|"Epiphanies 2: The Anasazi Road"|
Disclaimer: I would be the happiest woman on Earth if I owned any of these people, but sadly, only Josh, the Holbrooks, and Paul Hernandez are mine.|
Summary: This is the sequel to EPIPHANIES 1: The Ties That Bind. It picks up the evening of the Evans barbeque that ended the first story. Here, Max and Liz must come to terms with a shocking revelation about Liz and her Grandma Claudia. They search the past among Native American ruins and history to find the truth and each other.
Authors Note: I have done extensive research on the Anasazi for this fic. Most of what you will read is either factual or widely accepted speculation. I have, on occasion, filled in a gap or made an assumption that suits my purposes. The alien connection, of course, is my own Roswell-loving imagination.
|The next morning, Max opened his eyes to feel something in his hair. He smiled. It was Liz, running her fingers through his hair. Then he heard paper rustling. He turned over to see Liz thumbing though one of her grandmother's journals. One hand had been idly playing with his hair until he turned to look at her.|
"Morning, sleepyhead," she teased him.
Max scanned the tent. "Where's your dad?"
"He went to take a shower. He wants to go check out the ruins in the canyon, and you know, Max? Reading through some of these journal entries, I think there is a link between our finding that relic and this place. You won't believe what my grandmother found out!"
"I want to hear all about it . . . in a few minutes." He pulled a laughing Liz into his arms. "Aren't you going to give me a proper good morning?" he pouted.
"And what do you consider proper?"
"Anything IMproper," he teased back, pulling her on top of him.
"Why, Mr. Evans. What kind of a girl do you think I am?"
"The perfect kind," he answered, and eased her head down toward him. They shared a warm, lingering kiss, enjoying waking up together and knowing they would be together all day.
They heard a rustling in front of the tent, and Liz rolled quickly off of Max. "You two better get dressed. We have a lot to see today," Jeff reminded them as he entered the tent.
Liz grabbed her backpack and turned to Max. "Last one to the bathroom's a rotten egg!" she challenged, as she flew out of the tent.
Max sprang to his feet, swooped up his small bag, and raced down the path after Liz. Jeff stared after them. The weight of the world on their shoulders, but they haven't forgotten how to be kids, he thought. He was glad they could relax a little, but he wasn't very comfortable with the intimacy they shared. He was caught between his acknowledgment of the very unusual situation that had spawned this unique relationship and his natural instincts as a father to keep Liz a child as long as he could. He couldn't protect her forever, and he could tell Max loved her. They were just so young. It kept coming back to that.
After breakfast, they walked toward the Visitors Center. Once inside they glanced through the exhibits, bought a guidebook, and planned what to see. Liz had tucked one of Grandma Claudia's journals in her backpack. "There's a ton of stuff in here about this place. I haven't read it all, but I saw enough to know we might want to refer to it," she explained.
They decided the best way to see the area was to drive the loop, a one-way dirt road around the canyon, off of which were several interesting archaeological sites. At the first stop, Hungo Pavi, a relatively unexcavated site, you could see some of the extraordinary masonry work for which the Anasazi were known. They moved on to the famous Chetro Ketl, a Great House of the Anasazi that covered almost two city blocks. They were impressed with the complexity of the site, with its two parallel walls, sometimes called the "moat," although there was never any water in it. At one time, one side had even boasted a long balcony, commanding an awesome view.
"Just think, Max," Liz mused, leaning back against Max's chest, "my ancestors stood here, looking out over this magnificent view. Grandma's journal says they had 'skywatchers,' people whose job it was just to watch the skies. The brochure says they were watching the movement of the sun and stars to keep track of time, the seasons, and weather. That was true, I'm sure, but I'm betting they were watching the skies for the ships, too. Don't you think?"
"It's possible, I guess. I mean, I always assumed our ship was the first and only one until we met Josh. After that, I assumed our people hadn't visited Earth until 150 years ago. I can't believe it dates back 1000 years."
In the distance was one of the Great Kivas, built atop an underground room and extending several stories high. "Max! Liz! Let's take a look at the kiva. Come on!" shouted Jeff, already heading out across the distance to the huge ceremonial enclosure. They entered the lowest level of the kiva through a large antechamber followed by a small entryway. They saw a large circular room, a stone ledge lining its interior like a continuous shelf. Four seating pits, one in each quadrant, served as foundations for enormous wooden beams that supported the floors above, and between them were raised floor vaults. Other than a raised firebox and the impressive masonry walls, there was nothing else in the room, although they could look up and see that this structure had once gone at least three stories high.
"How in the world did they do this?" marveled Jeff. "It says in the book that they had to haul these massive pieces of wood from up to 50 miles away! And they didn't even use beasts of burden, as far as they can tell."
"Maybe they had a little help," ventured Max. Liz and her father looked at him. They, too, were wondering if this was evidence that the Anasazi's extraterrestrial visitors had improved the local technology.
They got back in the car and moved further around the loop to Pueblo Bonito, another massive, multi-tiered structure, this one with 600 rooms! Once again, they were amazed and impressed by the sheer magnitude of the structures these people were capable of building. They explored, fascinated, until the heat and their grumbling stomachs dictated a break. They decided this was a good time for lunch, so they pulled the cooler out of the trunk and unpacked its contents near the canyon's edge. Liz pulled out Grandma Claudia's journal.
"Dad, Grandma devotes a couple of pages to the Crab Nebula Supernova Petroglyph up at Penasco Blanco. Maybe we should hike over there." She flipped a page. "Max, look!" She held the book up for him to see. There was a sketch of the petroglyph, showing what looked like a sketch of the crab nebula, a semicircle, and . . . a handprint. Max looked up at her, wide-eyed.
"It might not mean anything," he began. "I mean, a handprint isn't that unusual."
"Why are you so interested in a handprint?" asked Jeff.
Max glanced at Liz. He was still not comfortable talking about these things with anyone but the small group he had learned to trust. Accepting Liz as part alien had seemed easy, natural. But somehow it wasn't the same with Jeff. There was no harm in telling him, Max reasoned to himself. He had questions, too.
"It's been important in a few ways, really. First, I saw Tess pass her hand over a spot in the library one night until a glowing handprint appeared on the wall. It allowed her access into the wall, and she pulled that book from our home out of it." Max shuddered at the memory. In a way, that had been the beginning of their worst experiences. "Besides that, we never knew where the chamber was that held the pods until we met Tess," he explained. "But suddenly clues and pieces started to fit, and we just knew where to go. When we got there, I instinctively passed my hand over what looked like solid rock. When I did, a handprint appeared and when I put my hand over it, the rock wall slid open."
He stopped and looked at Liz.
"You should tell him the rest, Max. He should know."
He nodded, looking up at Jeff's bewildered face. "There's one more thing, an unpleasant thing. Nasedo has killed several people in the name of protecting us. He kills by raising the victim's body temperature until they die. It leaves a handprint. A silver handprint."
Max looked down at the ground. It made him feel ashamed, even though he had never done such a thing. "But it can do good, too. When I healed Liz, it left a handprint like that."
"What? Liz, I never noticed that. Where?"
"It's gone now, Dad. It fades with time."
Jeff shook his head once again. "Is there anything else I should know?"
"We're not hiding things, Dad. It's just hard to remember everything."
Jeff nodded, resigned to the fact that he would probably never know everything these two had been through, right under his nose for the last year, and bearing it all alone. It made him sad and proud all at the same time. He raised his eyes, noticing Max reaching for Liz's hand and the way she laced her fingers with his, looking happily into his eyes. You could see something, feel something flow between them whenever they touched. It almost made him jealous, yet it comforted him at the same time. At least they had this to see them through.
He busied himself with the guidebook. "Lizzie, that semicircle on the petroglyph is supposed to be the moon, but I don't think we're gonna see it today. It looks like a 3-hour hike to the north, there and back. We just don't have the time. Besides, it's hotter than blue blazes out here."
The teens nodded in agreement, disappointed, but hot enough not to argue. They gathered their things and headed for the car. Jeff handed Liz the guidebook. "See what else we should be watching for," he suggested.
"Looks like we should stop at Del Arroyo next," she said, and started reading.
As they neared the next stop, Liz looked up from her book. "This is weird," she frowned. You know how the roads around here are all curvy and winding, you know, to get around all the awkward terrain? Well, NASA invented this thing that uses infrared light to see where the original roads were. What they found is incredible!"
"What is it?" asked Jeff, trying to drive and look over at the book at the same time.
"There were four roads, almost 400 miles of roads, that started here at Chaco Canyon and fanned out in different directions. What's amazing is they are perfectly straight. They pay no attention to difficult terrain; they just move like arrows out from here. Do you realize that would have been practically impossible with their technology? Not only that, but they were like 20 to 30 feet wide, with borders and everything! How did they do that?"
Max reached for the book and looked at the picture. It looked impossible, like you would have had to engineer it from the air--not something the Anasazi would have known how to do.
"What if there is something to this, Liz? What if it was our people who brought this technology and helped the Anasazi completely dominate this part of the country?" The thought was at once exciting and unsettling.
The threesome wandered through Del Arroyo, with its unusual T-shaped doors and three-walled kiva, and stopped by Casa Rinconada to complete their circle around the canyon. They were amazed by the scope and intricacy of the buildings they had seen. Evidently, no other tribe had come close to duplicating this engineering. Their thoughts kept returning to what Grandma Claudia had told them. This had been a blended community, a blend of Native Americans and Voyans--Liz's ancestors and keepers of an eternal secret.
As they headed back to the campgrounds, Liz watched out the window. "There!" she pointed. That's about where those roads would have converged. Strange, isn't it?" Max reached over Liz's shoulder from the back seat and took her hand. They both felt it, the pull from this place, as if it were calling out to them.
"What are we feeling, Max?" Liz asked nervously.
"I don't know, Liz. But I think we will be here again."
Jeff listened, his stomach tightening at what might lie ahead for the two of them. He could feel their lives spinning out of his control, and he silently cursed his mother for sharing their mysterious legacy.
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