The house fascinated her. There was something welcoming about the classic design. The brick outer and supporting walls, the creaky, beaten hardwood floors… Electric heat had been jury-rigged into this place sometime before it was abandoned – it was not operational now, so they had built fires in both of the fireplaces on the main-floor. Judging by the metal plates in the kitchen there had once been a wood oven in the kitchen too. For the moment the kitchen was cool. There was some heat bleeding in near the dining room door, but for the most part the kitchen was not much warmer than the November night.
They had repaired an old daybed that they had found on the upper floor and attached casters to the legs. Bound on the bed lay the sacrifice.
If there was one thing that made her uncomfortable about the evening, truly uncomfortable, not the excited nervousness that accompanied the promise of her first sexual congress, it was the live sacrifice. She didn’t want to know where Ruthven had found the victim. They had administered a makeshift sedative of headache medicine and vodka. They had shared the rest of the vodka between the two of them before Hathandra and her entourage had arrived.
Sarah was not used to drinking, so Ruthven had had the lion’s share. She figured that in relative terms they were equally intoxicated.
Getting the goat to eat the sedative hadn’t been easy. They had mixed it with oatmeal, but it must have tasted largely of the drugs still, and the goat hadn’t taken to it easily, Ruthven had had to resort to force-feeding the beast. He had been bitten several times in the process. She had thought goats would eat just about anything. Eventually it had worked. The goat lay docilely on the daybed.
Sarah rolled the daybed into through the dining room, into the room where the ceremony proceeded.
The assembled self-styled vampires parted and allowed her access to the circle of skulls. As they realized that a real animal lay on the bed there was a muttering of surprise.
Sarah expected that it was a combination of impressed excitement and hypocritical outrage. She knew several of them were vegetarians… who drank each other’s blood.
She knew a number of Ruthven’s ‘vampire’ friends, several of whom were amongst those present. ‘Hathandra’ herself was taking a Masters in music. Her real name was ‘
Jennifer’ – almost as mundane a moniker as her own. Sarah would have to find a good pseudonym for herself, something truly individual.
“Anpu, we give you this life as we cannot give you our own for they are no longer ours to give.”
Ruthven produced a long curved blade from his cloak. Sarah carried a pewter goblet they had purchased in a junkshop on Granville Street. She stepped up beside him as he felt the goat’s neck with his hand until he could find the pulsing artery. He set the tip of the blade against the goat’s skin and with one sharp smack on the butt, poked a tiny hole through. Blood spurted out in one solid stream.
Sarah stepped in with the cup and caught the blood. The vessel was quickly filled and the fount of blood continued to flow, jetting over the edge of the bed onto the floor.
The mood in the room was electric. No doubt many of those present were horrified at the reality of what had just happened.
Sarah herself felt a mix of disgust and exhilaration, but she had the benefit of foreknowledge of what was going to happen. She could just imagine the thought process of those who hadn’t. She expected that they had been surprised by the presence of the animal in the first place, recognized the trope, but denied themselves the reality that the goat might actually be sacrificed live in front of them, setting up the dramatic anticipation which paid off in spades when Ruthven drove in the knife.
But it wasn’t over. The animal was not yet dead, though it had lost a lot of blood. By now significantly more had poured onto the floor than had been collected in the cup, but the flow was subsiding fast. Soon it would be draining onto the daybed instead of the floor.
Ruthven turned and presented the knife to Hathandra.
“Princess, the honour of final mercy is thine.”
It was a cheeky move. Hathandra was one of the vegetarians present. Both
Sarah and Ruthven knew this well – it had been part of their planning. They knew that she would be torn. ‘Jennifer’ would be appalled by the pain inflicted upon the beast, but knowing that it was now suffering and that it’s death was inevitable, she would be compelled to release it… doing it herself was not likely a pleasant idea to her. ‘ Princess ’ on the other hand would be obliged to complete the ritual. It was not simply theatre anymore. It was actually a challenge. Which side of Jennifer/Hathandra would manifest? Either way, Ruthven would be victorious. Either she accepted, implying that his constructed ceremony was a success; or she balked and would have to step down from the Elder’s circle. Hathandra
Hathandra looked from the knife, to the goat, to Ruthven.
“We do what we must to survive, Princess, but it is not our way to prolong suffering.”
Soon the goat would die of its own accord from blood loss, and Hathandra would lose face, her bluff called, witnessed by a roomful of her Adjuvants.
Glaring at him, with a look that betrayed her distaste for the position he had put her in, Hathandra took the blade from Ruthven. Raised it over her head and with all her might plunged it with both hands into the beast. It spasmed and squealed. Though she had maintained character by accepting the challenge, she had failed to release the animal from its life. As it kicked, she gasped and let go of the pommel, taking a step back.
Throwing his weight on the goat to hold it down, Ruthven pulled the knife from it’s ribs and drove it again, this time hitting home in it’s heart. The effect was immediate. All fight gone, the beast went limp.
Ruthven stood and straightened himself. Hathandra’s failure and reaction had only added to his victory. Her stature as Blood Princess was severely undermined. No one would forget this night.
He reached to
Sarah for the goblet, which she gave to him. He had pulled off a spectacular show, she could barely wait for it to wrap up so they could fuck. She wanted him more than ever before.
We could still improvise the taking of the virgin…
They could remove the body of the goat from the daybed. The blood was still wet where it had soaked into the cushioning. They could cover the blood with the cloak that she had already imagined losing her virginity upon.
Ruthven passed the goblet to Hathandra. She looked him straight in the eye.
Sarah thought she saw something there, something beyond the anger that had been there when she took the knife from him. Still eye-to-eye she raised the cup to her mouth. She gave her upper lip the slightest of licks with her tongue. The sub-text was unmistakable to Sarah. That was a sexual overture. Ruthven had demonstrated his dominance and now the Princess had but one option to save her position – to make him her consort.
Hathandra took the cup to her lips and tipped it back. She swallowed deeply, to demonstrate that she was not merely pretending to sip. Never breaking her gaze, she passed the cup back to Ruthven, and he too drank deeply before passing it on to the Adjuvant next to him. Sarah tried to read him, but she couldn’t. Or perhaps she didn’t want to? The sickest of feelings hit her in the stomach. She had no choice but to up the ante.