I struggle against the rope at my wrists. They did a thorough job tying me to this tree, but that does little to stop the irrational voice in my head that screams for me to escape. I tell the voice to shove it. We aren’t going anywhere at this rate.

So, this is how it all ends. Virginal sacrifice to some hideous god-monster.

What a sick joke.

Leaves rustle somewhere behind me. I tense. My eyes clamp shut. I grit my teeth in wait for whatever being has chosen me for its dinner. I wait for the hot, rancid breath on my cheek.

Instead, I hear a tinkling laugh.

My head snaps up. What sort of monster makes a noise like that?

A pair of violet doe-eyes meets my gaze, framed by silvery white locks and plump lips that are currently curled up in an amused grin. Under the darkening sky, she almost glows. Her mocha skin sparkles wherever the moonlight touches – soft like a caress – and she reminds me of a wood dryad or a fairy, the kind made popular in movies. Small. Dainty.

And, curious.

“No one has sent me a boy in ages,” she says. Her voice sounds like music.

Is this a trick where she gets close after I let my guard down, then turns into some vile creature to go in for the kill? I want to ask her this. My confused brain instead tells my mouth to spit out, “But, you’re so hot!”

“Am I? I don’t feel very warm.” She looks down and runs her hands down the front of her dress – which I notice is almost completely transparent.

Dear God, so it’s to be torture before death.

She looks back up at me and tilts her head. “You’re funny.” So close now that her breasts press against my stomach, her scent of peaches and cream envelops the air around me.

Definite, absolute torture.

“Are you going to eat me?” I ground out, heart pounding — this time, not from fear.

She laughs again. “Eat you! Whatever gave you that idea?”

“Because that’s what these people do. They sacrifice people to their gods. To you.” I lean forward and loud-whisper, “It’s why I’m tied to this tree.”

The goddess-monster-dryad-fairy takes her time to answer. She considers my question while hands and gaze peruse every inch of my body in slow, lazy paths. I may spontaneously burst at any moment. Blow up or be eaten… if either are like this exquisite torture I would die a happy man. But I’d still like to know.

“I do not eat meat, human boy,” she finally says. “I will not eat you.”

I slump against my bonds in relief. “Then, what’s with being trussed up like a sacrificial lamb?”

Her smile turns wicked. “I will not eat you, human boy,” she repeats. “But, I WILL feast.”

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