December 21, 2012 — or 12-21-12 in the parlance of the apocalyptic community—is the long expected date of the end the world as foretold by the completion of the ancient Mayan calendar.
The first shots by the entertainment industry have already been fired with the movie 2012 now playing in theaters.
Except, the Mayans say it’s a bunch of hooey.
An article in the Sunday Telegraph reports:
Such a “prophecy” is news to the modern Maya in Guatemala and Mexico. Instead, they view the burgeoning end-of-the-world 2012 industry with a mixture of confusion, exasperation and anger at what is perceived as a Western distortion of their traditions and beliefs.
“There is no concept of apocalypse in the Mayan culture,” Jesus Gomez, head of the Guatemalan confederation of Mayan priests and spiritual guides, told The Sunday Telegraph.
Cirilo Perez, an adviser to Guatemala’s President Alvaro Colom is a prominent ajq’ij – literally a “day counter”, a wise man who makes predictions and advice on the most propitious dates to marry, plant or harvest. He decried the commercial exploitation of Mayan culture by outsiders.
“This has all become business but there is no desire to understand,” he said. “When foreigners, or even some Guatemalans, see us, they think ‘Look at the Maya, how nice, how pretty’, but they don’t understand us.”
Mayan elder Chile Pixtun recalled how he was bombarded with questions about the end of the world during a recent trip to Britain. “Man, they had me fed up with this stuff,” he said, his frustration clear.
In neighboring Mexico, the Maya are concentrated in the Yucatan peninsula, a popular tourist destination but where local farmer are struggling with drought-like conditions.
“If I went to Mayan-speaking communities and asked people what is going to happen in 2012, they wouldn’t have any idea,” said Jose Huchim, a Mayan archaeologist in the Yucatan. “That the world is going to end? They wouldn’t believe you. We have real concerns these days, like rain.”
But you have to admit, End of Times prophesies make a good story.
I think so. In fact, the second book in the Chronicles of Jeremy Nash – that I’m writing now – deals with one such prophesy mentioned in the movie 2012. The Hopi End Times prediction.
The Chronicles is a series of three books that take place over a period of a few weeks. They are a new thriller series about a noted debunker and skeptic of conspiracy theories, urban legends and myths.
Jeremy Nash is pressed into pursuing them by threats to himself, family and reputation. The Chronicles of Jeremy Nash capitalizes on the continuing interest of the reading public in conspiracy theories, unsolved mysteries, urban myths, New Age beliefs and paranormal events. It also feeds the growing appetite of the public for ‘puzzle stories’ in the vein of National Treasure and Indiana Jones with a little of the X-Files thrown in.
The formula of the chronicles consists of a conspiracy theory, unsolved mystery, urban myth, New Age belief or paranormal practice that Nash is forced to pursue; combined with an underlying real world event, organization or persons that is somehow connected to what he is pursuing. This provides the thriller aspect of the stories.
The second book in the series is called SEED.
Jeremy Nash arrives home after a harrowing trip by plane across the Atlantic in terrible weather to find a Hopi Indian maiden waiting for him at his sister’s house. She tells them she has something for the eldest son of his father that will prove his parents were murdered – and lead him to who killed them. She gives him an invoice for a Kachina doll order with strange code words on it that leads to a series of clues to the 2012 End Times Hopi predictions – and the secret organization that murdered his parents for what they discovered in the 2012 End Times.
Jeremy Nash has to pursue the Hopi End Times prediction and discover why the planet is experiencing a series of ever destructive climatic and geologic disasters.
Here’s a sneak peak of the first two chapters.
Twenty One Years Ago
The hot wind, funneling up through the narrow canyon walls, was suffused with something ancient and alive.
Despite the heat, eleven-year-old Jeremy Nash shivered with pleasure. He loved these research trips with his father, Austin Nash, who was professor emeritus of Native American history at the University of New Mexico. More than anything, Jeremy loved ditching the drudgery of the sixth grade to explore the world–despite increasing opposition by his mother.
The world, in this case, was the Grand Canyon. And since it was so far removed from anything young Jeremy had yet to see, the Grand Canyon could have been Mars. Now, as he stood looking across from the south rim of the canyon, between the Hopi House and the rustic historic El Tovar hotel, Jeremy decided that this was the most beautiful place on earth. He could not imagine anything being more astonishing or awe-inspiring.
Just the day before, at the dinner table, his father had announced that Jeremy would accompany him on a research trip the following day. One minute Jeremy was picking at his mashed potatoes and wondering how he was going to get out of doing homework, and the next he was preparing for a trek to one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Jeremy hadn’t been able to sleep a wink all last night. And his homework was all but forgotten.
And now here he was, standing in the plaza of the great Hopi House. And as the sun began to set down the Canyon to the west, Jeremy waited with his father for the sacred Kachina dance to begin.
Although his father had introduced young Jeremy to many Native-American traditions, the rituals of the Kachina ceremonies were the boy’s favorite. And, as explained by his father on the plane ride here, tonight’s celebration would be the most special of all:
The Blue Star Kachina ceremony.
Just the sound of it sent another shiver of excitement coursing through the young boy. His father had explained that there was an ancient Hopi Indian prophecy that stated that when the Blue Star Kachina made its appearance in the heavens, the Fifth World would emerge.
The Blue Star Kachina ceremony–the rarest of all Kachina ceremonies–was in honor of this apocalyptic day, which the Hopi called the Day of Purification.
As his father had further explained: “The Hopi name for the star Sirius is Blue Star Kachina. This Day of Purification will come when the Blue Star Kachina dances in the plaza and removes his mask for all the world to see.”
Granted, a lot of that didn’t make sense to young Jeremy–but then again, a lot of Native American religious traditions were still a mystery to him. He loved hearing the stories. He hungered to understand such mysteries. To delve deeper into them. To explore them. He had his father to thank for that, he knew. His father had taught him at an early age to appreciate the wonders of the world, and to respect all cultures. His father walked the walk, immersing himself in the Native American culture–even wearing a beautiful Navajo silver and turquoise watch band that his father promised would be his someday.
After the whirlwind preparation of the night before, Jeremy and his father had landed in Phoenix early that morning, rented a car and drove out to the Grand Canyon. Jeremy was excited–perhaps a little too excited. His father had caught him hopping from leg to the next.
“The restroom, Jeremy, is just around the corner inside the hotel,” his father said easily, grinning. He looked at his watch encased in a Navajo turquoise studded silver watch band. Jeremy always admired it and hoped it would be his someday. “You have just a few minutes before the ceremony begins. Now hurry.”
Jeremy entered the rustic lobby spanned by large hewed timbers noticing the different animal heads lining the walls. A Bison, a fourteen point buck–even a mountain lion. He found the bathroom easily and when he was finished and feeling decidedly more comfortable, he exited the hotel’s restroom, climbed the stairs to the ground floor and heard the sound of angry shouting. Hands still wet, he paused in the hotel’s empty lobby. The shouting was coming from upstairs. Most of the guests and staff were outside awaiting the beginning of the ceremony. A ceremony Jeremy himself desperately wanted to watch.
But shouting perked his interest.
As he walked towards the stairs, the exchange grew more heated, reaching him in bits and snatches. Try as he might, Jeremy just couldn’t make out what was being said, or more like yelled.
He checked his trusted Star Wars watch. The dance would start any minute now. The dance, of course, was the whole reason he and his father were here.
Then more shouting from above.
Jeremy turned to the hotel’s lobby door, where his father was waiting. He took a step toward the exit.
And then something slammed against the floor.
And without thought, Jeremy did what came natural to him. He turned away from the door and headed for the rustic staircase.
* * *
Jeremy had read enough spy novels to know to keep to the far edge of stairways and hallways. The stairway trick had worked brilliantly, and he had ascended with nary a creak.
Now, heart hammering as he moved slowly along the long hallway, the old adage wasn’t holding up so well. Despite his best efforts, some of his footsteps still creaked.
And with each creak, the blood drained from his face.
Luckily, whoever was doing the shouting didn’t seem to be paying much attention to old floorboards. Up ahead was an open door. And from his angle within the hallway, Jeremy could see that there were at least a couple of people inside.
He continued forward. A wayward floorboard groaned loudly, and Jeremy nearly turned tail and dashed away. But he continued forward.
Golden sunlight spilled through the room’s open door and splashed across the hallway before him. As he approached, there was a lull in the arguing, and Jeremy had a sense that someone was pacing in the room.
Jeremy continued forward, keeping to the walls, sensing that he was no longer in the public section of the hotel, that he had ventured into the actual living quarters of those who ran it.
“But I am the Pahana!” shouted a young man suddenly. “I have the proof!”
Jeremy stopped at the sudden outburst. From his position in the hallway, he could just see inside the open door–an angle that afforded him a glimpse of a bed and a dresser. Someone was sitting stoically on the bed. And someone else, pacing anxious, occasionally appeared and disappeared in the doorway.
Jeremy took another step.
As he did so, his view into the room expanded considerably and now he could see a very old Native American man sitting on the bed. Jeremy recognized the man’s traditional garb instantly. He was a Hopi shaman.
“Lower your voice, my son,” said the shaman quietly, his voice barely reaching Jeremy’s ears. His gentle tone matched the dignified attire of a Hopi Shaman–a simple, red button-down shirt, a dark blue beaded vest, tufts of long white hair under a red and white bandana. The only hint of opulence was the traditional ornate squash blossom sliver and turquoise necklace that hung from his leathery neck. “We do not want our guests–”
“I could give a damn about our guests.” The young man appeared into view–and Jeremy received a bit of a shock.
The young man, in fact, was completely blond. So much so that Jeremy wondered if the man was an albino. The young man paused in front of the sitting old man and pushed back his long locks of yellow hair from what appeared to be steel blue eyes. “I have the missing piece and you’ve seen it. Why do you continue to doubt the inevitable? I am the Pahana.”
There was a sudden noise from beyond the hotel, and Jeremy knew the Blue Star Kachina ceremonies were about to begin. Even now, his father was probably worried or looking for him. Still, the young boy found himself glued to the spot, unable to tear his gaze away from the site of the blond young man and the aged Hopi shaman.
The question raced through Jeremy’s mind as he found himself inching closer to the open door as the old shaman spoke again, “As much as you would like to believe you are the promised one, my son, you are not.”
Jeremy crept closer. He knew he shouldn’t be here, eaves dropping on these two, but he couldn’t help himself. There was something going on here–something mysterious–and he just had to know more.
Jeremy stopped next to a long, polished table covered with crystal vases and fresh cut flowers.
The young man with the flowing blond hair paused in front of the door, his broad shoulders blocking Jeremy’s view into the room. The young man slapped something down on the dresser top. A piece of paper, perhaps. “I have the translation.”
Almost at the same time, the young man picked up a clay pot sitting on an end table, raised it in the air and smashed it to the floor.
Two things immediately happened—-almost in unison.
The Hopi shaman stood back, aghast at what the young man had done and Jeremy, his fingertips, which had been absently touching the lip of one of the heavy vases on the table next to him, tipped over the vase. The whole thing came down in a hellacious crash that nearly gave him a heart attack. In fact, it might have. Flowers and water dumped across the tabletop.
The young man in the doorway spun around, and as he did so, Jeremy was off and running–as fast as he possibly could.
And as he flew down the stairs, taking them three at a time, stumbling once and nearly tumbling to his death, he knew he was in some serious trouble. The look on the young man’s face had been one of utter fury when he had made eye contact with Jeremy.
Running footsteps sounded on the floor above him.
Jeremy reached the landing and dashed across the hotel’s empty lobby. Without looking back, he plunged recklessly through the door and out into the hot evening. And there, before him, stood his father. Jeremy had never seen such a welcomed sight.
“Where the dickens have you been, boy?” asked his father, frowning. “The ceremony is about to–”
But he didn’t get to finish. Jeremy hurled himself into his father’s arm. The man grunted and stumbled back, throwing an arm around his son.
“Hey, is everything okay?”
Even from outside, the boy could hear the sounds of heavy footsteps pounding through the hotel lobby. He took his father’s hand that was adorned with a Zuni turquoise watchband that he knew he would inherit someday, and dragged him forward. “Yes! Sorry, dad. I just got distracted with some…art. Come on, let’s hurry!”
His father, unaware of what was going on behind them, obliged by hurriedly leading the way back to the staging area.
And there, as torches blazed around the dusty plaza, the ceremony began. As it did so, Jeremy looked back once over his shoulder and saw nothing, no blond young man and no elder shaman–and just as his heartbeat returned to normal, the first of the dancers appeared in front of the crowd.
* * *
The dancers all wore elaborately carved masks and headdresses, many with long eagle feathers protruding from them. Unlike other Hopi masks Jeremy had seen in the past, these were markedly different. Instead of a painted face, these masks bore only a single blue star. No eyes or mouth or any indication that they could see through the mask. The effect was surreal and a little frightening, at least to the young boy. Each dancer carried a little bell in one hand and a fistful of arrows in the other.
Jeremy found himself marveling at the strange movements of the dancers. He knew they were telling a story–an ancient story–but his young brain couldn’t wrap itself around the meaning. He knew from his father that the masked dancers were believed to embody the powerful spirits of the earth, sky and water.
Maybe they are telling the story of the world, he thought.
The dancers circled each other. And as the beating of the nearby drums grew in intensity, a strange, cold wind suddenly swept low over the ground, causing Jeremy to shiver. Others in the crowd felt it, too. Jeremy saw them look furtively around.
The dancers now rang their little bells–randomly, almost chaotically. The result was an unsettling, raucous cacophony. And just as the ringing reached a fevered pitch, the ground beneath Jeremy’s feet began trembling.
The dancers briefly paused; the sounds of the bells stopped.
The rumbling grew in intensity, and Jeremy’s first thought was that something was going to burst out of the ground. Or that a jet airplane was going to land in the middle of the Grand Canyon.
And then the trembling turned into all-out shaking. Someone in the audience screamed. Jeremy’s father wrapped an arm around his boy’s shoulders.
One of the Kachina dancers suddenly yanked off his Blue Star mask, screaming. He fell to a knee awkwardly, got to his feet and stumbled toward Jeremy and his father. The boy stepped back in horror as the Kachina dancer collapsed at his feet, blood pouring from his nose, ears, eyes and mouth.
Jeremy’s father knelt immediately next to the bleeding man–and just as he did so, the violent shaking stopped. The young Hopi man, as far as Jeremy could tell, was dead.
Confused and horror-stricken, he looked over to the stage and saw that all the dancers were now lying around the plaza. All bleeding and convulsing.
A moment later, they were still.
Somewhere Over the Southwestern United States
This is shaping up to be one hell of a shitty day, thought Jeremy Nash, gripping the arm rests of his seat as the plane swooped and fell and did things he was sure no planes of this size were ever meant to do.
It wasn’t enough that he’d spent the entire day being ‘interviewed’ by the Israeli Defense Force about the terrorist incident in Jerusalem–a long story that Nash was writing a book about. Or that he had been awakened in Rome by a frantic phone call from his sister Alyson, a phone call that rocked his world, a phone call that sent him scurrying off for a flight home. No, now he had to deal with this hellacious storm which was doing its best to drive the big 777 straight into the ground.
Now, as the plane dipped again, sending Nash’s stomach up into his throat area, he glanced over at some of the other Business Class passengers who were clutching airsick bags. The elder couple sitting across the aisle held each other closely, their frightened faces a matching pair of green. Nash was sure he didn’t look much different. He was also sure he shouldn’t have had that second helping of sushi for dinner just a few hours earlier.
Think of something else. Get your mind off your stomach. And definitely get your mind off raw fish….
Despite himself, he nearly gagged at the thought.
So he took his mind off his stomach and onto his younger sister. In particular, her frantic phone call. What was it she had said? Their parents murdered? They didn’t die years ago in a cave climbing accident? Killed for something they discovered in the 2012 End Times Predictions?
Ridiculous! No. Absurd!
In fact, after having just been awakened from a deep sleep, he was certain he was dreaming the whole crazy phone conversation with his sister.
Nash, who had been in Rome writing his next book, A Taste of the Apocalypse, had hoped to finish the manuscript and send it off to his publisher so that he could work on a lecture in Berlin on crypto-history, a lecture he was completely unprepared to give. But with the phone call from his sister, everything was placed on hold.
As an expert debunker of conspiracy theories, myths and legends, Nash was often asked to give such lectures. Hell, half his time seemed to be spent behind a podium, poking holes in everything from Elvis faking his death, Bigfoot, and UFOs to the various 9/11 conspiracies.
And the 2012 end times predictions from so called prophets citing everything from the Mayan Doomsday Calendar, various Native American visions, Biblical prophesies, and Nostradamus were no different.
Bunk. All bunk–
The big 777 suddenly dropped, a frightful feeling that sent Nash’s stomach back up into his throat and caused his seatbelt to bite deeply across his lap. Nash stifled a groan. The older man sitting next to him looked calmly up from a voluminous report he was reading.
“Are you alright?” asked the man looking over his reading glasses.
“Yeah, fine,” mumbled Nash, marveling that there wasn’t a sign of worry on the man’s face. As if the plane wasn’t in the middle of some of the worst turbulence Nash had ever experienced.
The plane shuddered violently and slewed to the right. Nash dug his nails deep into the armrest with something close to a death-grip. And when the plane steadied again, and Nash’s heart rate returned to something close to normal, he looked over at the older man–who had, remarkably, gone back to reading his heavy tome.
“This type of flying weather doesn’t bother you?” Nash asked, and just as the words left his mouth, a passenger behind him vomited profusely. Nash covered his own mouth, fighting back his gorge.
The gray-haired man smiled and patted his own stomach. “Cast iron. Grew it years ago as a storm chaser.”
Nash nodded. “You were one of those crazy guys who flew into hurricanes.”
“In my youth.” Then almost to himself, “In my youth.” He held out his hand. “Perhaps I should introduce myself. I’m Peter Somerton.”
Nash shook it and noticed the Zuni silver watchband inlaid with turquoise and orange coral on his wrist. It reminded him of his father’s. But that was a long time ago. “Jeremy Nash,” he said.
“Well, Mr. Nash. You don’t seem too affected by the rough weather, either. Are you a pilot?”
Nash thought the old guy was being much too kind. After all, he was certain his face was many different shades of green. Still, Somerton had been spot-on about one thing.
“Private pilot,” said Nash.
“What do you fly?”
“A Cirrus SR Twenty.”
“Good plane,” Somerton remarked. “That’s a do-it-yourselfer, right?”
Nash nodded. “But I bought this one already built.”
The jet dropped again and Nash’s embattled stomach did a flip-flop. In all his days flying small private planes, he’d never been in weather like this. Nash privately wished they hadn’t closed the flight service. A good stiff hit of Crown Royal would do him good about now.
Nash decided to continue the small talk–anything to take his mind off his stomach. “So what’s a storm chaser doing in Rome?”
“Geophysical and climate conference.” Somerton said adjusting his tweed jacket that had bunched up above his faded blue jeans by the jostling of the plane. “We discussed the increase in geophysical activity and the effects of the current climate changes we are experiencing.”
Nash unconsciously frowned when he heard the words climate change. Somerton noticed.
“You don’t believe in climate change?”
“If you mean global warming caused by man,” Nash answered, “No. I believe in what Mark Twain said.”
“Climate is what we expect,” interrupted Somerton. “Weather is what we get?”
“Exactly.” Nash smiled. He just might like this man. “Is that what was discussed at the conference? Global warming?”
“That was not the real focus,” Somerton replied somewhat guarded. “We’re more interested in the causes or cause,” Somerton emphasized the word ‘cause’, “of not only the increasing inclement weather around the world but it’s growing intensity coupled with the rise in geophysical activity of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.”
“So what kind of climatologist are you?”
“I’m not,” Somerton replied. “I was a member of the cultural committee.”
“Yes. I was an indigenous culture representative.”
Nash was about to ask more about that when the Captain’s voice came over the intercom. “Ladies and gentleman, we’re approaching Albuquerque International Airport. Estimated time of arrival is fifteen minutes. Please fasten your seatbelts and raise your trays to the upright position.”
Nash nearly choked on laughter. He doubted anyone had had their trays down. And if so, whatever had been on the trays was surely across the occupant’s lap.
Nash looked out the window to his right as they descended into what looked like a nasty thunderstorm. From his vantage point, which included most of the port wing, he could see nothing but churning gray crowds and flashes of lightning.
And just as Nash was about to turn away, something caught his eye. A flare of something bright. Incredibly bright. Coming up fast from seemingly below.
Something completely unimaginable.
And then the plane was hit by something, hard. The whole thing shuddered and slewed to the right as a fire erupted just under the wing.
The port engine! Sweet Jesus.
Someone screamed. And then seemingly everyone was screaming.
This isn’t happening, thought Nash. I’m dreaming.
The captain’s voice suddenly came over the intercom: “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said calmly. “I’m declaring an emergency. Please follow the instructions from your flight attendants.”
A worried-looking female flight attendant in her 20’s, who was standing at the bulkhead, picked up a telephone and spoke into it, her voice broadcasting ominously throughout the cabin. “Ladies and Gentleman,” she began nervously, “you will need to assume crash positions.”
And now there were wails and screams. One or two people stood up and looked around, panic on their faces. Nash was sure he looked no different.
The flight attendant continued on, undeterred, “Please lean forward and place your head between your legs. If you have a pillow or soft jacket, place your head on that. The Captain will tell you when it’s safe to sit back up once we land.”
Nash assumed the position and placed his head between his knees, face pressed into the small seat pillow he had been given. In that position, with his eyes closed, his ears seemed to pick up every whimper and prayer, every “I love you” and “It’s going to be okay.”
He heard it all, but mostly he heard his own blood pounding in his ears. He was also keenly aware that should he die now, there was no one to tell him that they loved him.
He was going to die alone, and somehow that made dying even worse.
The plane shuddered violently, followed immediately by more screams. A sudden updraft seemed to lift the plane and toss it about from side to side. Nash had an unsettling image of a kite on a string.
A kite in a storm.
A burning kite.
Sure that he was going to lose his lunch, Nash lifted his head to vomit to the side–and chanced a look out the port window.
The engine fire was out. The fire suppression system had kicked in.
Oh, thank God!
Next to him, Somerton was singing. No, humming. Nash turned to the older man and saw something remarkable: The man was just sitting there, eyes closed pleasantly, a small grin on his face. More incredible, he seemed to be humming a tune that sounded vaguely like the US Army Hymn.
The plane dropped again.
Nash gasped, and many around him screamed. Next to him, Somerton continued humming.
Nash looked out the window again. The city lights of Albuquerque were coming up fast–rapidly filling the window from horizon to horizon.
Oh, God. Here it comes.
The big 777 swerved from side to side, jerking Nash violently. The whole craft seemed to groan and shudder as a steady stream of prayers and cries filled the cabin. Nash’s own breathing was coming hard and fast. Next to him, his new companion continued humming steadily along. The tune was now the “Star Spangled Banner.”
The jumbo jet next shuddered so violently that Nash thought the wings had surely been ripped off. A quick glance out the port window showed that the wings were still very much in place, but the lights of Albuquerque were rapidly getting closer.
* * *
The captain made one final announcement: They were landing and to please maintain crash positions–and may God be with them all.
Nash wasn’t a religious man. In fact, he’d spent much of his life debunking many religious claims, but he prayed now.
With all his heart.
He also once again assumed the crash position, and with his crazy neighbor humming insanely next to him, the next few minutes were the longest in Nash’s life.
Although the entire cabin held their collective breath, Nash heard the flaps opening and the engine winding down–and he heard something else. An odd flapping sound.
The wing’s been damaged.
He forced himself to calm down, until he realized it didn’t really matter how calm he was. After all, he might be dead in the next few minutes–
Nash found himself thinking of his father, of their amazing trips together around the southwest. He found himself longing to be in his old man’s company once more. He thought of his loving mom, and of her home baked chocolate chips cookies that were to die for.
Bad choice of words.
And then the 777 slammed hard into the tarmac. So hard that Nash would have been hurled over the seats had he not been strapped in. As it was, the breath was wrenched from his lungs and he found himself gasping as the airplane shuddered violently. Nash imagined a trail of plane parts strewn along the tarmac in their wake. Oxygen masks dropped from above, landing squarely on his bowed back. For now, he ignored it.
And then something amazing happened. So amazing that Nash nearly wept.
The plane quit grinding. In fact, the plane quit making any sort of noise at all…other than the plaintive whine of its turbines shutting down.
Someone clapped. And now everyone was clapping. People stood and hugged and tears were pouring down faces. Nash turned in stunned amazement to his seat mate and saw that the old man was looking at him, a twinkle in his blue eyes.
“We made it,” said Nash.
“Any landing you can walk away from…” smiled Somerton as he calmly stood and opened the luggage compartment to retrieve his bag.