The Sacrifice by Jessica Gadziala

"That's my soap too," he told me. "Remember that when you're rubbing it across your clit," he added, releasing my hand suddenly, standing, and walking out of the room.

The door to the hallway slammed as well, leaving me wholly alone for the first time since leaving the basement.

My hand released the soap, but stayed between my thighs, my finger teasing over the spot I'd always heard referred to in softer, earthy terms. Bud. Gem. Jewel.

I'd never heard the word he used before.


There was something forceful about that word, something primal.


I liked it, I decided, as my finger moved across it. I liked it more when he said it in that growling, masculine voice of his, but that was an issue for another time.

Right there, right then, in that tub of water, with my body humming with need, I let my eyes drift closed and brought my body upward in the song of desire, letting it reach the blissful high note that sang through my whole body before I finally finished my bath, washing and rinsing my hair under the running tap. I climbed out of the bath, drying myself off with the scratchy towel on the drying bar before moving over to the vanity, searching around for any creams.

Finding none, I used my finger to brush the chemically minty paste onto my teeth, cleaning them off, washing my hands, slipping into my cloak as a makeshift dress as I washed my gown in the sink, figuring I could hang it to dry in the basement, and that I could rotate the two makeshift outfits anytime they allowed me to bathe.

Unsure what to do next, I made my way out into the bedroom.

I'd never seen the outside of the demons' home, but this room was massive, bigger than my entire home in the woods, dominated by a wooden-framed bed that seemed like four could comfortably sleep on it.

There were wooden dressers, nightstands, and a massive box on the wall I knew of as a television, though I had personally never watched one for more than a few seconds when I'd gone with some of the older women in the coven to town to get some supplies that we couldn't secure any other way.

I moved over toward the windows, drawing back the drapes, seeing the damage of my swirling emotions all around the sprawling grounds—pools of water, broken tree branches, sad-looking rose bushes.

The sun was peeking through the clouds now, though, as the thick blanket of sadness seemed lifted.

I was still uncomfortable, unsure, completely in the dark about what was going to happen to me here.

But if the demon was going to rape me, wouldn't he have done it already? If they were going to murder me, wouldn't that have taken place?

I was starting to wonder if all those scary stories told around a fire were nothing more than tall tales from imaginative minds than actual possibilities.

Though, it might have been too soon to write much of anything off.

These were demons, after all.

Evil through and through.

When Ly didn't return several moments later, I made my way toward the door, pressing my ear to it, trying to hear if anyone was approaching, if he was nearby.

Hearing nothing, I hung up my gown in the bathroom and stood around waiting, figuring there was no way they wanted me walking freely around the home without express permission to do so.

After what seemed like hours passed, my stomach grumbling, my eyelids getting heavy, I slowly lowered myself down on the floor beneath the window, feeling the warmth on my face even as the hardwood cooled my back as I closed my eyes, eventually allowing the previously elusive sleep to claim me.

I dreamed of Samhain—the Summer's end solstice I would be missing this year, along with every other sabbat until the end of my time.

We would honor the dead, the generations of mothers before us. We would set their places at the table while we feasted. Then Marianne would hold a seance, seeing if any of the crossed over wanted to speak to us, guide us.

We would end the night by breaking away for private moments alone under moonlight with our cards in our hands, rolling them out in the Wheel of the Year spread, taking the guidance for the coming year that the universe, the mother, the father, had for us.

It was a happy dream as I saw myself spread in my black gown, my black cloak, my familiar, well-loved cards spread out before me.

It was the message that alarmed me, though.

Because it was a message of love.

We didn't fall in love, witches.

We met men, we grew heavy with daughters from them, and we devoted our lives to our beliefs, taking whatever love was within us, and pouring it into our daughters.

We didn't fall in love.