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"I've Done It Before and I'll Do It Again" (flash fiction, 300 words)
First submission to Iron Age. When I looked at Aug. 30's prompt, "The Oblation," I thought to myself, "this bull knows what it's doing" and went from there.
Sometimes I am born with horns. Sometimes I am not. The details aren’t important.
What is important is the rush of the crowds pressing against the stone as every hand reaches, grasping, to touch even a bristly hair. It is the light as it hits their upturned faces, their frenetic adoration and adulation stark reminders as to why I am here, why I allow this to go on year after year. They oil their hair and weep and smile, they don beaten metal and precious stones in my presence alone, but that isn’t important.
What is important is the knife as it falls. It is the blood that darkens the stone. It is my final gasp, and then again, my first.
The rope by which I am led is made of golden tassels wrought by the hands of honored maidens. But it’s not needed, and if it were, the whole enterprise would fail. The people would falter and the hands would reach for nothing. Maybe they would reach for worse than nothing. The thought is sharper than a stone knife, and so I trot, year after year, led by a creature I could stomp and never notice.
But I notice him. I notice all of them. The details are important. Every hand is important, especially that which cradles my jowl as the knife sinks in. Sometimes it’s a woman’s hand, sometimes it’s a man’s. That detail isn’t important, but the hand is.
If not for the hand, I think I would have a doubt. I might struggle. And then the stones would crumble.
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