The mountains do not own the stage. Deep in the valley, a forgotten race prepares for the harvest with a gory ritual that offers no compromise to a demanding deity. Shek Mola has until sunrise to escape.
Jón Ragnarsson via Compfight
Bound between two saplings, the brave young man barely has enough freedom to twist his limbs. Yet, possessed of a strength born of desperation, he pulls the trees together until he can grasp the thick vines around his left arm with the spindly fingers of his right hand. The fingers become a unified claw – there won’t be a second chance at this.
Shek pulls the vines to his teeth. His muscles protest – they are more used to throwing rocks and chasing girls. His strong jaw gnashes the bitter vegetation. Too late, he realizes that the elders have foreseen this; his mouth begins to burn from the sap of poison ivy.
Still, with fierce determination, he chews through his bindings until, at last, they break away. He is left with the trivial task of freeing his other three limbs, while drawing harsh breaths through swollen lips and itching tongue.
As the last vine drops to the valley floor, the sun peeks over the rim. Shek fears he has lost the race against time, for an actual apparition solidifies before him. She is dressed in white. Henna fangs are drawn on her chin. Incongruously, she holds a clutch of wildflowers.
Embarrassed by his nakedness, Shek strains to recognize this person. Praying to another god, he hopes that she is from the far village. His prayer is answered. The lovely stranger glides up to him and presents the wildflowers. It is the universal romantic gesture of a wedding proposal.
He is to be a sacrifice, after all.
The vignette above is based on a writing prompt from LissThomas.com
I chose these five words: sacrifice actual person romantic compromise