I freed her from the black velvet hood. She recoiled from my touch, and I placed my hand on her shoulder to steady her. Beautiful blond curls had escaped the manipulated updo and caressed my hand. Breathing deeply, I savored the sweet aroma of strawberries and fear.
I removed her gag. I was sorry for the red marks the silk tie left on her tender skin. Sorry for the force I used to tie it hours ago.
I took my time folding the tie, placing it into the hood and laying the hood on the alter. Kneeling in the dim candlelight, her hands bound behind her, her ragged breathing slowed. I waited, breathless with excitement.
She raised her head seeing the throng of robed, masked figures staring at her.
“Do I need to explain why you are here?” I asked, knowing my voice echoed, ethereal in the marble chamber.
“This…” her voice wavered. She licked her lips. “This is my initiation?”
“You signed the contract?” I said more a statement than a question.
“You have been sworn to secrecy?”
“You are here of your own free will?”
“Yes.” Her voice was steadier, but that would change.
“You pledge yourself to The Order of the Seven Assassins?”
“You will sacrifice yourself upon the Sacred Alter… Tonight?”
She trembled. The witnesses leaned towards her, hoping, waiting.
On her cheek, a single tear left a glistening stain.
Gathered her courage, she inhaled, and in a calm, sure voice, replied, “Yes.”
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer