Ritual – Six Sentence Story

copyright C. E. Ayr

This challenge is produced by GirlieOnTheEdge with the following simple rules:
Write 6 Sentences. No more. No less.
Use the current week’s prompt word – ETERNAL

Click here to hear the author read his words:


My daughter, the solitary star in my darkening sky, takes my arm as my legs struggle to climb the steep slopes towards the hilltop city which was old when Babylon was founded.

Today is her birthday, thirteen years since her beautiful mother died giving her life, and I love my child beyond any words I have ever heard, read or written, and yet my heart trembles that she is with me today.

Because of the wars and the long journeys over mountains, deserts and oceans I am aged far beyond my time, but it is now November 13th in the third year of the decade, which means that ten harsh years have passed since the ritual was last performed.

According to the Book of Eternal Truth, as interpreted by the Elders, we have no choice; this ceremony must take place today, and here, to ensure the very survival of our people.

Weak and weary as I am, there is no other person to whom I can entrust this dreadful task, and so, ignoring the blinding sun and my aching thirst, I drag myself onwards and upwards, wheedle and bribe my way past the sentries on the gates and limp through dank cobbled streets to our destination.

I lean in shadow under the crumbling monastery walls and, as my little angel watches, silent but wide-eyed, I test the blade of the ancient and holy kukri against my thumb while the evening slips by and I pray for an alternative virgin.

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36 Responses to Ritual – Six Sentence Story

  1. I hope he changes his mind or finds a better alternative.


  2. Wonderful, haunting story. I am hoping that like Abraham wishing to sacrifice Isaac for God’s pleasure, the father would still his knife at the last second.


  3. I sensed where this was going, but hoped I was wrong. I wasn’t.


  4. clark says:

    Excellent work of misdirection (can’t quite find where you diverted us Readers) in the service of the most challenging of ambitions, a surprise ending in a Six Sentence Story.
    muy coolito

    (especially liked: “I lean in shadow under the crumbling monastery walls…“)


    • ceayr says:

      Thanks, Clark, I think I might have over-misdirected.
      I have been advised that, although some monasteries, like this one, are home to nuns, they are generally thought of as housing monks.
      In retrospect the ‘crumbling walls’ should have been a convent’s.
      Nevertheless, your comments are much appreciated.


  5. UP says:

    attention grabbing stuff good job


  6. Bridgette says:

    What an engaging story!


  7. ladysighs says:

    I listened and enjoyed the story. Yes, enjoyed. I like to think when I comment on a SSS (and I rarely do) I am commenting on the presentation and not strictly the content. Most of us are familiar with the ancient sacrifices etc because we have read about them in books. So you have not told anything new. It is your style which makes us numb and terror-stricken. We/I probably knew the ending before it was revealed but I continued listening because I wanted to feel the cold sweat that you evoked.

    I think, maybe – perhaps – hundreds of years from now, stories will be written about the crazy beliefs/rituals happening now. They surely would make anyone shiver!

    So, have I made up for the times I have made no comment? 😉


    • ceayr says:

      If you enjoyed, dear Lady, I am fulfilled.
      I believe there are no new stories, just different ways of retelling.
      I like ‘numb’, ‘terror-stricken’ and ‘cold sweat’.

      Your visits here may be few, but they are always a delight.


  8. A real stunner! Makes me think of how often despicable things come out of a sense of ‘moral’ duty even today! You never fail to impress.


  9. Spira says:

    And to imagine that throughout human history we have convinced ourselves that this “sacrifice” is the way to alter what is.
    I could here a march funebre playing as they were ascending the stairs.
    Excellent writing.


  10. Frank Hubeny says:

    The best alternate virgin is no virgin. Just skip the sacrifice.


  11. Liz H says:

    Very powerful & dire. Let’s hope for a reprieve at the next-to-final moment.


  12. The one sacrifice no good deity would require.


  13. Beyond chilling, ceayr. Eternal damnation to those who sacrifice others for their ‘beliefs’.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. dorahak says:

    Made me think of Iphigenia and Agamemnon. I agree with Jenne, so well-told!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My goodness. I’m sitting here rather blown away by your words, both spoken and unspoken, and knowing what’s about to happen. What a story, what an unbearable plight!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. jenne49 says:

    The pain, the descriptions that evoke it.
    And the hints of other religions and other sacrifices that gently touch the surface of the story.
    What a rich piece of writing.

    Liked by 2 people

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