A spiritual adventure novel by Paula Hartwood
(now Sophia Ovidne)
A lecture in London about a mysterious ancient crystal skull reminds Kirrily Haydon of a map her Australian grandfather had given her as a child. He had told her it was a map to find buried treasure or, more precisely, a crystal skull. She had thought it a game, but was it? Now, years later, her grandfather has given her a cryptic crossword to solve the strange map, and again refers to his “treasure”.
Unravelling his clues, Kirrily and her companions soon find themselves among the Mayan and Inca ruins of Mexico and Peru, the sacred sites of England and the great pyramids of Egypt. Caught up in a world of ancient secrets and powerful sacred symbols, they discover primitive civilisations were not all they seemed to be.
As Kirrily and her co-seekers play the treasure trail like a computer game, across Australia, the Americas and Europe, they come across more than just buried treasure as they uncover for themselves other gems of the Universe, and an introduction to a spiritual and metaphysical world they never dreamed existed.
“From the author of The Celestial Crossroads comes another wonderful story – suspense, mystery, adventure. I couldn’t put it down.”
Excerpt from ‘Secret in the Circle’
“Just think,” Cavan said, striding around the room, touching everything reverently as if he’d just stumbled into Aladdin’s Cave. “This place lay undiscovered for nearly 1300 years. They only found it in 1952.”
Eva ran her hand caressingly over the carvings on the tomb’s lid. “Who was this Pacal? He must have been important to deserve a resting place like this.”
“He was king of Palenque in 7th century,” Anna-Rosa replied. “But very special king. He was like Aztec god, Quetzalcoatl. He was leader of people who came from the Atlantic, like with Quetzalcoatl, and his symbol, too, was the snake or serpent.”
“When you say they came from the Atlantic,” asked Cavan, “do you mean from across the other side of the Atlantic Ocean?”
“Yes, this is what old book says by QuichÈ Mayan people. But it not say where. Maybe Egypt, and this is why we have pyramids here and in Egypt; they are built by same people.”
“Could be,” said Cavan thoughtfully. “Could be.”
“Old Mayan book it also say Pacal hide secret treasure here in dark place below earth. Maybe this was crystal skull? There is temple here at Palenque where excavation is begun but not finished. It has stone skull carved in entrance.”
Kirrily became excited. “In Henry’s crossword, he said Bak is the word for skull, and you told us Bak is also the Mayan name for Palenque. Henry said it was the hiding place for the skull as well. Could it be that Henry meant Palenque is where we’ll find the treasure?”
“Or perhaps it’s where he found it originally,” chipped in Cavan. “He might then have hidden it in a different place.”
Kirrily nodded, conceding he had a good point. “It’s a strange coincidence though, isn’t it, that Palenque is the very first place we’ve got to after the clues on the map run out? Everything fits so perfectly.”
“Except we haven’t solved the clues of the triangles on the map, and the letters ‘G, T and X’. The letters don’t include ‘P’ for Palenque.”
“As I told you before, I think ‘X’ marks the spot where the treasure is buried. Maybe ‘X’ stands for Palenque?”
He gave a small smile and tilted his head. “And where do you suggest we start digging?”
Kirrily shrugged and gave a deep sigh of frustration. She looked around the tomb as if searching for something. “Do you think there could have been a crystal skull in here once upon a time?”
“Maybe not so long ago as that,” remarked Eva, “if the tomb was only discovered in 1952.”
“Actually it was 1956,” Cavan contradicted her. “The archaeologist found the stairway in 1952 but it was filled up with rubble. Took him and his workers another four years to get to the bottom and find the tomb.”
“If there was a crystal skull found here, surely they would have announced it to the world?” Kirrily said hopefully.
“No way,” Cavan interjected. “Archaeologists are renowned for keeping certain treasures. To be sure, if they knew about the legendary powers of a crystal skull, they’d definitely keep it to themselves.”
Eva suddenly stumbled against the sarcophagus and Cavan sprinted to her side.
“You OK, old girl?”
“I’ll box your ears if you call me that one more time,” she said, lowering herself with Cavan’s aid to sit and rest on the stone floor.
Kirrily offered her backpack for her grandmother to sit on. “It’s all those steps. You’ve been overdoing it.”
Eva shook her head. “No, I’m fine, I’m fine. It’s just that I had a little bit of a shock.”
Kirrily glanced at her with concern and then around the room to find the cause of her upset. “Why, what’s happened?”
“1956, Cavan said.”
“Yes, why, what’s wrong?” Cavan crouched down in a squatting position to face her.
“It’s when Henry went on his last adventure.”
Eva sighed. “He wanted to do something special before his 40th birthday in 1957. We had two young children, Heather and Gregory, and he felt he might never get the chance again. He said he was getting old and needed to settle down with his family.” She attempted a smile. “I don’t think he ever really got over the excitement of being a pilot in the war. Everything was so tame after that. I think that’s why you and he got on so well, Cavan. You’re very alike in wanting constant adventure.”
Cavan patted her hand and shifted his position a little, as much from his emotional discomfit as from a physical one. He missed the old man, too.
Eva continued. “Well, Henry’s father, who was still alive at that time, told him this madcap story about a friend of his who’d had a bit of an adventure in Central America in the 1920s. He was some kind of famous archaeologist and apparently had found a crystal skull in some jungle ruins there. Henry went with his father to meet this friend, and I remember when he came back he was bubbling with enthusiasm about this skull he’d seen. He said it had special powers and could talk to you.”
Eva laughed at the memory. “Well, I thought they’d just had too much to drink and didn’t really take much notice, but Henry did go off for two or three months in 1956 to Central America in search of any more of these skulls.”
“Did he come to Palenque?” Cavan asked.
“I’m not sure. He did come to Mexico, I’m certain of that, and he also went to Guatemala, and British Honduras as well, I think.”
“British Honduras?” queried Anna-Rosa. “Where is this?”
“Nowadays, it’s called Belize,” replied Cavan.
“Ah, yes,” she said. “I remember my brother, Carlos, he tell me story of famous skull found in Belize in 1925. In Lubaantun, I think, in jungle.”
Eva inclined her head. “That name rings a bell, Lubaantun.” She looked up at Anna-Rosa. “Do you remember who found the skull?”
“It was young girl. She there with her pap·. I remember this girl because her name is same as mine–Anna. I think her last name is long one with two names. Something like Michelle-Hejez.”
Eva scratched her head. “I can’t remember. It was a long time ago, over forty years.”
“Hedges,” said Kirrily suddenly. “Mitchell-Hedges.”
Eva beamed at her. “Yes, that’s right. I do believe that was his name, Henry’s father’s friend. Frederick Mitchell-Hedges. And he did have a daughter, yes.”
Cavan was still staring in astonishment at Kirrily. “How did you know that? Are you psychic or something?”
“Just a brilliant brain,” she teased. It was more light-hearted than she truly felt, but she couldn’t resist the gentle joke between them. It made her feel close to him and, best of all, excluded Anna-Rosa.
He smiled, remembering well the evening on the boat in Sydney Harbour and the magical night thereafter. What had happened between them that they hadn’t wanted it to last forever? What had they been so scared of ?