Melissa - Page 370
I have to keep walking. I just need to pretend that I am one of them. The taste of cooked baby still fills your mouth and human grease clings to the sides of your tongue like a vile disease. The bird creatures lead you deeper into the mountainside forest, letting out shrill shrieks and caws every so often as they march.
You mind wanders back to Darren. I hope he can find me... You choke back a sob and brush the stray tears from your cheek. I'll get back to you somehow, Darren. I will, you resolve, calming your volatile gut and steadying your breathing.
You try to keep track of your steps to determine how long you've marched, but around twelve thousand steps, you lose track. Two miles, at least, you determine. I could run that if I needed to.
The bird creatures come to a stop at the top of the mountain. The fan out in a semicircle around a large pyramid of sticks and brambles. One of them, presumably the leader, takes a torch and waves it high over his head.
"One of us!" the beasts chant in unison. Before you realize what's happening, two of them grab your arms from behind and start carrying you toward the pile of sticks.
"No!" you scream, kicking and thrashing your legs above the ground. You don't know what's about to happen, but you don't like it. "Put me down, you fucking mongrels!" Panic washes over you in sickening waves, growing with every step the beasts take.
"One of us!" their chant escalates all around you. You can barely hear your own adrenaline-fueled screams above their incessant calls. You kick and shake, trying desperately to free yourself, but the two bird creatures have grips like iron. "One of us! One of us!"
Your feet collide with the bottom of the pile and the two birds throw you high into the air. You have one last chance to scream before you hit the wooden stack and are overcome with pain.
Your chest explodes, both literally and figuratively. One of the sharp sticks in the pile protrudes from your gut like the Washington Monument covered in blood. "Fu-" you manage to whimper through the blinding pain.
"One of us! One of us!" The leader tosses the torch at your feet. The dried wood catches easily and flames lick at your feet.
With a roar like a hungry lion, the ground underneath the bird creatures splits open and consumes them in a single burst of blue and white fire. A savior? Not from that direction.
A huge skeletal hand claws forth from the ground and you know what will follow it. Your eyes close and roll back in your head, swimming in a violent deluge of uncontrollable pain. Is it the same skeleton as before? Fuck, what does it matter?
"Number Three...." the hellish brute whispers almost lovingly. His powerful hands slide under your back and lift you from the pile, ending your impalement. You gut bubbles and spits warm blood all over the forest floor.
"Number Three..." the thing coos. "To the altar."