Friday, April 27, 2012


SOL OCCAXUS (Sunset)  Monday, 19 September, 2011
CREPUSCULUM (Evening Twilight)

I. Friday, 23 September, 2011
II. Thursday, 29 September, 2011
III. Thursday, 29 September, 2011
IV. Sunday, 16 October, 2011

VESPER (Evening Dusk)

I.  Sunday, 23 October, 2011
II. Sunday, 30 October, 2011
III. Wednesday, 9 November, 2011
IV. Monday, 14 November, 2011
V. Monday, 14 November, 2011

CONCUBIUM (First Sleep – Coitus – Rest)

I. Thursday, 17 November 2011
II. Sunday, 20 November, 2011
III. Friday, 25 November, 2011
IV. Thursday, 1 December, 2011
V. Thursday, 1 December, 2011
VI. Thursday, 8 December, 2011
VII. Sunday, 11 December, 2011


I. Sunday, 1 January, 2012
II. Thursday, 5 January, 2012
III. Saturday, 7 January, 2012
IV. Monday, 16 January, 2012
V. Sunday, 29 January, 2012
VI. Sunday, 29 January, 2012
VII. Friday, 3 February, 2012
VIII. Friday, 3 February, 2012


I. Sunday, 12 February, 2012
II. Saturday, 18 February, 2012
III. Wednesday, 22 February, 2012

MATUTINUM (Dawn Goddess)

I. Monday, 27 February, 2012
II. Sunday, 4 March, 2012
III. Sunday, 4 March, 2012
IV. Friday, 9 March, 2012
V. Friday, 16 March, 2012
VI. Friday, 16 March, 2012
VII. Friday, 16 March, 2012
VIII. Friday, 16 March, 2012
IX. Wednesday, 21 March, 2012
X. Wednesday, 21 March, 2012
XI. Wednesday, 21 March, 2012
XII. Friday, 23 March, 2012
XIII. Friday, 23 March, 2012
XIV. Friday, 23 March, 2012

DILUCULUM (Dawn Twilight)

I. Monday, 16 April, 2012
II. Monday, 23 April, 2012
III. Friday,, 27 April, 2012

SOLI ORTUS (Sunrise)




Very little was said between the two men as they drove along the sharply twisting road that took them across the valley and up to the smouldering wreck of Alexander’s villa. It was only when the last of those bends was safely negotiated that Michael Mara turned to his companion. He rubbed his jaw which was still was very sore and any movement or pothole in the road had made it worse. In addition a gold crown had worked its way loose and he could feel its wobble with a bruised and swollen tongue. “Why did you have to hit me so hard, Dave?” he asked through gritted teeth.
“I’m sorry, Michael but I was afraid that you might hurt yourself. You were really freaking out!” the agent replied as he kept his eyes straight ahead, focused on the gates of Alexander’s villa. He stopped the car just in front of them. Two grim-looking and gun-carrying gendarme approached and Dave pressed the automatic switch to lower the driver’s window.
Avetene identification, s’il vous plait!” the older of the two policemen barked as the younger man circled the jeep tapping against the glass with his gun.
Merci, Monsieur. Attendez ici.” the senior gendarme instructed and then withdrew to inspect Dave’s credentials. He then spoke into his walkie-talkie and scowled as he returned to the car. “Basta!” he shouted at the younger man as he handed back Dave’s card. “Ouvre la porte!
The iron gates swung back and Dave drove the jeep slowly up the gravel road. He parked behind one of the fire tenders and turned to look at Michael. “Michael. You don’t need to do this. By all accounts it’s not a pleasant sight.”
“Dave. I need to see what happened. I need to be sure,” Michael insisted.
“OK! Stay close to me. The gendarmes are being very sensitive about our presence here and our involvement in the gunfight. It has taken a lot of urgent diplomatic manoeuvring to calm their annoyance. The National Park officials and firemen are on the warpath. This is this worst time of the year for forest fires and they have an exploding house spraying its crap over the area. Do not answer any questions, Michael. Is that understood?”
“That’s easy. I won’t be able to talk . . . Thanks to you.”
“As I said . . . I’m sorry. Now let’s go!”

Michael Mara followed the agent out of the car and up the narrow driveway towards the villa. The ascent was steep and the gravel surface was seared by the rivers of brown-black water that flowed in torrents down the hill to meet them. Everywhere, like wriggling snakes, fire-hoses jerked and squirmed. Most of the fire fighters still wore breathing apparatus and as they approached one of them handed a pair of masks to Dave. “Do you get a peculiar smell?” Michael asked as he strapped on the mask.
“Napalm,” Dave said bluntly.
Michael followed him into a tent that had been hastily erected near the burnt out shell of Mallory’s jeep. As they passed he saw that there was still a figure slumped over the wheel of the jeep, half-covered by a plastic yellow sheet. In the tent about ten corpses were laid in a row on the ground. Most were hideously burnt, with features missing or congealed by the force of the explosion. Three or four were were charred beyond recognition. On the other hand Rod Mallory, the meerkat Sancho and even the athlete Zoë were all there, all very dead. He could recognise them still. Zoë’s body was in two parts and Sancho had lost an arm. Ironically, Hertzog’s body was almost pristine it its completeness; it had been protected in the trunk of the car. He carefully looked at the other bodies. Most of the women all had peculiar, and near identical, defects of their left ear lobes, like the type he’d first noticed on Zoë and the blonde Scandinavian at the bath-house in Granada. The women were otherwise anonymous in death, he thought as they left the tent accompanied by a gendarme captain. There had been no sign of either Alexander or Isabella’s body. Michael asked him about their possible whereabouts. The captain, with a blunt appraisal, replied that the areas of collapsed masonry around the villa had all been checked and there was no sign of any more bodies. “Evaporated, I suspect,” he added with a Gallic shrug of the shoulders.
Michael knew then, as he stared down the valley, that Isabella, like Caroline, was also probably dead and that nothing he could do would bring her back. He hurried back towards the jeep with Dave in close pursuit and tore off the mask to suck in great gulps of air. His stomach heaved and he began to puke. One of the gendarmes from the gate laughed as he walked past.
“Are you ok, Michael?” Dave asked.
“Yes. I didn’t see Alexander’s body. Where is he? Is it one of the charred ones?”
“I don’t know. We all saw him falling over when he was shot, but the area he was in was partially obscured from our cameras behind some trees. Only Mallory’s and the girl Zoë’s bodies were recovered from the balcony area.”
“You mean he got away!”
“I doubt it. I’d say one of those bodies is his.” Dave pointed back towards the tent where the row of blackened corpses lay. The firemen were removing the dead man from the jeep and a large portion of the leather seating remained stuck to the charred corpse’s back as it was peeled out. “Dental and DNA forensics will confirm.”
“I didn’t see Isabella’s body either, Dave. Do you think she got away?” Michael asked hopefully.
“I doubt it, Michael. She had just gone back into the villa when it started exploding,” the agent replied a little hesitantly.
“But, there is some hope?” Michael latched onto his hesitancy.
“Perhaps! If she did, Michael, she was one lucky dame and . . .we’ll have to track her down. You know that, don’t you?”
There was a long silence as thoughts raced through Michael’s head. Suddenly he pulled away from Dave and began to walk back towards their car.
“What are you doing, Michael?”
 “Let’s go, Dave. I must contact Caroline’s brother in England. Bring me back to the villa. I need to make the phone call in private. I have to make some arrangements.”
“Sure, Michael but we don’t have much time.”
“Yeah. I’m coming with you to Mexico. For your own protection! General Arnold asked and I volunteered.”
“Thanks, Dave.”

As the jeep drove through the gates Michael spotted through the thinning smoke that the lammergeyer he had seen earlier now circled high above Alexander’s villa. He thought again of Alonzo’s story of the sacred fire and the Hekamaad horse sacrifice in the high valleys of Nuristan long ago.