The Chanting Circle

#PicturePrompt #WP #IndieAuthor

Standing in the center of the circle of totems made Tess uncomfortable. The cloaked figures chanting between the wooden carvings even more so. Her memories failed her when she searched for the reason she was there, and the blank made her anxiety worse. Her instincts told her to run, but every path between the columns was blocked.

She searched the figures, searching for the smallest, hoping she could push her way through. Of the eight figures, only one appeared to be smaller, seizing the opportunity she rushed forward, lowering her shoulder to push them out of the way. At near full speed she slammed into the field that surrounded her, and was blown back to the center of the circle.

Panic coursed through her as the chanting grew louder and the figures began to sway. The totems surrounding her suddenly flared with light, illuminating the cruel and grotesque looking carvings that graced each one. Within each totem’s eyes two bright dots formed, giving her the impression that they were watching her.

There was a deafening boom and Tess dropped, covering her head with her arms trying to protect herself from what was happening.

Pain erupted through her entire body as she was lifted from the ground. Her eyes opened as a scream escaped her lips. Fire was enveloping her body, sinking through her skin and coursing through her veins. Overwhelmed by it, she lost consciousness.

Tess opened her eyes, unaware of how long had passed, to find that the seven totems that surrounded her were all split. As a ranger for years, she recognized the telltale signs of a lightning strike on trees as the culprit for the damage to them.

A wave of confusion washed through her as the memories of the chanting came back to her. She cautiously approached the edge of the ring, testing to see if she was still trapped. She held her hand out in front of her, searching for the barrier, but found that it was gone.

She stepped just outside of the circle to find two charred bodies lying on the ground. They looked as though they had tried to run from whatever had killed them. Their robes were still smoking and embers could be seen in the threads. The smell of their flesh made her nauseous. She turned, leaning on one of the totems, and was sick.

Stand up.

Tess rose, spinning as she grabbed the knife on her belt, but found no one there. She looked around more and found the other six had met the same fate as the first two. She felt sad for them, but didn’t know why. They had tortured her, after all.

They freed you.

Tess spun again, searching for the voice. “Who’s there?”

I’m inside you, child. Don’t be afraid.

Tess panicked once more, looking to the knife.

That can’t harm you now. We are bonded.

“Who are you?”

I am the purification of the world. I am Manik.

“I know that name.”

I was a god to the Mayans many centuries ago. I will be the new god to this world that knows nothing of sacrifice. I will remind them what it means to serve!

Tess felt a stab of uncertainty as she looked at the circle once more. What was happening to her?

To be continued?

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