I’ve got a quick little dark fantasy flash piece for y’all tonight. Poking around online, I found a cool prompt and had to try it. Might come back and flesh this one out, too. What do you think? Would you like to see this one developed more?
The Spring Sacrifice
I was thirteen years old when I saw the first one drown. Since then, I’ve lost count. It’s been too many years to add up so many. And still the beast comes to our shores. A life in exchange for safe passage—something vital when living on an island. Each spring, after the ice floes stop drifting past, a villager is chosen. The ceremony starts at sunrise and at sunset the village casts him or her into the depths. A massive wave rises, and the sacrifice disappears. Just like that.
I’m uncertain we got our end of the deal, though. Boats still went missing while out fishing in calm waters. A lone child playing along the shore never returned. And disaster met any attempt at leaving the island. Something trapped us here. Forced us into this cycle of sacrifice, scraping by, loss, and loneliness.
Part of me was glad when they drew my name for the spring sacrifice. Not that I wanted to die. I wanted something to break the monotony of pain, suffering, and heartache we all lived with for what short life we had. The eldest among us only lived to about forty years, and women rarely made it that long. I’d turned twenty-two over the winter.
My son and husband had died two summers past. The rest of the village insisted it was a freak accident. Something told me it was more than that, though. That monster haunting our shores had more to do with it than it seemed, of that I was certain. So, as much as the natural human part of me wanted to live, I relished the idea. The time had come for me to sacrifice myself in this annual attempt at appeasing an unknown creature. Perhaps I would find an answer to what I knew in my heart.
The beast held the key to so many mysteries.