Story a day: 8.21.16

Based on a reddit prompt.


He bit into the bird. It screeched and wriggled as its blood spilled onto his hands and smeared across his lips.

The priest caught her staring. He smiled, showing teeth outlined in red. “You said you desired strength. This is the path.”

She nodded, swallowing her revulsion. “I know.”

“Then lay back. The ritual begins.”

She lowered herself onto a reed mat. Sweet-smelling smoke obscured the hide somewhere above her. She shivered, feeling the prickle of the reeds on her bare skin.

The priest stood. The clouds of smoke made the markings all over his skin dance and curl like shadows. A tall, broad man with long tangles of hair, he hunched in the tent in order to stand over her. He waved his hands over her body, closing his eyes and chanting in a low hum like the gathering agitation of a bee’s hive.

She lay on the reeds and watched, the voice in her mind skeptical. They’d said this would work; they’d said this was the way to get what she wanted – what she needed. But the “priest” seemed a madman leading a fringe cult at best. Surely-

Suddenly, she realized she wasn’t looking at a smoky tent anymore.

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