“Pacha-Mama” features great new cover art from Die Welle Design:
I’m also doing a giveaway to celebrate its release: It’s free today and the next few days (February 1-3) on the Kindle store. So, tell your friends and grab a copy for yourself!
IMPORTANT NOTE: You don’t need a Kindle device to read the story. All you need is the Kindle App downloaded onto your PC, Mac, or phone (or even onto your Kindle, if you have one!) If you have an Internet connection and a device, you should be able to download and read this story anywhere in the world.
And if you do get it, please, please, please leave a short review (good, bad or indifferent) when you’re done on Amazon or Goodreads!
The Story Behind the Story
So, here’s the story behind the story. (You can find more background in an earlier post when this Pacha-Mama was first published).
It had been a rough day of kayaking on Lake Titicaca. My wife (girlfriend at the time) and I had rented a two-person kayak, but it happened not to have a rudder so we can had a heck of time guiding it to Taquile Island in the middle of the lake. But the day was done now and we had made it. My wife had gone to take a shower and I was relaxing, looking down at this vast lake and the desert mountains surrounding it. I knew that just past that last ridge of mountains in the distance lay the vastness of the Amazon jungle.
Earlier that week, we had visited Arequipa (great town, by the way, you should go!). In the Arequipa area we had seen the cathedral and done a hike in Colca Canyon. One thing which the town publicizes are a small group of Inca mummies discovered on the nearby peak of Llullaillaco. These are probably the best preserved archaeological mummies in the world (they are now at a museum in Salta, Peru). Apparently, the three children had been sacrificed. Here’s Wikipedia on that subject:
Child sacrifice, referred to as capacocha or qhapaq hucha, was an important part of the Inca religion and was often used to commemorate important events, such as the death of a Sapa Inca. Human sacrifice was also used as offering to the gods in times of famine, and as a way of asking for protection. Sacrifice could only occur with the direct approval of the Inca emperor.
Interestingly, one of the three mummies had been struck by lighting after being sacrificed centuries ago. So, I filed all these ideas away…
…And so, there I was watching over Lake Titicaca. The wind picked up and these absolutely massive thunderheads formed in the distance over the jungle. There was lighting down from the sky to the earth, across from cloud to cloud, and in every direction. I yet to have seen anything elsewhere like it. Finally, the storm came. My wife emerged just as the first rain drops started to fall and we ran inside. I remember thinking, “Storms like this must be common here. It was just such a storm like this that must have…”
The next day, we rolled all around Lake Titicaca and other ancient sites nearby. This time, our guide was an Aymara man. Centuries before, the Aymara had been one of the subject people of the Inca and their emperor, the Sapa Inca. They had to “pay taxes” in the form of labor and goods to their Incan overlords and were subject to being relocated to different parts of the empire as new colonizers. I tell you, after having heard so much about Spanish imperialism up to that point it was very illuminating having an Aymara guide talk our ear off about Incan imperialism years before the Spaniards showed up. I began to wonder if the sacrificed children on the mountain top were Inca or perhaps had been outsiders, had been Aymara.
Later, I came back home and read about illegal mining in the Amazon. Apparently, mercury (that familiar brain poison) is one of the key ingredients used by illegal mines there. These mines set up deep in the vast Amazon, exploit a vein of gold ore and are gone before the (sometimes lax) authorities show up. It was then I realized I had my antagonist.
I wondered what would happen if the girl mummy on the peak had been struck by lightning and somehow magically woken up. What would she do? How would she feel? If there was an illegal mine spilling poison into the Earth, into Mother Earth, into PachaMama, how would she react?
The story pretty much put itself together after that.
Stop by and check out the story today. Enjoy and see you next time!