by Mama Dee
Disclaimer: Love 'em and leave 'em 'cause they don't belong to me. That honour belongs to the WB.
Summary: The kids take off for Mexico to continue their adventure.
Category: After Hours
Authors Note: This is the final installment of the trilogy.......please see Fantasies (part 1) and Realities ( part 2). I had to move the geological location of some sites for literary purposes.
|Thursday morning, they all met at the Roswell Hotel. Brody had hired a small bus to take them out to the Reservation. There
were 23 altogether. The teens' parents had to go to work, so they opted out of the trip. Max had spoken with River Dog the
day before to tell him of the impending visit. He explained what had happened to them in Mexico, and River Dog said that he
had heard the news and asked about their well being. Max assured him that they were much better now. River Dog was very
excited about meeting their new Maya friends, a cultural exchange topping his list of importance.
He was waiting for them when the bus arrived and greeted them warmly as he introduced his family. Eddie was also there and he gave Liz a particularly warm welcome. Max's radar immediately went into high gear as he watched their exchange with just a tinge of jealousy. Liz came up to him and linked her arm into his to show Eddie who she was with now, and he just smiled at her and Max, nodding his head. Max nodded curtly back and that was the end of it.
River Dog led the group on a small tour of the Reservation, saying that they had a feast planned for later in the day and some of their own Native entertainment to amuse them with as well. The Mayas were pleased to hear this and they spilt up into groups to take in the different sights. The younger kids were taken to areas that they would find more to their liking while their parents were treated to some of the local crafts of the artisans, comparing them delightedly to their own.
Carmen was interested in their jewelry and told them that she was adding an international jewelry line to her cosmetics company. She began negotiations with the artisans on some of the more impressive pieces.
Chac was keen on seeing some of the archeological sights, so Michael and Isabel gladly led him to the ones they were aware of, since the others were unable to make the long walk in their wheelchairs and crutches. Maria stayed behind in case any of her injured friends needed her assistance.
They were hesitant about taking him to the cave, but since they also wanted to touch base with the site, they decided it wouldn't hurt to take him along. It was a long trek but they weren't expected back until 1:00 p.m., so they took their time, stopping along the way to allow Chac to take some pictures.
When they reached the cave, they turned on their flashlights and stepped inside. They explained the significance of the drawings to Chac, telling him only that the drawings were very old and were probably made by the ancient Natives from long ago. He peered at them curiously and he looked back at the kids.
"If I am not mistaken, some of these symbols look very similar to the ones at El Diablo," he said. "But, how can that be?" he asked.
"You know, we were thinking the same thing," Isabel hedged. "But we can't figure it out either," she shrugged.
He eyed them closely and then he just smiled and shrugged, too. "Oh well, something for my thesis, perhaps, when I finish my undergraduate work."
They breathed a silent sigh of relief, although Michael thought, shrewdly, that he had given up too easily. Maybe it had been a mistake to let him see this cave, after all.
"Well, I've had enough of caves to last a lifetime," Isabel joked, as she turned away."Let's head back to the Reservation. I'm starving!"
They returned in time for the festivities. Large tables of food were laid out and they sampled the many choices set before them The women compared cooking styles and recipes while the men ate heartily. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and very soon, the entertainment began. After the Native Americans finished their program, the Maya put on an impromptu program of their own and soon they were joining one another on centre stage, trying to master each other's cultural style.
Much laughing resulted from this exchange and they were soon becoming steadfast friends. It was a good example of two different peoples being brought together with no apparent prejudices, resulting in a harmonious blending of ideas and ideals. The consequence was a day filled with spiritual bliss. They shared many of the same values and the same tragedies but most of all they shared the desire to get along and to learn from one another.
Balam came up to Max later in the day and asked to speak with him privately. Max nodded and they found a secluded spot to carry on their conversation.
"I would like to talk with you and River Dog if I may. We have been circling one another all day, like two old dogs sniffing at the same bone," he chuckled. "It is very important that we share our knowledge and this may be the only opportunity to do so. Do you think that you can arrange something? I would have approached him myself, but I think, perhaps, it is better if you do so, since he is your friend."
"I agree with you, but I think the others should join us, too," Max insisted."We've been together on this from the beginning, and I don't see any reason to change the rules now."
"Of course," Balam replied. "I just thought it would make it too obvious, if you all left at the same time."
"I think everybody's pretty involved in what's happening here, so I wouldn't worry about it," Max reiterated. "I'll go find River Dog and the others, and we'll back here in a few minutes, okay?"
"Yes, that will be fine," Balam agreed.
Max went off to round everyone up and true to his word, he returned in due time with all the parties, wheeling and hobbling along behind him like a band of refugees. Because of their limited capacities, River Dog decided to take them to a nearby, but private, location so that they could talk freely. He led them to a flat area down by the riverbank, which would give them ample warning of approaching footsteps.
They made themselves comfortable on various rocks and grass. Then Balam stood to speak.
"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you and your friend here," he indicated River Dog, who nodded in acknowledgment. "I have heard about the cave that you visited this morning, and I would also like to have a chance to see it before I leave. I must tell you, River Dog, that your young friends and I have exchanged much information over the past couple of weeks."
River Dog raised his eyes at this information, and Balam went on to explain his role in all of this and what they had learned thus far. He went into detail about the glyphs they had discovered and how they compared to the alien symbols they were familiar with. He mentioned the various caves that had entered into the equation and the dreams that Max and Liz were having. River Dog perked up when he heard this and looked at the couple carefully.
"My people have always felt that the truth lies in dreams," he told them. "Sometimes, they reveal our past lives and sometimes they are a harbinger for the future and sometimes they are just there to reassure us. For example, your Grandmother's warning about the dark stranger. That was clearly a signpost for future events. But perhaps, the most revealing thing about this dream is what resulted when you awoke that morning."
They looked at him puzzled and he just shook his head in wonder.
"Have you not made the connection with your injuries that morning and those you and Liz received in the cave accident?" River Dog looked at Max in amazement.
"Omigod!" Max exclaimed, as the truth hit the others at the same time. "I can't believe we didn't see it before!"
"Do not blame yourselves too much," River Dog apologized for his too harsh pronouncement. "I am sure you have all been under such an emotional and physical strain, that it was probably the last thing on your minds. But you have to admit, that it is definitely a possibility."
Balam eyed the older man with renewed respect.
"I must confess, that I, too, have been so focused on interpreting the glyphs and other events, that I let the obvious slip by my attention. That is one reason why I am so glad that we have been able to talk. We need a fresh perspective on everything that has been happening," he admitted. "Thank you for your astute observation," he said. "Have there been any other dreams that have caused you to wonder at their significance?" Balam asked, as he turned to Max and Liz.
They looked at each other. One thing they were not going to admit to, in front of everyone, was that dream they had when they were running through the meadow naked. So, they shook their heads in denial. Maybe, later, if they got up enough courage, they would tell Balam alone. But definitely not now!
"Alright then," he proclaimed. "Are there any other points we should mention to River Dog? I was wondering if you had heard the reference to the Maya living in New Mexico as long ago as 5000 years?" he asked him.
"No, I am not aware of such an event, but that does not mean it did not happen. Until I met Nasedo all those years ago, I did not know of the existence of aliens, either. It is definitely worth exploring further," he admitted.
"There is one last question I have for you, "Balam stated. "The day of the kite festival, Max went into a trance and started chanting this phrase, over and over," and Balam told River Dog the words he used. "Are they familiar to you at all?" he asked hopefully.
"Our culture does make reference to visitors appearing from the sky. It does not make specific reference to the actual number, though. As far as the day seven is concerned, we do refer to a day such as this. It occurs in the spring, seven days after the beginning of the Spring Equinox which is March 28th."
"Why seven days after?" Balam inquired.
"It is supposed to signal the spiritual return of the visitors to earth as our redeemers. To my people, the number seven signifies spirituality and tranquility, both of which we hope to attain as the day approaches, when we will reach a balance between our earthly and spiritual essence. In our lives, we are always striving for equilibrium."
Balam turned to the kids. "I believe the *when* has finally been answered," he said solemnly. "I am almost certain that whatever is going to occur, will be on March 28th. That doesn't give us much time to finish our interpretations, but at least we now have a deadline."
They looked at each other, the realization of their future finally dawning on them. If they could believe what Balam was saying, they had less than three months to solve the riddle. If they were unsuccessful, would it mean the end of life as they knew it......would some great catastrophe befall the earth?
The group returned in a more somber mood, trying to hide their feelings from the others. Luckily, their companions had been entertained while they were away, and were in a very buoyant mood. This helped to cover there less ebullient one and they blended in with them. In any case, it was getting late and they were due back at the Evans' for a barbeque at 6:00 p.m. They boarded their bus, waving goodbye to their new friends.
Balam and River Dog stood aside as they said their goodbyes, each respecting the position of the other in their respective cultures. They made promises to maintain contact, especially now that a date had been reached. They felt that the closer they worked, the better their chances would be in solving the puzzle in time.
Balam was the last to step onto the bus, and he shook hands with River Dog one last time before he stepped down the aisle to take his seat next to his wife. He sat back, smiling at his wife reassuringly, but she intuitively felt that something was not right. He patted her on the hand and closed his eyes, as he let his head sink back on the seat headrest, willing this nightmare to end. But when he re-opened them, he glimpsed Max's reflection in the window in front of him, staring back at him with fear and determination. Balam nodded as he set his mouth in a grim line. This was not going to go away and they needed each other if they were all going to survive.
They returned to Roswell shortly before 6:00 and all disembarked as the other parents awaited their arrival at the Evans' home. Brody asked the bus driver to take the bus back to the depot, since it would only block traffic on the small street. The Evans', the Parkers', the Whitmans', and Jim Valenti and Amy had been busy readying themselves for the dinner guests.
The men had typically congregated around the BBQ, while the women were inside setting up the tables and laying out salads and rolls and plates etc. for the meal. There would be 31 for dinner and Diane never thought that her home would be able to accommodate so many for a meal, but it was more than adequate.
There was much talk concerning their days excursion and the women exclaimed over the beautiful jewelry samples that Carmen had brought back with her. They were very interested in hearing about her cosmetics company and her future plans. Brody hung on her every word as he sat in the background listening to their conversation.
Max and Liz made a quick detour to his room for a little snuggle but were soon hauled out of there by his Dad who couldn't help but laugh at their determination. He sent Max off to help in the backyard with the BBQ while Liz headed off to the kitchen to help with the food preparation. She waved at Max from the kitchen window, blowing him a kiss and laughing when his Dad popped his head up into the window and waved back.
Max rolled his eyes and laughed at his Dad's antics as he blew Liz a kiss. He passed the steaks to Jim who lathered them with Michael's own special BBQ sauce and then laid them on the grill.
John Whitman and Jeff Parker helped with the chicken breasts on the other grill. The women came outside to join them while the meat was cooking. The younger kids tossed a frisbee around with Kyle, Michael, and Chac, while Balam's son Arana and Alex had an in depth conversation on computers.
The girls settled down with Malinali and Nhutalu, Balam's daughter, to discuss clothes, boys, hairstyles and whatever else they found interesting. Amy traded her famous coconut cream pie recipe with Itzel for her secret spicy tomato sauce. There was a general hubbub of chatter abounding as they all enjoyed one another's company. Soon, the meat was ready, and they all went inside to sit down.
Three large tables were set up in the family room, with all the sofas and chairs pushed back to allow space. Philip stood at the head of the table and said a short and simple blessing and then they all helped themselves to the various salads and condiments that were laid out. Max sat next to Liz and held her hand under the table, squeezing it every now and then to let her know he was thinking about her.
Brody had brought his camcorder and recorded the dinner on tape as he had done with their trip this afternoon and their New Year's Eve party. He would also record any other outings before they returned to Mexico and he was planning on giving all the families a copy when it was time for them to leave. It would be his final gift to them for their kindness and generosity.
Oddly, the one thing he always seemed to record was Max and Liz gazing fondly at each other. It seemed like those two really had eyes for nobody else. It was amazing how they always seemed so focused on one another. He thought maybe it was just his imagination, but when he had shown Carmen a preview of the tape he had already recorded, she even remarked on their closeness.
He was tempted to edit some of it out just for their sake, but he decided against doing that. Their love was nothing to be ashamed of and he was sure everyone was aware of their deep feelings, anyway, so he left the footage in. However, he did make a point of getting them to look his way once in a while so at least their friends could see their faces.
Later, after they cleared the dishes, they sat outside under the stars, bundled up in blankets as they breathed in the cool night desert air. Alex started telling ghost stories and soon they were all offering their own scary versions of urban legends and native lore. The younger kids squealed and giggled, while their parents held tight to them for security. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.
|Part 23 | Index | Part 25
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours