The Spade of Apocatequil
When I first met Riley Perez, the main character in Digging Up the Past, she introduced herself to me as Peruvian, which peaked my interest in Peruvian myths and legends, and I became fascinated with the tale of Apocatequil. Apocatequil is the God of Lightning and the High Priest of the Moon to the Huamachuco Indians in Peru. He is often associated with evil because of this connection to night. His twin brother Piguerao is the God of the Day, so the association with night comes naturally.
According to Huamachuco Indian legend, Apocatequil and his brother were born among the underground people known as the Guachimines. Their father was the first man sent above to Earth by the creator god Atagudu. The Guachimines killed both the brother’s parents, before they were born, but when Apocatequil touched his mother’s body, she came back to life. Atagudu helped Apocatequil kill the Guachimines, and told him to use a golden spade to dig his way to the above ground. This hole enabled the Huamachuco to escape and populate the land. After that, it was believe that wherever he struck his spade into the ground, people rose up.
Like most authors, I tend to play the “what if” game quite often, and from there it was an easy leap to the spade offering immortality to the holder and the ability to raise the dead. In a world where magic has returned within the last 200 years, magical artifacts are suddenly active again, and they are often quite dangerous, particularly in the wrong hands. That seemed a fitting place for the Tales from Atlantis to start.
Riley Perez and her partner Jason have to retrieve the spade before anyone uses it, and preferably before the Peruvian Government finds out that it’s missing. The problem is, most of their suspects were on the dig in Peru, and are on the dig now. No one is missing or has changed their lifestyle in the least that anyone can tell. Anyone with that kind of power would hardly be able to resist using it. As a result, Riley and Jason are undercover. Riley is posing as a dog walker and grad student, and Jason as a grad student.
Mena should be here, but there was no trace of her emotions in the house. The only thing left of her was a void in the house where life should be. There’s a unique emotional sensation that comes with sudden death. Rather than there just not being any emotion to feel, it’s like there’s a hole in the emotional fabric of the house.
A shot exploded through the house. Keesha screamed again. Clutching her tighter, I ran out the front door. My heart ached at not being able to go back in to see for myself what had happened to Mena, and to check on Angel, but my only option at that point was to call the cops. With the lack of actual activity the past five months, we’d all been lulled into a false sense of security and hadn’t really expected any problems. That was our first mistake.
My ragged Ford Escort, the color of which can best be described as rust and green, was parked in front of the house. When we reached the car, I opened the passenger door and tried to put Keesha in. She wrapped her arms around me tighter and screamed louder. Finally, I sat down in the seat and swung myself in with Keesha still attached. Holding her close to me, we leaned over and I reached under the driver’s seat to replace my gun. Once she stopped screaming again, I pulled out my cell phone, dialed 911 and then called Keesha’s parents.
“Braden.” Keesha’s father answered on the second ring.
“Dr. Braden, something’s happened at the house!” I almost sobbed into the phone. “I’ve got Keesha with me, and I’ve called the police, but I can’t find Mena. Angel was after something upstairs, and I think I heard a gunshot!”
“Where are you now?”
“In my car! With the doors locked!” I focused on sounding just a bit unsteady and very scared. I really was a bit unsteady because my senses told me Mena was dead, but I was more pissed than scared.