| "The Transition of Juan Romero" |
by David Reuss
"The Transition of Juan Romero"
"Of the events which took place at the Norton Mine on October 18th and 19th, 1894, I have no desire to speak."
This is a tale that takes place at a gold mine somewhere in the Southwest in 1894. The story is told by unknown named Englishman who was a former officer in Her Majesty's service in India. The narrator was also a student of Hindoo mysticism, which foreshadows that something strange will be happening in the story.
The Englishman finds himself employed by a commercial gold mining company. There he meets a Mexican named Juan Romero who reminds him of an ancient Aztec. Romero becomes fascinated with the Englishman after he sees an old Indian ring worn by the Englishman and soon becomes his personal servant.
One night as the two men lie in their bunks, they start to hear strange rhythms coming from deep in the earth from the mining caves. The two men go investigate and reach an abyss that soon swallows Romero. The Englishman then exclaims that he saw "shapes, all infinitely distant, began to detach themselves from the confusion, and I saw—was it Juan Romero?—but God! I dare not tell you what I saw! " What he saw was too horrendous that the Englishman fainted.
This was a strange and vague tale. I enjoyed the references of Aztec mythology. The strangeness in the abyss was said to have been “Huitzilopotchli”, an Aztec deity of human sacrifice. Though it is not said exactly what happened, the reader gets the sense that Romero was sacrificed to this god. This is one short story I wish was expanded more.
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