Title: One at a Time
Author: Candyland
Fandom: Fatal Frame III: There is a manor that exists in dreams where a person can meet the souls of their departed loved ones. There's also a topless blue woman covered in tattoos who will place the Tattoo Curse on you. And then you die. Hope you've got the Camera Obscura ready, Rei! I DON'T OWN IT.
Wordcount: 810
Taunt: My fandom has ink that would put a biker to shame.


It was almost surreal, to hold the stakes above the unresisting hands of the Tattooed Priestess and raise the wooden mallets in the air in preparation to strike. Hisame glanced around and saw her fellow Handmaidens were all sharing a similar look. They had been taught, prepared for this moment and this purpose, and now it would come to pass.

This was their role, to leave the Priestess here amidst dozens of other Priestess from across time, who slept their eternal sleeps and dreamt their eternal dreams of pain and suffering. All pinned. All impaled.

Hisame nodded, and they all brought their mallets down time and time again to impale their Priestess and complete the Tattoo Ritual, to spare the world the pain of loss through the Snake and the Holly.

Pound.

Pound.

Pound.

One stake at a time.

One limb at a time.

She had been entrusted with the order in accordance with the Kuze Code and the Commandment. Let no man enter the Kuze Shrine. Let no one enter the Chamber of Thorns. Let no one disturb the sleep of the Tattooed Priestess, lest the Rift spread into the waking world and ensnare the living.

Amane had broken the Commandment, and so Amane had to pay the price. Hisame was entrusted with leading the other three Handmaidens in carrying out the order.

Surprisingly, Amane did not struggle. She whimpered ever so slightly in fear as they took her down the long staircase, down, down, down, past the shrine gates built horizontally into the tunnel walls to further guard against the Rift and the Pain of Holly. But she let herself be led. Shigure walked on her left, Minamo walked on her right, and Hisame led the way.

At the bottom of the Abyss, they pushed Amane to the ground. Three stakes, one for each of them. One for each of her hands, and one for her heart. The Priestess was impaled through the hands and feet so she would not wander during her sleep. But Amane would not be asleep, and her sacrifice would contain the Rift as well as serving as punishment for breaking the Code.

Pound.

Pound.

Pound.

One stake at a time.

One life at a time.

The Rift continued to spread. The Master was anxious as she summoned Hisame to her room and ordered her to perform another sacrifice. This time, it was to be the Handmaidens. Impale Shigure, she was instructed, to stop the spread of the Rift. Impale Minamo to keep the pain of the Priestess in check.

Dutiful to the last, Hisame left the Family Master and went to her fellow Handmaidens. She took Shigure down first, down to the Abyss where not long before they had impaled Amane for her treachery. It was only there that she told her what was to come.

Shigure was fearful, and Hisame feared she might run. She did it quickly, pinning Shigure and driving the stake in. Shigure had done no wrong; let her not suffer any longer than was necessary to suffice as a sacrifice and appease the Rift.

She took Minamo down next. Minamo, who fantasized about impalement, wrote about it in her diary, practiced on dolls as she had awaited her chance to impale the Priestess. She seemed almost excited about it, and willing lay down before the Abyss and the Rift, unresisting. Minamo even smiled as Hisame raised the hammer and struck the blow. She died, still smiling.

She had dreamed of impalement, and at last she had known it.

Pound.

Pound.

Pound.

One stake at a time.

One girl at a time.

The Rift continued to spread. The Sacrificial Pillars were not enough. Once again, Hisame was summoned and instructed to complete the Final Impalement. She was the last remaining Handmaiden, and now it was her turn to give her life for the Priestess she had served, and for the Kuze Shrine, to which she had given her vow of service and loyalty.

Her preparations were swift; there was not much to do. She wrote in her diary, one final entry of how she would sleep forever. For the sake of the Priestess and the Shrine. Hisame was not afraid, nor did she regret. Not for Amane, not for Shigure, and not for Minamo.

She took a stake with her. It would suffice perfectly. Once fixed to the ground, all she had to do was fall onto it, and that would be that. Death by impalement, just as her fellow Handmaidens had died before her, just as they had pinned the Priestess by her hands and feet.

Hisame took a deep breath, smiled…and let herself fall.

For a time, there was silence in the Shrine. And then…

Pound.

Pound.

Pound.

One stake at a time.

One life at a time.

Except now there were no more lives to give.


PS. Urk, this wound up weird XD Picked up some details on the Handmaidens from the Fatal Frame wiki, and they continue to creep me out. Seriously, they're supposed to be between five and nine years old. THAT IS CREEPY. But anyway, yes, Fatal Frame III, whee. Thanks for reading!