“Father, I am fearful.”
Acat took his daughter into his arms, holding her shivering form close to his chest and hummed to her the tune her mother had sung many moons before. The stone steps of the pyramid were illuminating, from top to bottom, as the Sun rose over the far peaks. Her quivering stopped after a while and she looked up into his eyes.
He had spoken with her many times before, but now, with the other assembled parents communing with their children for the last time, he could not bear to lie to her. The gold bands around his neck marked him as one of the higher arbiters, but even he was not immune to the harvest.
“The Gods have been very merciful to us, have they not my eldest?” he asked. Ixtab nodded. “When the rains did not come, did they not show us how to water the fields? And when the forest folk came up to the mountains, they showed us how to defend ourselves.” Again she nodded. He took her hand.
“In return we build the tombs and the traps in their honour, and the pyramids so they may land their sky ships. And,” he squeezed her hand tightly, “they take our children so they may make their hunt.
They took your mother too. Each blood moon, when the heat of the jungle rises, they come. Your sacrifice means the village survives my daughter.”
Ixtab nodded one last time and hugged her father. The warriors of the tribe began rounding them up, leading them to the highest point of the temple. There they entered the cool darkness, twelve children, descending into the maze of passageways and tombs that their ancestors had built to the Gods’ designs.
Finally they reached the sacrificial chamber. Twelve stone beds lay around the central dias and without speaking they each took their place. As the old stone mechanisms deep below began to grind away, Ixtab did not shake. As the slimy eggs rose at the head of each pedestal, the tip peeling back with a sickening sound, she did not murmur.
And as the spindly legs of the creature within wrapped themselves around her throat, it was too late to scream.
Prompt originally posted by MichiChelle on reddit and received 8 upvotes.