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This story rather shamelessly takes from a famous short story called "The Lottery", by Shirley Jackson.

Luck of the Draw

There's a place up north, a small farming community, isolated and still practising rituals from ancient memory. The old gods demanded more than simple prayer and the odd tidbit of bread and wine in order to bring fortune and prosperity.

The entire town had crowded into the high school auditorium that warm June afternoon. It was the day of the Lottery, when the adolescent sons and daughters of the villagers would place their little slips of paper with their names into a wooden box. The mayor would make a little speech, reach into the box and pick a slip. Whoever was chosen would then stand up from their seat, walk up onto the stage, and accept their fate. The methods would change year to year, always based on the words of the town holy man, the conduit between the mortal world and the heavens. Sometimes, the old gods would desire blood, and thus, the town would choose an axe handler as well. Other times, they simply desired agony.

That June night, the mayor reached into the box and pulled out a slip. The auditorium was silent, still enough that one could hear a pin drop. 400 pairs of eyes watched intently as the mayor slowly unrolled the paper and read the name out loud.

"Could a Jonathan Bassett please stand up?"

There was an audible gasp from the back row, and a young boy slowly stood up, his rosy cheeks drained of color, his green eyes wide and fearful. Stiffly, he turned and gave his mother one final hug before slowly shuffling down the central aisle, towards the waiting mayor.

A simple nylon fiber noose dangled from one of the structural crossbeams of the auditorium. Jonathan avoided looking at it as he stepped up on to the stage and joining the mayor. The boy stared down at his sneakers as the mayor gently took the noose and placed it around Jonathan's slender, pale neck.
The mayor tightened the knot and stepped back, admiring his handiwork. Jonathan stayed silent, his heart beating furiously. His white cotton shirt was already drenched with sweat, leaving it almost transparent.

The mayor turned his head and nodded towards the sacrifice technician, who pressed a button on a remote control.

The trapdoor built into the stage opened up, dropping Jonathan 4 meters and stretching the rope to its maximum length. The boy gasped as the nylon noose tightened inexorably, biting into his soft flesh. He twirled in mid air, his long legs kicking every which way, struggling to find something to hold onto. His hands shot up to his neck, in a futile effort to free his neck from the rope. The boy continued to kick and squirm in the air, his face slowly growing red. Jonathan's pink tongue poked out between his pressed purple lips as the noose forced itself deeper into the boy's neck. His legs stopped kicking, and began to raise themselves up and up until his knees touched his straining chest. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he winced and grimaced, pain and fear filling every fiber of his being. This continued for several minutes, until the rope finally strangled the oxygen supply to his brain for good.

With that, his arms fell limply to his side. Jonathan's legs relaxed as well.
The crotch of his jeans softened and went wet as the boy's bladder released its contents in a messy dribble. There he hung, slowly swinging, his facial expression serene, if it weren't for the bulging veins and copious amounts of drool.

The sacrifice technician came forward and cut Jonathan down. The boy dropped to the stage floor with a heavy thump, his body splayed out lifelessly.

The doctor came up onstage and placed his stethoscope against Jonathan's chest. He waited 10 seconds, put away his stethoscope, and took out a flashlight. With one gloved finger, he pulled open an eyelid and shone the light at the pupil. He grunted as the pupils stayed still. The doctor stood up and faced the mayor. "The heart is still beating, but there's no one home. Lets finish this off, shall we?"

The mayor smiled and looked up at the heavens, his arms outstretched. "May his soul nourish, and provide us with bountiful harvests", he murmured, as the sacrifice technician retrieved his knife from its holster once again, and pressed it against Jonathan's chest. The technician felt for a gap between the ribcage, found one, and shoved the knife deep into Jonathan's body. It sliced open his aorta, and the heart seized up instantly. Blood poured out of the incision, bright red and thick. It stained his t-shirt, then pooled around the boy's corpse, forming an a stroke of red across the blonde wood floor of the stage.

They left his corpse up on stage for the next several hours to cool and stiffen, before dragging it out to the town square and tossing it into a roaring bonfire. The flames consumed Jonathan, leaving nothing but scattered bones.

The harvest that year was good, as was expected.


I do enjoy a good sacrifice story ;-)

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