We had the light off by the time we left the trail, and came within view of the clearing around 11:30. We didn’t know which way the cultists would be using to get to the clearing, as there was no obvious trail leading into it, so we moved around it to ensure we didn’t have our backs to the trail. Just in case doing so put us directly in the path of the people attending the ritual.
It appeared they were already at the altar, however, once we got close enough to see more clearly. I expressed this to Jackie, but she wasn’t so sure. She pointed out that, if they were doing the same type of thing they’d been trying to do at the warehouse where we first met them, they’d need either more people or some blood sacrifice. I remembered the bodies we’d found at the last site and decided not to argue. One of these days I really should ask her how she can calculate the amount of blood needed for a ritual on the fly like that, though.
We continued to watch, and only rarely whisper to one another, as they continued preparations. She said it looked like they were going to try opening a portal and then summoning something through it, and sure enough, around midnight they began the ritual in earnest and after a couple minutes of chanting and dancing around, the stone altar began to glow and a hole in reality opened above it. I went to move forward until I felt Jackie’s hand on my shoulder.
“They need blood,” she whispered.
“And we haven’t seen the victims yet. We don’t know if they’re sacrificing people in the cult or volunteers or people they kidnapped.”
“And you think if we scare them off now, and they have people kidnapped, we won’t be able to help them.”
She nodded, and I grumbled softly but knelt back down in the weeds with her. It didn’t seem they’d noticed my movement, and they continued on while we waited.
The blog of John Matteson.