The Offering | Teen Ink

The Offering

April 8, 2015
By Scorpio07 SILVER, Hertfordshire, Other
Scorpio07 SILVER, Hertfordshire, Other
5 articles 0 photos 22 comments

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There are many launguages around the world, but a smile speaks them all - Unknown

Wrists aching, they trudged up the magnificent beast.  The arid heat from the sun, as it powered behind the temple and cast shadows down towards the crowd that gathered below, was stuffy.  Claustrophobic even. The Mayan Temple stood proud, watching down upon all of those who dared breach it.   To the left of it lay a grey slab with 364 strokes.  One for each day suffered without rain. Four men held drums, made of wood and stretched hide, stood in a row on the ledge around the pyramid’s top.  Their tanned faces were painted with strokes of red, yellow and blue to attract signs of rain. Their drums beat in unison, faster and faster until shadows emerged through the end of the shrine.  The three girls were shorter than the drummers; beneath towering headdresses, their entire faces were coloured with mazelike turquoise patterns.  Each neck, ankle and earlobe was adorned with a bone-like material.  But not the wrists. These were bound together tightly by rope, cutting deeply into the girl on the left’s palms.  She was pretty, with dark hair pulled back into braids, tied neatly with a dead vine at the end of each.  The farmer’s only child. Huddled closely despite the sweltering heat, was a younger looking girl. She was small and delicate, being the youngest of seven.  Her skin appeared darker, due to the contrast of the light blue swirling lines painted up and down her arms.  And the one on the right. The king’s own cherished daughter. Luvia.
She was the one.

To offer up a weak, poor, innocent lamb, in the hope that it might please me. Me. Cassi.  The goddess of rainfall, of precipitation. It is understandable, the thought that this could do the trick. But it won’t, however they don’t know that yet.  Animals have been tried and tested, on every second Sunday to be exact. The bloody sacrifice that their prayers command me to witness, the squealing of piglets and the final cow’s death, they haunt my deepest nightmares.  I don’t want to crack; I must not grant them their aching desire.  And now girls.  Girls who could be used for keeping the population alive.  Childbearing, necessary girls. I almost feel bad, but they must be punished.  364 days without water, because of his mistake.  His error. Him. And that’s why his daughter was selected to be one of the sacrifices. Luvia.
Where I look down upon them, a large grey table stands.  Battered, broken branches tower above them and meet, hosting a metallic blade that glistens in the sun.  The table surface has red ink splattering; a mixture of piglet, sheep and cow blood would be my guess.  This is where the holy prayers have led me to watch, where my eyes are glued to the scene that will soon unfold, where I am standing unable to move.  A man coated in feathers stands; a spear clasped between his thin knuckles.  His grave face is thirsty, but with this life that was thrust upon him because of his wrong decision, thirst is normal.  His eyes glisten with silent tears, his blue, compelling eyes. With well supplies running out, he knows that it could be his last chance to convince me to grant his people a future.  And that’s why he condemns his own daughter to death.  Luvia.

Invisible forces hold my eyelids back, as the king sings his words of praise for the sacrifices.  Sobbing hysterically, the farmer’s daughter is ripped from her family, and laid down upon the table. At a sharp plunge, the glaring blade falls down.  Her piercing scream sends shivers down my spine, making my insides curl.  None of her family gathered below moves; they are all staring in horror at the long decorative spear the king’s right hand man is holding.  Her human head is spiked atop it.  The eyes are open, crossed with strain; the neck still drips blood.  The roar of the crowds rises up again: thanks to her soul in heaven, vigorous prayers to me for rain. The girl, whose name I shall never know, is dead.  Killed for me.  She was an innocent, as is the one whose fate shall end next. She stands pacing like a reverberating yo-yo, trapped in an endless cycle.  The girl’s family stands around the table. Her mother, her father, her six elder brothers.  They believe– in the ritual, in the sacrifice that will take their daughter away and break their hearts.  They love her, but they think that she is simply unlucky.  They think that sacrifice is the best way for her to redeem herself.  

Streams of tears run down Luvia’s face as her father blesses her with the spear. “Mi hija. Estar a salvo. Tú hace orgullosa madre.” The king chokes as he tells her to be safe, and that she is making her mother proud, a situation which should never have occurred.  No, if I’d had my way, she would be mine. He would be mine. We would be happy. The path from her father led Luvia through a line of trees and up to the table.  The drummers paused, seeing her dishevelled state.  Chanting surely fills Luvia’s ears, the chants of the crowd deeper around the temple.  A song that she has grown up singing, a prayer for rain.  Luvia warbles along softly, her voice quaking.  At once, she stops walking when she catches sight of the grey table, where two of her friends have recently been slaughtered.  The oozing blood has settled in a layer over the merciless death bed.  Her headdress towers over her, threatening to slip off as she braves a final, confirming glance at her father. Luvia’s eyes drifted shut, unwilling to watch the blade that will end her life and slice off her neck.

I wonder if she knows; about her father’s wary engagement to myself those many years ago.  About how her mother stole my future when she ripped away my admirer by falling in reciprocated love.  About how her mother went mad with guilt, until the regret piled up so profusely that she ended her own life...  About the price of his betrayal – rain once every 365 days and a worthwhile death as compensation.

As Luvia’s soul leaves her body to embark forwards on a rising journey, inspirited glances overwhelm the sky.  A faint sigh escapes my lips as the realisation of the king fulfilling his debt sinks in.  I must give in.  Raising my arms above my head, I grant his people their greatest desire. Rain pours down, instantly soaking the feathers among the many bodies.  It fills open mouths to the brim.  Laughs fill the air, floating merrily in the skies, until the ruby red colour is registered.  The rain chokes their lungs, stains their skin.  Blood rain.

The author's comments:

I was inspired by the Mayan Temple in Mexico and the human sacrifices that happened around that time. (about 500BC).  I enjoyed doing the research for it becuase it was a challenge for me to come up with something realistic but with a touch of fantasy.

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