Hazard

The grass that once covered the field was long gone,
Beaten earth and stones were the ground’s only occupants,
Hundreds of feet now made their mark on the soil,
Belonging to hundreds of people gathered for one purpose,

Stone walls surrounded the field and blocked the group in,
Forcing them to form rows of twenty that stretched back to the horizon,
The oldest were at the back, with the crowd generally getting younger towards the front,
There was only one elder at the front, flanked by four young women
Although the elder would oversee what happened next,
The women were the ones that were truly vital for what came next,

As the elder walked towards the center of the field, the women followed,
Everyone else stayed in place,
The elder stopped directly above the center, not due to instinct,
But due to the circular red marker in the soil,
The soil was stained over fifty years ago, but the mark was still as vivid as the day it was laid,
It almost seemed to glow under the night sky

The elder motioned for the woman to form a circle, so that their feet touched the outer rim of the red stain,
They did as instructed, but the elder could tell they were nervous, reluctant even,
He couldn’t blame them,
They barely fit around the circle, and their toes nearly touched,
That was a good thing, it ensured that only one strike would be needed,
The ritual wouldn’t work with two

The elder turned towards the crowd, feeling their eyes piercing him
They had all travelled days to see this, and their journey would be over in a few minutes,
Without further hesitation, the elder withdrew the sword from his coat,
Four feet long, bloodstained, relentlessly sharpened over the past few days,
He didn’t want the woman to feel any pain,

He raised the dagger above his head,
“He rises!” The crowd shouted,
As the crowd shouted the woman made sure to straighten their necks,
The elder stood behind one of the women, with his back facing the crowd,
“He rises!” They shouted again,
He raised the sword to his right, using both hands to steady it,
It lined up perfectly with the girl’s necks,
Same height, same blood,
Four siblings, who were bred for this sole purpose,

The woman to his right died first as the knife cleaved her head from her neck,
As his arm continued its arch, the two in the center fell next,
Then finally the one to the elder’s left,

Their was one distinctive impact as the four heads hit the ground, directly in the center of the red marker,
The women’s legs acted as a cage, keeping the heads in place for those crucial first seconds where they may have rolled out,
As the heads came to a standstill, the women’s bodies collapsed,

Fresh blood poured from the severed heads,
Dampening the red marker,
Soaking it,

The elder could hear the deprived soil taking in the moisture,
It wouldn’t be long,

The elder retreated to the crowd,
Reuniting with the first row,
As he fell in line, he felt the ground shaking beneath him,
Small fragments began to break off from the stone walls around them,
Too small to do any harm,
Yet serving as confirmation that the ritual was working,

The elder didn’t hear any breathing beside him,
Everyone was still,
Muscles tensed, waiting for the culmination of their journey,
Everyone’s eyes were on the red marker when the ground erupted,

While the group remained untouched,
The center of the field became a geyser of soil and stone,
Ascending upwards and showering the entire field,
The elder shielded his face and the rest of the group followed suit,
When the rain ended,
Many of them were bloodied, especially those at the front,
There were lacerations to arms, legs and clothing
But nothing serious,

No one paid attention to their injuries,
Their gaze stayed fixed on the center of the field,
Much of the soil returned to its home,
But the explosion turned the solid mass into a series of uneven patches,,
He would be able to break through easily,

The hand shot out of the grave,
It was barely able to clutch the soil on the grave’s edge,
That didn’t concern the crowd,
They knew his strength would return with time.

Their savior was reborn.

2 thoughts on “Hazard

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