Title: Ancient Man
Declan Dunne was in his office, when he received an
"Hello, are you Declan Dunne?" When
Declan looked up, he was stunned by
her exotic beauty. She had long, black hair, almond-shaped eyes and
skin. Her beauty was mesmerizing.
"I need your help. Your name was given to me
by someone who knew my
father, Michael Patton."
Declan recognized the name not from personal
experience, but from
"I was sorry to hear about your
father." Declan invited her to sit down.
"That's just it, Mr. Dunne, I do not believe
that my father is dead."
Declan had heard about Michael Patton
disappearing in the jungles of
"I have been having dreams about my father.
I believe that he is very
Declan looked at the girl standing before him.
She definitely did
believe what she was saying, but, from everything that he had seen and
Michael Patton was dead.
"So, Ms. Patton, what would you like me to
"Tamika. My name is Tamika. I want you to
help me find my father."
Declan stared at her for a few moments, and the first thought that came
his mind was that this was a wild goose chase.
"Declan, my name is Declan. I guess I can
help you." He didn't sound
too sure of himself, Tamika thought as she looked at him.
"Tell me about your dream."
"I am standing in the middle of the jungle, when
two jaguars - one black
and one spotted - race toward me in slow motion. I start to fall, when
voice of my high school Spanish teacher appears. She's fussing at
'Senorita Patton, es muy facil to find your father.' I hear parrots
shrieking all around. 'El tigre, el tigre!' The monkeys are teasing
Then, in the distance, I see my father. He was kneeling to study an
round altar carved with the face and paws of a jaguar and the body of a man
what the natives call a were-jaguar. The cats are coming closer and
to my father."
Declan watched her as she related the dream. She
seemed to be paralyzed
with fear as she spoke.
"I watched him being torn apart and there was
nothing I could do to help
him." She was crying now and there was no doubt in his mind that he
going to help her.
Tamika showed Declan a necklace and a letter from her
father before he
disappeared. The necklace was a green plaque. She wore it on a
thong around her neck. On the front was a carving of a jaguar.
"Jaguars were often used as symbols in Mayan
writings." Declan said.
He looked at the letter from her father. In
the letter, her father
mentioned the Peabody Museum. He had been there just last December.
"Wait a minute." Declan went shuffling
through his many books and
papers, and finally found the one that he was looking for. He responded
her questioning gaze.
"It's a catalog from the Peabody
Museum." Declan flipped through the
catalog until he found a picture of the jaguar on her necklace.
"Here it says, 'Cast of Stela 40, Tikla,
Guatemala. Date: circa 633.'"
There was a look of purpose on Tamika's face.
"We have to go to Boston."
"You're going where?" Miranda asked.
"I'm going to Boston - to the Peabody Museum, to
Miranda shook her head not understanding.
"So, this girl just walks into your office and
lays some story on you,
and now you're going off to Boston with her?"
Declan knew that it sounded strange, but he believed
her for some reason.
They had been cleared for take off and each of them sat
silence. They had not spoken of anything other than the mystery
her father. He wanted to get to know her.
"So, Tamika, tell me about your childhood."
Tamika looked shyly at this man that she had asked for
help. He was
very handsome, and his eyes seemed to pierce right through her.
"I was born in the United States, but my mother
was Guatemalan. My
father met my mother on one of his first trips there. He used to
poetry to her. She kept every one of his letters. They were so in
She lowered her head in embarrassment. She had not meant to talk about
"When did your mother die?" He saw a
sadness come over her face.
"She died a month ago. That's when I decided
to find out what happened
to my father." Declan couldn't help but feel sorry for this girl who
suffered so much tragedy in such a short period of time.
"Yes, I lost my mother and my father within the
last year. I am alone
now." She was trying to be so strong. He wanted to put his arms
and hold her.
They spoke some more throughout the trip and Declan
couldn't shake the
feeling of being drawn to this woman.
The old woman was doing what she had done for so many
times before. She
took a pinch of the ground tortilla dough that she had already made.
rolled it into a ball and put it on a banana leaf. She flattened the
into a thin disk. She put the flattened disk of tortilla dough on the
- a blackened circle of thin metal held over the fire.
Rosana was Mayan. She and her husband Raul had
come to Guatemala from
Yucatan twenty years ago. Raul was a stone mason who had come to work on
ruins of Tikal. The ruins were different here - the mounds were higher
steeper than those of the Yucatan.
There were many archaeologists, at first, at Tikal.
Only a few
remained. Last winter Raul and his wife had talked about moving back to
Yucatan, when suddenly, the work began again. A man named Joshua
who Raul assumed was an archaeologist, had hired him. Most of the work
at night, for some reason.
Then, Raul vanished. He had been gone four
months. Rosana went to ask
Joshua Watkins where her husband was, but Senor Watkins said that Raul
have gotten drunk and run off. Rosana, however, did not believe this.
When Tamika and Declan arrived in Boston, they checked
into the hotel.
Declan didn't ask where Tamika's money came from. Maybe she was
They made their way to the Peabody Museum and were
directed to the Mayan
display. They were directed to see Jeff Godwin who is a graduate student
Mesoamerican Anthropology. They were disappointed with what he had to
"The exhibit that you want, is on loan to the
American Museum of Natural
History in New York. Tomorrow is the last day there and then it will
"Is there anything you can tell us about this
pendant?" Tamika showed
him the pendant.
"Well, I can't comment on the hieroglyphics - it's
not my field. It does
have one glyph that is called the emblem glyph which is probably the name
an ancient Mayan city. I remember seeing this somewhat recently. I
that it might be on a cast sent from the Guatemalan government. It's in
Tikal stela with the exhibit in New York."
Tamika looked confused, so Declan filled in the blanks.
"Stelae are big, stone monuments that were
set up to commemorate
special days and events. The Mayan did a lot with calendars. The
represent a certain dynasty of rulers of that city. There are
kinds of jaguars in Mayan art."
Jeff Godwin confirmed what Declan had to say and added,
thought that the stelae contained mathematical formulas. He was also
interested in astronomy. The pendant might be part of a formula that has
do with the location of a city."
They decided to spend the night in Boston and leave
for New York the
That night at dinner, Declan asked more
"You think that I'm a spoiled, little, rich
girl, don't you?" Declan
didn't particularly think that she was spoiled but. . .
"I have money from a trust fund from my grandmother. I
hadn't used any of
it until now." She seemed very proud of the fact that she was
"So, what were you doing before your father
disappeared?" Another cloud
came across her face. Declan was beginning to read her very well.
"I traveled with my father some. He was
working on a book and I was
helping him with it. In fact, I would have been with him when he -
disappeared if I hadn't been off with some man." She caught herself
She hadn't meant to say that. Declan was now curious.
"Who was this man?" Is he still uh - in
the picture?" Declan was
trying not to be so obvious and not succeeding very well. Tamika smiled
this. It was obvious that she was interested as well.
"We are no longer seeing one another. We
broke up shortly after my dad
disappeared." Declan 's only response was a smile.
"He's where?" Peggie said, looking
up from her paperwork.
"He's in Boston, but they are headed for New
York." Peggie could hardly
believe her ears.
"And, he's doing this because this girl just
walked into his office?"
"He knows her father's reputation, but that's
it. Do you think he's
getting in way over his head?"
"Declan? Is there any doubt?"
He walked her back to her room and he knew that he was
going to kiss
her. His only question was whether or not she would kiss him back.
"What are you thinking about?" she
asked as they stood outside her
door. Declan was trying to decide whether to tell her the truth or to
when Tamika put her arms around him and kissed him. Her tongue parted
lips as she deepened the kiss.
Declan moaned as he put his arms around her. He
desperately wanted to
move things to another location, but before he could do anything to act on
his feelings, Tamika suddenly stopped and pulled away.
"W-What's wrong?" he asked.
Declan was breathing
erratically and knew that he would not have stopped if she hadn't.
"I'm sorry. I had no right starting
something that I knew I couldn't
finish - at least not yet anyway."
She smiled weakly as she turned and went inside and
shut the door.
Declan had a hard time sleeping that night and he did have to
take a cold
shower when he returned to his room. Little did he know that someone
watching their every movement.
The next morning when Tamika saw Declan, she was very
"Declan, look, I want to apologize for last
night. I'm sorry."
"Well, I'm not sorry." Tamika lowered
her eyes. She
hadn't expected him to say that.
"Look, if you want me to act as if nothing ever
happened, I suppose I
could, but I don't want to." Declan put his hand on her cheek.
involuntarily, but she was glad for his touch. She then
changed the subject.
"Are you ready to go to New York?"
When they arrived in New York, they went directly to
the American Museum
of Natural History. They looked up and saw a sign that said, "The
of the Sun" exhibit. They looked at each other trying to decide what
Declan reached for the cassette players and earphones that they issued to
people for self-guided tours, and they joined the throng of people going
see the display.
"Hello, I'm Ansley Dunkirk, assistant
curator at the American Museum of
Natural History. I will be guiding you through the "Treasures of the
Children of the Sun" exhibition. You will see fifty beautiful pieces
have been found during the last century. As you go along the tour,
feel free to stop this recording at any time to view items more
From time to time, you will hear a beep that will signal you to turn
machine off until you move to the next item.
The first item that you will see is an ancient Mayan
priest in full
ceremonial regalia. This is how he might have appeared between A.D.
They came to a stone shaped like a jaguar, but with
human eyes and nose
and a drooping, sinister mouth with large fangs."
"It's not the same as the one on my pendant."
Tamika and Declan moved on and found another
stone. The writing was the
same as that on the pendant.
"Cast of Stela 40, Tikal,
Guatemala Date: 220.127.116.11.0.1 Ahau 8 Kayab
in the Maya calendar, equal to January 25 A.D. 633. This Stela depicts
priest or ruler, probably of Tikal. The badly eroded glyphs conceal
exact time interval, but the event relates to another city symbolized by
emblem glyph in position D4."
The jaguar was present.
"I still think the jaguar stands for a city and
the information on the
back refers to that city." Declan said. Tamika could not refute
what he was
saying. She couldn't help feeling hopeless about the whole situation.
Declan, seeing her disappointment in not finding more
clues, decided to
cheer her up.
"Come on, I'm going to show you the
stars." Tamika looked at him
When they arrived at the planetarium, she was
perplexed even more.
"It'll take your mind off things. Besides,
the Maya thought a lot about
"These movements of the stars and even the time
of the sunrise at
different periods of the year are correlated with the stones of
the temples of the Mayan, and perhaps even some circular rock formations
Wyoming, according to the findings of Leo Goodman of the University of
Pennsylvania. Recently Professor Goodman, working with field
like the late Michael Patton, further substantiated his theory that many
the monuments of the Mayan and others. . ."
Tamika didn't like hearing of her father referred to
"I need to get out of here." she
whispered and left before the show
was over. Declan followed her out and put a comforting arm around
Ancient Man Pt. 2