Archive for September 3rd, 2011

3rd September
2011
written by amber

Gold Canyon

The golden canyon was filled with candles; wavering light scintillated from the ochre walls. The sacrificial maiden entered the canyon and made her way to the ocelot hide-covered dais awaiting her.

She was the wisest and sweetest and most useful girl of her generation. All the boys wanted her for their bride, but she’d been chosen as an offering to the winged gods who made the tribe’s life abundant, with food, and light, and sweetness.

She was not a willing sacrifice, but she had no choice. If she ran away, they would find her and drag her back to meet the winged gods after being punished for her impudence. Barus, the boy who loved her most, had promised to hide her from the elders, but she was loathe to make him share her punishment.

The death imposed by the winged gods was painful indeed, but a willing victim was soothed with gentle poisons to ease the pain. Honara, the maiden, smoothed the unguent across her skin and drank the prepared potion, then lay down to await the gods.

The high priestess brought the chalice of the gods into the canyon and her acolytes spread the finely-woven cloth which would confine the gods to their appointed work. Then they left Honara to her fate.

As daylight came and the effect of the sacred smoke wore off, the winged gods awoke. At first they were confused to find themselves far from their accustomed meadow and they flew around, growing more upset and angry. Honara discovered then that the unguent did not indeed protect her skin, but in fact it attracted the gods toward her.

They descended, first one by one, then in dozens, then by the hundreds, stinging and stinging.

Honara drank once more from the honeyed cup, giving honor to the providers of their sustenance, then she died.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story is dedicated to my friend, Candace Hiebert, who sells Gold Canyon candles – but I don’t think they are ever used for this purpose. I hope…