markwildyr.com, Post #90
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So far, so good. But what kind of toll have his actions taken on Diego? Maybe we’ll get a clue in this episode when he goes dream traveling again.
Diego’s examination of his conscience was different that weekend, but it was Sunday before he turned to what really bothered him. With the first two, it had been an eye for an eye. With Rocco, it had been different. Not subtly different, but powerfully different. He had always recognized the man’s physical draw, but in the end, he had wanted the man. Carnally. Lustfully. He came alive at the touch of the man’s smooth, firm flesh. Like he did for a woman. Why? Did Rocco feel any of this? Sense his attraction. Perceive his weakness?
That thought came as a shock. It was a weakness. To want a man lustfully put him in that man’s power. The attraction to a woman was not a weakness because it was accepted as a norm. But to expose such a desire for a man forever put him in the power of anyone who recognized the desire.
So disturbed by the revelation, Diego delayed any further action. Although it galled him that Leader—who had instigated the whole thing—would escape his righteous fate, he decided to let the whole thing die. Until he had the dream.
Even in his sleep, Headhunter realized he was restless, tossing from one side of his bed to the other. His muscles tightened when he soared above the thick canopy covering the jungle of his homeland. He desperately tried to turn back, but to no avail. Something… someone drew him onward. Natala.
When the mists cleared from his vision, she stood in the center of a clearing, a gigantic cat purring at her side. This was Jaguar, The God of the Underground himself. Powerful, malevolent, benevolent, all seeing, all-knowing. So it was Jaguar who told the old bruja what had happened to him. And now, Jaguar probed his mind and sensed his doubts, his hesitation.
The old woman seemed as dynamic as the magnificent animal at her side despite her frailty. She studied the ethereal Diego calmly, although her anger pressed against him hotly.
“Your task is not completed.” Her voice, not a voice that he heard clearly. Some rational part of Diego’s mind noted he was dreaming in color. The jungle was green; Jaguar, yellow and black and and white; Natala, brown and black. Although she must have been well past seventy, her hair and eyes were glossy black. An emerald at her withered neck gleamed like a frozen green flame.
Diego’s formless self straightened beneath her stare. “It is enough. I have acted like a man.”
“Yes, like a man. Until you found one whose flesh burned your manhood. Do you think it has never happened before? Pah! More often than you know, child. At some time in their lives most men have lusted after a man. That is nothing. What is something is to desire one worthy of your lust. But no matter. Your task is not complete. You must become Headhunter once again and deal with the plotter. Do this first, and then puzzle out your future.”
Shamed that his secret thoughts had been revealed to her, Diego was nonetheless helpless to deny it. In fact, he now admitted what he had only permitted to roam the fringes of his mind. His desire for Rocco Conseco was real. As real as his lust for a woman.
Then Jaguar roared, and through his roaring, spoke. “You have heard her words. Seek out this coward who steals your seed by stealing your mind.”
Desperately seeking to hold onto his vision, Diego felt it slip away. Jaguar became obscured by a thick mist that rose from the jungle floor. Everything disappeared except for the head and shoulders of his grandmother. As her insubstantial image floated amid the fog, he understood that he would never see her alive again. She would soon roam the forest at Jaguar’s side, unseen but not unfelt.
Diego woke in his own bed drenched in sweat. He wished his father were here instead of ministering to the sick in some hot, dusty Moroccan village.
Okay, so he’s human and has a conscience. But why would it raise its head now? Could it be that the encounter with Rocco shook Diego a little? But with his resolve restored, he has one more member of the gang to bring to account. The Leader. Can we assume from that name he’ll be the toughest one to crack?
We’ll get our answer next week.
Amazon permits you to read a short passage of my novels, Cut Hand and Johnny Two-Guns. I also believe the STARbooks-published River Otter, Echoes of the Flute, and Medicine Hair are still up. I sure would like to get the final book in the Cut Hand Series, Wastelakapi… Beloved, published, but it’ll take some help from readers to get Dreamspinner interested.
My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:
Website and blog: markwildyr.com
The following are buy links for CUT HAND:
DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b
And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!
Until next time.
New posts at 6:00 a.m. on each Thursday for the life of this serial; thereafter, the first and third Thursdays of the month.