The Offering

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


The Offering

Helene was stunned when he called out her name.

No!” Hector said, loud enough to attract plenty of disapproving looks, while both her parents gave shocked gasps.

There has to have been some mistake,” her father finally managed to speak up.

The Oracle,” said the High Priest, “does not make mistakes.” He was unused to being questioned and he itched for retribution. It was shock though, he realized that. For once he would let the voiced doubt go unpunished.

Not Helene, please,” her mother begged.

Finally enraged beyond endurance the High Priest bellowed, “Silence! It is not your place to question the wisdom of the Oracle. Helene must have been chosen for a reason.”

The girl in question stood silently, unable to take it in. A single tear tracked its way down her left cheek. Hector tried to take her hand but she moved her own from his reach. He needed to forget about her and now was as good a time as any.

Two novice priestesses approached from either side of the room, each taking one of Helene’s hands in theirs. She did not know them but they would be the last people to hear her speak, as they prepared her for the morning.

She could hear her mother sobbing as she was led away, but Helene was determined not to look back. If she did, if she took one more look at Hector, she would try to escape, try to cling to those she knew and loved. And what would that achieve? Her entire family would be in disgrace, held in contempt of the Oracle’s words. That offence would bring with it the death penalty for all of them. No, she would keep her dignity, fight back hysteria; there was nothing more to do.

Shut away with the novice priestesses, Helene was prepared for her fate. They were kind to her, but impersonal. Their life was dedicated to the rule of the High Priest and the Oracle he served. They had no emotion, no compassion for the plight of the girl in their care. They were obedient, served without question. Helene would not be seen outside the room she was now shut in until it was time for the boat to set sail.

In the morning she was dressed in a short-sleeved red gown. Her dark hair was brushed and upon her head was placed a ring of red and white roses. Their thorns dug in to her scalp but she did not flinch. Bare-footed, she walked beside the two novices until they were replaced by more experienced priestesses.

Her parents would be there somewhere, along with Hector, her one true love. She hoped with all of her heart that he would find someone to replace her. The thought of him spending the rest of his life grieving for her almost broke her composure. She straightened her shoulders, forbid all thoughts to enter her mind as she took her place on the prow.

A silver blade brought forth her blood. She gasped in shock, the cut being delivered without ceremony or warning, a mask concealing his identity, set the boat to sail.

Further from the shore they went. The boat would be not much more than a speck in the distance now. Helena shut her eyes. She did not want to see it’s approach for she knew it would not take long for the beast to now arrive. Her blood, dripping in to the water would be calling to it, summoning it to collect the offering that was made to it each and every year.


Submitted: September 12, 2018

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Mike S.

A fine 'high priestesser,' Hull!

Wed, September 12th, 2018 5:27pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Mike.

Wed, September 12th, 2018 10:43am

M.D Knightley

Yep. I'm definitely going to try to learn from you.

Wed, September 12th, 2018 7:03pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for that, M. D. I'm glad you enjoyed the story,

Wed, September 12th, 2018 12:14pm

Jeff Bezaire

It makes me relieved we don't live in those kinds of times anymore, though I think we sacrifice people unnecessarily more often these days.
This is a good story, Hully! A great read for the autumn temperature. Good mood and atmosphere!

Wed, September 12th, 2018 7:05pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Jeff. It was an idea I had a couple of days ago, that I left to form a bit more.

Wed, September 12th, 2018 12:15pm

SimonClemens

Good.

Wed, September 12th, 2018 7:07pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Simon!

Wed, September 12th, 2018 12:16pm

Vance Currie

You packed a lot of drama into this, Hully. There can't be many human sacrifice stories that haven't been told but I haven't seen any like this one. You spun the drama out by delaying what would surely be a terrible death beyond the end of the story. ~ Joe

Wed, September 12th, 2018 9:30pm

Author
Reply

Yeah, I chickened out of writing the gory details. I guess it left the possibility of a different ending, but it was pretty much inevitable.
Thanks so much for giving this a read, Joe.

Thu, September 13th, 2018 3:20am

jaylisbeth

Whoa, what a tale, Hully... A great read :)

Thu, September 13th, 2018 1:07pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, jaylisbeth. The cover pic was the inspiration for this.

Thu, September 13th, 2018 11:20am

Sue Harris

A sacrificial lamb, a story of unconditional acceptance and obeyance. As always, you create such fantastic imagery and atmosphere... your pacing is perfect, it kept my avid interest from start to finish. Great job, Hully.

Thu, September 13th, 2018 9:52pm

Author
Reply

Thank you, Sue. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Fri, September 14th, 2018 12:56am

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