Pass The Pen: Gods and Monsters
by Liv

Author's notes: We leave Horatio for a while and find out what
Archie's been up to...

********

Archie woke up with a start. The room was pitch black, save for the
thin, piercing shaft of light that shone through. He turned to his
side on the straw-coloured floor and remembered where he was. Where
was he exactly? The last thing he remembered was being locked in here
and told to wait until they were ready to take him to the leader.
Archie had no idea how long he had been there, but his body groaned
with the feeling of cramped muscles after sleeping in such an
uncomfortable position for so long. Gingerly he massaged his stiff
neck and shoulders trying to loosen the tension within him.

Suddenly, Archie heard footsteps outside the door. He quickly got up,
and felt a rush of pins and needles shoot through his legs.

"Who is it?" demanded Archie, as if his privacy were being invaded.

The door swung open, and three tribesmen were standing before him.
They eyed him up and down.

The tribesmen began to communicate amongst themselves, gesticulating
towards his battered shoes and tattered clothes. One of the tribesmen
came up close to Archie and stroke a lock of his hair between his
thumb and forefinger, as if it were a piece of ribbon. Archie didn't
shy away at his touch, but let the tribesman examine him. He poked a
finger in Archie's sunken cheekbones and traced his cherub lips with
his forefinger. As the tribesman examined Archie with his left hand,
he traced his own face with his right hand, as if trying to ascertain
the physiognomical difference between them. Archie's pug nose was the
tribesman's broad flat one, the creamy Caucasian complexion
contrasted with the tribesman's Negroid dark skin, and Archie's
ribbons of blonde hair flowing past his shoulders was the tight,
black coils of hair cropped close the tribesman's head.

Finally, the tribesman cupped Archie's face with both hands, smiled a
wide coconut-white smile, and said the only welcoming word of English
Archie had heard since his arrival: "come".

So, Archie, willowy, blonde and blue-eyed Archie, dutifully followed
the tall, toned, animal-skin clad tribesmen, into the cool night, up
a long flight of stairs, into a stone temple. Archie felt a sense he
was being escorted to an important evening function; as he entered
the temple he could hear thick-skinned drums playing furiously and
hoards of men and women paraded around with their bright feathers and
colourful masks swooping around the centre of the room in unison.
Occasionally, the dancers made a loud, musical cry, and came into the
centre of the circle to perform a dynamic solo dance, before
rejoining the wider circle.

Gradually, the music become faster and faster, and one by the dancers
parted to either side to form an aisle. As the music reached a
climax, the last remaining dancers parted to either the right or
left, so the leader of the tribe who was sitting at the end of the
aisle was revealed.

Archie's heart leapt into his mouth when he saw who it was.

The music reached a dramatic stop, all but for the slow, heavy, beat
of the drum.

THUD!

Archie felt a poke in his back to start walking down the aisle.

THUD!

Another step forward, prompted by the spear from behind.

THUD!

THUD!

THUD!

THUD!

THUD!

THUD!

When Archie reached the throne, the drum beat stopped.

"Hello Archie" said the man on the throne wearing tiger skin and red
feathers in his hair. "It's been a long time." The snarling head of
the tiger clasping his garment was as menacing as the man himself.

"I...I thought you were dead" stammered Archie.

"Did you?" teased the man. "Why would you think that about your dear
old Jack?"

Archie winced at the words "dear old Jack". He didn't know what to
say. Moreover, he didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the sight of
Jack dressed in tiger skin with feathers in his hair, and red ochre
stripes blazed across his face.

"Bow down to me" commanded the man.

Archie hesitated, until another heavy prod in his back sent him
sprawling on his knees, grovelling before the man's bare feet. The
entire assembly did the same.

"Seem-sun, seem-sun, seem-sun" chanted the assembly with reverent
praise for their god. And Simpson, proud as ever, smiled with
satisfaction.

************

After Archie's humiliating experience, he was taken back to his hut
and locked in. A few hours later, he was revisited by the tribesmen
where he was promptly stripped of his British garments and re-clothed
as a native tribesman, with feathers and all intertwined in his hair.
A heavy necklace made from shark's teeth adorned his half-bare chest
with soft blonde curls. His face was painted with stripes of red
ochre from the earth, and thick, furry lion skin was wrapped around
his bony shoulders.

Then Archie was led into the same temple as before, only this time he
as carried in a carriage made from wicker cane, on the shoulders of
four, solid, black tribesmen.

As they entered the temple the tribesmen lowered the carriage onto
the floor and gestured for Archie to get up and ascend the throne, on
Simpson's right hand side. Archie had no idea what was going on, but
did what he was instructed to do. He reached the throne, turned to
face the assembly, and sat down.

Simpson announced some very important sounding words in native
tongue, and then, turning slightly towards Archie,
translated: "Archie is your new leader. You must show him obedience
and respect." The assembly cheered.

Obedience and respect? Those words seemed foreign coming from Simpson
as the native words he had just spoken.

Two primitive goblets of wine were then presented. Simpson raised his
goblet and made a toast to Archie. "To Archie!" translated
Simpson. "May he live long and prosper!"

Archie stared in terrified fascination of what was happening. He
greedily drank the wine hoping it would poison him and put an end to
this nightmare, but to his surprise the wine was actually very good,
sweet and delicious.

Then dinner was served, and Archie had to pinch himself to believe
what he saw the freshest fruits he had ever seen, and some he never
had, but appetising all the same. Some fruits had hideous spikes
protruding from them, but the flesh was wholesome and nutritious.

Baked meats also adorned the dining arena, tender lamb and goat, and
bountiful crispy reptiles as well each meat a joyous discovery in
carnivorous cuisine. Archie ate what he could, with Simpson keeping
his own hands to his own dish. Archie ate out of fear for not wanting
to offend an entire tribe who had sharp, pointy weapons, perfect
for slicing bellies open of wild beasts and...enemies. Archie
shuddered at the thought.

That night, Archie did not go back to his straw bed as before, but
was taken to a spacious bedroom suite, and found it was surprisingly
comfortable, with a cushiony make-shift bed, perfect for inducing
sleep. The tribesmen changed him from his glorious costume into a
tribal nightgown. When they refreshed Archie, they allowed him to
crawl into his make-shift bed and fall into a deep sleep. Before
sleep reached him, Archie's mind wondered in awe about the turn of
events that happened that night.

**************************

Simpson's benevolence did not end with his declaration of Archie as
leader. He went out of his way to prove to the natives Archie really
was the new authority.

"Give them a command" Simpson told Archie. "C'mon! Give them a
command. Show them who is the leader."

Meekly Archie asked "I want some food."

"Louder" urged Simpson. "Put your gut into it."

"I want SOME food" said Archie. He was sure Simpson was only doing
this to belittle him.

"LOUDER" boomed Simpson. "Show them who is the leader."

"I WANT SOME FOOD" shouted Archie, and to his surprise, the few
natives who understood English scurried off and brought him fresh
food and a jug of water.

Day after day, Simpson continued to assert Archie's authority, and
with each assertion Archie grew more and more nervous of what Simpson
intended to do with him. He had seen Simpson sprouting crocodile
tears before, surely his new found niceness couldn't be sincere.
Tyrannical, perverted Simpson had become charming, benevolent
Simpson, but the evil skull and cross-bones tattoo was still there.
Everytime Archie saw it, it reminded him of Simpson's legacy as a
lying, scheming son of a bitch.

"Villain, villain, smiling, damned villain...that one could smile,
and smile, and be a villain!" thought Archie to himself.

Then the day came when Simpson declared Archie to be god.

"Archie is your new god" Simpson told the people, followed by a
translation for Archie. "He will bring the rain! He will make the
crops grow! He will bless the women with children!"

Archie was bewildered by Simpson's translation, and once again he
wondered: what did Simpson mean by giving him this god-like status?

Simpson got up and bowed down to Archie. The whole assembly did the
same, chanting "Ah-chi, Ah-chi, Ah-chi..."

When Simpson finished chanting, he got up, turned to the audience and
said "My work here is done. Archie is your new god now. He will
remain here to protect you. I must go back to where mortals are and
do my duty to my country. Show me where the Englishmen have landed!"

Now Archie understood: Simpson intended to make Archie a god so that
he could leave him here with the tribe and contrive an escape with
the rest of the Englishmen. And with such power as a former god, why
wouldn't Simpson have influence in getting these people to build him
a sea-worthy boat? The god-like status accorded to Archie was merely
a trap so that he would be forced to stay behind...or would he?

"No! I must go too!" protested Archie, and began to rise from his
throne, when suddenly two burly servants pinned him down again by the
shoulders.

"You are our new god now" said one the few English speaking tribesman
from the crowd. "You are our only world. We will never let you go.
Never."

As he said this Archie looked down towards the end of the aisle where
Simpson was headed. He saw Simpson exiting the door, into the
sunlight, into a new world of freedom.

**************