NOTE ON THE DANCING GODS

The Dancing Gods is a story or short novel I wrote mostly for fun at the time of Chavez’s first attempted coup d’état.  Whether it has any connection to the politics of what has happened since in  Venezuela, I leave to readers to decide. The spiritualist scenes are based on a real cult in this country, though I’ve imagined a lot there too. María Lionza is a force in the lives of many people.

CHAPTERS 1 TO 3

CHAPTER I


SAÚL

It’ll soon be dawn.  It’s going to be a historic day, and though there’s no need to make a fuss about it, one must admit there’s a certain satisfaction in the idea of the light coming up on impending chaos.  A lot of orderly work and discipline and sacrifice – even blood sacrifice – have gone into preparing this outbreak of disorder.  A nice paradox.  Of course there have been accidents too.  So, imagine – a thin band of metallic light on the horizon of the inert sea, growing wider till it touches a rocky shore, grey sand, waves breaking lazily – and beyond, the whole country stretching inland, unaware of the message the light is bringing.  Caracas, the great capital, shacks piled over some hillsides and over others terraced villas – Continue reading

CHAPTERS 4 TO 6

CHAPTER 4


SAÚL

Now everyone begins to be involved.  All their little problems, little tragedies, little mysteries, complicated and aggravated by the circumstances of war.  And how many of them understand at all the implications of what’s happening, or have any sense of being part of an upheaval from the roots – of being characters, if only pawns, in a game of destiny?  Almost no one.  They’re concerned only with their private predicaments…


HELENA

Help!  Oh dear!  Grandma’s feelings are hurt!  Muddled, crushed, disappointed!  Someone stepped on the pansy.  That man was not what he appeared to be.  Continue reading

CHAPTERS 7 TO 8

CHAPTER VII


SAÚL

There’s one spirit that’s greater than the rest.  She has power over bodies and minds and a man must woo her and show her his worth to get her on his side.  María of the lion’s grace, the lion’s fierce swiftness, María whose eyes are deep as forest pools and lead into the cavernous mysteries of the earth, María who flies on the streaming wind of her heaven and leads her chosen warriors to their fulfilment.  Chosen warrior.  The warrior’s mate, too, will resemble her, will have her pride and her sleek, dark beauty – and if she gives him, because she can, oh yes she can, the right to transgress, Continue reading

CHAPTERS 9 TO 11

CHAPTER IX


HELENA

I lay in bed for a while in the morning after I woke, with my mind drifting over pictures of the last few days’ events.  I was enough in control to steer clear of the most distressing points, the jagged rocks in a stormy sea, and I remained calm.  The biggest pain, Silvano’s death, was constantly present, like a worsening of the climate or a decrease in eye-sight, something I was just going to have to get used to. Continue reading

CHAPTERS 12 TO 14

CHAPTER XII

HELENA

Gálvez’s people had won in Mucutay, but the situation was not as clear in Caracas.  The plane I went on was private and was allowed to leave Mucutay without delay, but it circled the Caracas airport – the military airport, in the city – several times before the pilot must have felt confident that his friends were in control on the ground and made up his mind to land.  They were not my friends, and their grim yet cocky attitude made me nervous.  I walked away from the plane as fast as I could. Continue reading

CHAPTERS 15 TO 16

CHAPTER XV

 

SAÚL

Leaving Diana behind was the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life but I had to do it.  Was it María that made me look back when she jumped?  Most of the time I was watching my feet on the track in the dark, but I turned suddenly and saw her rush out and leap over the edge.  I could clearly see her hair spread out round her head against the light from inside the castle.  She didn’t shout.  Her long, sweet body (I’ll think it through once and never again) fell straight down – two hundred metres, that drop must be – and smashed on the rocks at the bottom.  Continue reading