Sarah heard the words but couldn't understand them. They didn't seem real, the whole scenario before her seemed unreal.
The woman didn't wait for a reply, she strode over to the sloth and stood before it, almost four and a half feet its superior in size and even larger in girth.
"You..." It said down unto the poor animal; "You were found in the trees of our forest."
The sloth didn't take notice of the woman, it still struggled and pulled at its bindings, crying meekly into the air.
"These woods are off limits to all but myself and my children."
Sarah looked around at the hundreds of creatures looking in towards the woman. Sarah noticed Bradley among them, he alone among the many others was looking back at her.
"Bradley..." Sarah whispered desperately; hoping he recognized her. "Bradley... please!"
The creature that was once Bradley showed no concern or care of any kind upon its face, it turned away from her and stared with the others now at the large woman.
"Before your death will you accept the Cup of the Forest and become one of my children?"
The sloth still took no notice of the woman or recognized any words she spoke, it only cried out weakly and pulled at its restraints.
The woman stared down at the sloth before suddenly using her staff to swing out at the animal's elbow.
The SNAP! that followed rang out among the small clearing, bouncing off the pale creatures who ringed the perimeter and rebounded into Sarah. The cry from the sloth that followed was even more cutting, the sound digging into Sarah's soul and ripping her from the inside.
"Urrrrrggggghhhhh" The sloth screamed; almost human like in its agony.
"NO!" Sarah cried out.
"STOP!" Her cousin Abby echoed.
But the woman took no notice of them and struck the poor creature once more, this time upon its shoulder.
Sarah turned away, the cries from the sloth unbearable to withstand. She struggled at her bindings, wanting with all her heart to rush over to aid the helpless animal.
The cries stirred the man next to her, he growled at the sight of the torture and spat on the ground.
"What the hell is this?!" He demanded; "What's wrong with you?"
The woman ignored him as it continued staring down at the sloth.
Finally, she turned away and stood before the fire.
"It has been decided; feed my children."
Without waiting another moment seven of the creatures that were near the sloth moved towards it as one. One of them was the little girl Sarah had met in the field before. She reached the sloth at the same time as the others.
What happened next was the most horrible thing Sarah had ever seen, the creatures tore the sloth to shreds; teeth and fingers dug into the animal and within seconds the ground was stained in blood as its fur and body parts were greedily devoured by the monsters.
Sarah turned away, a dull ringing sound in her head drowned out the brief death thrall of the sloth. Her breathing again became labored as she fought the urge to be sick.
Her eyes became blurry and she felt as if she would pass out, sweat still dripping from her head she saw from the corner of her eye the creatures fall back into position once they had finished their frenzy. Their clothes darkened with glistening blood, their mouths stained with the same as fur still clung to their cheeks and lips.
Sarah heard the woman move away from the fire and now realized she was standing in front of Abby.