Note: Hey everyone! Sterexscribbles just popping in to let you know that this chapter is a whole lot of fun and is just waiting for you to read it. Just know that from this point forth the coming chapters will be released very shortly. Look out for the coming chapters and remember to have fun!
My legs felt weak, and I collapsed onto the ground that reeked of blood. I lay there for a moment, wishing that it was all a dream and that the terror would disappear. I wished that it would all end and that I would wake up back at The Cove with a topped of glass and a night to drink away.
“They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood.”
I closed my eyes for a moment before getting back up. I opened them, and to my dismay the corpse had not disappeared, but something new had caught my attention. The blood stains on the surrounding ruins, and the piles of carcasses scattered across the courtyard of death. There was even a trail of blood, rotten guts and bones that seemed to lead away from the gallows, and into another section of the ruins.
My knees weak and my senses overwhelmed, I followed the bloody trail to the remains of what was once an expansive room, and at the center I found a staircase that led up to a large stone slab. On it was written the words; The Sacrifice.
I drew nearer to the altar, and wearily climbed up the stone stairs to get a better look at the stone table, which quite obviously was some kind of sacrificial altar. I had a gut feeling about what they were sacrificing, but I just had to know for sure.
Upon the altar lay burnt coals and a charred body, who some despicable psychopath had burnt to a crisp.
Every bit of flesh had been singed, and the one had been cooked in the flames they lit upon this altar. This was an area for human sacrifice, a truly horrific practice that I wasn’t sure even existed, especially not on this paradise island!
I looked around, and saw that just like the last hall, this area was also filled with piles of bodies, except these ones had been burned after the hanging.
The horror of it all made me wonder; what lives here that would do something like this? What kind of blood-thirsty monster master-minded these murders?
I stepped down from the staircase, weak and growing tired. I had been here for God knows how long, and I had had no water to drink and nothing to eat.
Just about to give in to fatigue and sit down, I felt a gust of air grace my cheek. A stream of wind so fast that I knew not of its source, nor where it had gone, but I spun around to see several demon-like creatures advancing steadily towards me with javelins aloft and swords drawn.
They were terrifying to behold, but upon closer inspection, I could see that they were human. They were men and women clothed in rags and adorned with tooth necklaces and painted skulls they wore as helmets. I turned back around, to see a javelin protruding from the altar, which was the projectile that had barely missed me.
They were so abominable they looked inhuman, with eyes that were entirely black. Their eyes looked hollow and empty, just as the rest of them. They were skinny to the bone to a point where their rib cages showed through their skin or the light rags that covered them.
On chain leashes, they kept massive hounds that were undoubtedly dogs from the depths of hell. They were dismembered, and in certain areas their flesh had disintegrated to reveal bone and veins within.
“Another one for sacrifice,” One of the fiends spoke.
“He will be pleased with our offering.” Another added.
“It’s been weeks since we’ve been handed another.” A woman with a hoarse voice said.
Stricken with fear to a point where I could barely speak, I backed away. Inch by inch I moved away from the hunting group, but they followed, inching closer and closer.
Finally I spoke, saying, “Greetings friends. You have no idea how delighted I am to see another…human face.”
“You’ll regret it in a moment, friend.” The largest of the group stepped forward and spoke with a low, rumbling voice. “Prepare Haman’s Gallows. We have an offering to make.”
The large man gestured to a few in his group, and one by one his chosen few for the task of preparing the gallows peeled off. My heart pounded, and large beads of sweat began to materialize on my brow. I could run, to avoid being sacrificed by these tribal maniacs, or I could stay, and avoid being painfully captured with swords and spears.
“Sir, please. I think you misunderstand. I’m not here to be sacrificed. I was tossed over a harbor back in the Queen’s country. England? You’ve heard of England, right?” I started. These people were human, weren’t they? Maybe they’d understand.
“Sir I deeply apologize for all of this, but we have an obligation to sacrifice to the one who’s willing to kill us all in a heartbeat. If we don’t sacrifice human blood to the one who relishes in it, we die.” The giant said.
“Who is this man?” I asked.
“Trust me, he’s anything but a man.” The giant paused after this sentence and looked around, as if to make sure that no one was listening. “We’ve had to kill hundreds as an offering to him just to keep our clans alive. This paradise is a deathtrap, and the clans who haven’t been able to meet their quota have become one of the many corpses in this dump. We’ve sacrificed the newcomers who have no idea what they’re doing here, and we’ve sacrificed our own when newcomers were in short supply.”
Around me, an ominous skittering resounded from within the ground. I felt the ground shift beneath me, and the cause of this was undoubtedly something living.
“Flesh Worms,” The giant said. “They start gathering whenever they sense a kill waiting to happen.”
“Flesh Worms?” I gulped.
“How else did you think the flesh on these bodies disappeared? Those vile little things will eat you up the second you’re on that noose, and once they’ve picked you clean, it’ll make it easier for us to toss you on the altar.”
“Please, sir. I can find you another sacrifice, another man to slaughter! Don’t kill me, please. I’m an innocent man…”
“Oh, I’m gonna have to stop you right there.” The giant lay an assertive hand on my shoulder. “If you are here, then you aren’t innocent. And according to the record books, you’re already dead.”
As tears began to formulate in my eyes, a great commotion sounded from behind me. The giant’s cohorts rushed from the gallows to the altar hall, brandishing their weapons.
“Chain up our offering, and then we can deal with the oncoming adversaries.” The leader of the group shouted to his people.
Two women came up to me and firmly tied me with rope strung from plant fibers. Then, they brought me behind the group of warriors that were poised to strike.
The commotion was coming from an approaching tribe – clearly a rival one – who were chanting and whooping wildly while carrying torches and skulls speared on pikes.
The commotion came to an end as the opposing tribe’s evident leader came forward.
“Get lost Kane, you and your tribe have no place here or right to this sacrifice,” The giant said, crossing his arms and planting his feet firmly.
“Enough pleasantries!” Shouted the opposing tribe’s leader, as if that quick exchange of threatening dialogue could qualify as pleasantries. “Our Darkness wants a sacrifice, and we’ll go through you and your band of rag-wearing warriors to get one. Maybe we’ll turn you in as a couple of offerings as well.”
“We won’t be letting that happen. We have a quota to meet and the Darkness to please, so stay away from our sacrificial lamb.” The giant said. His men raised their bows and spears, ready to engage in battle.
“You seemed to have missed the part where me and my friends take you and your band by force. This is a society where blood is our central focus, and today, yours will be spilt.” Kane said, motioning to his men.
What came next was something I had been dreading since the rival party arrived; an outbreak of madness and violence.
The two sides howled a blood-curdling war cry and they charged, tearing each other to pieces with their primitive weapons, some with their bare hands. This is when I saw how fragile the bond between the members of these groups were, as it was not an ‘all-for-one’ society, but an ‘every-man-for-himself’ society.
Two men from the giant’s group were locked in battle with three from Kane’s and as Kane’s men charged with their swords drawn, one of the giant’s men held up his ally to take the blow. The sword went right through the young man, who died instantly without a groan.
In another corner of the battlefield, two men were viciously attacking each other like animals, tearing into flesh with just fingernails. One of them knocked the other to the ground, knelt next to him, and grabbed a hold of his neck. The two shook vigorously, one trying desperately to break free of the death grip while the other was trying his best to keep him down.
In a sudden move, the oppressor jerked his hand to the side, and a sharp cracking noise ended the victim’s life.
Then, quite frighteningly, the killer grew a wild look in his eyes, and a look of joy and pleasure seeped into the expressions displayed on his face. He rose up, and held up his trophy, yelling, “I’ve got one!” His entire body quivered madly and he cackled wickedly as his kill’s blood continued to gush out onto the ground.
The battlefield quietened, but within moments the mayhem picked up once more as several warriors (both on his side and not) turned their attention into killing him for his sacrifice!
The massacre continued, until the deafening sound of chariots approaching ended the killing. Several black horses with manes that seemed to be ablaze pulled up, and off of the chariot stepped a man decked out in iron and a black tunic.
He was a warrior of sorts, but not like the blood-hungry dogs that were just ripping each other to shreds. He was protected by a breastplate of thick Kevlar and several guards armed with assault rifles. I caught one of them slip a round into his weapon, and realized that just the bullet could be used as a makeshift shiv.
He walked into the battlefield, and gazed down upon the tribal monsters that had ended all of their proceedings to bow before this new arrival.
The warrior signaled to his men, which opened up a sack and tossed out five loaves of stale, maggot-infested bread. The tribal creatures pounced, each one violently attempting to secure a piece, and fending off anyone who came to close.
“Savages,” The warrior huffed condescendingly. He paused for a moment, before addressing the onlookers. “Your Darkness has graciously exempted you from your due sacrifices, but he craves blood next week. You will deliver.” The warrior pointed at me. “Henry Walker, will you please?”
The warrior beckoned me, and shakily, I stood up and began to walk towards him.
“Get in.” The warrior said brusquely, before having armed guards shove me in a chariot and getting in with me. He waved at the driver, who wore a long black robe, and we were off.
The bloodshed I had witnessed had made me think of this place in a whole new sense. I knew now that it was no paradise for the dead, but possibly…no. It can’t be. It would never be this beautiful.