This week’s order was simply to write a story about Sacrifice. And to put our backs into it! To be honest, I got a little spooked when I saw JJ’s newest instruction, but I decided to go for it anyway. And I must thank my darling Damien for the little inspirational seed he planted when I told him what this week’s theme was. And be warned… it’s a long one!
It took Cassie a while to register just what she was looking at- her vision was blurred and she wasn’t sure why… it was a dome of some kind- a stone ceiling- and it looked as if someone had yellow and orange disco lights flashing around her.
Did I faint she wondered
No, not lights- fire… now she was afraid- it was fire, flickering on the roof of a cave, she could hear it too.
She felt heavy, like something was weighing her down, she wasn’t actually tied down; she just couldn’t move anything except her eyelids! And she could smell something dreadful, like rotten meat- and smoke- and burning hair- but all mixed together!
What the hell is going on was Cassie’s first clear thought.
After a minute or so she could move her eyes, and she tried to look around her as far as she could see… she couldn’t see much except thousands of little black and silver spots from straining her eyes. She was flat on her back, a damp sheen covered what she could see of her shoulder and she realised she must be naked, or at least semi-naked, she didn’t feel cold though. Being naked didn’t worry her- she’d spent hours in the gym so she could like the way she looked and she’d always been a bit of an exhibitionist.
She figured she’d been awake for about half an hour, and her skin was coming back to life little by little, and now she could feel how hot it was, uncomfortably so- and now she knew she was naked- she could feel little beads of sweat trickling down her face and her breasts- and she could feel a hot wind moving over her skin. She longed to wipe her face but she still could do little more than move her fingers…
As her body woke up little by little, her mind was a lot faster to catch up to reality. It was then that she started remembering things. Cassie assumed she was remembering the previous evening- or had it been longer? Someone must have slipped a mickey in her champagne or something! She couldn’t remember anything after Neil had toasted her as his sweetheart, and now she was here- wherever the hell “here” was!
When she could move her head she tried to look around her some more. She couldn’t see much more than she’d already picked up on; stone walls, an uneven stone floor, flickering shadows from massive and obviously ancient stalagmites… looking down at herself, she saw she had been all but covered in an exquisite and very intricate filigree pattern done in black, purple and silver- from her toes to her fingertips. The thought of someone having had the time and patience to paint her from her body this way made her shiver in spite of the heat! She couldn’t help but admire the beauty of the artwork though.
“It is beautiful isn’t it…” came a voice from somewhere behind her.
Cassie froze; the voice was in the cave with her as well as in her head!
“Don’t be afraid- I chose to use my voice rather than frighten you too much with thoughts that aren’t your own,” came the voice again “the painting did indeed take me several hours, but I didn’t harm you in any way. Its some of my best work you know.”
Cassie strained her neck, but she couldn’t see who was speaking.
“You took an exceptionally long time to wake up, if I couldn’t hear your heart beating, I would have thought you’d succumbed to the sleeping drug completely.” said the voice.
Cassie gave up trying to see behind her and asked “Who are you? Where are you?”
“All in good time Cassie, all in good time.” was the reply.
Cassie was about to ask how he knew her name when she remembered the question was moot. A soft chuckle was the reply to her unspoken question.
“Who are you?” asked Cassie.
“Oh, forgive me my dearest Cassie; I often forget that not everyone is a telepath. Please don’t be afraid, I’m going to come and stand next to you now…”
Oh crap… what is there to be afraid of besides all this… thought Cassie, forgetting again that he could hear her anyway.
“Please Cassie, you needn’t fear me- I won’t hurt you.” he said again.
Cassie could still only move her head, and she sensed movement to her right even before she heard scuffing footsteps on the stone floor. As he came into her field of vision she was again paralysed- this time with fear- she couldn’t even scream! Her heart rate shot up and her breathing was shallow and fast. She had only ever seen images like this in children’s story books- this couldn’t be real! Slowly coming up next to her was a colossal, red and gold dragon. His wings were folded over his back but there was still next to no room in the cave for him.
“Take it easy Cassie- I don’t want you passing out on me again; I’m not going to hurt you. I love you, I think you’re exquisite. Don’t I look a little familiar, don’t you recognise me Cassie?”
Cassie frowned- as crazy as this situation was she couldn’t help being a little incredulous at this creatures question! How on earth could he think he’d be familiar to her!?
“My beloved Cassie, it’s me, Neil…”
Now Cassie was simply speechless. She must be hallucinating… maybe she’d been in an accident or something and now she was in a drug induced coma… how else could this be so real- it was the twenty first century for crying out loud! Dragons were for stories and movies!
Cassie finally found her voice and blurted out “Where am I?! What do you want with me?!”
“Oh Cassie- my charming, sweet, precious Cassie. It really is me- you stole my heart my darling! But it was the only way I could get you here- you had to love me or the sleeping powder I gave you wouldn’t work. You are my offering to my master- you are my sacrifice- this was my agreement with my master. For me to live forever and be wealthy, and happy, and healthy I have to give my master the one thing I truly love. Sweet Cassie, my baby, I am only doing my master’s bidding. It’s my curse- my enslavement- the bane of my immortal life- to fall in love and then bring the woman I adore here, to my master.”
“Who… who is you master…” stuttered Cassie.
“Oh- he’ll be here shortly- in fact we don’t have much time. This is my last opportunity to say goodbye to the one I love…”
“WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN BY GOODBYE?!?!” Cassie screamed
“My master’s here now, Cass, I can’t do anymore… I love you…” the dragon was almost whispering, and Cassie could hear a furious rushing sound in her head as well as in the cave around her- it was getting hotter too, and as hard as she tried she still couldn’t move more than her head!
Then it was dark- she couldn’t see anything- she knew her eyes were open because they were burning- watering- but she couldn’t see anything, she couldn’t even breathe in the stifling heat. Then she could see eyes- huge yellow and green eyes- and teeth- and she realised she was moving- being carried- trying to imagine what held her made her skin crawl!
The last thing Cassie saw was a gaping maw- and a tongue! She started screaming…