Wednesday's Three Word Wednesday

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are deceit, indulge and oath.

The Meadow

I am awakened by a sharp, cautious whine from my dog, Shadow. Through a haze of sleep-coated eyes, I see what’s got him riled.
In the clearing past the apple orchard rages a bonfire. Half-naked men gyrate to the rhythm of drums, their faces obscured by shadow and smoke.
My heart quickens; I plead for Shadow to be quiet and then I’m out the window where I shimmy down the drainpipe to get a better look.
Wet grass cools the soles of my feet as I creep nearer the fire. It rages with a fierce intensity, fueled by logs from winter’s slash pile.
From the fire, and the full moon, which burns bright in the sky, I realize they’re Aztecs, performing a reenactment of myth. On an altar of stone lies a boy, about my age.
It’s a blood sacrifice.
The boy’s black hair shines in the firelight; the high priest runs his hands down the boy’s chest, lifts a bronze dagger in a high arc into the night sky. The men stop moving, but continue to chant in low, guttural tones.
I want to speak out, but the fear has me transfixed.
The high priest screams, plunges the knife into the boy’s chest; the men whoop, chant.
That horrid moment releases me from a paralyzing terror and I make a run for the house.
Where my mother sits on the porch, sipping a cup of tea.
I collapse at her feet, try and explain what I’ve witnessed through tears and gurgling snot.
“Shhhhh, it’s OK,” she says, wiping my wet cheeks with the corner of her apron. “Ever since your father died, I’ve had to indulge them. They pay handsomely, and they’ve very well taken care of last year’s storm debris. Except of the blood, I’d say it’s a win-win for us.”
I’m horrified at the deceit.
And pledge an oath: No more human sacrifice on the homestead.

22 comments:

sudharm baxi said...

Whhooo so very dark..Very well executed ThomG, a good read for sure.

gautami tripathy said...

It hits hard. As you know, I like dark. Because they help me understand the priceless light...

gyrating on its own steam of oath

Crystal Phares said...

Awesome, Thom! I love how dark this is and the images you use are very powerful.

anthonynorth said...

People just have to get by as they can :-)
Loved the darkness. Eerie.

Daily Panic said...

I'm feeling the darkness today.
I'm in a mood I guess. Sacrafice is acceptable if it is for the greater good. I'm at a little crossroad myself and wonder if the person I am sacrificing for is worth it. I wish i could see the future of the greater good, but I am not as fortunate as in your story - for there to be past events of a good outcome to compare it to.
chilling tale.

pia said...

The mother's explanation is so sad. Wonderful imagery. Did you write something similiar but not as powerful last year?

SweetTalkingGuy.. said...

Wow, I wasn't expecting this, you tell it so well, like it's an everyday event. The mother, so cool, sitting on the porch sipping tea...

dead good!

ThomG said...

Pia, I've touched on similar themes with this strange family, but I've put them in a lot of strange circumstances.

Life without Clots said...

Mothers are very accepting of things we fear.

Lucy said...

who ARE these people Thom! haha
YOur imagination is WilD!
I so feared that the mom was going to sacrifice him at the end...
Perhaps in next weeks 3 ww??
you tell an eerie tale very well!
have a great week! :)

Amy said...

Good twist at the end. I almost expected it to be the boy's imagination. Makes me wonder what he's going to do to stop the human sacrifice next time.

Witchmojo said...

Very savage. Did not expect the twist and I would love to know how the boy perhaps becomes the man who puts an end to this 'business' arrangement.

Meg said...

Oh I liked this A LOT. the imagery is great, and the situation wonderfully unexpected and disturbing!

I kept waiting for more about the dog for some reason, and I had to re-read the sentence about how they did well cleaning the debris.

It was a chilling read!!

lissa said...

I was bit horrify myself, especially at the mother's calmness, guess I'm just a wimp...ha..ha..

Jeeves said...

Dark, morbid:)

maglomaniac said...

Your story telling is superb Thom.
I could the silence of the shadows while reading dis.
NiceLY PUT

~harsha

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Interesting twist. I, too, thought it would be the boy's imagination.

I sense an allegory here!

MichaelO said...

I love the intensity! A snapshot of fear. And then some obtuse maternal comfort. Great twist!

Angel said...

Very cool story! I want to know why she has to allow the sacrifices?

Amarettogirl said...

yeah, I fell for the 'it might be dream' thing too but you're way too good a writer for that! Then I started wondering if he was next, so you hooked me pretty good Thom as your writing always does!!! Don't like to tell people to give us more but in this case the juxtaposition of a house with porch and dancing ritualistic Aztecs left me super intrigued!!

Mendur said...

Umm ... wow. Confusing, and perhaps a little rushed in the execution of the tale (if you'll pardon the pun), but amazing imagery. I find myself wondering in what kind of larger story this vignette is taking place. Very nice.

LadyGarfield said...

ohmygawd! that was scary!
and i love the dog's name in this - Shadow!