Drawing by Judith Wolfe

CHARLOTTE ROBERTSON

The Uncovered Truth



            "It was the summer of 1926 when our family went on holiday. In spite of my youth, I remember it well. Mexico at the time had seemed a rather strange destination to me, but Mother had always wanted to explore the old Aztec ruins that she had read about as a teenager, and Father was always so anxious to please her, so Mexico it was. But all I had seen so far was jungle, and what a jungle it was.
            "Gnarled tree trunks, as wide as buildings, dwarfed our small party, while their utmost branches stretched up, it seemed, to the sky. Wildlife, most of it completely exotic to our un-accustomed gazes, teemed, but always just out of reach. I was mystified by this magical place, completely in owe of it, which was probably how I become separated from my family. I had stopped to stare at a beautifully strange beetle, and had been so entranced by the myriad colours that appeared to hover above its back, I had become deaf to the calls of my family, way ahead along the track."

            The old woman leaned back and rested her weary bones against the canvas back of the chair. A sharp twinge of agony shot up her left arm, reaching her shoulder and spreading through her entire chest. She winced in pain, and reached for the bottle of white pills sitting by the portable PC in front of her. Chiding herself out loud, she spoke, 'Silly old girl, here I am attempting to depart this world with grace and acceptance, and yet I insist on taking these damned pills.' She had wanted to be completely alone on her last ever archaeological expedition to the ruins of Teotihuacon, the Aztec pyramid of the sun, for she knew this trip would be her final and crucial chance to tell the secret that had plagued her for a lifetime; the secret of her success. She arranged her painfully stiff joints to a more comfortable position and resumed writing.

            'I soon come to realise that I was helplessly lost. Everywhere I turned there were immense trees towering above me, rainbows of exotically coloured blooms, and thick dark carpets of creeping moss. Everything before me was so individually extravagant, but blended together to form an evidently impenetrable well of flora, from which I could not find my way out. I wandered around haphazardly for hours, sure in my childlike confidence that my family would eventually find me. But as afternoon turned to dusk and evening to darkness, I was beginning to think I would never be found. Finally I stumbled upon what I concluded to be the ancient ruins my mother had described so vividly, and with such enthusiasm. As curious as I had been beforehand about the ruins, I was simply too tired to do anything but find a sheltered corner and fall into an exhausted, but restless, slumber."

            The old woman heard something move in the ruins beside her, She stiffened, then spun around nimbly for a person of her age, only to find it was a small harmless forest creature. She chuckled aloud at her reaction. She had been Visiting this part of the world for decades now, but she still jumped at strange noises.
            The distraction allowed her time to reminisce over her successful career as a well-known and highly respected archaeologist. She had experienced what appeared to others as a blessed career, filled with fruitful digs, wild theories which had proved to be correct, much to the disgust of other, more conventional archaeologists, and a natural affinity with the vanished race of people she chose to study. But the truth was, it was a decidedly supernatural link that she shared with the bygone culture, one that, if anyone had known it existed, would have destroyed any hope she had of changing the ways people viewed the Aztec civilisation. The old woman sighed and resigned herself to her task.

            "During the night, many strange and inexplicable apparitions come to me. Much of what happened that night has long since fallen into the bottomless canyons of my memory, and yet some faces, words and concepts still remain as if forever etched into the metal of my mind. Scared and confused as I was at first, this soon was converted to wonder and a sense of purpose. I came to realise, through the clear-cut perception of a child, that these strange folk I saw appear and disappear before my wide eyes were the race of people that had long since, and suddenly departed from this earth, and that they were telling me secrets. I had only a dim understanding of what they were attempting to do at the time, but from that night on as the spirits continued to appear and communicate, I realised that they wanted modern people to understand and respect their way of life. I was, over the years, the recipient of much knowledge concerning almost all aspects of their civilisation, their rituals, customs, beliefs, their ways of everyday life and even an understanding of their writing. Why I was chosen remains a mystery to me to this day, but I am contented in the knowledge that I have devoted my life to a cause I deem worthy of my efforts; the truth."
            The esteemed professional whom everyone respected would have never come into existence, had the truth about the source of her inspiration come into public speculation early on in her career. She would certainly been laughed at, dismissed as a lunatic, a deranged visionary more suited to fairground crystal ball reading than the serious business of painting an accurate picture of the post from ancient writings. She had done the right thing by guarding the truth. Now those same people who pronounced any suggestion of paranormal activity to be nonsense and not worth troubling themselves, or anyone else, about, were the main supporters of the many theories that had risen from such metaphysical occurrences. The irony of the situation finally got the better of the aged archaeologist and she soon dissolved into fits of girlish giggles, which abruptly changed to gasps of pain. In a flash of comprehension she realised that this was the big one, that there would be no escaping from the agony by the old method of the little white pills. This was the end. Sudden fear gripped her and almost overwhelmed the suffering her body was experiencing, but wonder and joy quickly replaced this. The lost image to imprint itself upon her tired brain was the vision of a multitude of familiar faces, arms reaching out to welcome her, offering her an alternative existence made peaceful by the work of her lifetime.


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