Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Word Count: 100,000 Words
Papan, a sacrificed Aztec priestess, is resuscitated by the terraforming engineers of planet Earth, but, as her artificial heart fails, Papan’s life in the advanced society may end before it can begin.
The calendars decreed Papan would die in six days.
More precisely, she had five days, an afternoon meal, and one sunset left to live. Pan preferred to be precise. The sacrifice represented an unpleasant, but necessary ritual. Her blood would prevent the heavens from descending upon Tenochtitlan, sating the gods before they devoured her people and world. It was a worthwhile trade, but it was a trade she could no more negotiate than demanding the sun delay rising. And so she waited.
The great temple did not need sweeping, but Pan scoured the stone for any additional cobwebs, ashes, or flecks of grass. Outside, blood dropping from the grand altars perpetually stained the temple’s one hundred steps, but any mess blaspheming the interior shrines required immediate attention.
Unfortunately, all was tidy. Pan examined the floors, the shrines, and the jade mosaics hanging upon the hallowed corridors. Washed andpolished. The game persisted. Pan rose a quarter hour earlier each morning, attempting to beat the priestesses to the chores, but the dedicated—and presumably exhausted women—hid every broom in the temple. They watered each garden, divined the horoscopes, and scrubbed every statue, but Pan spied one smudge they missed.
A single, pristine footprint desecrated the ceiling of Tlaloc’s antechamber. If she found the impudent apprentice responsible for such acrobatics, she’d drag him to the chamber by his ear, force him to clean, and stand watch as he served the appropriate penance. Her heart would not be cleaved from its chest just so an insulted Tlaloc could deny her people much needed rain.