Monday 4 August 2014

A God For Today

The Great God Huitzilopochtli shook his head and opened his eyes. The slanting sunshine lit his little chamber through a slit in the wall, just enough to tell him that it was day.

Huitzilopochtli sat up on his throne. reached for his serpent staff, and called. His hummingbird warriors came to him.

“Why have I been woken?” he asked.

“Great Lord,” the lead hummingbird warrior said prostrating himself, “it is your time to rise again. The world is summoning you.”

“Summoning me?” Huitzilopochtli replied, astounded. “How can that be? The world has forgotten me these half a thousand years.”

“Perhaps, Great Lord,” the lead hummingbird warrior replied, “it did forget. But now it remembers again, and that is why you have woken.”

Huitzilopochtli rubbed his serpent staff and looked at his warriors curiously. “Tell me,” he said.


Great Lord,” the hummingbird warriors said, pointing to the slit that served for a window. “Behold!”

Huitzilopochtli looked. Below him was a city, or what had once been a city. The great buildings were tumbled ruins, the avenues lines of fire, and explosions shook the air.

“I thought the age of war was over,” he said blankly.

“Not only is it not over, Great Lord,” the hummingbird warriors said. “Look!”

Down below, as he watched, he saw machines blow families apart at the touch of a button on the other side of the world, and blood flow like water. He saw schools and hospitals dissolve into clouds of dust and smoke. He saw children crushed under the iron treads of crawling metal monsters, and death drift in the air, killing with each choking breath. He saw parents hug the bodies of their babies and try to coax them back to life.

And Huitzilopochtli was appalled.

“Where are the gods who usurped my place?” he asked. “What are they doing?”

The hummingbird warriors glanced at each other. “The gods are dead.”


“Their followers killed them,” the lead hummingbird warrior said. “They turned their gods into fetishes, into caricatures, and killed them with narrow factionalism and fighting. It’s now time for you to rise, Great Lord, and take back what is yours.”

“But how was it that I was woken? They do not worship me!”

The hummingbird warriors said nothing, just pointed. And Huitzilopochtli looked again.

In the ruins of a city, he saw a man cut the heart out of a body, as his own priests had once done to him in ritual sacrifice. He saw others cut off heads from captives, as he had once done to his sister, Coyolxauhqui, who had rebelled against their mother. He saw prisoners massacred, their bodies toppled in rows, and he watched gleeful killers claim divine justification for all their acts.

And Huitzilopochtli said not a word.

“Great Lord,” the hummingbird warriors said, handing him his shield and weapons. “Great Lord, it is time.”

And Huitzilopochtli the great god took up his shield and his snake sceptre, and walked out of the little room in which he had slept five hundred years and more.

Like it or not, the world had acquired a god for today.

He was not happy. He was in no way pleased with what awaited him.

They had summoned him forth of their own volition.

They would pay.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2014

Image from DeviantArt


  1. Is that Illiad where the gods are just sort of standing in the middle of the battlefields, watching the fighting?

    I think that might be in the Mahabharata as well, but reading that sort of thing always made me wonder how we would embody that sort of thing if we were honest enough to think about it.

    Of course we wouldn't because we don't go to war to commit violence anymore, do we? Just ask us: We go to war to prevent violence and to help people... not like those people from a long time ago.

  2. I honestly don't know what to say. I don't. As always, well written. As to the subject matter, I am left without words.

  3. Well written, especially, if to imagine war in Ukraine.

  4. Another great story Bill. This doG is one I could almost, sort of start to believe in. Almost, sort of. Still, I'll pass on belief in any doG thanks.
    No offense to those who do believe in a doG intended.

  5. The world gets the gods it deserves, one way or the other.


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