Pok, Unveiled

An Anasazi Story by Jeff Posey.

“Why did you kill my grandfather?” I asked.

The atsata root tea had made Pok drowsy and he lay on his back without moving, his fidgety nature finally subdued. But the tea would make him talk and tell the truth. He couldn’t resist the root.

“Because he represented something we couldn’t tolerate. He proved that logic and observation ruled the world while we were saying it was the spirits led by Masaw that makes everything happen.” He spoke with inflection, but not passion. His eyes were closed and his face relaxed as if he were sleeping.

“His astronomy threatened you? Why didn’t that give you power? You could say Masaw ruled the stars.”

“Yes, but only if we could say it, not him. Too many people listened to him, and he never said that Masaw rules the sky. But he was never wrong, either. If he said there would be a blackout of the moon, there would be a blackout of the moon. People would look at us to see if we agreed, and we would have to say that Masaw would make it happen and that we knew it all along. You can see how weak that was for us. We were always playing catch-up to your grandfather. But then he made a mistake. He didn’t predict the new day star that faded. Suddenly, he was no longer the one to trust, and we had to prove the superior power of Masaw by eliminating the most influential man who attributed nothing to Masaw.”

“It had nothing to do with the fact that he was your wife’s father?” And your wife, I wanted to say, was my mother, who you killed. And then you threw me into the trash pile. Never had I wanted to kill a man more than Pok. And maybe I still would. But first, I wanted him to speak the truth, forced out of him by the atsata root tea.

“He was an arrogant man and his daughter, your mother, had his arrogance. They were smug as if only they knew what was right and what was wrong. As if the religion that kept us safe and made us prosperous is false, not worthy of them. Worse, every skywatcher to the north of the canyon followed Grandfather more than Masaw.”

“Who do you mean when you say ‘we’ and ‘us’?”

“Me and the High Priest and his council, except for that fortuneteller and the albino woman. I didn’t realize who they were until it was too late.”

“The High Priest could have squashed you like a centipede. Why didn’t he?”

“Ah, but he couldn’t. I was in charge of the warriors. Who would squash me? The Owl Men? His tattered corps of Plumed Serpent runners? Ha! No. There was nothing he could do to me.”

“So why didn’t you squash him?”

“Because you came along. I had a plan. The next time the High Priest missed predicting anything of significance in the sky, I was going to do to him what I did to your grandfather, and what I tried to do to you by tossing you into the trash pile when you were born.”

I clenched my teeth, then realized what I was doing and relaxed my jaw. “Then you would become both the High Priest and the Chief Warrior.”

“Of course. And no one could challenge me, ever.”

“Until I came back.”

“You ruined everything.”

I’d heard enough for now. I made sure his hands were still bound and he had no tools or weapons within reach, and then I stood over him, thinking how satisfying it would be to smash his face.

His eyes flickered open, then closed. “You hesitate and you lose. I was right when you were born. You are less than nothing.”

I smiled when I realized calm, rather than anger, flowed through me. I could hurt him far more by not hurting him at all. “Then you have been defeated by less than nothing,” I said.

“Not yet,” he said. He began to say more, but I walked out, through the long, dark passages and into the bright daylight where the people waited.

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18 Comments

Filed under #FridayFlash, Anasazi, Ancient Americans, Chaco Canyon, Chimney Rock, Historial Fiction

18 responses to “Pok, Unveiled

  1. I am so glad to see Pok finally getting his just desserts. I was a bit stunned that the inquisitor here was the son he threw in the trash heap. I’m amazed he lived. But also confident that there is another great story lurking in his survival. You’re building a great world here (and quite a following).
    ~jon

    • Anasazi Stories by Jeff Posey

      Thanks, Jon. I’ve no idea why my spam filter singled you out this time. What, is it random? You didn’t even say anything spammy. Beats me.

      But yes, to steal an idea, the interviewer is the boy who lived. He was rescued by his grandfather and nursed by the albino woman, Nuva. It is indeed fun to build this world. But I’m also finding that it’s difficult to keep up with the world I’ve built — I keep reading back and realizing things that I’d forgotten. Writing (and creating stories) is a mysterious thing.

      Thanks for your commments and all your #FridayFlash work.

      –Jeff

  2. “Then you have been defeated by less than nothing”

    What a great line!

    I’m glad to see the son finally got the best of a father who rejected him.

    • Anasazi Stories by Jeff Posey

      Thanks, Stephen. These characters sure lead complex lives. They keep surprising me. They should have to clear things with me before stuff comes out in writing, but they don’t usually bother to do that. They just treat me like a lowly scribe. The only thing that keeps them in check is that I control the “delete” key …

      –Jeff

  3. battypip

    I gave you an award… nip over to http://battypip.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/kreativ-blogger-award/ to pick it up 🙂

    • Anasazi Stories by Jeff Posey

      How cool! Or Kool (got to be Kreativ). I’ll pass it along. Thanks for thinking of me and my Anasazi characters, who stare at me all day long like they think I’m going to do something to them. I have to keep shooing them away to get things done. (Maybe this should be the Going Krazy Blogger Award.)

      –Jeff

  4. Once again the concerns of these ancient people shows its relevance to our own era. Great war of words here. “Then you have been defeated by less than nothing,” is a great line.

    • Anasazi Stories by Jeff Posey

      Thanks, Dan. I’ve been thinking lately about stories that mirror over time — meaning instead of 1,000 years in the past as these Anasazi Stories are, 1,000 years into the future. What if they were the same stories? What if a thousand years from now, rather than striding around on different planets wearing suits of high technology, we’re stacking stones in the desert to store the scant extra corn we managed to grow? Maybe the relevance of the Anasazi is that we could so easily return to their ashes and their dust.

      –Jeff

  5. battypip

    Hope Pok gets a good long time to think about how stupid he’s been. Nasty piece of work…

    I want to immerse myself in this world – I hope you’re planning to publish a novel at some point? Your writing is certainly good enough. I love the way you can write about a society that’s so different and make it consistent and logical and normal.

    • Anasazi Stories by Jeff Posey

      Oh yes, dear Pok will have a very long time to think. Death is the easy way out. He won’t have it so easy. And yes, I have a novel that’s about two-thirds finished in first-draft form (which means, what, about a tenth of the work is done?). Even better, or worse (depending on your proclivity), this is the first book in a three-book series. I intend to track the Anasazi from the blossom of Chaco Canyon, to its move to the north Totah region in Southern Colorado, and ultimately into the cliffs of Mesa Verde. The whole setting is ripe with drama, and I haven’t even gotten beyond Mesa Verde, which is where the truly bizarre stuff happened.

      –Jeff (and thanks for the Kreative Blogger Award!)

  6. KjM

    And Pok as the last word, but realizes that his enemy doesn’t care.

    Very powerful.

    You have a real sense of these characters and they come across to the reader a fully fleshed out.

    Nicely done.

    • Anasazi Stories by Jeff Posey

      Thanks very much. Yes, I think Pok may always have the last word. To no great effect. He’s a puffball that nobody’s going to bother to step on.

      –Jeff

  7. Oh man…This guy is slick. “I could hurt him far more by not hurting him at all.”

    I love to read these… I feel like I have some kind of bond with the characters because I’ve read a little bit about them on another post… it’s addictive 🙂
    ~2

    • Anasazi Stories by Jeff Posey

      Ah, I’m feeding your addiction. Very good. I’ll take that on. I’ll deliver it in Friday Flashes. Until my book series is published (notice the positive thinking). Then, oh heck, I’ll probably still do it. I guess I’m addicted too.

      –Jeff

  8. I completely echo Laura’s comment. Anasazi Stories are absolutely fantastic and keep me wanting more.

    • Anasazi Stories by Jeff Posey

      Thanks, Chris. I appreciate your reading and commenting. That’s a great thing. I try to respond to yours and others every week in the same way. It’s great fun. I love all the styles and topics that people post for #FridayFlash.

      –Jeff

  9. More! More! Now we know what became of the baby tossed away, but who raised him? And I need more of the fortune teller and albino woman. You have a hooked-for-life reader here, Jeff. Great stories!

    • Anasazi Stories by Jeff Posey

      Whoa, Laura, hooked for life? That’s a long time. I hope I can fulfill. I’m sure as heck trying. I think I could spin off Anasazi Flash forever. It’s really just a compelling setting to tell enduring human stories. That’s essentially what we all do. It’s funny that this particular setting has grabbed me in ways no other setting has done. I breathe in sometimes and my nostrils seem to fill with Anasazi dust …

      –Jeff

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