A short story by Chris Graham
The light of the full moon reflected off the stark branches of the ancient oak, dead for the past six centuries, yet still standing, brooding alone on the hilltop.
A sweet looking young girl child with long curly blonde tresses stood, tied securely in front of it, the moonlight making her appear ghostlike as it shone onto her pale face and long white nightdress.
She was looking towards the village she had been brought from, each cottage showing candlelit windows surrounded by interwoven strands of garlic and a large consecrated wooden cross nailed to their doors.
As the last toll of the church midnight bell echoed into silence, she heard the first distant howl, then another, louder one in answer.
They were coming.
She had been discovered lost and abandoned in the nearby woods just the day before, so the village elders selected her to be the sacrifice, to appease the demons who had beset them every year since the death of the Oak tree released them, instead of one of their own pure and innocent maidens.
The howls were louder.
They were getting closer.
They were here.
She still could not see them, for they were behind her.
But she could hear them.
Breathing heavily because of the speed they had travelled at and the steepness of the hill.
Slavering and swallowing with anticipation of their feast.
Slowly they came around and stood in front of her.
She raised her sweet face up and gazed at the largest demon.
It grinned evilly and advanced, its talons long and sharp, reaching towards her bound body.
One slash parted her restraints.
She stood away from the tree and raised her arms high, as if to embrace the horror before her.
It lowered itself to its knees.
The others followed suit.
“It’s TIME” declared a clear young voice.
The demons stood up, listening intently.
“We finally tricked the villagers into not supplying us with one of their own, thereby breaking their pact with us.”
Then she started to run, her body growing and resuming its natural form, the Demon Queen led her demon army into the village, the fires of hunger and revenge glowing from her blood red eyes.
“It’s time for our treats” she howled.
© 2015 Chris Graham