thrust it at him. This time he reacts. He can feel my flames.
O God, help me! The fire burns me! Please make it stop!
(Corazon, do you wish the pain to stop?)
Yes! Please make it stop!
(We can. If you trust us. We will leave you. We must make adjustments to our plans. We have been discovered before you are ready to give us what we need.
That woman will not let us alone. We must be as the serpent in the jungle, hidden before he strikes. The time is not now right. We must now return to our first plan, we will allow you to remember the task of finding the Jon Dale. We will once again use that hapless mortal as the bait in the trap. We shall help you with that task Lamont. You must begin to search for him. In the end, we know with certainty that you will give us what we desire. Your destiny has not been altered. Trust us. Believe us. To this end, come to our temple. There we will give you a book, which will show you the way. We know there is also a book for the Basha, A book of Shattering, A book by one who was shattered. She must seek it out in the Temple of her Goddess. Tell her this. Tell her she needs to do this to help you. Will you do what we ask?)
Yes! Anything! I’ll do anything, please, make this stop.
(As a sign of our trust in you, for now, we will no longer take over your flesh. We will once again be only a trusting voice in your ear. For now, that is enough.)
Anything! Arrgggg! Anything! The Pain ... I can’t...
I intensify my heat. Blasting him. Righteous indignation wells up in my and is poured out in my fire. Evil is countered by justice.
“This is not how it should be. The stars are not yet right. That time will come. On that day, remember this. He is the one. On that day, you will come to believe as we proclaim. We are your one true God.”
“You can just go on holding your breath indefinitely on that one, you will never be a god of mine.”
“Then you must learn the price of not acknowledging us. You are insignificant and have become an annoyance. We shall depart but in so doing we leave behind a parting gift that shall end your existence here.”
A funnel of jade wind begins to form around him. My flames are sucked up into it. He fades from view; his image disperses on the whipping winds. There is now only a tornado of jade smoke. It engulfs me. I cannot see. Cannot breathe. The smell is horrible. It is like being in the center of a slaughterhouse on a hot summer day. The air is ripe with the scent of death and decay. Coughing. Can...not...breathe...the force of the winds are pulling me limb from limb. The winds are...ripping me apart. The stench and the smoke...can not breathe. Arrgh! My legs and arms are being wrenched out of their sockets! Can’t...Can’t...I am going to die!
Dear Goddess help me! Wait. I’ve got it. I call out in my mind.
“Hummingbird! Tezcatlipoca of the south! Huitzilopochtli! Here me! You cannot kill me!”
There is a flash of blue and contemptuous laughter.
“Soon you will take your last gasp of life. Your death in mere moments from now will prove my words to be true.”
I Struggle to find the air to concentrate. “Oh, yes, I cannot stop you from killing me. This is true. But, you will not. You cannot.”
“Child, we have heard enough of your scratching on jade. Why should we not depart and leave you to choke on your own thoughts?”
“Because...if I die all your plans for Lamont…will be ruined. This is why I cannot die.”
“If I die...by your hand. Lamont will know this. He will never forgive you. I know and you know, he is in love with me. You kill me and he will hate you for the rest of his life. Thus, ending his cooperation in your grand scheme of things.” I can barely think or see. I am losing consciousness. The world is a haze. Was I right? I can’t...breathe...all is dark...
Then, there is an explosion of life and air! I can breathe. I live.
“You are an impudent insect.”
I cough out a response, “True.”
“As you have reasoned correctly, we cannot kill you. But, we can silence you. You will never be able to impart this knowledge to our dear Corazon.”
Arrgh! My tongue has been ripped out. My mouth fills with pain and blood. I am gagging on it. Arrgh! Now, my mouth has been ripped off my face! I truly cannot speak!
“That is how it will be. Blessed is your silence. Kill you we cannot. This does not prevent us from inflicting punishment. We depart once more. But long will you remember this lesson of our power.”
I watch in mind-numbing terror as thousands of spears form all around me. They tremble with anticipation. Soon all that I can see is a dark wall of spearheads. They wait, in unseen hands to be let loose. Nooo! There is a thunderclap of pain as they strike. Every inch of my flesh screams...in agony. I can feel my self-covered...in blood…oozing out of my wounds. Too much. The pain is...ohhh...thank the Goddess...
The world of pain…has ceased. I lie in a pool of my own blood. But, I am alive. Lying on the blessed earth. Though, I am without strength or will. Rest.
How long has it been? I find the strength to open my eyes, but that is all. I am on the floor in the Queen’s temple. Everyone is still frozen in time. I blink. I feel like I have miraculously survived being hurled by a tornado.
“Basha? Basha! What’s wrong?”
Shaking. Earthquake? No. I am shaking? Someone is shaking me. Every inch of my body hurts. My eyes still sting from the smoke. I blink back tears and open my eyes.
“Boots? Ohh, Boots.”
“Basha you look awful. What happened?”
“I met up with a demon that had delusions of divinity.”
“Is that what was in Lamont?”
“Yes. He was not a happy demon. He showed me his displeasure by repeatedly trying to crush and suffocate me. Hundred-mile drops, crushing black ribbons, and a tornado. Did I forget to mention he threw in a few hundred spears into the deal? All, in all, this has not been one of my good days.”
“But Basha, when did all this happen? One moment you stopped singing and the next moment you fainted.”
“Too tired to explain. Boots help me up. I cannot move on my own.”
“Sure Basha. Lean on me.”
“Is he gone?” I ask.
“Who?” Boots answers.
“Him. The warrior Tezcatlipoca is he gone?”
“Who is that?”
“The megalomaniac demon that was possessing Lamont.”
“I don’t know.” Boots replies.
“How is Lamont? Any better?” I ask.
“He is still lying unconscious, stiff as a board.”
“We should continue the chant. Finish the spell.”
“For how long? How do we know when to stop? How can we tell when this demon has left Lamont?”
“I believe he is gone, but to be certain we should continue our spell. There should be some visible change in Lamont when the demon’s influence has left completely.”
“You need someone to watch over him?” Selene sings the words in a long drawn out breathy blues voice, like the old Torch songs. “That’ll be me.”
“Good,” I say. “Let us begin again.”
“Are you sure you’re okay Basha?” Boots asks. “Maybe you should rest.”
“No. I feel...fine,” I say, hopefully sounding better than I actually feel. “Just let me continue to lean on you.”
 (pron. Weit-zi-lo-poech’t-li)
 From William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, written around 1600-1601, Act III scene ii, line 242.BASHA