This would be the sixth night in a row Elisa woke up with wounds all over her body. Some were nearly healed, others were fresh. She awoke displayed out on a cold, wet and muddy ground in the middle of a dark wood. Her arms were bound together, and her legs forcibly spread apart. A makeshift altar was placed behind her, scattered with candles, a crystal black chalice and a blade. She could hear slow chanting and low eerie hums. For a moment she panicked, and her eyes immediately darted down to her expectant bump. She was surrounded by mysterious figures dressed in long black cloaks all strategically positioned around her. One of them glided toward her, bent down and removed the hood. Elisa relaxed immediately when she saw her mother, Lydia.
‘How are you feeling?’
Elisa’s voice was raspy.
‘You won’t have to worry about that any longer, it will be over in a minute’.
Lydia placed her porcelain like hands on her daughters’ cheeks and caressed her.
‘I didn’t think it was time yet’,
Anxiety rushed from Elisa’s stomach to her chest.
‘Are you ready my love?
‘The sect thanks you’.
Lydia stayed proudly knelt next to her daughter.
In the distance, Elisa could make out faint cries of terror. At first, it was indistinct. But as it drew closer the cloaks parted simultaneously to reveal a whimpering and terrified young girl, no older than sixteen, dressed in white. Two unidentifiable members of the sect dragged her into the circle. Her arms were taut behind her back. The young woman was thrown to her knees as one of the followers held her head firmly over Elisa’s pregnant stomach. The young girl shrieked.
‘Dad. Please. Please’.
The dark silhouette leaned in, kissed her on the forehead and forced her head back down. Lydia handed the cloaked figure a twisted iron athame from the altar. The cultist raised his hand and placed the knife right under his daughters neck. The girl’s cries were hoarse as she shrieked for her father to stop. But he ignored her, his hand steady. As she looked down at Elisa’s stomach, she saw something dance underneath Elisa’s skin as it poked and prodded its host. The young girl looked at Elisa.
‘Please, don’t let them kill me’.
Her words were indistinguishable between sobs.
‘I’m sorry. I can’t’
Elisa was empathetic but she knew what needed to be done.
‘The sect thanks you.’
The chants from the surrounding sect members became louder. The girl’s neck was sliced from right to left. Blood erupted across Elisa’s torso. The girl’s body slumped to the ground jerking as her neck continued to sporadically squirt random bursts of blood. Her corpse was removed. Elisa was shaking and she began to feel her stomach whirl uncontrollably. Elisa groaned in pain. She could barely speak.
Lydia took the black chalice from the altar and pressed it against Elisa lips. Thick red liquid dribbled down Elisa’s mouth and she licked her lips.
Her mother obliged. Elisa hungrily gulped down the contents of the chalice. Every drop. Elisa’s stomach started moving more violently. Shapes began to protrude even more from inside her. The pain was more excruciating now. The chants became louder and faster. Elisa’s stomach started to push and pull and whatever was living inside her began to press impatiently against her stomach. She shrieked.
‘All will be well, my love’.
Elisa squeezed her mother’s hand so tightly, her hands whitened. The sect continued to chant and whirr quicker. Elisa’s stomach began to tear, slowly. In horror, Elisa let out a painful scream. The rip on her stomach travelled from her up to her chest, like a seam unravelling on a frayed dress. A fountain of blood began spurting upward from Elisa’s upper body. She let out on final cry as she began to split in two. Lydia jumped to her feet at she watched something push violently out of her daughter. Elisa’s screams suddenly stopped. Something alive pulsated underneath her innards. The chanting stopped and they all congregated around Elisa’s mangled body. Suddenly, a horrendous and shrill noise filled the open air. The sea of cloaked sect members jumped back in terror. Inside Elisa’s open carcass was a horrifying creature, trembling vigorously in its mothers bare womb. It wasn’t a baby. It wasn’t at all what they had ever seen before. It was an abhorrent amalgamation of a baby and some sort of animal. Its head was abnormal and deformed with a large elongated snout. Its wrinkled body was misshapen, and its arms and legs contorted. It had no hands or feet. Just flesh coloured hooves. Everyone removed their hoods in shock and disgust. Lydia turned away unable to look at the foul and hideous thing. Tears rolled down her face. The horrifying squeals became softer and its movements became weaker. Moments later, the disturbing sound of baby and screaming goat ceased. Lydia looked at her daughter once more. ‘Put her with the others’
Lydia led the sect through the dark wood as they moved as one carrying Elisa’s body to a burial ground. There were dozens of unmarked graves. Some old and some were very recent. They placed Elisa into a pre-dug hole and showered her with dirt.
Lydia turned to her followers.
‘The next one, will be the one’.