Magical Flash Fiction – Rebirth by Jasmine Arch
Coarse rope chafes my wrists as I try to move my hands. The black silk blindfold, light and airy as it is, pulls my head down.
Bare feet pad into the room–too many to track. Ours is a young coven. So far, only our high priest and high priestess are initiates. I’m to be the third. Who are the others?
My pulse races as hands grip my waist, pull at my sleeves, push my shoulders–spinning me around and around. They surround me. But my friends wouldn’t bring in anyone they didn’t trust. I’m safe.
Hands pull at the knots of the rope–the cinch of my robe–untying and undressing me as they murmur in an endless drone. “Breathe. It’s safe here with us. Welcome. Don’t fear.”
My breath wheezes through my throat and the room starts to spin.
A breeze caresses the skin of my back and thighs, raising goosebumps in its wake. I’m naked. In front of strangers. I don’t know them, have never even seen their faces, but they see all of me.
I clench my fists, refusing to bring my hands up in front of me, or even hunch my shoulders to hide myself. I want this–waited for it for so long.
One voice rises above the fugue. “Kneel.”
The hands push me down, but I lock my knees. The thought of them looming over me is too much.
A body leans into mine, shielding me from the cold draft, fine hairs brushing my shoulder. I almost pull back but the scent of sandalwood and myrrh envelopes me. Gideon, then. My high priest, though he’s more of a big brother. Warm breath tickles the skin beneath my ear.
“Time to decide, little one. Will you kneel, or refuse and walk out?” Gideon’s voice is soft but deep. Gideon’s hand, callused and strong, squeezes my shoulder.
I take a deep breath and kneel. When he pushes me forward, I start to crawl and bump into naked legs, opened just wide enough for me to struggle through.
If I see this through, I’ll be a witch. I’ve worked hard for this. For the opportunity to learn more–to grow.
My breasts sway gently as I put one hand in front of the other. The legs are endless–countless. A living tunnel, holding me back, squeezing at my shoulders and hips as I push myself forwards.
The rough carpet beneath my palms gives me some leverage and I curl my fingers into it to pull myself along. I focus on that. The scrape of it against my knees. I’d rather worry about that than about which legs are hairy, or the possibility of someone’s testicles grazing my back.
Sweat drips down my face, soaking the blindfold. Still the murmurs urge me on. I can do this.
When I finally break through, the voices fade. I shiver in the drafty air, crouching on hands and knees, waiting for whatever comes next.
One hand touches my back. A beacon of heat. Another pulls at the blindfold. A third takes my arm–pulling me to my feet.
Not a single lamp burns. Only candles. But after the blindfold, the light stings my eyes and I can’t keep them open at first.
I blink and a face appears before me. Joni. My high priestess. My friend, sister, mother.
She smiles. “Rebirth. And not a gift, this time but a choice. You fought for it. Earned it.” Her arms open to me–her embrace one of skin to sweat-slicked skin, nothing to hold us apart. Not here in the circle, where her energy and mine blend.
“Welcome, child. Sister. Witch.”