The cloaked man sat in the middle of the runic inscription on the wooden floor, splinters kicked up where a dull blade had scratched away at the planks. The man’s eyes were wide, his tongue twitching on his bottom lip. A hand half covered in black cloth was wrapped around the hilt of another knife that had found its blade within his abdomen. Blood pooled out from the fresh wound, matting the robe against his skin. A flame would occasionally flicker light on his knuckles, showing their lack of color.
An old, dusty tome sat open in front of the bleeding man. It was flipped open, candle wax, soot and dried blood blotted all over the torn pages. One finger ran across raised text on the page, his eyes following it. He tried clearing his throat with a hacking cough, the knife in his side causing him to scream out. Spit shot through his teeth as he caught his breath, his focus coming back to the grimoire in front of him. The corners of his lips curled upward. He began to speak.
“Bathory, Nyírbátor, of virgin blood, fogd ezt a hús, grant me anew, adj ez az ajándék, for his and our sacrifice.”
He ripped the knife out of his side, pointing it across the room at a young girl in a torn blue shirt. A trail of crimson was flung across her face from the blade, staining her features. Her legs and arms were covered with cuts, crude bandages and pieces of cloth wrapped around her wrists. A rusted chain around her waist kept her tied to a support column in the room, preventing her from moving. A large piece of fabric was stuck between her teeth, muffling her terror.
“Stop your forsaken howling, witch! Do you even know the trouble you cause me?”
She tried to yell something at him, but it came out only as a muffled yelp.
“You’ve never known the answers, not once, not once, not once! Worthless, screaming witch!”
His hand was shaking with effort, his malformed teeth grinding together.
“Take her! Rip her to shreds! Give me all of her youth, give it all to me! Fill my wound!”
He stabbed the knife into the center of the runic circle, screaming out with a gurgling, twisted yell.
Haunting shrieks ripped through the floorboards, a twisting gale ripping upward around the room. Uprooted nails and planks spun around, slamming into the walls. A loud crack came from the ceiling, the shingles and beams torn straight off the house, opening a wide hole to the night sky above. A dark fog filled the room along with the smell of sulfur and burning flesh, the mists coalescing in the center of the room in the shape of a tall woman. Her features were shrouded in mist, her form covered in a black ball gown. Her fingers looked to be made out of smoke, her nails of ashes.
Glowing yellow eyes darted first to the man — inspecting him before her neck of mist twisted sickly around, blazing orbs narrowing at the girl. Her body seemed to hiss with every movement, as if her skeleton was made from the tongues of snakes. She pointed a finger at the captured girl, now laying on her side, freed from the chain around her waist but frozen in terror. A trail of ashes fell to what remained of the floor below as her hand unraveled, her knuckles clicking. Her maw opened, her voice carrying all the charm of a dead, rotting queen.
“Your blood will shower down…”
Dust and debris from the abandoned house continued to circle around them, occasionally slamming into their bodies. A particularly large plank slammed into the back of the man, causing him to lurch forward on to the ethereal creature’s feet. Her head twisted back around, arm reaching to the knife that had been stabbed into the rune. Her fingers unwrapped like tentacles, curling around the hilt of the blade before pulling it out and bringing it to where her face should’ve been. Her bright yellow eyes reflected on the blade, revealing a slithering tongue that darted from her blank visage, sampling the blade’s fresh gift.
A screeching, grinding scream emanated from her being.
The cloaked man looked up at her, hands placed at her feet like a beggar. His eyes were wide as he stared upward at the creature he had sacrificed his humanity for.
The demonic woman’s hand enveloped the blade in mist, turning it into a prosthesis before stabbing it down into the man’s skull. The blade pierced his forehead, a sick cracking sound filling the room as the blade crunched against his cartilage. With a flick the blade was pulled forward, his head splitting in two. The contents poured forward onto the feet of the summoned beast, pooling under her great gown.
“All for me…” she whispered, sloshing the liquid around with her feet.
Her neck ripped around again, gaze planted on the blue-shirted girl who had shuffled herself to a destroyed corner of the room. The terrified girl could taste bile, the sickening sound of the man’s death raising her stomach. She tried to focus every bit of energy in her body, struggling against her internal panic.
The creature’s gown twirled around, the rest of her body aligning with her neck.
“All for me.”