Flawed Gods

FlawedGodsCover1One of the last  descendants of the first race in the Universe, Hachakyum, has the power to influence the progress of sentient life. He has done so on Earth.

Modern humans were made using the form of one incredible woman as a  template.

Hachakyum is not alone. He has a brother determined to revenge the destruction of the Universe’s first race, he has been chasing Hachakyum for billions of years through space and time.

The fate of the Universe depends on one amazing, human, woman. This is the story of her life.

 Available Soon!

Here’s a sample:

Chapter 1

The Story of the Finder of Caves.

“The human who was the template, the pattern the gods copied to construct modern people was the bravest and greatest hunter the world has ever known. The hunter lived in the time before Kings, the time before scribes, the time before people lived in villages. The story of how we came to exist, in the form we are today, began when that greatest of all humans had travelled for many days through the ancient jungle searching, unsuccessfully, for game.”

“She,” Yash K’in said.

He paused reciting the tale from ancient times, understanding the effect that pronoun would have on his audience of two Western archaeologists, Arthur and Michelle.

“She eventually cornered an ancient and dangerous animal. An animal that no longer exists, as large when it walked on its four legs as the shoulder of a standing hunter. She failed to kill it. Even the greatest hunters know failure. Even the gods make mistakes. The animal tore along the length of her leg with its tusks. The hunter’s injury was deep and to the bone. Her intended prey tore flesh from her arm and pierced her side. She was thrown into the air and landed violently. Her mouth filled with her own blood as her teeth pierced her tongue. She lost consciousness for a long time.

A pool of her blood surrounded her when she woke.

Her body was broken, her agony extreme. She struggled to her feet but she was disoriented and weak from loss of blood. She could not find the direction back to her people. She was lost. Her only hope for survival was to find help nearby or a source of easy food and shelter until her body repaired.

For many days she moved slowly through the jungle, searching for assistance.

During the first nights of her ordeal she feared attack from large predators. Each night she found a place where an assault could only come from a single direction. She wedged her body into position and watched and waited. As the days blurred into a single repeated one of agony and weakness she gave up her defense and at night she collapsed on the jungle floor and slept through the dark hours.

She weakened further. Life was leaving her. She lost clear vision. Her waking world lacked distinction. She hallucinated a stark white shape, an old, white-robed man. It remained close to her, shouting its uniqueness in the jungle of blurred greens and browns. She stared at the vision to make it disappear but the shape shadowed her. When her strength was almost gone she no longer registered its presence.

Her leg and her arm became infected and the poison spread through her body. She woke one morning and could not stand. She crawled through the jungle, dragging her useless leg and arm. And yet she did not stop. Each further morning, when she woke and was surprised that she was still alive, she continued her struggle.

On the last morning of her ordeal she woke and lifted her head from the earth where she lay prostrate. She crawled onwards. Then the jungle fell behind her. She collapsed and lay on the edge of a clearing. She released tears of relief using the last moisture in her body, assuming people must be nearby. She let her head fall onto the earth. She lost consciousness again.

She woke in the same place.

‘I’ve been watching you for some time.’

An old man sat with his back against the last tree of the jungle. He stared out over the clearing seemingly disinterested in the woman’s plight. A white tunic covered him from his neck to his wrists and to his ankles. His feet were bare.

‘You will not give up, will you. Even as you are now. At the very end,’ he said. He turned his head to look at the hunter lying on the ground and then looked away again.

‘Why is that?’ he asked, not looking at her. ‘Why are you so strong? You’re different from the others.’

He spoke calmly as if he was chatting and passing the time, after a day of rest and an ample meal. She was angry and indignant, as well as in agony. She abhorred his indifference. She did not understand why he did not immediately help her. She tried to swallow so that she could speak but it was impossible. Coherent words could not force their way through the coagulated blood in her mouth and the stricture in her throat. She wanted to make some sound of annoyance but she was also hindered by her swollen and infected tongue. She croaked an inarticulate sound.

‘Will you help me?’ was what she had hoped to say.

He slowly turned his head so that he, again, stared at her. She lifted her head from the earth. She looked fiercely at him as if she could order him to provide her with assistance. However, she could not move from where she lay and if the old man did not help her soon she would die on that spot. His eyes were calm, he was without concern.

‘Will I help you?’ he repeated the question she had intended to ask but had not spoken.

‘I shouldn’t,’ he said. ‘It could be dangerous for me.’

She had no more words, even thoughts were difficult. The strength holding her head from the ground failed and her face fell, again to rest on its side.

He walked the few steps to where she lay. He examined her prostrate body like she was an exhibit.

‘You’re strong willed. I will grant you that,’ he said.

Her head would not lift on its own again. Her eyes were the only sign of life and they blazed anger and pleaded pity. He smiled at her as he weighed the fateful, irrevocable and horrifying decision he was about to make. The consequence of his decision would ripple through the universe forever.

‘Yes. I will help you,’ he said softly.

She lost consciousness yet again.”

Chapter 2

Yash K’in paused his story telling as he drew breath on his pungent, hand-made cigar. The old man’s face was flat, almost-simian. Unkempt jet-black hair brushed the top of his shoulders.

The jungle air was humid and, an hour after sunset, it remained uncomfortably hot. Thatched huts sat in irregular order within an area cleared of vegetation. Outside one hut a rectangular, white plastic table hosted Yash K’in and his late-teenage daughter, both KulWinik villagers, as well as Arthur and Michelle.

A single kerosene lamp burned on the table. Its light highlighted people’s faces like ill-formed masks but did not worry the darkness behind them. Moths and other insects gave the light source busy attention.

Yash K’in exhaled then peered through the pall of smoke at the lamp and its cloud of attentive insects.

Yash K’in resumed reciting the ancient tale.

Chapter 3

“She woke inside a structure, unlike anything she had seen before. Her people lived in the open, occasionally making temporary habitations as they moved about their ancestral foraging grounds. The structure was made of jungle materials, she recognized all the elements of its construction, but it was many paces wide and the sky was completely hidden from her by a roof. She lay in a hammock, suspended from the trunks of felled trees used to hold the structure together. A smoldering cooking fire was in the center of the hut, three-stones marking its perimeter. She tentatively moved her head to examine the far reaches of the hut’s interior. She stopped, her attention distracted. She was not in pain. She moved her hand and touched her chin and then poked out her tongue and touched it. She felt no pain. She examined her finger and there was no blood. She attempted to swallow. She swallowed easily. She was not thirsty. She was not hungry. She felt down to her injured leg. She grimaced in anticipation of touching her wounds.

Her injured leg was whole. There was no pain in any part of her body. She raised her head and scanned the length of her naked body. She was as uninjured as the day she had begun her hunt. She swung to a sitting position in the hammock and felt no dizziness or discomfort. She placed her feet on the ground and then stood. She kept one hand firmly attached to the hammock, assuming that her legs would fail. She did not falter. She felt strong enough to start a hunt of many days. She walked to the entrance of the hut and looked outside. She saw the clearing where she had collapsed.

‘The old man must have saved me,’ she thought. She looked down at her body again and touched her mouth, again.

‘But, I’m more than healed, I’ve been returned to how I was before,’ she thought.

She felt a little weak as she wondered, ‘Perhaps I’ve died. Perhaps I have not been healed. Perhaps I have not been returned to how I was before.’

She walked out of the hut into the clear area before it. She turned around and looked back. She breathed deeply. She could smell the smoke from the fire. She raised the back of her hand to her nose and smelt the familiar smell of her own skin. She felt the beginnings of a normal hunger. She felt stirrings in her bowels. She knew she must be alive. Those mundane parts of living would be wasted on the dead, she believed.

‘However,’ she thought, ‘I have been healed completely.’

She did not understand.

She walked further from the hut then stopped. She slowly turned in a circle, on the spot. She called loudly, ‘Hello?’ to each of the four directions.

There was no answer. She heard insects, birds and monkeys in the trees in the surrounding jungle. There were no sounds from people.

She was unsure what to do next. She could find food nearby, she knew. She had no weapons to hunt, but hunting was not necessary for survival. She assumed a source of water would be close to any human construction. There was the hut for shelter. She thought through her predicament. Someone had built the hut. Someone had set and lit the fire that still smoldered. Her thoughts returned to finding the old man, or someone else.

She went back to the hut, after deciding what she would do. She would search for clothing, for weapons and for other signs of recent occupation, anything that may help her find a way to return to her people.

The old man sat next to the fire. She halted when she saw him. He made no sign that he had noticed her entrance. She was silent for a long time while she stared at him.

‘Did you heal me?’ she asked eventually, when she was sure he was not an apparition.

‘Yes.’

‘How long have I been here?’

‘It is the afternoon of the same day.’

‘How?’ she asked. She frowned. She was confused.

‘I said, I will help you. And, I have.’

She had too many questions and was unable to decide what to ask first.

‘Thank you,’ she said. Gratitude coming before knowledge.

She decided on a question. She was bold with her request. She asked firmly, ‘Can you also help me return to my people?’

‘No,’ he said quickly.

‘No?’

The old man said nothing. She became annoyed at his inattention.

‘No? You won’t help me?’ she asked again.

‘I have helped you,’ the old man said quietly.

‘I know. I am thankful. I was asking for more help,’ she said.

He turned his head and looked at her like she was, again, a child asking permission. She was a great hunter. She was unused to being stared at like that. She was exasperated.

The old man felt her exasperation. He explained, ‘You cannot return to your people. Those people no longer exist.’

She was shocked. Her hands moved to her face. ‘Are they dead? How do you know?’ she asked quickly. The ends of her fingers covered her mouth.

‘No.’

‘No, what?’ She became angry. She was frustrated with the old man’s answers.

The old man turned away from her to again gaze at the smoke rising from the fire. ‘No, they are not dead,’ he said slowly as if he was explaining the obvious.

She did not know what to ask him next. She was not asking specific enough questions, she realized. She glared at him.

‘I have re-made you,’ he said as if that answer should satisfy all her doubts and should answer all her questions.

She sighed, she gave up expecting sense from the old man. ‘I’m sorry old man. I appreciate what you have done. You do not make sense. I do not understand you.’

‘Of course you don’t.’ The old man smiled, with compassion. ‘I re-made you. This world has a new beginning. I created a new world of sentient beings. The world begins with you. It exists because of you. It is for you,’ he said. ‘Without your suffering, without your strength, this would not exist,’ he gently extended his hand to illustrate his point.

She did not know if he meant the whole world, her people, the contents of the hut or simply his hand.

His smile remained. ‘I’m grateful. I’m fond of this place, if not the people,’ he said wistfully. ‘But you were an amazing exception. With you as the template, it will be better. I’m sure,’ he spoke carefully, methodically, as if he had forgotten the hunter and was justifying his actions to an absent audience.

The old man continued staring at the fire. He said, as if it was not something that would interest her, ‘I re-made your species to closely match your construction. But the others do not remember. Only you remember the time before today.’

She stared in silence at the old man as if he had spoken a language she did not know. She decided to not ask for further explanation. She was the greatest of all hunters and she knew there was a time to give up on a quarry and start the hunt again.

‘When can I return to these re-made people, as you say?’ she asked. Her voice was firm and there was no confusion. Her question was unequivocal.

The old man turned and stared into her eyes. She had a strange sensation of his approval.

‘Now,’ he replied softly.

‘Right now or soon? What do you mean?’

‘Now,’ he repeated.

The hunter turned away from the old man by the fire and walked outside the hut. She hoped her action would force him to follow, so that he could lead her back to her people. Or wherever he understood she was to go.

She stopped immediately she thought she was outside the hut. However, she stood next to the rock shelter her people camped near at that time of year. The setting sun was shining in her eyes. She turned around but there was no sign of the hut or the old man.

Chapter 4

Many years passed. People aged and died but the hunter remained unchanged. She thought often of the old man. The few words he had said to her became clearer as the years passed and her wisdom increased. She searched for the place where she had been healed but never found it.

The seasons repeated over a thousand times until she, again, faced life-threatening danger while hunting.

She had been on a hunt of many days, alone in the jungle, when she failed to kill an ancient animal, like a peccary. Its tusks gored her leg. In the long years of her life it was one of the few times she failed while hunting.

She lost a lot of blood and her leg was painful but she continued to track the injured animal. She cornered it against a rock wall after chasing it up a steep slope. She allowed herself a moment of triumph before she killed her prey. Although she was weakened with loss of blood, her skill would prevent her prey from a second escape. However, before she could make the killing blow the peccary turned and disappeared. She waited for a moment, anticipating its return. She approached the rock wall and saw that it was not whole. There was an opening through which the peccary-like animal had vanished.

She crawled through the opening with her weapons ready in her hands. The aperture was wide enough to crawl unimpeded but not high enough to stand. It sloped gently down. The light dimmed quickly as she crawled along the passageway. She decided to give up her hunt and start a new hunt. But then the passageway dipped sharply. The rock surface was slippery. She began to slide. Her hands were full of her hunting weapons. She accelerated downwards. She reluctantly let her weapons go. She slammed her hands down on the rock floor, to slow her descent, but it was too slippery. She grasped frantically overhead trying to hold on to something. The rock vanished from beneath her. She was suspended in a dark space. Her skin shivered with the undisturbed cold of a large enclosed area. She fell but could feel and see nothing.

She struck the bottom of the cave and lost consciousness.

Chapter 5

She woke and did not know how much time had passed. The daylight outside beamed through the narrow entrance, like a beacon, far above where she lay. A dim light diffused through the rest of the cave.

Her leg shivered in silver that she knew was blood that had flowed from the re-opened wound. Her other leg rested at an unnatural angle. It was painful. She had broken it. An arm caused a similar pain. It was broken also. She lifted her head. An intense pain shot through her mouth. Warm blood streamed and eddied over her chin. Its sticky shine reflected from the rock underneath her. She knew that pain. She had, once again, pierced her tongue with her teeth.

The animal had fallen further into the cave, carried there by its greater speed. It did not move. She tried to stand up, to gather it, to return with it to her people. Her pain was too great. She could not move. It was only then that she thought of her plight. She could not climb to the entrance with a broken leg and arm. She would die next to her prey. Her pain and suffering was great. She hoped her death would be quick. She lay her head back on the rock floor and waited to die.

Her suffering called to the gods and she was answered.

The dim light and the cave air appeared to coagulate around a single point. It stretched into a sinuous stream of smoke then expanded into the shape of a serpent. The change in the cave became apparent to her. She lifted her head, although her pain was intense.

The serpent shape swayed and grew further. A head formed on the changing stream and its mouth split and widened until the open mouth filled her vision. She watched with fascination and wondered if the serpent was her approaching death. She was not afraid to die. She was the bravest and greatest hunter, of any creation.

She saw movement within the mouth of the Vision Serpent. A shape approached. A young man stepped through the mouth of the serpent and into the cave. She stared at him. He held himself like a king although the days of the ‘Story of the Finder of Caves’ were before kings. He approached, then stopped next to the dead peccary-like animal.

She knew him.

She tried to speak. Her voice garbled with the blood that pooled in her mouth. Each word she used, each breath, added to her pain. She fought the words like they were adversaries.

‘Where have you come from? Why are you here?’ Her breath failed on the last word. She was braver than any person had been or would be, she could suffer agony in silence but she was afraid in the presence of great power. She, also, knew his compassion was arbitrary. He had watched her suffer before. He could do nothing and have no concern as to consequences for others.

His answer surprised her. ‘You brought me here,’ he said softly.

She struggled with another word but it came out of her mouth easily.

‘How?’ she asked.

She tried to speak more words. ‘How could I have brought you here?’ she said clearly.

‘Your suffering summoned me,’ he said.

‘Why are you so interested in watching my suffering?’ She exploded with anger. ‘You have no compassion!’ Her fear made her angry. She was familiar with fear and she had learned how to overcome it. When she hunted dangerous prey she attacked. She did that with him.

‘You’ve watched me suffer,’ she said with explosive wrath. ‘Twice now. You only helped, reluctantly, after I pleaded. I’m a hunter, I do not accept help easily. It’s demeaning to ask for help. You changed everything. You explained nothing. Not in a meaningful way. Not with any sense.’

She listed her grievances.

‘Then,’ she continued. ‘You say, I have been re-made. What’s that? No-one knew me but they all knew my name. My new name. You disappear. You leave me like that.’

Tears formed in her eyes as her anger was overcome by memories of sadness and loneliness.

‘You left me like that for years and years and years,’ she continued softly. ‘Everyone aged and died. Over and over. Then, here you are again. Uncaring.’

She lifted her arm and pointed it at him. She clenched her fist as if she might strike him.

She looked with surprise at the hand that hovered in front of her face. Her arm moved as if it had never been broken. And she was no longer lying on the rock floor of the cave. She had stood while arguing. She had no pain in her legs, her voice was clear and her mouth was clean and whole. She gazed at his face in wonder. He had not moved.

‘Compassion was not required,’ he said seriously. ‘Not on my part and not at that time. I re-made you. I re-made your people. That was the first day of your species. The time of the world is counted from that day. And it was because of you. This world is yours. I did tell you that.’

Her anger had gone. She said, softly, with contrition, that still managed to transfer blame to him. ‘I could have died. I expected to die. Again.’

She wondered how his apparent plan for creation could proceed if she had died in the cave.

To her surprise, he laughed. His laugh forced on her an ecstatic joy, as if the world was wonderful despite everything to the contrary. She had no choice but to share his happiness. It was not a contagious laughter, quite the opposite. It felt inappropriate, sacrilegious even, to add to the sound he was making. His laughter was a gift but not to be shared on equal terms.

‘No,’ he said when his laughter had subsided. ‘Well, yes. You could have died the first time and the fact that you didn’t is the reason for, well,’ he hesitated to find the right word as if his vocabulary was newly learned. He said, ‘everything. However, this time?’ He appeared ready to laugh again. ‘No. You can’t die.’

‘You mean you won’t let me? You’re protecting me? I do not need anyone’s protection.’

She was upset again. She did not like how lightly he took her injuries, her pain and her suffering. Twice.

‘I re-made this world because of you. For you. You cannot die. Not by accident, disease and not from aging. Perhaps I did not make it clear enough. This world is yours.’

He was surprised to see that she understood.

‘However, it is,’ he said, ‘time I stayed with you.’

End of ‘Flawed Gods’ Sample.

Posted December 17, 2011 by Mark