The cave is damp and dark, the sunlight reaching only a few feet into it.
“It used to be much simpler,” she says. I think I can hear her voice break, but it might just be wishful thinking on my part. “Not easier, mind you, just simpler. Ironically, there weren’t as many… prying eyes. Do you understand?”
I shrug. Her white dress is stained red and I choose to believe it’s simply some clay, just like I chose to ignore the stench of death filling her home. This is the only thing I have left that doesn’t belong to her – freedom of choice. She can’t force me to do anything I don’t choose to do, she’d have no use of me if she did.
“What do you–” I stop myself. I almost slipped. “What should be done about it?”
I point to the corpse on the ground, my hand visibly shaking. It’s a fresh kill, I can tell. I can also tell she doesn’t appreciate the signs of fear I’m exhibiting.
“How should I know?” she all but hisses. She sounds like a mother that’s losing her temper. “That’s your job, isn’t it?”
She simply sighs, although the sound is too sharp and too cold to calm my nerves. Still, I’m granted some mercy when she turns her gaze to the darkness of the cave. I don’t want to know what she’s looking at so I grab the body of a middle aged man, a man I’ve never seen before but will remember for eternity, in a pathetic attempt to lift it. I’m sure I’ve carried wood logs twice his weight, but it turns out a lifeless human can be surprisingly heavy. Before I can make my mind up to just drag him out of the cave by his hands, I catch a movement in the corner of my eye.
It’s the darkness. It’s stirring. The contents of my stomach threaten to escape, as I watch a shadow tear away from the edges of the void that stands like a wall at the end of the cavern. It drops to the floor and starts crawling, a hideous shapeless spider. For a terrifying moment I have a heart-crushing feeling that it’s coming towards me, coming for me, that I’ll end up like so many before me, a pile of bones swept away by a river current…
It stops not by my shoes, but by the dead man’s head. Though it doesn’t have eyes, I know it looks at me. Judges. Disapproves.
“Sorry,” I whisper.
In a blink of an eye, it transforms from a sliver of darkness into a black veil. It grows and stretches until the man’s body is completely hidden underneath it. I hold my breath, but when I blink again it’s gone. They’re both gone.
“Useless,” she says. I dare not look at her. “To think I have to dispose of sacrifices you make to me. Being a god used to be so much simpler.”