June 2022 Flash Challenge, Day 18

Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

Bring Your Own Sacrificial Lamb, the Lambda Nu frat poster said in oversized bold letters. The party was for members and pledges only, their final blowout bash of pledge week, held in an abandoned lyceum under a buttery full moon.

For their final party, before judging which pledges made the cut, the frat leaned into the rumors that they were a satanic cult. What fun!

The brothers handcuffed themselves to the pledges.

One pledge even brought along a toy, a stuffed lamb.

The roofless theater is lit only from the edges by a dozen lanterns with visors aimed toward the front raised stage and the thick, black velvet curtain.

The curtain opens with a swoosh of air.

In the center of the stage, the pentagram, the rack of swords, and most prominently, the sacrificial altar, a hush fell over the crowd.

“Is this a joke?” one pledge squeaks as the first handcuffed lamb, a skinny, pimply-faced kid named Kenny, is led onto the stage.

Now, if anyone screams or bolts, they won’t get into the frat; it’s a test, a way to weed out some of the pledges, the blond boy thinks.

On the stage, three robe-wearing brothers meet Kenny and tie him securely to the altar. Kenny is grinning, hamming it up for the others. When the nearest brother raises the lengthy squiggly dagger overhead, he continues to act his part, his eyes opening wide in mock horror.

It’s just a test. It must be a test; that’s a fake dagger; watch, the boy thinks.

The knife looks real because it is.

It’s just a test, he thinks again, trying his best to stave off his growing doubts; he grows hyper-aware of the bit of steel chain between him and Brett.

He repeats his hopeful mantra even as the dagger pierces Kenny’s heart and the blood gushes upward like black oil on the moonlit stage.

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