…And when after the monkey had ciphered for the twins, the father presented the sacred pod. The twins had survived the bloody ordeal and their oldest sister remained in captivity no more. By the Olmec ways, she had been set free when she obtained the maize and rendered the sweet cane of its juice. The monkey took the juice and heated it with sacred water at the comal pot as the twins tore into the pod and peeled the seed sacks into the fire below.
The toasted pods, nearly charred black, were pulled from the flames and placed on the grinding stone with the corn kernels. Xocolatl, the spirit bird of the pod tree, presented his boiling mixture to the monkey and the twins opened their mouths to take the odor of the sacrificial elixir past their bloodied tongues and into their noses. The spirit bird was free to join his mate and nest in the Xoco tree.
Obedient to the codes of the monkey and in line with the Star Cave of Sacred Water, the twins knelt beside the comal pot and waited for sister to combine the brown meal with the elixir. She proceeded (with the nod of her father), as monkey busied himself with the task of final rite. Father added his own touch with the little red and green chiles. The heat from the fire was no match for the chiles. Bitter and heat now combined - the father and daughter left the twins behind in the cave mouth with monkey.
Not a sound from voice or strained muscle could be heard over the chanting and drums. She danced in a soft swaying rhythm behind her father, un-noticed. When monkey returned, alone, father and daughter entered the cave depths, noting the empty vessel. The Xocolatl had been consumed. Now it was her turn. She led her father by the hand into the darkness. Up ahead, little flames, paired with the twins, danced and flared in the caves’ wind. She recognized the silhouettes and drew between the twins, head bowed in silence.
Father removed the sacred obsidian from his waist pouch and handed it to the twin known as Pa’ Xal- first born. His movement was swift with direct intent- as though he had familiarity with the tool. Her last look was not in horror. Her brow drew tight and then relaxed in submission to the gravity of death. In crimson reflections, the twins embraced and sighed in relief that their ordeal had ended. The limp body of their sister would be carried off by the cave lice.
Father lingered behind a while but the boys ascended into the jungles’ light. The first words, spoken, were not intended to disrespect. Tok’ Xal simply remarked that he hoped that, someday, his daughter would not have to die in the annual Xocolatl rite. Brother added, “The bitterness of the elixir will always remind me of this day.” Father exited the cave and led the twins back to the canals by the Xoco tree. The birds danced for them as they walked by, un-noticed.