They chanted for ten minutes and as the sun began to set grandfather got up and motioned for them to follow him. They walked to the edge of the campground and the old man sat cross-legged on the ground. Yoshi and Sam sat on either side of him and they all watched the sun sink beneath the horizon.
As the last dying rays bathed their faces in pastel shades the old man closed his eyes and took up a chant again followed closely by Yoshi. Sam listened and sat mesmerized by the dying light. After a short time he began to feel light headed and twilight seemed deepen in colour and intensity.
A few minutes later he felt a sense of calmness descend upon him like a soft blanket, enveloping him in stillness. His hearing became acute and he was aware of the sounds of evening. Bird song seemed to come from everywhere at once. Howler monkeys heralded the onset of night and the far off growl of a jaguar no longer filled him with dread, it was as though it were speaking to him of things to come.
He had no urge to do anything but be as one with the sounds and the sensation of warmth that radiated from within. As darkness clothed the three of them in its all-encompassing cloak he felt grandfather’s hand on his shoulder and he turned to see him standing and looking down at him.
He was amazed at the sight that greeted him. The old man seemed to be twenty feet tall and his face looked as though it were carved from granite. Grandfather put his hand out and Sam took it and was pulled to his feet. Yoshi appeared at his side and they guided him back to the campsite where he watched them built a raging fire.
Everything around him was changing. The light from the fire seemed to make the trees and bushes dance before his eyes and every sound was magnified. He felt as if could not move and in serenity he let everything flow through him. All was as it should be. Grandfather and Yoshi began a new chant, different than the previous one. Yoshi sat down next to him and grandfather took a pouch out of his pack and unrolled it on the ground.
He removed various ritual objects from it. There were several animal fetishes, which he placed in a circle around Sam as he chanted. He picked up a vial of pale liquid and stood in front of Sam. He chanted louder and then moved the vial around Sam’s head in a circle several times before taking the cork out if and pouring it slowly on to the top of Sam’s head.
Sam felt an icy sensation permeate his skull that gradually became warmer and warmer. Everything around him seemed to be alive and breathing. The old man’s face had morphed into that of the horned figure from his room. None of these things caused him alarm. He felt the urge to speak but his mouth was dry. As if Yoshi could read his mind he offered Sam a cup of water.
Sam drank it gratefully and then spoke. “Yoshi, what was that drink your grandfather gave me with dinner?”
“It was moon flower water. I think you would know it as Morning Glory.”
Of course, Sam thought. He gave me a hallucinogen to send me on my “journey”. As he thought about it he felt the warmth of the liquid that had been poured on his head intensify. The flames in the pit seemed to dance higher and higher and grandfather’ eyes glowed red as he drew a small dagger from his waistband.
Tomorrow, Part 9 – The End