TWISTED LOVE first pages.




       2013.  The pervasive wood smoke of Mexico City created an orange midday glow.  Death.  Its challenging presence rode hot thermal wavelets, making the ground quiver.

In the chorizo-flavored heat, Julietta Aguilar hurried along the west foundation of the El Templo Major, dark chestnut hair pulled back into a loose knot that kept time with her stride. Although native to Mexico like many in the dig crews, Julietta Aguilar was U.S. educated. That fact alone had built a wall separating her from locally educated archaeologists  – and from various regional perceptions and sensibilities. But she took these tensions in stride; her mind was focused on the unraveling of the secrets she now walked upon. twisted2

The majesty and scale of the temple where she stood absorbed her every waking moment.  If it meant digging seven days a week to become published, she would.  The Templo Mayor was her muse.

The structure sat on a plaza of flat irregular limestone pavers once tread by Cortez and Montezuma, now a pit fifty feet below the surface of modern Mexico City, eagerly occupied by her and others digging for knowledge and fame.  Around these excavated acres an aggregate of five centuries of civilization rose above her, framing the great hole with colonial and modern structures.

Excited by the prospect of a new discovery, Julietta clambered down eight wooden steps, under an awning and into a cavity littered with exposed bones. Sacrificial victims, the estimate was four hundred.  The scale of death she and her crews discovered continued to awe her.

Looking over the paved mall, its depths not yet explored, she wondered how many more bodies rested under the broad stone mosaic.  Often she envisioned the irregular stony slabs moving, and bony hands reaching through the dirt to pull their skeletal remains free to walk away.  Sometimes their primeval pain seemed to rise from the earth and travel up her body, numbing her senses.

Questions tumbled inside her:  Who were you?  Why did you end like this?


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