Tag Archive | sacrifice

A Dark Story – Part 3

(Originally from October 2007)

 

This is a study in free flow writing. It may not make sense when it’s finished. Oh well.

**Mature content warning**

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

Keena nodded and followed the old woman towards a back room draped in shadows. She could still see the scene she’d left behind in the village, etched in her mind as though captured by an artist’s brush in  hues of red and blue too fantastic to be real. Her sister lay on the floor screaming and clutching, so much blood everywhere, while she sobbed for the baby… the baby who would never wake.

“Tonight we will right the wrong,” Eseldra said, never turning but walking steadily towards the low arched doorway. “You and I will fix what has been broken.”

Keena nodded.  She didn’t know what to say. She barely knew what they were going to do, let alone what the outcome of the ritual would be. She had been promised it would change the world, but what that change would be, she did not know.

The back room was small and damp. The smell of straw and mildew clung to the crumbling walls. Eseldra moved quickly to light thick white candles. Their shivering flames snapped the shadows into sharp relief, brilliant black against the earthy tones of stone and dirt.  Still bearing the gory bundle, she arranged the candles symmetrically upon the floor, cleaned of any straw or hay and decorated with a white painting made of intricate symbols.

Her niece stood back and surveyed the work. Her cool eyes took in the scene and saved it for posterity with so many other memories. There was one that rose to the surface, battling with the scene at hand; the smell of ale and sweat and the sound of laughter ringing in her ears. But tonight that would be set right as well, so her Aunt had promised her. And she hoped it was true because she suspected she had already traded her immortal soul for this.

When her aunt was finished, Keena moved to the center of the designs and picked up a parcel wrapped in rags. Carefully she unwound the binding and began to lay out the contents the way she’d done many times before: the thick scented grass and the small withered objects that she knew had once been living creatures, or parts there of. She ran her thumb over a small bone before depositing it next to what had been the heart of a chicken, all arranged precisely.

When she’d finished she stood back and, at a nod from her aunt, she picked up the dead torch and lit it with a candle. The flames sprang to life, and using it she lit the sweet grass on fire. The fragrant odor wrapped its tendriled fingers around the two women as they began to chant.

“Lord of all, hear our call. Dark Lord of night, heed our plight.”

Keena moved forward first, removing one last item from her person; a chunk of hair tucked neatly in her belt. Holding her prize aloft the chant continued as she stood before the center of the circle.

“Lord of all, hear our call. Dark Lord of night, heed our plight.”

Drawing in a deep voice she spoke over her Aunt’s still chanting voice, “Lord of darkness hear my prayers, I give to you a taste of he who in malice dwells. Savor this morsel of his human form then consume his might, leave naught but empty shell by end of night.”

The hair dropped on the crackling grass, and she stepped back quickly, trying not to choke at the momentary stench.  The flames crackled and soon the hair had been consumed, as had at least half of the other shriveled offerings she’d so carefully arranged moments before.

Taking up the chant she watched as her aunt stepped forward, bearing the dead, unwrapped babe. Raising it, Eseldra stepped before the inner circle, a smile spreading slowly across her cracked lips.

To be Continued…

A Dark Story – Part 2

(Originally from October 2007)

 

This is a study in free flow writing. It may not make sense when it’s finished. Oh well.

**Mature content warning**

Part1

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

The voice that issued forth from the figure was tight and raspy, like dried nettles. “So, you’ve come at last?” it asked.  The creature could have been either male or female, and thought it had a human shape there was something not right about it; something that made a person take pause as they tried to determine what was  incorrect. But Keena knew what it was and why it seemed strange and foreign.

Eseldra had been human once, not so long ago. Not only human but a woman, though now it was hard to tell.  Despite the heavy skin that wrinkled around her eyes  and spoke of old age, she wasn’t yet forty, and only two years ago had been considered beautiful. But that was before the Great Winter.

Snow had come early that year and with it a bitter cold to rival any winter before. Things died in that cold and lay frozen where they’d fallen. And if that weren’t enough the wolves came.  First it was a child, then another and another and soon a grown woman went missing. That was when the men of the village banded together to seek out the wolves and destroy them in their lair. They were tall and brave, their fur wrapped bodies a stark contrast against the white snow. They laughed and joked despite their grim task, and left with promises of wolf pelts on their return. But, they didn’t return.

Eseldra’s husband had been one of the men in the hunting party and when search parties failed to find some sign of the missing men she’d gone herself, leaving with the first thaw. It had been late summer before she’d returned on the brink of death; haggard and starved with a strange something lurking in her eyes. It was a haunted look, the kind that men return with after a great battle.  She sealed herself up in the house away from town and would see only one woman; her niece. Though, even to her, she did not reveal what she’d seen to effect such a change.

Keena forced a smile across her pale features. “Of course I came. I did promise you.”

The old crone waved her niece’s words away like smoke. “The promise of youth is fleeting and ever changing. Words mean very little.” Her strange eyes studied the young woman before her. “Did you bring it?”

“Yes, of course.” Keena drew out a parcel from beneath her cloak. The wrapping was still warm from being under her arm throughout her journey. She held it out and resisted flinching as her aunt took it from her.

The old woman laid the bundle upon the table and opened it slowly. A smile twisted across her features,  coupling with the bitterness in her eyes to make her look maniacal.  “Yes…. Yes this will be perfect.”

She turned around, the gory contents clutched in her hands. Clots of blood glistened, staining wrinkled hands and fingernails, as she lifted her prize in the air, holding it aloft as if asking a blessing of the Gods.  She either did not notice or else ignored Keena’s revulsion as she lowered her burden and brought it near her face and sniffed it.

“It’s nearly fresh,”  Keena whisper, her stomach churning.

The old woman nodded in agreement. “Yes, it does not yet have the stink. Come, my child, and together we put things to right. Let not this babe’s life, though never started,  be taken for naught.”

%d bloggers like this: