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Sacrifice a short stor.., p.3
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       Sacrifice - A Short Story, p.3

           Kell Inkston
 
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this girl’s a tribute for The Great Face.”

  “Then I’ll be taking her. You two can go back to your village and tell them you finished your quest,” the clanless says, his voice shockingly light in comparison to his appearance- Luua halfway expected it would hiss to communicate.

  “Bullshit!” Ruka throws his spear, aimed at one of the small, dark holes in the clanless man’s mask.

  With a curt sway, the clanless dodges the spear as if were thrown by a playing child. “W-well hey now! We don’t need to throw pointy things in each other’s faces!” It says, waving its hands up for peace, “I don’t see why you guys can’t just, you know, turn around an-”

  “We won’t let the village down!” Amuu interrupts, dashing forward with his knife ready to pierce. The young, athletic Amuu takes a decisive slash at the clanless man’s neck. In response the clanless ducks and slides between and through Amuu’s legs. Amuu, thought to be the most dexterous boy from the village, is stunned that he was evaded so effortlessly. He turns immediately to face the clanless, but before he’s able, a bark-armored leg shoots up between Amuu’s thighs and hits him directly in the family-making equipment. Amuu is stunned again, this time due to a very different reason, and he drops the knife just before he drops to the ground, curled up right next to Luua.

  The clanless crosses its arms. “Well… Okay. So let me get this straight. You boys actually believe that throwing some poor person to the jaws of The Face every fifty years’ll make things better for everyone else?”

  Ruka nods. “Of course. That’s how we get the blessing for the harvest and the hunt.”

  The clanless shrugs with a sigh. “Well, how do you know that’s true?”

  “Th-the elder told us!” A cringing Amuu says as he steadily forces himself back to his feet.

  “Oh? But if you keep sacrificing people like this, how can you know that it’s a blessing at all? Maybe it’s more of a curse that you make yourselves kill one of your own each fifty years.”

  Luua takes a breath. “The… The elder knows best. He’s older than everyone, he’s the wise-”

  “No, absolutely ridiculous! Even the elder doesn’t know- but even if he did- you’d still be coming with me!” The clanless replies, reaching down and picking up Luua as if she weighed nothing.

  “Wh-What?! Put me down!” Luua shouts as the clanless starts a swift walk down the beach, ignoring her kicks and screams.

  Ruka runs forward, Amuu close behind. “Don’t act like we’re not here, fool!” Ruka yells, tearing off his cloak and revealing his trained and powerful set of muscles. They catch up to the clanless who, with his free arm, reaches into his cloak of feathers and pulls out a small wrapped ball. The two get in striking distance just as the clanless splits the ball with his hand— causing a small but incredibly irritating puff of debris that gets into the eyes and nostrils of the two wayfarers. Amuu slashes blindly at the air as Ruka continues to run in the direction he last saw the clanless at. The clanless simply steps aside and watches Ruka continue running until he trips and hits the sand.

  “Huh, someone’s here? I don’t see anyone.” the clanless says with a goofy tone as he turns away with Luua over his shoulder.

  “Guys! I’m over here!” She calls.

  Amuu perks up in alert, his only orientation provided by Luua’s voice. He starts back toward the clanless, causing Luua’s kidnapper to shake his head.

  “Do you want them to get hurt? You know, I have stuff under this cloak for more than just distractions.”

  Luua flinches in a muffled gasp. “N-no.”

  “Well good, then stay quiet,” it says as they round the corner through a grove of trees.

  Amuu reaches the spot where he heard her, and he calls out, “Luua! Luua, where are you!?”

  Luua’s quiet, watching her two blinded wayfarers wave about in confusion- the leaves wrap around her vision, and seconds later her view of them is gone. The clanless makes a few faking movements to shake the two from its path, and then takes her to its small board. He rows them across the water for about thirty minutes until they reach a small, forested island.

  “Where’s this?” Luua asks.

  The clanless chuckles. “My home.”

  V

  The clanless shores the board and hides it behind a tree. He gently waves along the leaves. “This way,” he says. Luua follows quietly, already formulating her plan for escape.

  “You know, you shouldn’t have taken me,” she says, “this could kill the whole village.”

  The clanless scoffs. “As if Door did anything for me.”

  She squints an eye. “It’s Toor… and how do you know that?”

  He leads her into a shaded glade— a large network of driftwood huts stand in the clearing with a multitude of strange devices crafted from found objects and nature. “How do I know they didn’t do anything for me?”

  “No, how could you know that name? Toor is days away.”

  “I’ve been around. Only one village gives their kids fish tattoos.”

  Luua subconsciously strokes the top fin of the blue shark on her cheek. “Oh… well you care about the villagers then, don’t you?” She asks as he leads her into one of the tents.

  “Not terribly… Now here!” He presents the tent’s inside. A comfortable bed of grass, leaves and a multitude of animal skin blankets lay before her- the skins have been painstakingly dyed blue.

  Luua widens her eyes to see in the shaded tent, and they widen further seeing the color of the blankets. “Nice place— this your tent?”

  The masked clanless nudges her. “All the tents here were made by me. But now I don’t have to be alone ever again. This here is your tent!” He exclaims with a light tone that she can only interpret as foolish.

  Her features furrow and narrow in disgust. “O-oh… Amuu was right.”

  The clanless nods his head to the side in wonder. “Right about what?”

  “You want me to live here with you, don’t you?” She asks this with an awkward, sour expression on her face.

  “Well of course I do!” it says animatedly.

  “Have you been… watching me?”

  The clanless chuckles sheepishly. “What gives you that idea?”

  “My favorite color is blue.”

  The clanless shrugs. “Well, could be.”

  “And I bet you want to start your own clan… with me.”

  The clanless pauses in confusion and then releases a long laugh. “Well… damn! Gotta’ say I wasn’t expecting that to come up. I think you’re a little young for that, and I’m a little old for you, don’t you think?”

  Luua draws back. “Uh, yeah, definitely. You’re like what… three hundred?”

  The clanless draws back as well. “Ouch! Look here, missy- I just need some company, but not that kind. I have that stuff all sorted out. Now, if you really want to I can go back and grab one of those boys we left behind and you can start a clan with him. I’m sure he’ll say yes- you’re the prettiest girl I’ve seen, after all,” the clanless says, patting her on the head and instilling her with fury.

  “I’m the only girl you’ve ever seen, creep! I don’t want to live here with some weird dude… tree… thing! I need to…” she takes a deep breath. “I need to be a tribute to The Great Face!”

  The clanless seems set aback by her words and after a pause, he scoffs. “Yeah, alright kid, so you want to get eaten?”

  She takes a deep breath – she can hardly believe she’s saying this. “Yes! I do!”

  The clanless sighs. “Wow, why?”

  “Because if not… as much as I hate it, and as much as I’m terrified, I have to! If I don’t the hunt will leave Toor, and the children will die early, and the fish will disappear! I’ve got to! It’s…” She takes an angry breath. “It’s all I have now. I should just leave. At least my mom and dad are waiting for me... why wouldn’t I want to… to die?” She says this so weakly, the clanless would swears she’s about to burst into tears, but she holds herself together.


  The clanless nods, suddenly brought down by something she said. “You must really miss your parents, huh?”

  “I never got to know my mom, but my dad… yeah, and this is the only way I’ll see either of them.”

  He sighs, and motions her out of the tent. “There’s some things I’d like to show you.” Reluctantly, she follows the man whose hair looks like feathers sprouting from the sides of his mask. Out from the small camp and through the woods, she follows for only a minute’s time. They reach a clearing, filled with strange springing plants; there’s many different kinds and colors, some are like grass, and others are like trees.

  She draws back in disgust. “You’ve been eating poisonous things to survive?”

  The clanless scoffs. “No, you wacky girl. This is food— I grew it.”

  The two walk through the grains and fruits over to a peach tree. “But, people die when they eat colorful things off trees.”

  “Depends on the tree, actually. In Toor, most of the trees will take more than they give if you eat from them— but these ones are good.” The clanless picks out a fruit from the tree and brushes it lightly before handing it to her.

  She scowls. “This is some kind of crazy joke, right? There can’t be such thing as something that grows from the evil earth that you can eat.”

  “And yet the deer you hunt eat grass from the earth, don’t they?” he moves the fruit to her. “Smell it, feel it.”

  Luua squints suspiciously at the clanless and then looks down to the fruit in her hands. It feels strange, as if it were a small, soft animal, and yet it is
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