The massive stone doors crashed shut with the ponderous thud of a young girl’s fate being sealed. Mitsuo took a few slow, calming breaths, attempting to slow her racing heart. To think, of all the young maidens in the village, she was the one chosen for the ritual. It had been going on for centuries, a dark and secret rite never spoken of with outsiders. It was true that harvests were bountiful, that the village was safe, that natural disaster never befell… but in exchange…
The young shrine maiden shivered and gathered her white and red vestments more closely about her heaving bosom. In the dim light of the sacrificial chamber, she could catch just a hint of movement beyond her vision, and her ears picked up a sort of sound… a deep, unsteady breathing, like the panting of a madman slowed down and played back.
“H-h… hello? I… I…” Her voice quavered and broke just a little, a flush coming to her cheeks. “I come to offer myself as sacrifice!”
The words rang off the stone walls in piping alto tones, and were quickly answered by a vaguely aquatic-sounding growl.