“I love to dip my toes in to all genres. Today a little horror and darkness rose within me as I pondered the day prompts.’
The Demon’s Sacrifices
Heat — unbearable heat. I’m so hot, I can barely breathe. The pain in my shoulders and back is worse. The agony snapped me back to reality. What I saw was hell on earth.
The air was thick with smoke and a metallic vapour which burned my eyes, nose, and parched my throat. A flickering, orange glow told of a pyre of hungry flames beneath me. Panic gripped my chest and tore rabid beats from my heart. My shoulders were holding the weight of my battered body. I was bound by the wrists to a large upturned cross, high in this underground hellhole.
My attention was ripped from the rope bindings my bloodied wrists. The veil of smoky tendrils parted revealing the far wall. Burned into the rock and yet glowing red was the darkest motif. An inverted pentagram. A devilish goat seemed to be pulsing within its demonic shape. Was I a sacrifice in some dark ritual?
Fatigue grabbed me and I allowed my chin to rest on my naked chest. The heat alone was enough to kill me soon. My overweight body was coated in a layer of sweat and blood. I was clad only in my boxer shorts. Those were stained in blood from wounds to my stomach. My legs were in no better condition.
Beneath my feet, I could just make out a large rock circle filled with fire. Surrounding the roaring flames were dozens of wraith-like beings. People clad in tattered black cloaks. All swaying — staggering as if on a cocktail of drugs.
“Messiahs of Mendes! He tells me he is very pleased with our work. It is time for a sacrifice and then we dine in his honour.” Announced a sinister voice from somewhere beyond the pyre. “ALL HAIL MEN—”
I felt something slam into the cross. The ropes binding my wrists fell away and I dropped onto a stone slab. The heat was intense at my feet. Feeling them burning, I opened my mouth to scream. A hand stifled and dragged me into the shadows. Away from the heat, I felt myself falling against the wall.
“ALL HAIL MENDES!”
“Shush! We have to get out, now!” said a soft feminine voice.
On the edge of unconsciousness, I forced my eyes open. Swimming in my vision was a beguiling, blonde young lady with a sporty physique. She was clad in the smallest green leather shorts and a matching bra. Her feet were bare and she was clutching a leather-wrapped fighting staff.
I felt her doughty pose was imposing and strong. I didn’t feel entirely safe with her. “T-thank you for getting me d-down. W-who are you?”
“I’m Alannah – the creeps next sacrifice. And you’re welcome.” she answered with a glance towards what I could see was a passage out of this space.
“ALL HAIL MENDES!”
Her words turned my blood ice cold, “If you were the sacrifice. What was I?”
“Oh, you were dinner.” Alannah offered me a hand and hauled me to my feet.
“ALL HAIL MENDES!” The chanting below continued at a faster, louder pace.
“Dinner! You mean they’re cannibals?” I looked at my bloodstained body and nodded. Of course, they were! They’d already tenderised and trussed me.
“Yup! When they were done playing with me. They were going to gobble you up.” Alannah crept to the passage and peered inside.
“Ugh, Evil buggers!” I shuddered. “So, why are you dressed as an Amazon warrior?”
Alannah glared at me.
“Sorry! I meant no disrespect. In fact, you — you look strong and sexy like that,” I said desperate to make my comment seen the nicest way possible.
The young women allowed a little bashfulness to redden her soft features. “Thank’s, cheeky! This is the sacrificial outfit they forced me to wear. One of them took my clothes. When he came back, he couldn’t unstick his eyes from my body and it cost him.” Alannah grinned, “It’s amazing what a swift kick in the balls does to a big muscular man …”
I instinctively clutched my groin and flinched at the thought.
The chanting below came to a stop.
“Anyway, I brained him with his staff and locked him in my prison. I was on my way out when I came across you looking like a spit roast,” she went on while listening intently.
“Thanks again for the rescue. They aren’t really cannibals are they?”
Alannah grinned and shook her head, “No, I was kid—”
I saw a cloaked figure appear in the passage. Alannah whirled on the balls of her feet swinging the staff across the opening. It thundered into the messiah’s throat. His hood fell from his face, revealing unfocused eyes, wide with pain and sunken into his clammy white face. He clutched at his neck, gurgled for a moment and fell flat on his nose.
“Time to leave!” Alannah grabbed my wrist and half-dragged me down the passage. At irregular intervals, flaming torches hung from sconces which appeared to be made of human bones. Coming to some steps, we were in time to see another messiah appear like an apparition in the smoke rising from below.
He leapt at me only for Alannah to crack his wrists with the staff. She buckled his knees and broke his ribs with devastating blows of the long weapon.
The Messiah staggered my way and I threw a punch. I felt teeth break with my knuckle, but it was he, left tumbling down the steps. “Ow-er! That bloody hurt! I must say, you’re good with that—”
“Just run!” Alannah urged as we continued along the passage. She seized a torch and tossed it to me. “Keep hold of that. It may come in handy.”
The roof grew lower as we moved on. I noticed old roughhewn rooms looming out of the darkness here and there. It was from one such space two more messiahs emerged and barred the way.
“There is no escape. Your sacrifices will be made!” yelled one taking a fighting stance with his staff. His bore the skull of the human child as a headpiece.
“I already made a sacrifice. You took my clothes, my bag, my phone. And you made me break a nail!” Alannah beckoned dangerously.
“Only a blood sacrifice will suffice. Get her, Vellum!” The talker shoved his partner forward. He drew a deadly, curving kukri knife and pounced.
Alannah moved fast and fluid, jabbing his stomach and cracking his wrist sending the knife flying into the room. Going low, she tripped him straight into me.
I hit the ground as my torch bounced along the stone floor and lay guttering by a load of stacked wood.
The staff-wielding messiah roared and lunged at Allanah.
Beneath Vellum, I heard Alannah crying out in exertion as she battled hard. Feeling Vellum grabbing onto my boxer shorts, I knew death was coming. A guttural cry left my lips as I started swinging with every ounce of strength I had left. I punched and kicked every part of him I could reach until I felt him fall still. By then I was dizzy on adrenaline and bleeding from new lacerations to my knuckles, lips and feet but at least I was alive. I threw Vellum off me and staggered upright.
Alannah was still fighting. I could hear her groans and the crack of weapons coming from the room. My feet wanted to run but she saved me and I wasn’t leaving without her. I limped over the threshold and took in the storeroom containing a few wooden kegs, boxes and crates. Amid them, Alannah was still holding her own, despite oozing wounds to her left arm and abdomen.
The messiah was well versed with his weapon. Every blow would have been instant death if Alannah wasn’t defending so well. He swung for her head, she parried, shattering the skull on his staff. He screamed and dropped the staff in favour of choking the life out of her.
Alannah let out a strangled cry as the big man’s hands clamped around her neck. He began to squeeze like a demonic Python turning her face crimson with pressure.
I grabbed a weapon and closed in, “Excuse me, ugly. Mind if I barrel in?” I asked as I swung my keg with a satisfying crack over his head. The first blow set Alannah free. The second dismantled the keg and maybe his skull. I wasn’t staying around long enough to ask.
“Now, we’re even,” Alannah choked as I returned her staff.
“That makes us friends. Let’s get out of here!” I took her hand and led the way out. “Oh, shit! That torch you gave me, set the bloody place on fire!”
Alannah shook her head and gave me a wry grin. “Arsonist!” She commented as we ran through the blazing inferno.
The wood and some old furnishings had ignited like perfect kindling. Fortune favoured us as a set of steps ascended out of the hellhole. I burst through a hatch at the top, emerging into an old wooden shack. I helped Alannah out onto the dusty floorboards and made to climb out myself. A hand seized my ankle preventing my escape. “Alannah, I —Argh!”
She was well aware. Wielding her staff like a sword, she began thrusting it into the fiery pit below. Screams of pain could be heard as she hit eyes, arms and broke fingers.
Feeling the grip on my ankle loosen, I kicked free and hauled myself out of danger.
Alannah helped me stand in time for a thunderous blast to tear the passages apart. A ball of fire erupted from the hatch and boiled over the wooden ceiling; setting it ablaze. “Holy hell! I thought they were summoning Mendes. Instead, you summoned Hades!” She remarked as we ran through old desiccated armchairs which burst into flames behind us.
“Yeah! And I think I pissed him off!” I saw something on a side table and grabbed it as we kicked open the door in a shower of sparks and sprinted into the starry night.
By then every window in the shack was ablaze. We ran from the building until we could feel the heat no more. There we collapsed to the grasses gasping for breath. At that moment, I swear I saw the evil pentagram glowing in the moonlight.
“We did it! We made it.” Alannah breathed as she hugged me.
“Thanks to you saving my cooking arse, yeah!” I replied with a smile. I held up a large, white fashionable handbag. “This wouldn’t be yours, would it?”
“Huh! Yes, it is. Thank you!” Alannah took it and looked inside. “They stuffed my clothes in here too,” she added pulling out a pretty red dress and white loafers.
“That’s a nice dress. But I think I prefer you as the sexy Amazon warrior.” I said with a cheeky smile as I helped her stand.
Alannah put the dress on and grinned back as she took out her phone. “Watch it, you! I still have this staff. I can still beat you up with it!” She joked as she took my hand and we walked toward the rising sun leaving the nightmare behind us.
Have a great day.