Seized By Passion

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Of all the ways Livia had thought she would die, being sacrificed to a god wasn’t one of them. Yet, she wasn’t afraid of dying. She was afraid of the water they planned to toss her in.

She stood surrounded by the tribe with her hands tied behind her back. Her simple white gown billowed in the breeze and wrapped around her legs. She sought out those she knew, but just as she expected, their eyes were fastened on the ground. The ones who did look at her held contempt and smugness in their gazes. She wanted to slap the looks from their faces. 
The people of Piratira had made sacrifices to the water god once a month, every month, since they had inhabited the island. They were supposed to calm the gods and give the island peace and prosperity. 

Livia wanted to plead with them not to go through with it, but she had seen enough sacrifices in her score of years to know that begging would do her no good. Yet from somewhere deep inside herself she mustered up her courage and raised her chin at the two men on either side of her. 

They grabbed her arms and yanked her to the edge of the cliff. Livia looked out over the turquoise water to where it met the distant horizon and the clear blue sky. Gulls squawked above her head, seeming to laugh at her predicament as they glided on the wind. The only other sounds were the crashing of the waves below and the mumbling of the high priest to her left.

No matter what, she promised herself, she would die with bravery instead of allowing the tears that pricked the backs of her eyes to flow. 

She squared her shoulders and slowly lowered her gaze to her bare toes, which hung over the rocky edge of the cliff. Her heart raced as she noticed the plummet to the water below, where jagged rocks rose out of the white foam like gods.

She clenched her hands into fists behind her back. She longed to move the strand of hair that hung on her eyelashes, but with her wrists bound, she was powerless to do anything. So she jerked her head to try to get the hair out of her face and was rewarded when the strand fell away. 

When two men squatted beside her and tied her feet, Livia had the overwhelming desire to smash her knee into their faces. It was bad enough that she would be tossed onto the rocks where a sure death awaited her, but to tie her hands and feet so she couldn’t swim seemed overly cruel. None of the other sacrificed women had had their feet tied.

She wouldn’t miss the rocks. She would land upon them, whether they were under the water or out of it. This she knew in the very depths of her soul.

She had been a slave on the island of Piratira for as long as she could remember. No one had ever spoken of her family, and if she asked questions about them, the people refused to answer them.

The need to learn what had happened to her family was what had kept her going through the years, but now…now she would never learn the answers to the questions that burned in her mind.

“It’s time,” Seamus whispered into her ear.

She didn’t bother to look at the man who had been her owner, the man who had offered her up as a sacrifice. The bastard. She had been good to him and his family, never causing any trouble. Why he would suggest her as the sacrifice went beyond anything she could understand. 

Instead of yelling at Seamus as she longed to do, Livia took a deep breath and closed her eyes, her heart pounding and her blood racing in her ears. She didn’t want to die. She hated feeling so helpless. She should have fought them; she should have run. Anything other than simply waiting to be sent to her death.

A scream lodged in her throat as a hand slammed into the small of her back. She hung suspended for a moment before the air whooshed around her and she plummeted to the water below.