It was a noble sacrifice. A sacred ritual. I wore the cloak Trevor gave me, a black velvet that absorbed the light, lined in a smooth white silk to match my purity, the silk itself born of sacrifice, the product of millions of tiny silk worms boiled alive in their cocoons. I felt them squirming in their death throes in my belly as I walked the path he had prescribed.
Out of my backyard gate and down the overgrown alley, turning left at the fork and through the tunnel of trees at the park, crouching down as they became shorter, clutching the cape tight around my body to keep it from snagging on any of the branches. The tunnel ended and I crossed the open field, pausing behind each tree, until I reached the edge of the forest. Found the bit of red ribbon tied to a branch and followed a path of white stones to the glade where they stood waiting.
I had expected them to wear cloaks as well, but instead they had camouflaged themselves in organic matter, bundles of twigs tied around their torsos and limbs, leaves covered in some sticky substance adhering to their clothes, faces and hands smeared with mud. Except for Trevor. He was in a cloak like mine, but with a blood red interior I could catch in glimpses as he stepped between two of the other young men forming the circle around the bald, and then stopped.
His face was clean and pale, and even in the dark I could see the pale eyes that had always both hypnotized me and frightened me. He stared at me and the night seemed even darker, all of the others melting into shadows, into nothing. I was still scared and nervous, but felt a numbness in my head that was almost calming, my helplessness a relief. No more anxiety over the notion that I should save myself and the frustration in trying to summon the courage to do it because it had become so clear that there was nothing I could do.
And hadn’t I prepared myself for this? Hadn’t I, in a way, wanted it? All those months of listening to Trevor evangelize about the lost sacred traditions of our country, the old ways, the folklore, myths, and legends that were once true, the origins of little expressions and symbols that had become forgotten history. He had mocked the farmers and gardeners he saw spraying pesticides, composting, rotating their crops, over-using fertilizer, all for disappointing results. There is only one true way to bring back the bountiful crops of the past, he said, one way to ensure that everyone is properly fed, but no one has the guts to do it these days.
Did I really care though, if everyone was well fed? My parents bought everything we needed from the store, some imported, I’m sure. I think, rather, as I just liked hearing Trevor talk, liked to think of myself as special because he couldn’t talk to just anyone about these things. I had started to fantasize about myself as a fair young maiden from a legend, mysterious and silent and tragic. I thought about finally being known outside of my small circle of friends and family. And probably also I didn’t think they’d really go through with it now.
But Trevor approached and I met him in the center of the glade. Once we reached each other in the center, the circle closed in on us. Trevor pulled back his hood and undid my cloak. I was bare beneath it as he had instructed and I heard him inhale.
This is why you’ve remained pure, he had whispered, and I was too shy to explain that it was really him I had been saving myself for.
And yet, I guess that really is how it worked out, I thought, as we lay coupled on our cloaks in the glade, the circle of sticks and leaves and mud coming in closer and closer, until I felt their spear pierce our bodies together and into the soil as Trevor’s seed spilled out between my legs, our blood mingling into the loam.