The spring moon was full, and the ceremony had begun. Shadowy figures quietly chanted, their dark robes splashed with mud... one hopes...

In the center of the circle these people had formed, the sacrifices waited. Their wrists had been bound to a stake by the local pond, and their clothes had been replaced by something straight out of Occult Weekly, some skimpy tatters of a silk-like material.

Selena thought it was horribly cheap for the real thing. Karen just thought she'd make the dumbass responsible die extra-horribly for being so cheesy...

The chanting reached a crescendo, and then the leader of the cultists stepped forward, and spake thusly:

"Now, we prepare the blood sacrifice in honor of-"

"No, dad. It's a virgin sacrifice. I believe I explained the difference to you the last time you made this mistake?"

Gill threw back his hood, rather spoiling the Lovecraftian mood, and glared at Hamilton as if he'd committed a far more heinous crime than using the wrong terminology.

"Well, I still think The Green One would prefer some-"

"And I told you, he wants them alive. He said so himself the first night, remember?"

Someone really ought to have told that old man that pouting stopped working after a while, Karen thought...

Selena, meanwhile, simply stared at the floor. Before she'd left for warmer venues that fall, Waffle Island was a perfectly reasonable place to live. She'd even planned on making this year the one where she moved in permanently, in spite of the ghastly winter weather...

Imagine her surprise when she found out that her boyfriend had joined some strange new cult that'd popped up while she was out...

Quite frankly, she was going to kill Luke if she managed to get out of this mess. She did not appreciate being used as a human sacrifice by some cheap stage re-enactment of a bad horror novel, and she intended to make that quite clear, thank you!

Karen, who'd simply visited Waffle Island to get a broader view of the world outside of Mineral Town, was even less thrilled to get caught up in this bass-ackwards village's idea of an evil cult. She'd studied cults, even made some passes at starting one when she was a teenager, and it was quite obvious that no-one around here really knew what they were doing.

The fact that they were currently arguing about whether their ceremonial knife should be blunt or sharp only drove the point that much closer to home...

Ouch. On second thought, that was probably the wrong way of putting it...

"Why are you carrying your axe around, Luke?"

"Well... I thought that we might need it, just in case we needed some firewood or something..."

"And I keep telling you to leave it at home! We're not in some B-grade psycho flick you know! Sheesh!

Had either of the young ladies not been gagged, they would've mentioned being in a B-grade cultist flick instead. Just as well, because neither of them would've gotten a word in edgewise during this argument anyway.

"Aren't there supposed to be more than three of us, son?"

Gill glared at his would-be circle again, and tried to explain how recruiting would work for what seemed like the umpteen-billionth time.

Fortunately for you, he was interrupted before he could begin said spiel by the object of their triangle's sad attempt at dark worship manifesting itself.

When Luke, Gill, and Hamilton first saw it, they quickly put their hoods back up to prevent themselves from seeing it, and therefore going insane.

When Selena first saw what the big deal was, she wanted to laugh. Unfortunately, she was still gagged, and therefore could not make any attempts at insolent mirth.

When Karen first saw that the object these fools were worshipping was the kappa that usually lived outside Mineral Town, she realized just how royally screwed she was.

"Gentlemen of the Order, I thank you for your offerings. Now leave me, so that I may take them unto myself with greater haste."

The three men bowed and hurriedly departed, once more assured in their beliefs under this very odd deity.

Once they were gone, Kappa walked off his new pond and examined his 'sacrifices' more closely.

"Well, I think you'll both do nicely. Karen, it's nice to see you again. How is everyone back in MT?"

Karen, finally free of her gag, suggested he go back there and find out for himself.

"Hmm... no. I rather prefer my silky green hide where it is, thank you very much. Mind introducing me to the other charming young woman who's been entertaining me this evening?"

Although Selena was untied by this point, she was a little too stunned to notice. This "Green One" Luke had been going on about seemed kinda... normal...

Karen, having known about Kappa most of her life, wasn't so easily thrown off-balance. The moment she was no longer tied up, she bolted.

She made it all of five yards before being clotheslined by an invisible force.

"Ah, I'm sorry about that," Kappa said. "Those dolts wouldn't know an eldritch horror if one was about to devour them, but I'm afraid that their sacrificial ceremony is a pretty good one. Of course, it'd be even better if they could finish it without arguing... but I'm sure they'll get it right eventually..."

"What are you promising them, anyway?" Selena asked. "I never studied occult practices much, but I'm pretty sure these things don't work without some sort of working exchange being drawn up..."

"Ah, I'm so glad you asked that, actually! That bossy one wanted the revitalization of the island, but fortunately for me I managed to talk the old one into believing he was the leader. All he really wants is an average rainstorm once or twice a week. Since this island's pretty temperate to begin with, that was a paltry demand to make good on."

"Since when do you control the weather, anyway?" Karen spat.

"I'm a water elemental, remember? Basic control over rain clouds is no big deal for me. Of course, I still haven't figured out how to divert the really bad storms, but I figure I can burn that bridge when I get there."

Selena sighed, both at the stupidity of her former boyfriend and out of boredom with her situation.

"Ah, yes. I should probably tell you what you'll be doing while bound to me. It's really nothing too out of the ordinary, just some light housework, the occasional party, eternal service as my harem slaves, maybe some light cooking... no, wait. Scratch that last one, I know for a fact that Karen's cooking is cursed to be bad. Fortunately, I have other harem slaves who can cook fairly well."

"Others?" Selena asked.

"Well, yes. I did ask for two maidens every week... Come to think of it, I'll have to tell them to tone it down. They've pretty much used up all the local maidens, and it'll take a little time to lure outsiders over here..."

"Outsiders?" Karen asked. "And what makes you think that anyone would be stupid enough to come here once news gets around about what's happening?"

"Simple," Kappa replied. "You're going to invite them. Maybe not now, but it won't take me too long to make you think that I've done you a favor..."

Karen stared at the floor, clenching her fists and fighting as hard as she could against the magical bonds that she could just begin to feel around her.

And then Kappa said the words that made it clear just how doomed she was.

"I must admit, I'm having a lot of fun with this. You know what the best part is? When I told them the occasional sacrifice would be appreciated, this wasn't exactly what I had in mind."

Karen's head snapped up at this statement.

"Yes," Kappa continued, "I just thought they'd put up a shrine, leave a few cucumbers and rice balls, the usual sort of thing. Your own village has one, you know how it works. But the fact that someone would go to the trouble of setting up an entire cult around me..."

The laugh that issued from Kappa's mouth would haunt Karen's nightmares for many years to come.

"...Well, obviously someone didn't do the research. But personally, I rather like the end results too much to correct them."

Although both of the would-be sacrifices would never admit it to the other by this point, their exact thoughts at that comment were identical.

If they ever got out of this mess, they'd make dead sure that Gill would wind up as his stupid cult's final sacrifice...

-~- Two Weeks Later -~-

When Popuri landed on this island, she'd been hoping that Karen would be waiting for her. Now that she was bound and gagged alongside one of the local girls, waiting for what she could only assume would be her horrible death at the hands of the cultists currently arguing over her head, she no longer felt that that would be the case.

From a secret cave beneath the lake, the sound of maniacal laughter made itself plain to anyone who could hear it. Kappa didn't know how long this would last, but he'd be sure to enjoy every minute of this ridiculous farce.

And Karen, smiling quietly at a writing desk her master had conjured for her, wrote a letter to her good friend Mary, asking her to please come visit her new home on Waffle Island... After all, what joy could be greater than her friends joining her in blissful servitude?

Selena merely sat in a corner and rubbed at her belly, looking forward to the months ahead. To bear her master's children alongside her friends... surely there could be no better concept of paradise!

The End?


Author's Note: For your own sanity, please don't take this too seriously. It was never intended to be anything more than a cheap laugh.

Written for The Village Square's Writing Festival. Bet you never thought of this one, did you Jean?