The smell of brine was in the air, wafting in off the ocean far below the cliff as the wind blew strongly. The megalith must have stood on those cliffs for how long (?); long enough for the land to recede back as the ocean ate away at the cliffs. In another year or two these stones would be at the bottom of the sea. His hand wrapped around my palm, warm and slightly moist from the damp air and perhaps from well hidden fear. His face was a mask of determination – full mouth set firm, eyes staring ahead softly reflecting the green moonlight. If we had given in to fear tonight and waited until next year, the megalith would be gone and then we would bear the subsequent despair. But if things went wrong tonight! I squeezed his hand and took a step forward towards the megalith. With heavy steps he followed after.
The megalith formed a rough circle of stones, covered in moss and eaten away by the salt in the air. They were blackened with time and one can only wonder what their finish must have once looked like. Engraved in the largest of the stones, barely visible were words in a forgotten tongue and a glyph of a man and a woman standing in the middle of the circle of stones with moonlight streaming upon them. I wondered how many people through the ages came here seeking what they sought now, performing the ritual and then leaving with heavy hearts and great expectations.
Slowly we emerged into the centre of the stones facing the large stone with the glyph. I let go of his hand and turned to face him. He reached out and stroked my face, slowly and lovingly, and then grabbed my arm and forced my wrist up. I grunted and forced my face away from his, nodding grimly. I felt a sharp pain and then it was over. Warm salty blood streamed from the wound on my wrist and fell on the weed littered earth. Together we walked to the large stone, one arm directing me, the other flicking the blood off the dagger he used. Before the stone he stuck the dagger into the ground, following the ritual to the letter. He then guided my wounded wrist to the stone and pressed it against it. It was cold at first but quickly grew fiercely warm to the touch, as if my blood gave it a pulsing life of its own. I began to grow faint, whether from loss of blood or from the energy of the stone, I could not tell.
I finally turned my head to face him. My eyes told him it was ready. The stone grew warm as if alive, as the words we had read and reread so many times over the past few months had told us. Now he must do it and quickly. He brought my wrist to his mouth and clamped his mouth down on the wound. He grimaced and I lost my balance, falling back against the ever warm stone. He didn’t let go, he continued to follow the ritual, pinning me further against the stone, despite my discomfort. I gasped for it was painful and horrifying - his face was slowly turning from that of disgust to that of pleasure. He was enjoying it, greedily feeding on my blood, making loud slurping sounds and sighs of enjoyment. I closed my eyes and fought away my own hysteria. The words we read had told us this would happen. This was a good sign; but what if he didn’t stop. He would drain me!
Soon he let go of my wrist, and wiped the blood from his mouth – my blood which had been blessed by the stone. I sighed relieved and managed to seek his hand and squeeze it. He gazed at me, his eyes seeming to glow, and kissed my wounded wrist so tenderly and lovingly. I trembled and quickly pulled it away and wrapped my palm around it. With my blood now nourishing his body, we both sat in the middle of the stones and waited. I was so faint and tired but refused to give in and allow myself to pass out. I wanted to complete this ritual as it was written, and I didn’t trust him. My stone blessed blood had brought about a quick change in him. He seemed more feral and if I were to lose consciousness he would drain the rest of the life out of me.
As we sat there, I collected my thoughts and settled my emotions. I would have never thought we would resort to going to the megalith and all the risks involved including the risk of being discovered accused for indulging in such pageantry. This was the only way though, we had exhausted all our other choices. He had always been fascinated with the stones. Sometimes I wondered if the reason why we failed so much was because he had wanted it this way all along. I quickly let those thoughts go as I looked at him. He did not take his eyes off of me the whole time. His lips were so red and his skin looked darker. It was his sudden lack of blinking that told me soon the next phase of the ritual would begin. Eerily he stared at me with eyes no longer human, no longer blinking; and I sat paralyzed with an ebbing fear in which no amount of logic, no matter how hard I tried to think about the benefits, could dissipate. I waited for the next phase to begin with terror in my heart.
The moonbeam hit us and took me by surprise by its intense brightness. It was like the glyph on the large stone in front of us, now stained with my blood. Tonight was the night when the moon reflected its light most intensely on this spot. I stared at him, with his unblinking eyes; the moonbeam had transfixed him. I stood up and hesitantly took a step back away from him. That was enough to break his enchantment. In a flash he was on me, tearing the cloth from my body. He groaned and grunted like a beast. I screamed. Never had I thought it would be like this. Soon I was bare and prone. He began, stripping himself of his cloths in a rushed hurry, tattering them in the process. I trembled like a rabbit caught in a snare. This was what I wanted, I reminded myself. When dealing with ancient magic one must deal with ancient feral customs. It was that thought which made me falter with the ritual, willing to forget about it all. I was not an ancient human. I was modern and this sort of thing we were doing wasn’t right. And I was on my feet in an instant, slipping out of the reach of his grasping hands and running for the edge of the circle of stones which made up the megalithic structure. I screamed in full terror realizing that this whole thing was a mistake and a most unforgivable sin. He bounded after me. He was still a man, but there was a wild energy in him, making him like a solid black shadow. He grabbed my throat and forced me down. I struggled weakly, my strength compromised from the blood letting. I kicked him and kneed him and screamed. He was unflinching in his hold on me. Then he threw me to the ground and was upon me.
My insides burned in fire – a bright bursting and tearing of pleasure. I gasped and moaned so loudly and was greeted by his laboured groans. His hands clawed at my breasts, squeezing them in earnest. His mouth would lower to them every now and then, savouring my nipples and before finding my neck and biting it so roughly, drawing blood and lapping up the drops. It was intense and long. For hours it seemed he went at me, devouring me slowly as the time went by. His body was insatiable for mines. The power of the stones coursed through me causing my body to respond to his savage amorous attentions in such exquisite pleasure. It shamed me to enjoy this violation, but the ritual was being completed even if I no longer wanted to complete it. I wondered grimly how many of the other women who came before me were of the same resignation in this phase of the ritual as I. I endured his savagery until the moon began to fall. It was then that he let himself release in me, long and intense. He howled at the dying moon and I quaked and shuddered in his arms with my own long awaited relief. My eyes rolled to the back of my head and I lost consciousness in the intense waves of pleasure which were shamefully flowing over me. A fleeting thought of happiness filled my mind.
I thought of that night often in the months that followed. He was never the same after that and neither was I, but the ritual was done and behind us. That fall when our son came, the stones were no more, cast into the bottom of the sea with only the smell of brine to remind us of the sins which gave life to our blessings.