The Gift of the Gods
"A Samuel Light Story"
By John Pirillo
Samuel tucked his stomach in, not that he was fat, but it was a tight squeeze. Jimbo was having an even tougher time. He actually had a bit of stomach fat. "You said this would be good exercise." He complained between grunts and screeches of pain as he followed Samuel.
Samuel eyed the distant end of the tunnel, which was actually getting closer, though no less easy to crawl to. "Just a bit more and we'll be there."
"You always say that."
"That's because it's always true."
"Doesn't help my poor body any."
"Stop complaining. If you didn't eat so much..."
"I'll eat whatever I want, thank you. I'll still behind you, aren't I?"
"If I'm a pork butt or not."
Bad mistake. He smashed his head into the rocks above him.
Jimbo's turn to laugh.
Jimbo laughed even harder.
Finally, Samuel reached the end of the tunnel and slipped out of the narrow tunnel or rock and dirt they had taken to get to their destination, and Jimbo followed him a few moments later, still laughing.
Samuel spun around. "How can you laugh and still get through that tunnel?"
Samuel put a finger up to his mouth.
Jimbo was about to speak anyway, but Samuel shook his head.
Jimbo then realized they weren't alone.
He turned slowly and essayed the walls. There were strange scrolls of images up and down them, depicting strange humans with heads shaped like turnips wearing ceremonial garb and other humans bowing at their feet. Just to his right stood some kind of silvery thing, shaped like a gigantic bell, except it had windows in it.
On his left stood rows of cylinders stacked to the ceiling of the room they stood within. The room was hoary with age. Spider webs hung everywhere, and motes of dust danced in the air, lit by recessed lighting that had no apparent electrical connection.
Jimbo bent next to one and touched it.
"Damn!" He screeched, jerking his finger back when an arc of blue energies smashed into it and burned its tip.
"Careful." Samuel warned in a whisper.
"Now you tell me." Jimbo growled, ready to smack Samuel over the head for the oversight.
Samuel again put a finger to his lips.
"What now? An alien werewolf?"
The huge bell shaped object began to shake, as if someone were inside of it, rocking it back and forth violently.
"Or maybe just an alien." Jimbo suggested.
Samuel ignored him and continued to survey the wall to his right, his finger tracing a line of lettering from the top to the floor, then continuing to the right, until he stopped at a juncture where a new set of symbols and scrolling text unfolded. He turned to Jimbo, who had grown antsy and quiet, since the huge bell shape continued to vibrate with some kind of motion from inside.
"Make it go away, Sammie." He pleaded.
Samuel shook his head, again touching his lip.
Jimbo sighed, but said no more. He was getting used to his friend's habits by now, but that didn't mean he agreed with everything the man did or said. He was a free thinker with a mind of his own. Born in Texas, raised in Texas. He had a big heart and a sharp mind. He didn't always understand all the weird boogey boo stuff Samuel did or saw, but he had seen enough by now to trust him in the down and dirty times.
Samuel suddenly shoved at Jimbo to drop.
He dropped. Hitting his stomach hard. He grunted. Samuel threw himself over his friend as the bell shaped object exploded, shooting out metal shrapnel and pieces of some kind of gooey substance that slapped into the walls and began to ooze down it, like thick globs of blood.
Samuel got off Jimbo and helped his friend to his feet.
"How did you know that was going to...?"
Samuel touched his forehead.
"Right. That old third eye biz again."
Jimbo turned around to hide a look of disgust. "Most people can't see with two, and you can see with one in the center of your head. What's this damned world coming to, anyway?"
"Armageddon." Samuel replied.
"Oh yeah, right. This hideous demon is going to rise up and stomp us all to hell!"
Samuel grinned. "No, but his henchmen might."
Jimbo turned on Samuel. "You're kidding, right?"
"Not about the henchmen."
"Who might they be, pray tell?"
"The ones who are in power and misusing it."
"Well, that pretty much shoves the whole bunch into the same picnic basket."
"And that's why Armageddon is coming."
"What! You said you were kidding!"
"Only about the demon devil part of it. If we can't stop these nuts from killing our air, water and food supply, then it won't matter if there are demons and devils, there won't be any of us left for them to haunt and torture anyway."
Jimbo shook his head.
"I don't buy into that end of the world scenario. Someone's going to come up with the solutions."
"And someone else is going to buy them out, force them into poverty and obscurity or..."
Jimbo blanched. "Murder them?"
"And that's why we're here now."
Jimbo turned to look at the smoking remains of the bell like object. "What was in that thing anyway?"
"Well, according to the Paiutes, this was deposited here back in prehistoric times by the Builders."
"An ancient race that flew from the stars to nurture mankind from its bestial ways."
"Yeah. That sure happened, didn't it?"
Samuel laughed. "You can't expect so many people to leapfrog through evolution like a bunch of mad mating bunnies!"
"And what does that look like?"
Samuel started to answer and Jimbo shut him up with a scowl. "What I mean is that they came all this way to save us, so we can blow ourselves up, or contaminate ourselves to death. What a waste of gas."
"They had to try. Just like we have to try."
Jimbo surveyed the damage in the chamber. "Well, the lights still work. So there might still be something useful in here."
"Don't care about the lights." Samuel said, heading for the back of the chamber where a great seal with scrolling arrows stretched over a crude symbol of the earth was drawn with semi-precious stones.
"What's it say?"
"Inside is the secret to happiness and the way to bring peace to our planet."
Jimbo frowned. "It better be. I've left a lot of my precious behind on that tunnel ceiling back there to get here."
"And probably more on the way back." Samuel agreed.
"So why should there be anything we want in there? Looks to me like whoever was guarding this place didn't do too good a job, judging from..." He nodded towards the fleshy remains on the various walls that continued to ooze towards the floor.
"It wasn't a guard. It was something else."
"What kind of something else?" Jimbo asked warily.
Samuel looked at him. "You don't want to know, but this..." He turned back to the symbol on the wall. "This, however..." Samuel pressed his hand against the symbol and the back wall of the chamber slid upwards with groaning sounds of effort.
Jimbo pressed forward to see what was being revealed, and then he began to laugh.
Inside the exposed new chamber was barrel after barrel of grain. Grain that hadn't aged since they had been deposited there.
Samuel looked at the grain, his face stone cold frozen.
Jimbo broke into laughter, turned around and headed back for the tunnel. As he did so, the lights in the chamber began to flicker. Their power failing at last.
Samuel took a few grains and stuck them into his jeans pocket, then followed after Jimbo. They sweat and cursed their way back to the end of the tunnel, finally emerging onto the plateau the tunnel had been dug into.
Jimbo sat down on a ledge overlooking the deep valley below. He smiled. "Least the view was worth it."
Samuel sat beside him, and then took out a grain.
The ground shook behind them and the tunnel was sealed up as tons of the plateau shifted and moved, almost knocking them off their perch into the valley below. Samuel lost his grip on the grain as he held onto the edge and it dropped onto the bare earth to his left.
When the shaking stopped, Jimbo gave Samuel a look that said it all. "That was one helluva ride, Sammie boy."
"We're alive. That's all that matters."
"Sam, look!" Jimbo said, pointing to Samuel's left.
Samuel twisted to look and as he did so, he saw the grain wriggling on the ground, and then it sprouted roots that dug into the hard rock of the plateau, shattering it and probing downwards. The top of the grain sprouted green arms and stretched towards the sky, trembling like a new born happy to breathe and laugh. It grew taller and taller, sprouting more and more arms, until it became so tall and thick that Samuel and Jimbo had to back away from the edge for fear of being knocked off by the now gigantic plant.
Just when they thought it would go on forever like Jack's beanstalk, it stopped, trembling for a moment, and then stilling.
"Look at that, won'tcha!" Jimbo suggested.
Each arm of the sprout had sprouted heads of corn. The entire growth was about fifty feet tall and carried hundreds of rows of corn, all open and ready to eat, their golden kernels shining in the rays of the setting sun.
Jimbo licked his lips. "I bet that would make a monster bag of popcorn."
"Or feed a small town." Samuel suggested.
They both looked back at the collapsed tunnel.
"Maybe those Indians were onto something after all." Jimbo suggested.
Samuel nodded, feeling the remaining grains in his jeans pocket. Did he dare reveal them to the world? Was the world ready for this and if it was, how would this new form of genetically modified corn be accepted Would it lead to the feeding of the poor and removing poverty, or just end up shoved back into a closet where no one could find it, locked away so that a selfish few could continue to dominate the world for its wealth?
He didn't know what would happen. He only knew what impress he now felt. He took the remaining grains and held them out over the valley below.
Jimbo looked at the outstretched hands, saw the grains. "Sammie, if you're thinking what I'm thinking."
Samuel smiled. He wasn't. He let the grains tumble from his hand.