These ruins are old. Not even the natives know exactly how old they are, they tell me that they’ve just ‘always been there’.
The sun is setting casting everything in a shade of blue and purple and red.
Blood is everywhere. It lays in puddles and spills across the ancient stone where the hunters have gutted and flayed their prey. The skin of strange animals are stretched over racks to dry in the various states of tanning. In the distance I can hear the roar of the hunters ATV’s exploring the surrounding jungle, checking their traps for dinner. Rabbit hopefully, I don’t think I could eat another wild hog. At least not when the head is still attached; it’s eyes vacant in death, it’s mouth open in a final eternal scream.
I hope they trap a rabbit.
A river to the North of the ruins runs East to West and small children from the village south have invaded our camp. I welcome the distraction that the children bring with them. Anything to pull my attention away from the killing and the looming ruins.
We’ve been here for four days, exploring the jungle and camping. The men came for wild game, and I came for ruins, but I never thought I’d find something like this. Large and ominous, the pyramid shaped temple to the old gods, the forgotten gods, reach just above the canopy of the trees to stretch to the heaven it’s depths unexplored by men. I hadn’t gained the courage to shift rock and climb down alone.
The children jump from rock to rock, fling dirt into the fires and skitter away laughing. All of them start to talk almost simultaneously, and some point to the darkening sky and laugh. One of the older villagers looks up then down and shakes his head. ‘Big moon’, he tells me in broken English., ‘we go,’. The children scream and screech with laughter as they disappeared into the bush back to their mothers, back to their elders.
The sound of a tree falling in the distance echos through the air. Birds fly up with screeches and caws.
Something is wrong.
The sounds of the ATV’s have stopped.
The few others in the camp have noticed as well.
And then the screams start. Blood curdling screams. The kind that make your hair stand on end and the skin across the back of your neck tighten. The kind of scream that you feel in the gut of your stomach that spreads through your veins like ice. The kind of scream that when it stops, you know all hell will break loose, so deep down, deep deep down in the very back of your thoughts you hope that the scream never stops. Because when it does you fear that you might be next.
And then it stops.
Silence fills the void and echos through my ears.
We start running to the back of the ruins where the screams had come from. My feet slip on the stone still slick from blood and I fall. Tangled in a skin that hasn’t yet been washed or dried yet. Slick old blood coats my arms and legs.
Everyone is running in the opposite direction now. Their footsteps like thunder in the distance, their breath like the wind before a storm.
My boots slip in the blood.
My hands clench at the stones of the ruins, my fingernails scraping and bending back. I slip again and my head cracks against the ground. Stars explode in my head and my vision tunnels. The smell of blood is everywhere. And then the sounds of screams. The sounds of flesh being torn, and clothes ripped.
I hear it. It whispers against the back of my skull. Run.
On my feet again. You’ve got to get up, you’ve got to get away.
The sounds of death quiet behind me.
It’s chasing me, I can hear it behind me. It growls like a big cat, it lets out a yip like the hyenas, it grunts like the antelope, and squeals like the boars. It sounds like everything we’ve ever hunted. It sounds like all the death throes I’ve ever heard.
The ridge to the river canyon stretches before me. I trip but my feet keep moving.
Keep close to the ridge.
Dodge and climb the shining white rocks of the building.
See how they no longer have blood on them?
Run even if you trip.
Run with your hands if you have to.
–Dream circa 2008–