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Rated: E · Short Story · Emotional · #1556319
A journey to redeem a child's soul leads to a 21st century sacrifice. Flash Fiction.
                                                                      A Sacrifice for Ellie

    Headlights swept the street, illuminating the world with a ghostly sheen. The fog was lifting, but for the moment, it was hanging on like a death veil. It caught my imagination and I let it drift there as I sat, staring at the tattered edge of night, my daughter asleep on my lap. This day will be the end for both of us and I welcomed the change.
         “Miss, we’ll have to move now. Noon is coming up fast and we have a few miles still to go,” The Reverend urged.
The Reverend was the only one who knew how to break Ellie, rid her of the violence and the hatred that seemed set in her from birth. Ellie was a tough one and more than I could handle. She was more than anyone could handle. My family, my husband and two sons, had perished at her hands, and I was going to give her one last chance for redemption.
         There had been others more devout but none with the raw nerve of The Reverend and she believed she could save Ellie. So, here we sat.
         I gently nudged Ellie, instantly nervous about her mood when she awakened. Would she be tired enough to oblige, to follow direction, or would she fight, kicking and biting, as she had all night?
         “Ellie, we have to get up and walk again,” I said in a low, cautious tone.
         “Mom?” she whispered.
         “Yes,” I said.
         “Will she kill me?” she asked, her eyes still closed.
         “No.” I hugged her and kissed her forehead.
         My daughter was indeed tired, and followed our lead. My heart was yearning for her, wanting to know if she knew we were trying to save her. Instead, my instincts told me she was simply exhausted.
                   The house was painted an incongruous shade of red, standing out amongst the pink flowers and teal water. The path to the front door wove a swatch of gray rocks through overgrown grass.
         She stopped midway up the walk and wouldn’t budge.          “Mom. I’m scared. What am I supposed to do?”
         I couldn’t tell her. Her life force, the reason she saw to wake up in the morning and mature, had to remain. As she stood in the noon glare, I saw her persistence, her anger slipping out, slowly, like a baby wave turning into a banger. I stood on guard, ready as best I could be.
         “We’ll do all the work. Just follow our lead.” I hesitated and then added, “The Reverend will tell us what to do when the time comes.”
         I touched her shoulder and she shook it off, glaring at me.
         “Don’t touch me! I’m not a baby. I hate it when you do that!”
         Surprisingly, she walked with me as I proceeded towards the door. The Reverend, having overheard her comment, stopped briefly until she was satisfied that we were following her, then continued leading the way. She did not look back.
         Ellie’s posture stiffened as she revved up her tirade.
         “I hate Americans. You’re all a bunch of jerks...” She continued, but my attention wandered as I approached the steps. The reverend opened the door for us as we stepped inside.
         Ellie made an abrupt stop and looked at the banks of windows in front of her. She actually ran to them and looked out, astonished.
         When I caught up with her, I saw the massive cliffs sliding down to the ocean in a terrifying drop. My heart leapt as I thought of what was ahead of us.
         I turned back to The Reverend, took her arm and gently pulled her aside.
         “Is this humane?” I panicked. “Do you actually expect…”
         “I expect nothing,” she retorted. “You asked me to save her soul and this is the best way that I know to do it.”
         “But sacrifice should be painless in the 21st century, don’t you think? That is not going to be painless!” I insisted, pointing towards the skyline.
         “You’re drawing conclusions,” she replied, her face still stern and drawn. “False conclusions.”
         “Let’s go out onto the patio.” She walked over to a door next to the windows and opened it, holding it agape. We walked through, Ellie first.
         We formed a semicircle, without thinking, and took in the view of infinity. So beautiful, so inspiring, I thought.
         So be it.
         Our hands linked, The Reverend looked into Ellie’s timid, fiery eyes.
         “Show me what is in your heart. Look into my eyes and repent.” The Reverend seemed to enter Ellie’s very being as she spoke.
         Ellie looked at me, then out to the sea, and finally to the The Reverend and admitted, ”I don’t know what to repent.”
         The Reverend suggested, ”Think about how you feel about your brothers and father.”
         Ellie took a short breath, completely surprised by what the reverend had asked of her, and sighed, her eyelids reddening, her mouth forming a pout.
         “I loved them,” she whispered.
         “Tell me why you’re sorry” the reverend implored.
         Ellie stood there, staring into her eyes, completely engaged.
         “I am going to absolve you of your anger, of your sins. You will be cleansed, your life will be a clean slate.” The reverend had bowed her head but was peeking a look at me.
         Taking my cue, I moved towards the edge of the patio. I put my hands on the warm rocks, preparing to leap to martyrdom, to rid our family of the evil, to start anew for my dear Ellie.
         “Tell me what you feel,” The Reverend pressed.
         “I…” Ellie halted and looked up at me. “NO!! Mom, I need you!!! I love you-don’t!”
         In a flash, the Reverend cleansed my Ellie’s soul. Life was to begin anew, a sacrifice for both of us. Without a word she turned, smiling briefly, then jumped.

Word Count: 973



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