The Sacrifice

Ausley could see the grove long before he arrived there, because of the great plumes of smoke rising from it. "I don't know about their idea of a 'secret grove'," he thought to himself. "The firetrucks are probably going to be here any second."

The land surrounding the grove was heavily undergrown, and the robe he was wearing kept snagging on plants and almost tripping him up. He had to restrain the urge to hike it up like a woman's skirts--mainly because he didn't want his legs to be snagged on those same plants.

Then he was on the edge of the grove. The wall of vegetation looked impassable. What was it Dermon had told him? Right. He pulled the folded mask out of the robe's single pocket and placed it over his head. Then he pulled the flap down over the right eye and squinted at the ground with his left. Sure enough, there was the path.

He walked slowly and carefully along the path, expecting it to disappear at any moment. But eventually he started to hear chanting voices, some of them vaguely familiar, and to smell roasting meat of some kind.

Then he was in the clearing, and he hurriedly lifted up the right eye-flap. Here the dense vegetation ended, and the grass was as short as if it had been cut with a weed-eater. There was a circle of other robed and hooded forms in the clearing, all of whom turned to look in his direction as he entered. The chant stopped, but Ausley had a feeling that it wasn't solely because of his presence. Or, rather, that he had arrived at this moment because the chanting was about to stop.

"Who comes to the Grove?" said the apparent leader. The voice was unfamiliar.

"It is Pringle," he said. He was less than pleased with his cabal name, but he had had little choice in it.

"Welcome, Pringle," the cabal members intoned. They shuffled to one side, to clear a space in the circle for him.

"The newbie has arrived," the leader proclaimed. "The summoning may now begin."

As Ausley took his place in the circle, he saw the source of the smoke and the smell of meat. A creature of some kind was roasting slowly on a spit above a fire-pit in the middle of the clearing. One of the cabal stepped up as he watched and smeared it with butter. As the spit was turned, Ausley was shocked to recognize the creature as a dog.

"All is in readiness," said the leader. "The newbie has arrived, the dog is roasted, the circle is complete. We are prepared to welcome the spirit of Wavidavi."

"All welcome Wavidavi," intoned the circle, including, to Ausley's surprise, himself.

The leader held out a cup which seemed to be filled with some kind of excrement. "Accept our offering, Wavidavi, and come unto us, who beseech you and adjure you to grant us your presence." He dumped the shit on the fire, where it burst into flame and released a cloud of noxious and noisome smoke.

"Jig(ARD), Jig(ARD), Jig(ARD)," intoned the cabal.

"Earwigs are not the only fruit," said the leader.

"M-O-O-N that spells Norman," intoned the cabal.

The cloud of shit-smoke had risen a few feet above the spit, and was starting to swirl and roil in an odd manner. It was just starting to take on a humanoid form when it suddenly seemed to be sucked into the mouth of the roasted dog as if the dog's innards had been replaced with those of a vacuum cleaner. The chant stopped at this point.

Then the eyes of the dog seemed to come aware, and it spoke. "What's the matter, you bastards, couldn't find a goose?"

The leader said, "We are sorry, Wavidavi. The dog was available. Besides, goose-shit is just so runny."

A sigh came from the dog. "Silly gits. Well, what the hell do you want me to do for you, you bunch of baby-farting idiots?"

"Wavidavi, there has come a great scourge on the land. From far and wide they come, from Canada and Australia and Britain and the States and even South Africa. We are buried in them, in their incessant chatter, and their pollution with flames and cascades. Wavidavi, there is a plague of newbies on the land."

"So tell me something I don't know, puling fuckheads. So what do you want me to do about it?"

"Rid us of the scourge, Wavidavi! We cannot bear it more. Our killfiles swell and become bloated, and threaten to overwhelm our memories. Those who may have true gifts turn away in disgust. It has become like unto a sewer."

The dog laughed in a queer and hiccuping manner. "And you mother-masturbating gits think that I want to do something about it? You think I don't like it like this? What a bunch of weiner-nosed cocksuckers. You only summoned me because you're scared of those who could really do something about your situation, like BoBteCh or CJ or Kent Paul Dolan." There was a hush at the mention of the Holy Names.

"We have a newbie for you," said the leader, breaking the silence, and suddenly hands were pushing Ausley forward into the circle, and holding his arms as he struggled to flee, sudden panic overtaking him.

The dog's eyes somehow turned towards Ausley, scrutinizing him. Ausley's skin crawled and he had to restrain an urge to vomit. "Hmmm. He does look like a juicy one. I bet he likes it up the ass. Hmmm? Right. I'll see what I can do. I won't promise anything, except to fart diarrhea wherever I can. We'll see if this one will eat his own shit first."

The black cloud erupted forth again from the dog's mouth, and engulfed Ausley. His lungs spasmed as he involuntarily breathed in, and the cloud burned his insides. He convulsed and coughed and finally collapsed to the ground, wracked with pain and curling slowly into a fetal position.

"So long, bastards," Wavidavi said as he dragged Ausley back into the festering shithole that was his home.

<Rob Dobson gave me the assignment


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The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey /