City of the Gods

Submitted into Contest #103 in response to: Write about a character looking for a sign.... view prompt

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Creative Nonfiction Latinx

Calpillo and his little sister Xochil harvested corn from their parent's corn field for dinner for the night while his mother Xochimilco harvested beans. Xochimilco cooked the Rabbit, corn and beans, and the family ate supper for the evening in peace.

Their father Texcoco came back with a Rabbit. Texcoco and his family lived happily and peacefully with their tribe in the land of Aztlan. The Tribe took good care of their land and got along well with the neighboring tribes.

Later that night, the tribe was gathered around a large bonfire when a deity appeared before them. The deity had blue skin, hummingbird feathers sprouting from his head and shoulders, a shield in one hand, and a scepter that looked like a serpent with a flame in it's gaping maw.

"Listen and listen well, my children! I am the god Huitzilpochtli, your creator. I come bearing an important message for you all. You are to leave Aztlan and set out to the south tomorrow in search of the promised land!"

Huitzilpochtli pointed at Texcoco. "I want you to lead the Tribe on this quest."

"Me?" Texcoco asked. "But I am a simple farmer!"

"But how will we know if and when we've found the promised land, my lord??" asked a woman.

"I shall give you a sign when you reach the promised land to tell you if you found the promised land.

"What is this sign? What will this sign look like?" asked a man.

"You will know the sign when you first lay eyes upon it. Your journey begins at dawn! I will guide you!"

Huitzilpochtli then vanished in a puff of hummingbird feathers.

At the break of dawn the next morning, Texcoco lead the various tribes of Aztlan as the tribe bid the land of Aztlan farewell and marched southward in search of Huitzilpochtli's sign. They marched and marched ever onward, stopping only to camp and rest when the sun set.

Calpillo looked around him, looking for the "Sign" that 

Huitzilpochtli left them from the campfire. He saw stars, constellations, rocky outcroppings, the occasional Coyote, and succulents of all shapes and sizes, but nothing out of the ordinary.

"What is this sign you left us, my lord?" Calpillo asked to himself.

"What's wrong, brother?" Xochil asked.

"Is this journey just a wild goose chase? We've walked for a day and a half and what have we found to show for it?" Calpillo asked.

"Huitzilpochtli wouldn't send us out to the desert to torture us like this. He didn't create us just so he could destroy us." Xochil said.

"Yes. Yes, I suppose you're right about that..." Calpillo said.

The next day the tribe walked the desert again until they reached the grasslands. Tall reeds and shrubs greeted the wandering tribe. The Tribe drank plentifully from the water stream, and took a break to eat some corn.

That night, as the Tribe sat at the campfire, a howl caused the men and women to take up weapons.

A pack of Coyotes circled around the travelers' camp, snarling and howling.

While several men killed off three Coyotes in the pack, two coyotes zeroed in on Texcoco. 

One Coyote jumped forward at Texcoco and clamped down on his shoulder, clawing at his chest. Texcoco brought a scythe down on the back of the Coyote's neck, killing the wild animal on the spot. Xochimilco, Calpillo and Xochil watched in horror as the second Coyote leapt at Texcoco from behind him and bit down on his other shoulder, clawing at his back.

Someone shot an arrow at the back of the Coyote's neck, and the Coyote fell over limply. Texcoco also fell over limply.

A neighboring tribe traveling along revealed themselves as the killers of the coyote. The remaining coyotes in the pack retreated back into the wilderness to regroup.

Xochimilco, Calpillo and Xochil looked down at Texcoco, worried greatly.

"Father, are you alright?" Calpillo asked.

"Calpillo....You....must lead the Tribes....from now on...." Texcoco said before breathing his last breath.

Xochimilco cried into her hands. Calpillo closed his eyes and prayed.

"Give me a sign...Please, Huitzilpochtli...Please give me a sign..." Calpillo thought to himself, hot tears flowing from his eyes.

And so, the two Tribes buried Texcoco's body, then went to sleep.

At the break of dawn the next morning, the two Tribes packed up to go when they saw blood seep out from underground, and magically flow across the ground in a straight line.

Calpillo took this as a sign from Huitzilpochtli, so he lead the two tribes to follow it. They followed the blood trail until it dried up in front of a prickly pear cactus made entirely of stone. An Eagle perched down on top of the stone cactus, a snake clutched firmly in it's other talon. The bird then ate the snake.

The boy gasped and dropped down to his knees.

"This is it!" Calpillo said. "This is the sign! We reached the promised land!!"

The wanderers rejoiced. Their journey was finally over.

Another Tribe after another after another after another from Aztlan discovered the sign, until there was enough people for a full-fledged metropolis.

Huitzilpochtli appeared before the Tribe. He turned around and gestured them to follow him. "Come with me." the Deity said.

The Tribes followed the deity to see a massive lake on the horizon.

"This is the promised land. You shall build a city here, and you shall live together as one tribe in peace and prosperity! Never forget this day!" said Huitzilpochtli.

Huitzilpochtli then disappeared into a puff of hummingbird feathers.

The wandering Tribes, now united as one tribe, named the Lake "Lake Texcoco" and built a grand city with canals and reservoirs dedicated to the Gods called "Tenochtitlan", and since that day, life was good. Or, life was good until the Spanish colonized Tenochtitlan.

*My personal take on the story of how Tenochtitlan was founded. I'm sorry if I'm Cultural Appropriating, but I just love mythology so much.

July 23, 2021 05:15

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09:15 Jul 29, 2021

Hi Sarah! I got this story from the Critique Circle. I think it's a classic mythological story. Since I'm not familiar with Tenochtitlan, I think it would be good to add a little background about the place. In which part of the world is it located, and maybe any historical, cultural, or personal significance. What would make the reader interested to read about how such a place was founded? Also, I think there were some errors on grammar and capitalization, but all in all, you did a great job!

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