To the Devil we brought her

04Oct18

DevilsSandi Pope stood open-mouthed in the bushes staring in almost disbelief.

“I knew it,” she whispered to herself. Not such a dumb blonde after all, she grinned. Her oval face was elfin like with full lips that gave her an almost permanent pout. Her big blue eyes were framed by heavy natural lashes which blinked rapidly as she watched the scene unfolding before her.

The moon was full, giving a silver glow to the glade by the crossroads. Crossroads, Sandi snorted, it was little more than a place where two muddy tracks crossed. But she knew that in days past the coaches from London had travelled here and her grandfather had told her that the roads were even older than that.

The group of dark-cloaked figures were gathering around a small fire and although Sandi could not see their faces she was certain now that the tall woman at their heart was Rachel Stanmore, head of the local primary school.

“Just you wait,” Sandi said breathily and fumbled for her phone ready to take a picture.

Just then the hitherto respectable Ms Stanmore called out and in a moment the small group around her doffed their cloaks and stood naked in the moonlight. Sandi giggled.

It was odd to see the 40-year-old Rachel Stanmore naked in the middle of the woods and it struck Sandi that shorn of her usual dowdy tweed she wasn’t a bad looker either. In fact most of the naked villagers looked quite good and Sandi found herself leering at the village constable. “Now you’re a big boy,” she whispered.

As she watched the group began chanting and moving in a circle around the fire while Ms Stanmore and a man she did not recognise led the ceremony. The man was old, like her grandfather, although sporty in build. He too was well endowed and she wondered how the three or four men in the group did not respond to the naked women dancing.

Tracy Jones, the girl who worked the post office counter at the village store and Geri Hall, the landlord’s daughter at the pub had super model looks and even Sandi couldn’t help be moved by their nudity.

Then Stanmore began to say something.

“We gather, we dance, we turn and we prance,” she intoned, “To our mother and giver…”

Sandi caught her breath.

“To he who brings light on this bond breaking night…” Stanmore called along with other words Sandi did not hear.

The men and women in the circle moved faster and dipped in unison before rising and extending their arms.

“The bringer of light,” they sang together in response to something Stanmore said.

Sandi moved forward to get a better look and her foot found a fallen branch. The crack at her heel sang out and the group froze.

“Shit,” Sandi cursed and winced.

Within a moment the constable had kicked the fire out and then like the others re-donned his robes. Within a few seconds all had vanished into the dark.

“Devil worshippers,” Sandi hissed gleefully and giving up her hiding place went over the dying embers. “Bloody hell, wait until I tell…” then she rolled her eyes. Who could she tell? Aunt Mary would scold her for sneaking out on a school night like she was some errant teen. Who would believe her? If only she had taken some pictures.

With one last look around she turned to walk back to the village.

Behind the old man and Rachel Stanmore stood in the dark shade of an old oak and watched Sandi go.

“Who is she?” the man asked.

“One of our local brats, I used to teach her,” Rachel sighed.

“Trouble?” the man said.

Rachel pursed her lips and shrugged. “Maybe,” she said.

*

Sandi watched the coven for days. Not that anything happened. She noted who talked to whom though and little by little she worked out who had been present that night. She even identified the mystery man as an antiques dealer temporarily staying with Rachel Stanmore while he scouted out local shops and auctions.

On Thursday it rained and she dropped into the village store and the post office to pick up some milk for Aunt Mary. Convinced that no one had seen her come in she hid behind the canned goods shelf and peeked in on Geri Hall. To her surprise Tracy Jones was already at the counter and the two women were talking in a low whisper.

“Tonight then,” Tracy said.

“Gods, I hope the rain stops, who is the sacrifice?” Geri whispered.

“I guess we will find out,” Tracy answered with a shrug, “See ya.”

A sacrifice, Sandi gaped, oh my God. She made herself as small as possible as Geri left and prayed that she wouldn’t be seen. She had to hide for several minutes until old Mrs Turner came in and she could slip out unnoticed.

All the way home her head was buzzing. I have to stop this I have to… she ran. Aunt Mary would know what to do. But by the time she got there Sandi lost her nerve. What could she say? No the only thing to do was go out the crossroads and get a picture and then phone the police. She would be a freaking hero.

*

The moon had waned to a half and in any case there were grey clouds racing across the sky. At least the rain had held off and this time the fire burned more brightly. I have you, Sandi thought as she closed in on the gathering group at the fire. She ran off a few pictures, but realising that they probably proved nothing she edged closer. This time she watched her feet as best she could lest she step on a branch or twig again.

This time the group were further back from the fire and had not yet disrobed. They appeared to be sheltering under a huge oak waiting for something.

Sandi dropped to one knee behind a shrub and let the phone silently film. No sign of this sacrifice, she thought. Maybe it would turn out to be just a chicken or something.

“Is everybody here?” Rachel Stanmore asked.

The group looked around and some of them nodded.

“Did you bring the necessary?” the old man asked.

“Made it myself,” the constable said and indicated something Sandi could not see.

“It will serve,” the older man said.

“I serve your will,” the constable said reverently.

“Blessed be,” some of the women muttered.

Sandi was torn up by curiosity and crept forward. The moon was gone again and somewhere an owl hooted. What had they brought?

“The rain seems to holding off,” one of the other men said looking up, “Although it’s not a proper sabat so I suppose it doesn’t matter.”

“Yes, pity we were interrupted the other night,” a woman said.

“That is why we are here,” Geri said excitedly.

There were mutters at this and Sandi didn’t notice that some of them came from behind her.

“Yes,” the senior man growled.

“When does she arrive?” Tracy blurted.

“She is already here,” Rachel Stanmore intoned.

At that group spread out and formed a much larger circle. Before Sandi realised it she was surrounded.

“Good evening Sandi,” Rachel said pleasantly and turned to confront her former student.

The constable moved up next to the stunned young woman and gently took her phone.

Sandi could scarce draw a breath and made to run.

“Don’t leave, after all you came here freely. You are curious are you not?” Rachel’s voice was commanding like back in school.

“Y-you’re, you’re d-devil cultists,” Sandi accused, not sure now where she could run, although no one sought to hold her.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Rachel laughed.

“Ridiculous am I? I am not the one out here playing dress-up,” Sandi said sharply.

“But we are minding our own business,” Rachel countered.

“I… I came to save the sacrifice,” Sandi shot back.

“Save her from what?” the antique dealer asked in amusement.

“So you don’t deny it,” Sandi was gleeful. I have them, she thought.

“You are here are you not?” the man responded.

“Me?” Sandi gulped. She had trouble breathing again and looked about to escape.

“Our guest seems over dressed to me,” Rachel said in a severe voice. Sandi remembered it from school. “Help her with that will you girls?”

Several women stepped forward and hands grabbed at the interloper. Sandi felt her heart stop and imagined a knife. Was that what the constable had brought? She felt her cardigan pulled off her shoulders while another woman knelt at her feet and deftly unbuttoned her skirt. Sandi was down to her bra and pants before she knew it.

“What are you going to do?” a worried Sandi asked.

“Why sacrifice you of course, come now Pan awaits,” Rachel teased.

“Please, let me go,” Sandi pleaded and hugged herself defensively.

“Not quite yet,” the elder man said sternly.

There was a promise in his words and Sandi was more curious than afraid again.

“You rather ruined our ceremony the other night. I also think you would benefit from an introduction to our little… group,” Rachel explained. “Please finish getting undressed.”

Sandi gaped and hugged herself more tightly.

“You don’t want the men to do it for you do you?” Rachel asked politely as if making a genuine offer.

Sandi swallowed and taking a deep breath she unhooked her bra and then with a hot face stepped out of her knickers. “There,” she said defiantly, “Do your worst.”

“Prepare the initiate,” Rachel said solemnly.

Still expecting a knife Sandi braced herself. Instead gentle arms led her forward and towards a fallen tree trunk. The constable ‘cuffed’ her wrists with his hands and pulled her to him so that she fell forward across the log and face down. Then the village bobby sat down and held her firmly bent over the fallen tree.

“Thank you for your efforts Peter,” the elder said as he picked up what looked like an old fashioned broom.

“Now you little know-it-all you are going to get a good sound birching on your bare bottom,” Rachel said sharply. “If you are good sport about it we might let you join us.”

“I will never serve the devil,” Sandi wailed, not at all sure she wouldn’t, not given the alternative.

“The Devil is a Christian concept silly girl, we are Pagans,” Rachel rolled her eyes.

“Oh,” Sandi said now deflated. She had read something about that.

Then the elder took up a stance behind the naked girl she could not quite see and lashed down hard across her exposed bottom.

“Ah,” Sandi yelped, “That hurt.”

“No surely, what about this?” the man said in a tone of sarcasm and birched her again.

To Sandi it felt like a thousand needles across her bottom and her eyes flew open wide.

“That too,” she panted, realising that she was helpless now. “Constable… Peter… are you going to let them do this?” she wailed.

“Oh yes,” Peter grinned.

Sandi screamed as another lash burned her bare bottom. Magic fire bees tore into her exposed flesh, or so it seemed and she ground her sex into the rough bark as if that might help.

The Elder lashed her half a dozen times grazing her bottom and making her wail and screech.

“I’m sorry, please, I’m sorry,” she sobbed.

“Are you going to be a sport?” Rachel asked.

“Yes Miss Stanmore,” Sandi snivelled, reverting to her childhood.

“Good girl,” Rachel beamed. “We decided on three dozen as soon as you decided to be reasonable, alright?”

“That’s killing,” Sandi wailed in dismay.

“Not quite, but you won’t sit down for a few days,” her old teacher reassured Sandi.

“I won’t come back, really I won’t,” Sandi began to cry.

“Oh, we really hope you will,” Rachel said quietly and then she nodded.

The antique dealer in his capacity as high priest slashed the birch rod down again and again while the newbie danced in pain across the fallen log, her bare bottom upturned to the wind.

“I’ll count,” Geri whispered her eyes shining.

“Do try and be accurate,” Rachel chided.

“I’ll try,” the barmaid said unconvincingly.

All across the wood and for some time a strange creature could be heard serenading the night. A screech owl perhaps or some fabled banshee. Geri Hall was lousy at counting.

End



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