Psychics, Stones, and Haunted Homes

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Maria

I don’t understand what’s happening. One minute, I was on my way to my mom’s to have lunch with her, and the next thing I know, I’m in the trunk of a car. When the car stopped, a couple of masked figures dragged me out and through the forest. Now, here I am tied to tree. There are even more masked figures all around me, chanting. There’s a large bonfire in the middle of the clearing, and one of them keeps throwing herbs or something into it. They make the air smell overly sweet, and I choke on the smoke.

I don’t bother trying to scream. No one would hear me all the way out here. Instead, I do what I always do when I’m scared or anxious and imagine myself in one of my novels.

I’ve been captured by savages while exploring a new land. Cannibals. The worst kind! As death becomes more of a reality, I hear the faint sound of battle. Judas has come to save me! He bursts into the clearing wielding a sword! My knight in shining armor! He slashes his way easily through the savages. When they are all either dead or have run away in terror of his great manliness, he swaggers up to me. He cuts my binds and sweeps me off of my feet. He leans down to kiss me…

I’m torn from my imagination as one of the masked figures slashes my arm with a large knife. I shriek in pain and fear. The figure, a man I think, catches some of my blood in a bowl and hold it up triumphantly. The crowd around him roars with approval.

Everyone should have noticed me gone by now. I’m still holding out hope that Jude will be my knight in shining armor.

The man brings the bowl to the person nearest to me, and the chanting suddenly stops. It’s disturbingly quiet, aside from the crackling and roaring of the fire. Then, as if on cue, they all remove their masks. I look around the clearing in confusion, then my eyes land on a familiar face.

Haylee. That fucking bitch! I knew she was bad news! I make eye contact with her and glare, but she just smiles sweetly and waves.

I look back to the man with the bowl. He takes a sip and hands it off to the next person. Okay. Disgusting.

When they’ve all had their chance to drink my blood, the man takes the bowl back and sets it near my feet. Then he turns to the crowd. “Brothers and sisters! We have gathered here today to witness a sacrifice to the god Inus! This is not just any normal sacrifice. Not only is she a virgin, but she has significant spiritual powers! Part of this is because one of our brothers lost the stone that contained a vast number of souls, and this young woman happened to find it. That brother is, sadly, no longer with us.” He bows his head, and everyone follows suit. I think maybe they are taking a moment of silence for their fallen brother, but I’m pretty sure he just implied that he killed this so-called brother.

He raises his head again, a wild grin on his face. “We have done the necessary rituals. Now it’s time for the grand finale!” He turns to me, knife in hand. “You will be a wonderful sacrifice. Do not be afraid. This is necessary for the coming of a better world.”

As he walks toward me, I realize something. My knight in shining armor isn’t coming.

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