Angela leaned against the rail surrounding the exhibit and surveyed the miniature indian city that stretched out in front of her. In the model the pyramids were depicted in all their glory, even more glorious than they were now in fact because each one had a miniature temple atop their miniature tops. All around the stone buildings were little representations of people to help convey the bustle of city life hundreds of years ago. Angela wondered if anyone really knew what it was like to be alive and in this place at that time. Probably not. With all of their archaeological tools and knowledge they probably still didn't have any idea of what it was really like. Really.
She was standing on a little walkway that doubled as a bridge over the model that covered the floor of the room. A few people milled about, reading the various informational plaques that were scattered about on either side of the walkway. She squatted down and sat on her heels in an effort to get closer to the tiny city and try to incorporate herself into its milieu, but she still felt like a giant outsider, like one of the Titans preparing to crush the hapless miniscule inhabitants below. She felt as though she belonged in a different time and to a different place than from where she had come. What was it like to lead a simple life, with one's head still full of faith and belief in magic, with each star in the sky representing a benevolent god? There must have been love and humor and laughter in such a time, and she had no doubt that it would have been somehow more real back then, more closer to the truth and the Earth. "I want to be in your world," she said to the ant-sized stick people frozen in their race to conduct the business of everyday ancient indian life. She said it out loud and immediately felt embarrassed and stupid for confessing something so personal and so fundamentally insane to this roomful of tourists. She looked around, but the other people in the place either had not heard what she had said, or would not admit it. No one looked at her at all.
She stood up and her eyes rose from the scale reconstruction on the floor to the whole of the Pyramid of the Sun just outside the window. A thought occurred to her. She understood that there used to be a temple on top of the pyramid, and that this temple had long since ceased to exist. But what she wanted to know now was: what the hell was inside that thing? There was no way that it was a solid mass of stone, she was convinced of that. She remembered reading in one if her guidebooks that it was just a series of pyramids built on top of each other over time. But something inside of her began to scream out with curiosity at what could possible be hidden under those layers of stone, or else in between, or both. Maybe deep within those stones was a clue, a real key to the past. Had it already been found?
Angela began to run from room to room in the museum, her eyes scanning the various displays for some obvious reference to the inside of the Sun Pyramid, maybe a diagram or a model of the cross section. But all she saw were the old bones and simple tools and artifacts that were probably discovered on the ground nowhere near the pyramids. Nothing she saw seemed to speak of the great pyramids themselves, the larger Pyramid of the Sun, or even the slightly smaller Pyramid of the Moon. For a brief moment she wished that Fernando was nearby, for surely he knew the answer to all of her questions and, after answering, maybe he could give her a little kiss that would make her feel safe enough to return in her mind to the here and now. But she looked around and saw no one that looked anything like Fernando; all the people around her looked like tourists from Germany, or some other faraway European country, and she knew they would not be able help her. The people running the museum looked like they didn't know English at all, though she admitted in her mind that they probably did. She realized she could not talk to anyone about what was going through her mind because she wanted it to be true so much that she knew she would not be able to bear it if there was no hope or possibility that she could be right. No, the only thing to do would be to find out herself...to find a way to get inside the pyramid.
She glanced around the museum one last time, paranoia swelling up around her in her mind. She knew at this point that she had to keep everything that was going through her brain secret from everyone. A small remnant of her formerly rational self remained in a remote corner of her skull to remind her that she had very much lost her grip on reality. She thanked the remnant with her madness and then locked it up where it could no longer distract her from her present mission.
Angela left the Teotihuacan Museum of Archaeology and peered towards the sky in an effort to gage how much daylight was left. It was late afternoon at this point, but the whole area was still bathed in unrelenting sunshine that eradicated every shadow, every hiding place that she could utilize to make her way around to the forbidden side of the Sun Pyramid and discover the entrance that every molecule in her body had no doubt existed. But until night fell, in two or three hours, she would have to kill time and somehow hold the avalanche of suspense in her soul at bay. It wasn't going to be easy.
Chapter 24 was first written November 27, 2001
It was last edited December 30, 2001