FlashFic: Sacrifices

The sky blackened. Lightning ripped it in two. Thunder shook her very soul as the woman called forth the forces of evil.

The sorceress’s face lit up, hands reaching toward the sky. Elys squirmed against the pole, bindings tightening. Fear bolted through her, echoing the viciousness above.

Glancing at the sky, she froze. A face formed in the dark clouds. There were unmistakable horns and long, jagged teeth. Elys cried, trying to make herself small against the pole. She lifted her bound wrists and covered her face.

Cackling laughter came close. Elys flinched away from it and the foul stench that came with it. She peered through her fingers. The sorceress slopped a large brush into a pail. She painted a wide circle of the viscous stuff around Elys. The cackling became sing-song muttering while she drew strange symbols on the stony ground. Elys tried not to breathe in the horrible fumes. Her hands shook against her cheeks.

Without warning, the woman splashed the brush against Elys’s robe. Elys fought sickness. “He’ll enjoy you, little Elys,” she hissed. She cackled again. “He’ll be hot upon you soon and raise me to power after.” Elys shuddered as much from the sorceress’s words as from the spattered mess.

Stepping carefully, the sorceress left the circle. She crushed herbs in a bowl, muttering gibberish. Throwing handfuls into the fire, she shouted as the flames rose. Wind lashed Elys’s robe. Thunder deafened her.

Lightning speared the black sky. It struck hard and fast, leaving trails behind Elys’s eyelids. She knew it was coming closer, felt the sizzle in the air. Still she shrieked and jolted when it crashed into the ground before her. The retreating light’s glare made her blink. She heard clattering on the stones and made out a large, hazy figure. Her vision cleared as it leaned in. The face from the clouds smiled, its lips baring horrendous teeth.  It sniffed her, touched her with a claw. She tried to pull away, whimpering.

It turned, stalking across the circle. Elys trembled to see its hooves leave sparks. “You have courage, sorceress. You invite me, calling my name.”

“I command you, Althagar,” the sorceress cried. “Take the offering and give me your powers.”

Althagar looked over its shoulder at Elys, eyes blazing. It turned back to the sorceress and took a step forward. The sorceress went pale, frozen as Althagar stepped beyond the circle. It grabbed her and threw her to the ground. When it ripped out her throat, Elys screamed and covered her eyes again. She shouted prayers, trying to cover the grisly sound of that maw taking its fill.

Sudden stillness, then hooves ringing on the stones.  It stood before her silently. Trembling, she quieted and let her bound wrists fall, opening her eyes. Blood and gore dripped from its mouth. Its terrible claws closed in. Abruptly, her hands were freed, bindings slashed.

“Go now, away from those who would sacrifice you.” Its laughter chased her as she ran.

© 2010 Jessica Rosen

This story was based on two #storystarters. The bold lines at the beginning were by @melissamurphy2 (Thanks, Melissa!). The last lines were inspired by one written by yours truly.

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20 thoughts on “FlashFic: Sacrifices

  1. yearzerowriters April 23, 2010 at 3:24 am Reply

    It’s really funny, because you mentioned the word ‘pole’ all along I thought this was a wicked spin on a pole dancer about to go on stage and all the monsters were the men summoning her and her fears at the prospect and everything. It’s funny what the reader brings to a story with his preconceptions. I had to re-read it to remove that out of my head and give it a correct reading! It’s still marvellously written. I’m going for a lie down and a self-criticism session now.

    marc nash

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 23, 2010 at 5:14 am Reply

      Oh my goodness, that’s too funny. I started with “post” but in this age of Twitter, a post has little to do with a pole stuck into the ground. I was afraid it would jar the reader out of the story. Ironic, eh? Thanks for your nice comments. I hope your lie down was brief and you were gentle with yourself.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  2. Jen B April 23, 2010 at 7:49 am Reply

    Great twist! I’d like more sacrificial types stories to end this way, I think.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 23, 2010 at 8:12 am Reply

      Thanks, Jen. I wasn’t even sure she’d make it until I was halfway through the first draft. Funny how a story takes over and just lets you write it sometimes.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  3. Marisa Birns April 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm Reply

    Absolutely kept me enthralled!

    When will sorceresses learn not to try to take power away from forces bigger than they could ever hope to be.

    Great ending.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm Reply

      How wonderful, thanks, Marisa. Those sorceresses are an uppity lot, aren’t they? I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  4. Gracie April 23, 2010 at 7:28 pm Reply

    You never fail with your taut writing. Clean, spare and grisly, but so beautifully done. I knew that girl was dead, but score one for the demon for a change.

    Absolutely brilliant.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 24, 2010 at 12:51 am Reply

      Thanks so much for the kind comments, Gracie. If teenage horror movies have taught us nothing, they’ve taught us to be careful what we summon.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  5. Johanna Harness April 23, 2010 at 7:49 pm Reply

    Loved the ending of this one. Not what I expected–a wonderful surprise. I want some of your characters from different stories to mix. They could all be at the same event. 😉

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 24, 2010 at 12:53 am Reply

      Thanks, Johanna, really nice of you. I love that idea. We’ll have a cocktail party for them, shall we?

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  6. Clifford Fryman April 24, 2010 at 5:13 pm Reply

    I read this right after you first twitted the link but am just now getting around to commenting.

    I love the fact you were able to use two #storystarters in such a short piece. Great work! And I really didn’t see the ending coming. Terrific twist to make something unique.

    Great job all around!

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 24, 2010 at 5:42 pm Reply

      Thanks so much, Clifford. I enjoy #storystarters from all directions: writing them, reading them and using them. They’re terrific for punching those creativity buttons. You created a great hashtag. Thanks for it, too.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  7. Cecilia Dominic April 24, 2010 at 11:12 pm Reply

    I’m so glad that she got away! You did well with creating sympathy for her, using her name throughout and only referring to the sorceress by her function.

    CD

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 25, 2010 at 12:16 am Reply

      Thanks, Cecilia. So glad that came through in the reading. I appreciate your letting me know.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  8. Susan Cross April 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm Reply

    Creepy. It was good to see the potential villain become the hero. Nice twist.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 25, 2010 at 5:08 pm Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Susan. Thank you for your nice comment.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  9. peggy April 27, 2010 at 1:51 am Reply

    Somehow, I think Elys is only free from the beast… for now.

    Pole was a pole for me, but that in itself has implied innuendo. A place for virgin sacrifices, for sure.

    Enjoyed the read. Thanks.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 27, 2010 at 6:02 am Reply

      “… for now.” Funny you should mention…

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Peggy. Thanks for your kind comment, I do appreciate it.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  10. Eric J. Krause April 27, 2010 at 11:04 pm Reply

    Well that certainly didn’t work out for the sorceress. That’ll teach her to sacrifice others for her own selfish wants. Though, now that I think of it, it might be to late for her to apply the lesson…

    Good story!

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen April 28, 2010 at 12:57 am Reply

      Thanks, Eric. Too late for her this time around. Maybe in the next life?

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

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