They call me an offering.
Every year, a Sister gets chosen. Last year we watched as the slip of paper with Amy’s name was drawn out, read aloud, and she was passed between the Chorus, fondled and groped, and led away, red-faced and smiling.
The next day we sat on wooden benches, knees together, each one of us in plain black dresses, and waited patiently for Adelaide to commence the ceremony, recite the oath, and purse her moist, pink mouth against Amy’s moist, pink cunt.
Amy was bound like a pig, set to roast. Ankle to ankle, wrist to wrist, displayed for the twelve women before her, in a stone cloister lit only with candles, and Adelaide allowed us to murmur for a short while more, before raising her arms for silence.
“Let the torture of Aphrodite commence.” She called in her quiet, commanding voice, before dipping her face to the captive’s cunt and made the poor, hogtied Amy moan and pant before her peers, until her tears rushed to the floor.
The display lasted long into the night, into darkness. Each of the committee used her body as she saw fit. Joanna smirked when her turn came, taking great delight in sliding the curved body of a lit church candle inside her room mate to her muffled moans, and I watched with envy and lust in my heart, wishing on every star in the Midsummer sky that I could take her place before graduation.
Three hundred and sixty three days later, we gather for that year’s announcement. Tess holds my hand, her thumb tracing a tiny circle on my palm. Adelaide has gained her degree and is in the first year of her medical internship; this year it is Amy who will lead us, dressed in a red silk kimono, casting her cruel eye over the selected crowd of undergrads; an uneven mixture fresh-faced first years and familiarity.
She wields the velvet bag of victims above the alter – a hundred times more theatrical than Adelaide ever was – and will not slip her hand inside until there is perfect, glistening silence.
“And this year’s offering will be….”
Hearts flutter, stop, start. Bodies shudder and skin shifts, puckers, dampens.
My heart stops again, rises in my throat. I begin to cry as Tess digs her nails into my soft, innocent palm.
“Don’t be such a baby.” She hisses sweetly, pushing me forwards. Amy’s arms are open, she wishes to embrace me. She is warm, voluptuous, surrounding me. I picture Tess penetrating her cunt with the candle, with her fingers. I imagine my bindings and how they will hurt me, as Amy draws back and releases me to her council, whose bodies are also warm and welcoming but sharp and taunting, with fingers that pinch and palms that slap and hands that wander up my quaking thighs and into my sodden knickers. I am a leaf on the breeze, a puppy on a leash. I feel the impact upon my cheek as Sadie coils forward and back, smirking. She is beautiful, with lips the colour of brick dust. She is nineteen, coquettish and self-assured, but her innocence betrays her every word. She has left smears of my own slippery cunt upon my skin, and as I am led away, she trains her cobalt eyes on mine, and licks her fingers clean.
I knew what would take place when the offering was announced. I knew what would happen when the offering was presented to the congregation and the ritual engaged. I knew nothing of the twenty four hours between the two events, however. The offering was not permitted to reveal anything she had suffered during this time. Amy had never breathed a word, and each Sister before her, likewise. The society rulings only stated firmly that “The offering shall be kept safe and never placed in any danger, nor harmed.” These were the words which had brought a troubling flush upon my skin when first I read them. When first I joined the Sisterhood and learnt their ways. When first I felt my heart and lusts bloom.
I am walked through the cloister’s chilly corridors, to a door marked “lodgings.” I swallow, and Amy opens the door to reveal a room swimming with light and warmth, almost overpoweringly so. The last of the August sun pours through a glass of crimson and golden panels, casting shadows that dance across a bed of dark wood, and a cotton quilt of sunflowers and daisies. There is a glass, dark with wine – the alternative doesn’t bear thought.
“Susan is our offering. Susan is our gem. Susan is to be kept safe from harm above all else, and shown nothing but care and pleasure from sunset, to sunset.” Amy’s voice is soft and deep, and the other women repeat after her.
“Susan, do you submit to all that will occur, in the knowledge that we shall protect you with our own lives and never see you bruised or blemished?”
“I submit.” The voice must be my own, it must. I feel the words pour from my mouth as though spellbound, as Sadie curtseys before me, then takes my hand and sits me on the linens. She kneels, and unfastens my shoes, and her hands pass beneath my skirts again, to unfasten my stockings. She undresses me with tenderness, reverence, and soon the others circle, taking each item from her to tidy them away, bringing the wine for me to sip, refastening the pins in my hair. All this, until I am naked, reclining amongst the flowers.
“See how full her breast is, and how large the duct.”
They are removing their garments, too. And drawing close the drapes. The room darkens, and begins to smell of liquor, bodies and uneasiness. Sadie seems naked first, unable to keep her hands from me, but of course it is Amy, overseer of all, who steps forward first, naked beneath her silky robe.
She takes up my hand, to kiss the wrist, and then slowly lie upon me, her thighs about my waist and her cunt is warm upon my belly. She kisses my neck, and kneads the fat of my breast as the others look on. I reach my fingers up into her hair – as if I am being commanded by unseen forces. She moves her mouth to mine, our lips part and I feel myself sinking into a sea of pleasure.
Throughout the night I am kissed and stroked and brought to climax a dozen times, a hundred times, a thousand times.
In time, Amy lies beside me and Sadie kneels between my parted thighs, licking the sensitive skin, tasting me at source, plugging me with her fingers and working her mouth until I shake and cry out into the mouth of Joanna, Beth, Safia, and weep hot salt tears against their rosy cheeks.
As dawn breaks, I am brought to my knees, my own firey brow against Joanna’s breast as a tongue flickers against the pucker of my arsehole, and I am frozen in lustful shock, feel my cunt fill anew and again as the tongue glides away to be replaced by a finger, more fingers in my swollen, reddened cunt and another tongue lapping at my clitoris. From this position I am watched, used and pleasured over and over again and Joanna strokes my hair, feeding me more wine that courses over her nipple to my hungry mouth.
I am drunk on a hundred passions by this point, nothing but a vessel for sin and the reason for my sensual incarceration escapes me. I cannot think. I need not think. There is no thinking here.
When the company is wearied, the blankets are draped around me, the remaining candles snuffed, and Sadie lies with her arm about me, protecting me as I sleep.
They wake me in the early evening.
“And now, the real fun.” Amy’s eyes have regained their unpleasant sparkle, and she smirks as I am roused from my bed, and walked naked back to the cold, eerie theatre of my debasement, where I am brought to the altar, grabbed about the ankles and wrists, and tied, just as she was.
Candles are lit and the room warms, soon the crowd of twelve is let in, but I cannot see them, only hear their gasps and whispers.
“Let the torture of Aphrodite begin.” Amy shrieks to her group of minions, holding a lit candle above my captive body, and I can only watch the wax drip, and feel every white hot splash against my skin, as she leans forward and whispers in my ear “It was always you.”
Sadie watches gleefully; in her hand she grips the empty bottle of wine and I imagine the eventual violation when she will fuck me with it, fuck me with it and bite the bare slices of skin not hidden beneath a carapace of white church wax.
I know not what will come next, but as Joanna appears at my side and reaches between my thighs to spread the lips of my cunt apart, to better display me to the line of students before me, I feel the last of my thoughts fading into whiteness, beautiful whiteness.
Three hundred and sixty two days later, I sit at my desk, avoiding my dissertation, cutting up the slips of paper for this year’s offering. Each handwritten, in neat, black caps.
My robe hangs teasingly against the bedroom door, my grandfather’s riding crop leaning against the frame, so I don’t forget it.
Some small things have changed. Some things have not.
One by one, I tip the names into the bag.