The Curse of the Aztec Prostitute

Archaeology has consumed me since the world history class I took in high school. What grabbed my attention was the recounting and pictures of various archaeological digs in Europe, The United States, and Mexico. Archaeologists had been able to piece together the lives and religion of early peoples by digging up their homes, burials, and middens.

After that history class, I spent my free time reading everything I could find in the library about archaeology, and by the time I was a senior, had decided archaeology would be my life’s work.

That required a Ph. D in Archaeology if I was to be considered more than just an amateur, and after seven years of study, I submitted my Ph. D thesis describing my conclusions about early Native American religious culture after reviewing the evidence I obtained at a dig of a village site in Montana. My thesis was accepted, published, and later that year, I donned the mortarboard and gown of a professor and was awarded my degree. I was proud of the diploma that conferred to me the title of Dr. Tom Reynolds, Doctor of Archaeology

The next fall, I accepted a teaching position at the University of Illinois in Chicago. While this position sufficed to furnish an income, I knew I would drift off into the obscurity of academia if I did not continue to do research and publish articles in the various publications about archaeology To this end, I began researching the Aztec civilization.

Cortes conquered the Aztecs with one goal in mind – to bring as much gold as he could find back to Spain. As a result, most of the contemporary writings were about military actions and the search for gold. Most written Aztec records were destroyed by the Spanish as being counter to the Catholic religion, and what few Spanish records that do exist are tainted by that same religion. Little was recorded about the Aztec way of life, and that would be the topic of my first paper as a full professor.

Not a lot of current data about the Aztec civilization existed in the published literature either. This was for one simple reason – the rain forests of Central Mexico had quickly swallowed up the cities once the Aztecs fled the attacks by Cortes or died of the diseases the Spanish brought with them. It is difficult to study something if you can't find it.

A few cities had been found, most of which were the current sites of major cities in Mexico, but the descriptions in the Spanish texts spoke of many, large cities further into the interior which contained vast amounts of gold. Were I able to locate even one and excavate even a small portion, I’d have material about which to write and publish, and further excavations of even one site could provide me enough material for an entire career.

In doing my research, I came across the name of the Friar who accompanied Cortes as the chaplain of the expedition, one Fr. Bartolemé de Olmedo of the order de la Merced. Via the Internet, I was fortunate enough to find a copy of a letter he sent to the Abbot of his monastery. Of particular interest to me was Fr. Olmedo’s recounting of Cortes’ meeting with and subsequent relationship with Cuauhtemoc, the last known ruler of the Aztecs, in the city of Tenochtitlan, now the center of Mexico City.

According to Cortes, he conquered Tenochtitlan in 1521 and captured Cuauhtemoc while he was fleeing across Lake Texcoco with his wife and family. Cortes was so impressed by the young ruler’s bravery in battle he did not kill him, but released him to go where he might.

Cortes then searched Tenochtitlan for the gold he believed to be there, but found less than he had anticipated. He subsequently recaptured Cuauhtemoc and tortured him in an attempt to learn the location of the gold of which he had been told by native informants.

Apparently Cuauhtemoc did give Cortes the information he sought, but Cortes kept Cuauhtemoc captive while he searched for the gold. It was during his search Cortes learned of a plot by Cuauhtemoc and two other minor Aztec rulers to kill him. As punishment, Cortes hanged all three in public as a lesson to other would-be resistance.

During the hanging, Cortes became aware Cuauhtemoc’s brother was attempting to incite the city residents to war. As Cuauhtemoc was the last of the three to be hanged, he was still strangling, but not yet dead. Cortes cut down Cuauhtemoc to avoid the uprising, and Cuauhtemoc lived.

Here is where the accounts begin to differ. Cortes’ account reports Cuauhtemoc survived only a few more days and then died and was buried at Ixcateopan in the state of Guerrero.

Fr. Olmedo’s version of the story was that Cortes agreed to allow Cuauhtemoc to leave the area under the threat of execution should he return. Cuauhtemoc left with his wife and family and went deep into the rain forest to a large city named Ixtlilxóchitl.

Fr. Olmedo believed Cuauhtemoc fled to Ixtlilxóchitl because he did not trust Cortes. The city was the location of a large repository of gold and was guarded by an elite force of Aztec warriors deemed too valuable to be lost fighting the usual battles with Cortes. He and his family would likewise be protected by these same warriors.

The location of the city was a closely guarded secret even among the Aztec rulers. Fr. Olmedo learned of it’s location by sending a native assistant to secretly follow Cuauhtemoc’s party because he had heard rumors of gold in the city and had other plans for that gold. He recorded the distance and directions in his letter to the Abbot in hopes the Abbot could arrange for another expedition to recover the gold for use by the monastery. As far as I could determine, that expedition did not happen.

Fr. Olmedo’s story was more than plausible to me. Cortes was known for his lack of respect for the Aztecs. In one day, his soldiers slaughtered three thousand of them under his orders, yet he respected Cuauhtemoc enough to free him after capture the first time and might have done so again. Since Cortes had more than enough troops left to easily put down any insurrection by the remaining Aztecs, he had no real reason to save Cuauhtemoc's life in order to stave off another battle.

The true reason must have been his respect for the man. He hung Cuauhtemoc as a demonstration of Spanish power, cut him down to spare his life, and then sent him to safety. The story of Cuauhtemoc’s death was just to show that even though spared, no man could resist the power of Cortes.

I wrote my research and conclusions into a proposal to the University for a grant to travel to the area, search for the city, and return with such items as I was able to recover. The information would bring fame to both me and to the University.

I was awarded a grant, though only enough for a very small initial expedition. It was promised that should I bring back conclusive proof I had found the city, a larger grant would be forthcoming.

After much planning, I determined I had only sufficient funding to allow one other person to accompany me. As soon as the grant was announced, I advertised for and received over twenty applications for the job of my assistant. Most were students working on a master’s thesis who wanted some field experience. A couple were Ph. D candidates, but I didn’t interview them. They were far enough along in the field to find a larger expedition fitting their subject of research.

I had looked over six applications and rejected them all when I found the application of Elena Mendez and I was pleased. As they say, “There is no greater joy in teaching students than to see the light come on in their eyes”. Most students work hard and do well, but one can tell they are just learning by rote. Elena was the opposite. I had taught her in three classes, and in each, she delved into the subject matter as if it was knowledge that sustained her life. I saw that light in her eyes after nearly every lecture.

Elena also had skills I believed would be invaluable in my quest. I read Spanish, though slowly, and I do not speak it well at all. Elena was born in the US after her parents had immigrated here from Mexico, and she grew up speaking both Spanish and English.

The third reason for choosing Elena was her chosen field of study. Her reason for applying was to further her studies in the language of the Aztecs as the peculiarities of the language was to be the topic of her master’s thesis. As she said when I interviewed her, the various pronunciations of the Aztec vowels and consonants had been described, but the syntax was still a mystery. If we were successful in locating Ixtlilxóchitl or any other ruins, she would copy the pictographs and use them in an attempt to determine the rules for the syntax of the language.

I confess there was a fourth reason as well, that being that Elena was quite a stunning woman. I did not let her prominent breasts, wide sensuous hips, long shining black hair and soft facial features influence my decision until after her interview, but those features did cement my decision. It would be more pleasant slogging through the rain forest with a beautiful young woman than with a sweating, cursing man.

We flew into Mexico City and stayed two nights at The Presidente Intercontinental in order to arrange transportation, a guide, and men to set up camp and carry supplies. I put our passports and my money in the hotel safe so they would not be lost or stolen on our expedition.

Alejandro, the guide I’d hired, drove us in his truck to our starting point at the ruins of Itzamkanac in what is now the Mexican state of Champece. According to Fr. Olmedo’s recounting, that was the point at which Cuauhtemoc and his family walked into the rain forest. We would begin at the ruins of the city and follow Fr. Olmedo’s directions for the two weeks I calculated it would take to reach the city.

I had engaged the services of four men to carry our supplies and a cook to prepare our meals. I would lead the expedition, but Alejandro was there to keep us away from the dangers of which we knew nothing.

We carried hammocks to sleep in because they’re lightweight and raise you off the floor of the rain forest. That’s keeps the creatures of the night off you and they’re pretty comfortable once you get used to sleeping on your back. They were more of a personal tent than just hammock because each had a fabric roof in case it rained during the night and mosquito netting along the sides. Each was somewhat wider than a normal yard hammock, wide enough two could sleep in one if they were very friendly.

The men carrying our supplies always strung our hammocks within a few feet of the fire. They hung their own in a spot some distance from the fire, I suppose to give us some privacy. When I asked Alejandro about that, it was a little difficult for me to understand his Spanish, but it was something to the effect that they wouldn’t want anybody watching them have sex with their wives and thought Elena and I wouldn’t either. I explained that Elena wasn’t my wife, but he just grinned and walked away.

On the tenth day, our guide excitedly returned from his position ahead of us and began jabbering in Spanish. Elena calmed him a little and then translated.

“Alejandro has found a large stone with writing on its surface. We should take a look.”

When we arrived at the location, the stone was in actuality a large slab of rock standing upright and embedded in the rain forest floor. Elena examined the pictographs on the stone, and then turned to me.

“The pictographs are Nahuatl. It says ‘yāwa weyaltēpetl tlatoāni’ which translates to ‘go city king’. I think this means ‘this way to the city of the king’.”

That stone encouraged me.

“This may be leading us to Ixtlilxóchitl, the city I’m looking for. According to my research, it was the last refuge of the last ruler of the Aztecs. Let’s keep going and see if we can find anything that will tell us for sure.”

Later that day, we arrived at a tree and vine covered hill which proved very difficult to climb owing to the steep slope of the sides. After two hours of pulling ourselves up by using the small trees and the vines that grew between them, we arrived at the summit and stopped to rest.

As I looked down the path up which we had come, I was thinking the steep slope could not have occurred naturally. Over the past days, we had come to many rises in the ground, but all were flatter in slope. This was the result of the inability of the soil to resist movement caused by the heavy rains that pelt this area during the wet season. Any steep slope would long ago have been flattened by erosion, and yet, this hill still stood. Something must be under the soil and holding it in position.

I looked over to where Elena lay on her back to tell her of my thoughts, but had to pause. I knew the climb would have been more strenuous for her than for me because she was a typical female, soft and slender without much muscle mass. I was wringing with sweat in the heat, and so was she.

In the open collar of her shirt I could see beads of sweat on the swell of her breasts, and there was a dark stain on her khaki shirt that covered the material over her breasts and then continued on down her belly to her pants. That same dark stain was present from her waistline in a vee shape that disappeared between her thighs. Those stains, while not exactly erotic, stirred my imagination to envision the curves that lay beneath that stained fabric.

Elena saw me looking and smiled.

“I must look a mess.”

“No, you just look tired and sweaty.”

She smiled.

“I am. I’d give a hundred dollars right now for a shower. I don’t suppose you have one in your backpack, do you?”

“No, but we crossed a stream a while back. The water looked clear to me, so maybe that would work.”

Elena let her head fall back to the ground and sighed.

“I’d just get all sweaty again coming back up this hill. How come it’s higher than any we’ve had to climb before?”

I stood up and moved to sit down beside Elena.

“I don’t know except that there has to be something under the topsoil to keep it in place. I’m going to dig down a little and see what it is. It’s probably just a rock formation. That’s what was under the last one. It just wasn’t as high.”

The topsoil was mostly decayed vegetable matter so it was easy to dig with my trowel. I dug down about six inches before my trowel hit stone. After enlarging the hole somewhat, it looked to me as if the stone was flat. Flat stones never occur in nature. A naturally broken stone will have a significant curve to the surface called a conchoidal fracture, but this looked as flat as a brick. I kept excavating and that didn’t change. What did change was the pictograph that I uncovered and my heart rate jumped when I realized what it was. The pictograph was the start of a word in Nahuatl.

I called to Elena to come have a look. When she bent down to peer into the shallow hole, she caught her breath.

“Keep uncovering it so I can see the rest.”

Half an hour later, Elena used her fingertips to brush that last of the soil from the engraved letters and then nodded.

“It says “īxtli kostik tēomeh nik ēstli titlāni”, literally - “face yellow gods to blood send ”. I’ve seen similar wording before in pictures of the temple ruins at Tenochtitlan. It was on the platform where human sacrifices were performed. I think it means here was where they sacrificed their victims. I don’t know what ‘face yellow’ means.”

I shook my head.

“This hill isn’t high enough to be an Aztec temple. They’re enormous structures – built high to reach the Gods. They wouldn’t think this would be close enough to the Gods.”

“Well, who else would have sent blood to the Gods?”

I said I didn’t know but that we’d spend a couple of days here to see if we could find any more clues that might tell us. As I’d done every night we camped, I sent two of the native porters back down to the stream to fill the big canvass water bag we carried while the guide built a tripod to hold it. Once they brought back the water and hung the bag from the tripod, I tossed in the right number of water purification tablets and then told Elena it would be safe to drink in about an hour.

She grinned.

“It’ll be safe enough to wash with right now, won’t it?”

When I said it would, she filled a small canvas bucket she took from her backpack, shouldered her backpack, and then walked off into the trees until I couldn’t see her.

She came back about half an hour later while our cook was preparing our evening meal.

“I feel almost human again. It wasn’t a shower, but just washing off the sweat and changing clothes helped a lot. What’s for dinner?”

That night, laying in my hammock, I went over what I knew about Aztec sacrifices. Because the sacrifices were considered by Cortes to be a heathen practice, he recorded them in great detail. There was a lot of information out there about the reasons, the ceremony and the process, so I had a lot to think about.

The Aztecs believed the Gods had bled and died to create life, and that in order to sustain life, the Aztecs had to give blood and die. In some cases, the humans sacrificed were war captives, and it was these captives who were killed during the mass sacrifices reported by Cortes and others. More often though, they were people chosen from the local population and went to their deaths willingly.

A willing victim was treated as if he was himself a god, and was well fed and lavished with comforts up until the appointed day. They were also provided with women as lovers. These women were prostitutes who were called “ahuianime” and were closely associated with the Goddess Xochiquetzal, the goddess of flowers, beauty, love, art, and sex for pleasure. They were trained in the traditional arts of women like weaving and pottery, but also in the art of pleasing men with music and art, and of course, sex.

Their association with Xochiquetzal also gave them a role in ritual sacrifices as priestesses. Little was known about how a woman became an ahuianime or what happened to them when they became too old for their assigned tasks.

It was then I remembered reading that the ahuianime painted their faces with yellow dye. Could we be standing on a minor temple to Xochiquetzal? I’d never read of any discovery like that before, but so little was known about the actual life of the Aztecs, it was possible. Other cultures built temples to specific gods.

It was during the second morning of excavating we uncovered several large stone slabs laying side by side on what appeared to be a terrace on the side of the hill. When I brushed away the remnants of soil, each slab was inscribed with more words in the Nahuatl language.

Elena looked at the slabs for almost five minutes and then turned to me with a questioning look on her face.

“These are the graves of prostitutes. Each slab has a name and the word “ahuianime” or prostitute. Why would they take such care to bury a common prostitute?”

“Because these women weren’t common prostitutes. They were prostitutes who were given to men before they were sacrificed. They were considered almost goddesses because of their training and responsibilities. I remembered last night they painted their faces with yellow dye, like the inscription stated.”

Elena chuckled.

“They must have been some really hot women to be worth being torn apart afterward.”

I grinned.

“Well, I don’t know of any written accounts that could attest to that, but they were trained in how to please men so they probably were.”

Elena was looking at the last grave slab, a slab much larger than the others, and she motioned to me.

“Come have a look at this one. It’s the same except it’s bigger and has some other writing and a pretty elaborate carving. The carving looks like a naked woman with a man, and she has something on her head…sort of like a crown.”

“What does it say?”

“Well, it has a name – Huixtocihuatl – but a different title. It’s ‘nāntli awiyāntin’ – mother prostitute. Under that it says something about stay away or leave alone, like a curse. Does that mean anything to you?”

“Well, Huixtocihuatl was a fertility goddess. I suppose it’s possible that was this woman’s name just like we name our girls Mary after Mary of the Bible. The mother prostitute thing, I don’t know. Maybe her daughters were prostitutes. Occupations tended to follow along family lines because girls were taught by their mothers and boys were taught by their fathers. Maybe she was a priestess of the temple and managed the temple prostitutes, if this is indeed a temple.”

“OK, but why the curse?”

I shook my head.

“I don’t have a clue unless they thought someone would try to open the grave. Usually important people were buried with gold and other valuables.”

“You think the gold is still there?”

I grinned.

“You want to open the grave even though it’s cursed? Aren’t you afraid of what might happen?”

Elena smiled.

“Tom, I said it was a curse, not that I believed it. All it says is basically ‘do not open’ and something about being changed. You’d think they’d give you a clue if that something was bad like you were going to turn into an animal or die or something.”

I’d been taking pictures of what we’d found so far, and finding the graves of so many prostitutes in one place with a curse on one was sure to get me another grant for a full expedition to determine what this place had been. I thought maybe a look inside the cursed grave might give me some insight that no one had suspected before and that would make doubly sure I got to come back.

The slab was really heavy, but by using a combination of our shovels, some small trees as levers, and plain brute strength, we managed to raise the stone and move it to the side. Under the stone was a stone coffin rather than an actual grave and inside that coffin was what I’d expected to find, just the skeletal remains of a person, but this burial was different. Instead of being just a stone box only large enough to hold all the bones, the ossuary was more like an Egyptian sarcophagus in that the bones were laid out as they would have been in life instead of being unarticulated and simply piled inside. The length of the femurs and width of the pelvis indicated the remains were female.

It was unusual for the woman’s remains to have been placed in a stone coffin rather than just buried. Typically, rulers were buried in the ground and after sufficient decomposition time had elapsed, the bones were exhumed and placed in an ossuary. All rulers were male. Surely this woman was of very high status for some reason or another. I took several pictures and then we replaced the slab. I hadn’t touched anything inside even though there were several gold necklaces draped over the ribs and small pieces of gold work were on each side of the body. I would need the permission of INAH before removing anything from the site. The pictures would help convince INAH to send along one of their archaeologists to assist with the formal dig.

At dinner that night, I told Elena we had done all we could at that site without INAH permission, and that tomorrow, we would again follow my map to the supposed site of Ixtlilxóchitl. Elena nodded, but looked as if something was on her mind. She was just staring into the fire.

“Elena, is something bothering you?”

“No, well, yes. When we opened the grave I felt a chill run down my back.”

I chuckled.

“You think it was the curse?”

Elena shrugged.

“I don’t know but I’ve felt sort of odd ever since.”

“How so?”

She shrugged again.

“I don’t know how to explain it except I feel uneasy, like something is going to happen.”

“Have you ever opened a grave before? If you haven’t, it’s normal to feel a little odd your first time. I sure did. I think it’s the realization that someday that’s how we’re all going to end up. You’ll feel better after you have a night’s rest. Speaking of that, moving that slab was hard work and we need start walking again tomorrow. I think I’m going to slide into my hammock for the night.”

I’d stripped down to my underwear as I always did in order to get some relief from the heat and then climbed into my hammock. I was lying there mentally writing my proposal for a formal dig the next summer when I felt the mosquito netting being drawn to the side. It was so dark under the trees I couldn’t see anything, but a second later, I didn’t need to see.

Elena was naked when she climbed into my hammock. I knew that because I reached out defensively and touched her naked firm breasts.

“Elena, what are you doing?”

“Nēwatl awilnelīstli tehuatl”, was what I heard her say though I had no idea what that meant. After a little wriggling around that threatened to dump us both out on the ground, Elena stretched out beside me. I felt her hand on my chest and then her nails lightly raking down my belly. A second later, she pulled my underwear down and her soft slender fingers closed around my cock and began stroking.

“nēwatl tekīski tehuatl”, she whispered, and pulled my hand to her breast.

“Elena, we shouldn’t be doing this. I’m a professor and you’re a student. I can’t –“

Elena put her hand over my mouth, threw her thigh over my legs and then rolled her body almost on top of me. I felt her moving my cock down a little and then the feeling of coarse hair brushing my cock head. After a few attempts, Elena gently forced my cock head between her swollen lips and then moaned as she slowly impaled herself.

I was so shocked by what was happening I couldn’t do anything except lay there. I was shocked by her actions as well as by the fact Elena seemed to be ready for me. All I felt was a tight, slippery wetness slowly engulfing my cock. Once Elena was pushing her mound against the base of my cock, she moaned and began rocking her body to move my cock in and out of her. When she began doing that, I lost the will to resist. I couldn’t resist when she lifted her breast to my mouth either. She moaned and made two quick, short strokes of her body over my cock when I pinched her thick, erect nipple between my lips.

To say I was awestruck would be an understatement. An hour before, Elena had been a graduate student doing the translations I needed. Now, she was a lover such as I’d never experienced. With every motion of her body, Elena was taking me closer to the point where I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from filling her with my sperm.

That point came after she caught her breath, strained to get my cock as deep inside her as she could, and then gasped “tehuatl nēwatl wachtli”. I groaned at the first spurt, then groaned again when Elena cried out and began rocking her body over my cock in quick, short strokes. After two more spurts, Elena was still shaking and stroking herself over my cock. It wasn’t until I slipped out of her she did anything other that that. Once I did, she rolled out of the hammock and was gone into the darkness.

I laid there in my hammock trying to figure out what had just happened. I didn’t think I’d dreamed the whole thing and a quick check of my cock confirmed that. It was still a little wet. I lifted that hand to my face and caught the scent of a woman. No, it was no dream. It was real.

Sometime in trying to figure all that out, I fell asleep. I must have slept very well, because daylight was already beaming down through the trees when I woke up. I got dressed and then went to find Elena.

She was rolling up her hammock and laughed when I walked up.

“It’s about time you got out of bed. We’re all packed up and ready to go. I had the cook save you a cup of coffee and he’s ready to cook your breakfast.”

Elena seemed as happy as could be and she stayed that way all morning. I figured she might be a little embarrassed, but she wasn’t. In fact, she didn’t act like that morning was any different from any other. When we stopped for lunch, she wanted to talk about what we’d do if we found Cuauhtemoc’s grave.

“Will he be like the woman at the other site – in a stone coffin?”

“Well, if it’s like the other Aztec royal burials we know about, no. The stone box will be about half the size of the woman’s and his bones will be stacked on top of each other. He’ll probably have been buried with a lot more gold though because he was the last ruler of the Aztecs, that is unless the Spanish took everything the Aztec’s had.

“Will we get any of the gold we find?”

I shook my head.

“No. By Mexican law, any gold and anything of historical value belongs to the Mexican government. I’ll be able to study it all I want, but it’ll stay in Mexico.’

“So we go to all this work and all you get is being able to write a paper?”

I smiled at Elena's naivete.

"Yes, but as you’re going to find out once you get your doctorate, colleges don’t really care how well you teach or what you did for them last year. They want to know what you’re going to do this year and the next to keep the government money and private donations coming in. Research and publishing are how a professor keeps his job…or her job."

It was almost time to stop for the night when our guide came running back to camp jabbering in Spanish at about a hundred words a minute. Once again, Elena made him stop and then tell her slowly. When he finished, she smiled at me.

“Alejandro says a few hundred meters ahead is another hill, but much larger than the one we found before. He said it’s taller than the trees and it would take all day for a man to walk around it. He’s probably exaggerating, but do you think it might be the city you’re looking for?”

“We won’t know until we get there and find something with the name of the city. There might be a few stones along the way. The Aztecs marked the roads between their cities. That’s what that first stone we found was – a route marker on the road to the city of the king.”

It was too late to go ahead because the time between daylight and darkness in the rain forest is minutes, not hours. We could make the site, but would have to set everything up in the dark. Instead I told the cook to start dinner while two of the other men set up our hammocks. I sent the other two to find water and fill our water bag. When they came back and hung the bag from a low tree limb, Elena filled her little canvas bucket and walked off out of sight again.

Dinner was the same food we’d been eating, dried food that was light to carry and easy to cook. We ate more to fill ourselves than because it tasted good. By the time the sun went down, Elena said she was ready for bed. There was no sense in me staying by the fire by myself, so I went to my hammock, stripped down to my underwear, and then rolled in.

I was lying there wondering if Elena would come back, and about fifteen minutes later, she pulled back the mosquito netting and climbed in on top of me. She pulled down my underwear like she had before, pulled my cock up flat against my belly, then spread her hair-covered lips and closed them over my shaft. After pulling my hands to her breasts, she started rubbing her clit on the underside my cock. I knew there was no use in resisting, and I really didn’t want to, so I just lay there on my back and stroked her nipples while she rubbed her clit against the underside of my cock.

It wasn’t long before my cock was wet all the way from tip to base and I was starting to hump up with each stroke. Elena raised up then, pushed my stiff cock back, and impaled herself.

It was the same snug wetness I’d felt swallowing my cock the night before and it was just as erotic. Elena rode my cock slowly and each time she was sitting on my legs, she rocked her hips forward and pushed my cock inside her a little more. I’d never experienced that with any other woman and it was driving me to cumming way too fast. Each time she did that, my cock head got pushed into something inside her that was incredibly soft and wet. When she pulled back up, it felt like her body was sucking at my cock.

I was surprised by how fast and how hard Elena came. She was stroking her body over my cock slowly when she gasped and arched her back. That drove my cock back into that soft wet place again and I groaned. Elena moaned then and started stroking my cock faster, then faster still. I couldn’t hold back and groaned again as the first spurt raced up my cock and splashed into that same soft wet place.

I knew it wasn’t possible that Elena had felt that, but it seemed like she did. As soon as my cock throbbed out that first shot, she cried out and dropped down with her breasts mashed into my chest. Her stokes after that were the rapid rocking up and down of her pelvis. I groaned as my cock spurted a second and then a third time, and then groaned again because Elena didn’t stop. She kept dancing her body up and down over my cock until it slipped out and she couldn’t put it back in. As soon as that happened, she slipped out of my hammock and was gone again.

So there I lay until I went to sleep, still confused about why Elena was coming to my hammock and making love to me in ways I found incredibly erotic. She’d been completely professional all day long and hadn’t even given me a knowing smile.

The next morning, I decided I had to find out, so as we were sitting by the fire finishing our coffee I asked if she’d slept well. Elena smiled.

“You know, the first two nights or so, I didn’t. I was scared to death a snake or some bug would crawl into my hammock. The last two nights though, I’ve slept like a baby.”

“Any dreams?”

Elena thought for a second and then frowned.

“No, not that I can remember. Why?”

“Well, Elena, the last two nights, you’ve come to my hammock and…well, I enjoyed it but I can’t figure out your motive.”

Elena looked shocked and irritated at the same time.

“I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. You think I gave myself to you…twice? Why would I even think of doing that? You’re a professor and I’m your student, well, not really your student anymore, but you’re still teaching me.”

I shook my head.

“No, I don’t just think that. I know. I just don’t know why.”

Elena smiled.

“I think it was you who had the dream. Don’t you think if we did that, I’d know?”

“Well, yes, I suppose you would, but I didn’t dream it. If it wasn’t you, who would it be? Unless one of these native guys is really a woman, it had to be you. There’s not another woman within a hundred kilometers of here.”

Elena smiled.

“Well, I appreciate that you thought about me…I think…but you had to have dreamed it because I never left my hammock either night.”

Apparently, Elena thought that was the end of that conversation because she smiled at me again.

“What are we going to do today, dig up more dead bodies with curses?”

“No, we need to get to this hill Alejandro found and see if it’s just a hill or if it’s something else. If it’s just a hill, we keep on going. If it’s another structure, we do some preliminary digs to determine what it really is.”

“If it’s the city you’re looking for, what do we do?”

“Well, we take enough pictures to prove it’s at least something that bears further investigation and then go home. I’ll write a preliminary thesis to attach to the grant request and if all goes well, I’ll be back here next summer with a large enough expedition to do some serious excavation.”

“Can I come back with you. I’ve learned a lot so far, and I want to keep learning.”

I shrugged.

“I’d be happy to have you come along. You’ll probably be one of four or five interns to do so. We’ll need a lot of hands to find artifacts and catalog them.”

Elena finished her coffee and then grinned.

“Well, let’s get started then.”

The hill was more of a mountain and wasn’t really visible until we were right at the base. The typical rain forest overgrowth had disguised it to a great extent, although I could make out what I believed to be the corner of a pyramid. A few minutes work with my trowel proved this to be the case. The stone was rectangular and mated to the stones above, below, and to each side so perfectly it would have been difficult to slide a piece of card stock into the joint.

Elena smiled when I showed her.

“So this is a real Aztec temple?”

“It looks like it to me. We’ll make some trial digs around the base. If it is a temple there should be steps up to the top on the west side. We’ll look there first.”

An hour of digging uncovered two steps, one of which had pictographs on the face. Elena looked at the pictographs for almost fifteen minutes before turning to me and grinning.

“It says ‘tī tēomeh nik māka ēstli īwan mikīstli’ which means “we gods to give blood and death”. I think it’s basically saying ‘this way to the sacrifice’. That means we found a temple, doesn’t it?”

I nodded and smiled.

“Yes, it sure looks that way. Now we need to find out the name. That’s probably at the top where the shrine and altar would be.”

It took us four hours to get to the top, but along the way, some of the steps had been uncovered by rain eroding the soil that covered them so it was easier going. At the top were two structures covered in vines, and when the men cut away the vines, the walls of the north structure revealed more pictographs. Elena studied them for a while and then told me what they said.

“This string of pictographs say this is a temple for “tlākah teokuitlatl”. I don’t really understand. Tlākah means people and teokuitlatl basically means ‘divine poop’. Did they build a temple with a bathroom?”

I had to chuckle.

“No. The Aztecs thought gold was the excrement of the gods. This is a temple for the people of gold. That sounds like what the friar wrote to his abbot, that the city where Cuauhtemoc went was filled with gold. Let’s go see if there’s anything on the other structure.”

On the wall of the second structure was another set of pictographs that Elena translated to “life give gods to” or in other words, the place where sacrifices were carried out. There should have been an altar of sorts, just a stone table where the victim of the sacrifice would be killed. After a little digging, we did find part of the table itself. Time and the elements had weathered it enough it had broken in half and fallen from its supports.

After we’d found the altar, Elena turned to me.

“So where do we look for the gold?”

I shook my head.

“We don’t. I’ve seen enough to convince myself this might be Ixtlilxóchitl, and the pictures I took will at least convince the college board it’s worth a formal dig to find out. Even if it isn’t Ixtlilxóchitl, there’s still a lot of new information to be gathered here. Most of the known ruins in Mexico were destroyed over time as new peoples constructed new cities. This place seems to be undisturbed. It will take an extensive survey and application of what we know about other Aztec sites to determine where we should dig. If we just start digging in random places we might destroy something important. We’ll have to have permission from INAH too.”

“So we go home?”

“Yes, we go home and use what pictures and data we have to propose a larger expedition next summer.”

We camped that night in the flat area in front of the temple, and after we ate, Elena and I sat by the fire and talked. She wanted to know what a formal dig expedition would look like. I explained we’d have to have several men to carry supplies and take care of the camp while I directed a crew of graduate students in where to dig. I said it was probable the INAH would send along a couple archaeologists and the Mexican government would probably send a few troops of the Mexican Army to make sure we didn’t try to make it out of the country with any artifacts.

Elena frowned.

“That sounds like a lot of people. Nobody will have much privacy, will they?”

“No, but that’s just part of a dig. You get used to it after a week or so. There were a hundred at the dig I worked in Montana.”

I grinned then.

“I’ll make sure to bring a portable shower, even if you’re the only woman who makes the trip.”

“Well, that’ll be nice. I can hardly wait to get back to civilization and a hot shower. I’m going to stand in it for at least ten minutes.”

We talked a little more about what we’d bring along and how we’d go about the dig, but Elena seemed to be drifting away. I’d ask her a question and she’d shake her head and then say “What did you say”

The fire had burned down to just coals that cast a red glow on anything close when Elena stood up and started unbuttoning her shirt. Before I could say anything, she pulled it off her shoulders and then unhooked her bra. I started to ask what she was doing when she looked at me with a sort of blank look on her face. Her voice was low, soft, and a little husky.

“Tehuatl awilnelīstli Huixtocihuatl.”

I had no idea what Elena was saying, but I recognized the name – Huixtocihuatl, the name of the Aztec prostitute we’d found in the grave at the first site.

“Elena, what’s happening here?”

Elena had her pants down around her knees by then. She stroked her mound and smiled.

“Sīwatl okīchtli nēki yehuatl īti.”

In about ten seconds, Elena stepped out of her pants and then her panties. She was smiling when she walked to me, took my hand, and pulled me toward my hammock. Once there, she unbuttoned my shirt and then stuck her hand in my pants and found my cock.

“Sīwatl mītl okīchtli nēki ītik.”

With that, she pulled off my shirt and pushed her breasts into my bare chest while she fumbled with my belt buckle.

It was going to happen again, but it was different this time. I didn’t understand anything Elena was saying, but it was obvious what she wanted. After feeling her rigid nipples against my chest, I wanted it too.

Once she had my belt buckle undone and my pants unzipped, Elena climbed into my hammock, spread her legs wide, and held out her arms.

“Nēwatl mītl tehuatl tlālia ītik.”

I didn’t have to understand what Elena said because as soon as I climbed into the hammock, she pulled me between her open thighs, grabbed my cock, and pulled it down to her hair-fringed lips.

I wasn’t surprised that she was wet and slippery. She had been the other two times as well. When she found her entrance with my cock head and then arched up to push it inside her, I forgot about everything except the softness of her lips on my shaft and the snug spot just inside her my cock was being pushed through.

Once she had my cock inside her, Elena started pulling on my hips and lifting herself up to make my cock stroked in deeper. By then, I didn’t need any encouragement.

It wasn’t the easiest thing to do because in the hammock Elena was lower than I was, but when I started stroking my cock in and out, she pushed her body up into every stroke. It was working for her as well as for me, because once we had the rhythm established, she pulled my face down to her breasts and poked her right nipple at my lips.

It didn’t take Elena very long before she was gasping and then holding her breath and lifting her body up to drive my cock deep. I felt her hands begin stroking my back, and then as the contractions that raised her up into my strokes became stronger, her nails poking into my back. A second later, those nails were digging into my ass cheeks and Elena was beginning to writhe under me.

I lost it then and rammed my cock inside her, groaned, and then groaned again as the first spurt flew out the tip of my cock and inside Elena. She shrieked and began rocking her body up and down so quickly I couldn’t begin to keep up. I’d shot a third time when she cried out, clamped her thighs around me to hold my cock inside her, and then began to quiver. After a few seconds, she gasped, arched up again and stayed there, her thighs shaking against me as little contractions milked at my cock.

With a sigh, she eased back down, and tried to push me off her, but I wasn’t going to let her go, not this time.

“Elena, don’t leave. We need to talk about this.”

Elena rolled us both to our sides and while I was trying to find some way to keep the hammock from turning over, she slipped out through the mosquito netting and was gone. By the time I got out, put on my pants and shoes and walked to her hammock, Elena was lying there with the thin blanket pulled up to her neck and asleep.

I wasn’t about to go back to my hammock and lay there trying to figure out why this kept happening. I shook Elena’s hammock until she murmured, “Is it morning already?”

“No, it’s not, but we have to talk.”

I felt the hammock move as Elena sat up a little and then heard her gasp.

“How come I’m naked? Where are my clothes?”

“They’re out here on the ground where you took them off. Don’t you remember?”

“No. What did I do?”

“We were sitting by the fire when you took off all your clothes and said something to me in Nahuatl. The only word I understood was Huixtocihuatl, the name of the woman in the grave at the other site. After that, you led me to my hammock and took off my clothes, then climbed in and pulled me on top of you.”

“We had sex?”

“Yes.”

Elena’s brow wrinkled up.

“I remember having a dream. I don’t remember much, just little glimpses. I was with a man but I didn’t know who he was.”

“What were you doing?”

Elena thought for a moment then gasped.

“Oh my God. I was naked except for a headdress thing made of feathers…like the one we saw in the carving on that grave. The man was…we were having sex. I don’t know why I’d have dreamed anything like that unless…’

I felt Elena reach through her mosquito netting and move her hand around until she found my arm.

“Now I’m scared to death. If what you said about that woman is true…I was having sex with that man just before he was sacrificed. Why would I dream something like that unless there really was a curse on her grave?”

“Elena, there is no curse. I don’t know if you were awake or dreaming, but you were there in my hammock with me, just like the other two times.”

“I really did do it before?”

“Yes, the night we found the grave and last night.”

“Then it has to be the curse. Sometimes people can believe in something enough they think it’s real, can’t they? Maybe subconsciously I believe in the curse and it’s making me do those things.”

Well, that could have been true. It had been documented among the practitioners of the various “Vudu” religions in the Caribbean Islands. It was not unknown for people to lose the ability to walk or see or even die because a Vudu priest had placed a curse on them. When medically examined, there was nothing wrong with the victims. They were stricken only because they believed in the supposed curse.

“Elena, if that’s the case, you can’t keep thinking that way.”

“I don’t know if I can or not. I don’t try to think that way. Maybe you should tie me in my hammock every night until we get back and I can see a psychiatrist.”

Well, that’s what ended up happening. For the two weeks it took to get back to Mexico City, I used strips of cloth to tie Elena’s wrists and legs to her hammock. It couldn’t have been the most comfortable way to sleep, but she didn’t come to my hammock anymore.

We arrived in Mexico City in late afternoon. I booked hotel rooms at The Presidente Internationale for me and Elena and then got my money and our passports from the hotel safe. After paying Alejandro and the other men. I called Elena to see what time she wanted to have dinner.

Elena was still dressed in pants and a shirt when she walked into the lobby, but she looked great. Her hair was a shining mass of waves that draped her shoulders and she was smiling.

“I did what I said. I got in the shower and just stood there for ten minutes to wash off the rain forest. I feel great now.”

I held up my arm.

“You look pretty great too. Shall we find someplace to eat?”

That place to eat was a restaurant in the hotel, so we didn’t have far to walk. It was a short trip from the restaurant back to Elena’s room too, and I found myself wishing it had been longer.

A lot had changed over the month we’d been searching in the rain forest. I’d found what I believed to be a new site, maybe even the site of Ixtlilxóchitl. Regardless of how it turned out – Ixtlilxóchitl or some other city – my name would be permanently attached to the find. While that might seem to some to be a minor accomplishment, for an archaeologist it’s the equivalent of a botanist having a plant named after him or her.

The other thing that had changed was me and how I looked at Elena. Before, she’d been an eager and talented student. Now, we’d grown pretty close and it wasn’t the sex. I still didn’t understand the sex, but it was sitting by the fire every night and talking with her that changed me. She came with me to study the language, but when we found the first site, she was as interested in what the carvings on the stone meant as much as interpreting what they said.

Her interest continued to grow at the major site, and she’d wanted to know everything I could tell her about the Aztec culture and religion. I was teaching, but it didn’t feel like teaching. If felt like a conversation between two peers. Once we flew out of Mexico City and back to Chicago, those evening conversations would end, and I didn’t like thinking about that.

I walked Elena to her door and started to say we needed to leave for the airport by eight. I didn’t get the words out though, because she looked at me and said, “Tehuatl awilnelīstli Huixtocihuatl”. That sounded a lot like what she said when she climbed into my hammock at the large site.

“Elena, what did you just say?”

She smiled.

“I said, ‘you sex Huixtocihuatl’, in other words, make love to Huixtocihuatl.”

“I suppose you’re going to tell me it’s that curse again.”

She grinned shyly.

“No. There never was a curse.”

“Then why?”

Elena stroked the tip of her index finger down my chest.

“The first class I took that you taught, I was impressed with the way you taught it. It felt like you were speaking directly to me even though the lecture hall was full. The second class, being impressed turned into having a crush on you. After the third class, I thought I loved you and wanted to be alone with you so I could tell you that. I couldn’t do anything about it until the semester ended, and when it did, I didn’t know how. Then you advertised for a student to help you on this expedition.

“When you accepted me, I was thrilled, but I still didn’t know how to tell you what I felt. When we found those graves, that gave me the idea. That stone didn’t really have a curse carved into it. The pictographs said she was the priestess in the carving. I still couldn’t just come right out and say I wanted to be with you, so I invented the curse so I’d have a reason for showing you.”

“So, everything you did was just acting like you were a prostitute?”

Elena smiled and stroked my cheek.

“No. That part was real. I don’t know how an Aztec prostitute would have acted. It was just me doing what I felt like doing.”

“So where do we go from here?”

Elena let her hand drop to my belt buckle.

“Sīwatl mītl okīchtli nēki ītik. That means ‘Woman arrow man must inside’. I think putting your arrow inside me would be a good place to start.”

“Are you sure that’s something you really want or is still just a crush of a student for her professor?”

“Come inside with me and find out.”

Elena stroked her fingertip over my lips.

“If you don’t come in, I’ll put a real Aztec curse on you. Your ears will turn purple and your testicles will fall off.”

Elena pulled off her top, bra and jeans as soon as we were standing beside her bed, then laid down and held out her arms.

“Come make love to me like I’m an Aztec prostitute.”

I chuckled as I pulled off my clothes.

“I’m not sure I know how to do that.”

Elena grinned.

“Just screw me like it’s the last time you’ll ever screw again.”

“Wouldn’t you like a little foreplay to get in the mood?”

Her eyes were dreamy and her voice was soft and sensuous then.

“I’ve been thinking about this all day long. I won’t need any foreplay until the second time.”

Well, Elena didn’t need any foreplay, but I couldn’t resist kissing her stiff, thick nipples and slipping a finger between her swollen hair-fringed lips. She was already wet, and she moaned when my fingertip brushed her clit.

“Take me now, just like you did in the hammock.”

It was better on a bed than in the hammock because I didn’t have to bend backwards to get my cock in her. My cock slid into Elena’s snug entrance and just kept going until we were pressed tight together. I wanted that feeling to last forever, so I didn’t hurry. My strokes were slow and deep, at least they were that way until Elena started arching up with every stroke.

I’d never been with a woman who did that and it was unbelievable erotic. One second I was feeling her wet warmth sliding over my cock and the next I was having to hold back. It got harder to hold back when she wrapped her legs around my waist and pulled me down tight against her breasts with her arms. She was making love to my cock with her body, and I felt her stiff nipples raking through the hair on my chest.

I also felt her heart racing and her chest starting to heave. We climbed the slope together, and at the end, everything was just a blur of my cock spurting inside Elena while she dug her nails into my back and her body became shuddering passion hanging from my back by her legs. I don’t remember how many times she gasped and then cried out. All I remember is the feeling of her quaking thighs against my sides and her hands on my ass trying to pull my cock inside her deeper.

When my cock slipped out of Elena, she slowly unwrapped her legs from my back and then lay there spread-eagled on the bed.

“It’s off to the sacrifice with you now”, she giggled.

I raised up on my arms so I could look at her.

“You’re going to cut out my heart now?”

Elena grinned.

“Oh no. You don’t get off that easy. The sacrifice is for you to make me want to do this again…and then again.”

Well, it wasn’t all that much of a sacrifice because I enjoyed every second of it. It was surprising how little foreplay Elena wanted before she climbed on top of me, impaled herself on my semi-stiff cock, and then proceeded to make love to both of us. When she came that time, she hung her head, groaned, “Oh God, I’m there”, and then her body shook hard enough I had to hold her up by her armpits so she wouldn’t fall down. Since I was cumming at the same time, she did end up falling down on my chest, but her hips were still stroking her passage over my cock. She didn’t stop until it slipped out again.

Elena rolled to her side then, snuggled up against me and kissed me until I had to stop her to breathe, and then murmured, “I’ll want this again in the morning, so you have to stay with me tonight”.

I did stay with Elena that night and the next because we couldn’t get a flight back to Chicago for another day. Well, we could have, but Elena didn’t like when the earlier flight left.

“Let’s stay another night and fly home tomorrow. I won’t want to go then either, but at least we’ll have one more night together.”

Elena wrote her Master’s thesis that fall, and got her degree that spring. I spent the first semester writing up what I’d found in another proposal for a grant, and spent the second semester selling it to the board and the Mexican government. They agreed both sites were worth investigation, and by May, I was making the arrangements.

Elena and I will have six graduate students with us this time, and the expedition with all the men to carry supplies and take care of setting up and maintaining camp will number thirty. All the grad students have a list of what they need to take, and they’re excited about spending the summer on a virgin dig.

Elena is excited too. She found a hammock made for two people, so that’s what we’re taking for a bed. She said she did some research and found some illustrations of the positions the Aztecs used to have sex in a hammock and she wants to try them all.

As it turned out, we’ll have four female grad students and two male. It seems most men go into science or engineering, but women like exploring the past. I’m a little nervous about how that’s going to work out. Elena told me when she was explaining to the female grad students what they needed to take with them, Evelyn asked if couples ever formed on a dig. Elena said she told her yes, that happened sometimes, and that it wouldn’t be a problem as long as the dig went according to plan. She also said Virginia and Estelle looked at each other and grinned, so maybe it’ll all work out OK.

Just to be on the safe side, I told the guys they needed to pack a few boxes of condoms in their gear. I said condoms came in handy for a lot of things in the rain forest, but the smiles on George’s and Joe’s faces told me they understood what I was talking about.

We’ll see, I guess. We’ll be at the first site for two weeks and at the main site for the rest of the three months. We’ll have an archaeologist and two assistants from INAH along, so we’ll be able to recover and catalogue any artifacts we find. We won’t begin to make a complete dig on either site, but there’s always next year. Elena will be working on her Ph. D thesis by then and since we live together now, I’m helping her with some of the detail work.

Elena changed her course of study from the Aztec language to the sacrificial practices of the Aztecs, and as she learns more, she likes to play-act about the time leading up to the sacrifice. I always end up being the man marked for sacrifice and Elena is the prostitute assigned to make my last days the best I’ve ever experienced. After Elena doing what her research suggests Aztec prostitutes did, I can imagine those who were sacrificed were happy. I always am.

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