I was sitting in my Roman History class today and during one of the prof’s long, rambling tangents (which she has quite frequently) an idea formed in my head for (what now appears to be) a short story length work. An excerpt follows (okay, so it’s everything I’ve written so far). I’d love any feedback y’all might have.
The premise is something along these lines:
Our hero, X (I haven’t come up with a name for him), has realized that his lady friend, Brandi, has gone missing. Following her trail leads him to a temple where a cult worships the long forgotten Evil Ones, Targ and Isha; the male and female representations of evil worshipped by an ancient sect. X manages to infiltrate the temple, where he encounters the cult members and their wonderful practices. At this point, the ending is up in the air.
As X watched, about fifty men and women filed into the temple and kneeled on the risers facing the opposite the front of the sanctuary. Suddenly, five braziers behind the large black altar began burning. First the large center one burst into flame, followed by two others on either side. The side braziers were somewhat smaller than the middle one, and were set about a foot lower. They bathed the altar in a considerable amount of light compared to the rest of the temple, which was lit by candles placed every three feet or so along the outside walls and every five feet along a center aisle running from the altar to the back of the room.
From a door in the back wall entered a large man, dressed in a long flowing robe of deep crimson. He wore a hood that enveloped his entire head. As he strode toward the altar he was chanting something inaudible to X. He reached the altar, paused in reverence and walked around to the backside. Standing between the altar and the largest brazier, this man, obviously the High Priest of the cult, removed his hood. X took a sharp breath when he saw what was underneath; the skull of some large beast covered the High Priest’s face. Protruding from this skull-mask was a large set of goat horns.
“Bring forth the offering,” called the High Priest.
The same door he had entered through opened again and four Acolytes, dressed in black robes, led forth a man dressed all in white. The man in white showed no signs of resistance as he walked up the aisle and lay down on the altar.
Exposing the man’s chest, the High Priest remarked, “The Evil Ones will be most pleased with your offering.”
The four Acolytes each grasped one of the man’s extremities as the High Priest drew a dagger from inside the folds of his robe. Pure black, the knife looked as if someone had taken a long, straight dagger and twisted the blade around its central axis. The High Priest grasped the handle in both hands and bowed his head, as if in prayer.
Lifting the knife high above his head, the High Priest intoned the words, “Targ Ishaque in Ostara omno tempo regunt.”
“What the hell?” Thought X, “Latin?” He quickly translated the sentence to, “Targ and Isha rule in Ostar for all time.” His thoughts turned to two questions, “Who are Targ and Isha? What and where is Ostar?”
Before X even had time to complete his thoughts the High Priest brought the knife down with all his strength. The black, twisted blade seemed to whistle through the air before disappearing into the chest of the sacrificial victim. The man on the altar did not even cry out as the cold steel punctured into his heart. X could hear the blade scraping on bone as the High Priest slowly pulled the knife out of the wound. All this time the crowd of worshippers swayed back and forth, as if in a trance, repeatedly chanting, “Targ…Isha…Targ…Isha…”
The High Priest held the bloodied knife aloft, and then thrust the blade into the fire burning behind him. The instant the wicked dagger entered the fire, the flames turned a deep purple. The candles lighting the entire sanctuary flickered, almost died, and then began to burn with a glowing black flame. At this point, the four Acolytes each drew a short sword hidden inside their robes and began to dismember the sacrifice. The High Priest oversaw the entire process directing the Acolytes as to which fire the individual body parts were fed.
Quickly the stench of burning flesh filled the temple. Nearly gagging, X quietly slipped out of the sanctuary. Hoping the ceremonial aspects of this sacrifice would occupy the members of this strange cult for some time, he now felt a renewed sense of urgency for finding Brandi.