My name is Yasmine, and I am approaching my eighteenth year. I’m barely five feet tall, but my rebellious attitude makes up for it, I was always getting into trouble with the elders for not obeying the rules and keeping to my place as a girl growing into a woman should. I have emerald green eyes, golden brown skin, and long raven black hair that I wear in a bun at the base of my neck. My village community was small, with only around two thousand people, and we were what outsiders considered old-fashioned and self-sufficient, which meant that everyone worked, regardless of age but like all old-style villages the men had their place and so did the women, we all travelled by horse, horse, and cart, or on foot.
We have the fundamental stores that any country town has or requires in the village’s main centre, including a seamstress for our clothes, a butcher, a bakery, and a market for all the fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy, and any food for the village’s animals. In addition, we have a small school, a blacksmith, and a healer. The blacksmith and the healer are the only ones who leave the village to purchase supplies in the surrounding larger cities; occasionally, they even return with extra fabric for the seamstress or sometimes a trinket or two for one or more of the village’s younger children. I suppose it's not bad for a little village in the middle of nowhere, surrounded on three sides by dense woods.
The village is buzzing right now as we prepare for our annual celebration. Every year, the community holds a celebration to commemorate another exceptional year and to make an offering for a prosperous year to come. They festooned the village with colourful streamers and flowers, and all the other businesses are working overtime to prepare for the upcoming celebration. We appear to get a few more visitors on the day of the celebration, which is beneficial because it permits our blacksmith and healer to make supply runs in the coming year.
I believe one of the elders negotiated a deal with a tour bus company in one of the larger towns so that once a year, a bus full of visitors stops in the village for a couple of hours specifically for the celebration, ensuring that they leave before nightfall. Now and again, on the night of the celebration, two young villages would vanish, sometimes two girls, sometimes two guys, or a girl and a guy. No one knows where they go or what happens to them since they vanish without a trace.
My mother was one of the girls that disappeared during the celebration a few days after I was born, so I was raised by my grandma. My grandma was now known as the village’s crazy elder because she believed in strange stories like wolves that could transform into humans and enter the village in search of a mate. The celebration, she claims, was a ruse to allow these wolves in human form to enter the community undetected and then leave later that night with the guy or girl of their choice. It was the elders’ justification for keeping the village safe from intruders, whether supernatural or ordinary strangers.
The other story my grandmother told was about the creatures that would come into our village every five years. Grandmother’s mother informed her that one year, shortly after she turned eighteen, the beasts were enraged with the village elders because they had violated their partnership, so they looted everything and abducted everyone who had just turned eighteen or was going to reach eighteen soon. She’d gotten away and hidden so they couldn’t locate her, but she could still see and hear what was going on.
“I will come every five years to collect what is owing to me,” the creature's leader stated.
If no one was chosen at the celebration, the elders of the village made a decision and presented the creatures with an offering. Following the celebration, a girl and a boy would be sedated, blindfolded, and bound to the offering posts just outside the village line and just within the woods. The chosen were re-sedated and returned to their homes back to the village if the creatures did not take their offering after twenty-four hours. The choice and offering was always someone who had just turned eighteen and was normally a virgin, which is why my grandma was taken aback when my mother vanished.
I didn’t fit in with the rest of the villagers; yeah, I had friends, but I stood out. I seemed to have more confidence and bravery than everyone else, and many of my peers used to claim that I didn’t have more confidence or bravery, but rather more ignorance and idiocy as I grew up because when I was old enough to comprehend what my grandmother’s stories meant and that she believed them. Skipping my tedious studies at the village school, I would go watch the guys train to fight, despite the fact that they never seemed to apply their training on the one night that mattered.
After a while, I began to mimic their actions, and one day I was practising the maneuvers they had been learning when one of the younger guys noticed me. He yelled, alerting everyone to my presence, and the elder instructor approached me. As he approached me, I realized it was Elder Miles. I bowed as I watched everyone else do, and he seemed to have a sneer on his face as he asked,
“Do you believe you’re good enough to join us?”
When I say “Yes Sir!”
I believe I astound everyone. Bow once again. He then turns and signals for me to follow, which I do, and as we approach the group of males, Elder Miles claps his hands. The guy's race to form a circle and then drop down on their knees. Elder Miles brings me into the circle and then gestures to a man saying.
He rises and bows to elder Miles before joining us in the circle’s centre. Elder Miles then turns to face me and says,
“If you can get Charles here to the ground three times, I’ll teach you how to fight correctly.”
Everyone in the circle laughs, but it doesn’t make me nervous or fearful; instead, it makes me want to prove them all wrong. Elder Miles takes a step back and claps his hands once, and Charles moves in front of me and adopts the combat position I’ve seen them all undertake. I block Charles’s first few strikes, but he hits me hard enough that I fall to the ground, and everyone laughs again.
As I rise to my feet, I strike the ground with my fist. I immediately confront him, and he repeatedly throws me to the ground, making me even more enraged and embarrassed. I glance at elder Miles as his face falls, and he shakes his head, thinking about some of the few things I could remember him saying and one of the key ones he kept repeating.
‘Never let your emotions get the best of you and you can achieve anything!’
Taking a deep breath, I slowly release it, returning to my feet. I gaze at Charles and try to stay as still as possible while I dodge his punches, waiting for an opportunity. I then sweep his legs, knocking him to the ground. Now it’s Charles’ turn to be irritated and embarrassed, so I do the same thing he did and knock him back to the ground again. I smile as, after a brief struggle, I manage to force him to the ground once more. As I bow towards Elder Miles, he claps his hands and returns to the centre of the circle, where he addresses the lads,
“She will now join our training.”
Some of the guys sigh, but they all stand up and greet me, congratulating me on a strong fight. Charles even came over to me and shook my hand, saying,
“It’s going to be interesting and I’m looking forward to practising with you.”
I started training the next day and quickly rose to the top of the class; the other Elders thought Elder Miles was crazy for allowing me, a girl, to train with all the boys, but it was Elder Miles who always smiled when I came out on top at the village fight days. Even though these combat days were merely practice and a grading test to assess where everyone was, they were always entertaining. After all the practice we do together, even with me being a girl, Charles became a dear friend of mine, and we always kept an eye out for each other during the tests.
At six feet, he towers over me, with sandy blonde hair and lovely sapphire blue eyes, but he, like me, has nice golden brown skin that has been darkened by him working and training in the sun. I discovered Charles was almost twenty-five after we became friends, and I’ve had a secret attraction for him since that first fight in front of Elder Miles. I’m not going to reveal to anyone, especially him, because I’m hoping he’ll feel the same way after I’m eighteen.
Every year, my friends and I look forward to attending and taking part in the celebration, but as our eighteenth birthdays approach, the party this year brings more worry than delight. We were all born within a few months of each other, but I had the misfortune of being the first to reach the age of eighteen. The second terrifying aspect of it this year is that my eighteenth birthday comes on the day of the celebration, and the beast leaders’ five-year raid is approaching. Thankfully, the celebration takes place during the day every five years, and the village is sealed down as soon as dusk falls. Not that it matters to me; if these beasts want into our homes, they will get in regardless.The elders erected a safety bunker on the other side of the town with enough accommodation for the entire village after the leader of these beasts declared he would invade the village every five years. Some of the snobbish elders now had basements or underground rooms built inside thei
"I woke up in one of the other Elders' huts and our lives have been like that since that day. The other Elders agreed to allow me to teach the basics of what I remember from their teaching back then, but because of the possibility of losing everyone, including the village, no one is allowed to use what I teach them on the night of the celebrations especially against them during the five-year raid. Now, Yasmine, only the Elders know this information and I am trusting you with not passing it onto your friends...""I would never betray the trust you put in me, Sir! You were the only one to believe in me and allow me the chance to prove myself, even though I am a girl.""And you have done that way too many times. Yasmine, you are way too good for this village. I am sure you are meant to do much more, but I am afraid that it is not here that you will do it. Just remember, no matter where you end up, be yourself, never allow anyone to make you less than what you
This hesitation cost me because someone then wrapped two significantly enormous arms around me from behind. Fortunately, I am on the smaller side, and as I demonstrated to Elder Miles, I could exploit this to wiggle out of practically every hold the guys tried to keep me in. So I wiggle and struggle in his arms, causing him to reposition them in an attempt to get a better grip on me, which is exactly what I wanted because it gave me a bit more movement.I toss my head back, hitting his nose, and then I throw my elbows back, hitting both sides of his ribs at the same moment, loosening his grip on me even more and allowing me to slip down and out of his arms. When I get to the ground, I crouch and then kick out my leg, rotating as I do so, sweeping his legs backward and causing him to fall hard to the ground.I smile and rise back to my feet, but it's not for long since I'm suddenly surrounded by three more beasts, the first of whom I manage to avoid. I know I've been lu
As he walks out of the town centre and back into the woods, I raise my head and gaze over to where my house is; the last time I see my grandmother, she is quietly sobbing in the shattered doorway of our hut, as the leader of the beasts carries me off into the woods and an uncertain future.I continue to fight despite the fact that it appears to be accomplishing nothing except exhausting me; I groan and, for the first time, attempt to communicate with the beast that is holding me captive.“Do you believe you could help me walk by putting me down?”“NO!”So, since that didn’t work, I’m going to try something new. “When you claimed I was yours, what did you mean?”“You're Mine!”“You already said that... Where are we going?”“Quiet!”“NO!”This appears to surprise him, as he stops for a second, leading me to believe that he
I return to the room and re-examine everything; the only door I haven’t tried must go to a corridor within the building; approaching the door, I lay my hand on the handle and attempt to open it. I repress a chuckle when I discover the door is locked, but I didn’t really expect it to be unlocked, so I groan in disgust and return to the balcony. I know I did a lot of fighting yesterday, and my muscles are quite sore as a result, but I’m not going to sit here and wait for Zachariah to determine what he’ll do to me.Shifting to the side where the railing meets the side of the house... or whatever place I’m in. I lean over the edge, look down, and shudder; I’ve never been a big fan of heights, but I’m not going to let it get the best of me and prevent me from getting away from here. There aren’t many places to hold, but that hasn’t stopped me before, and it won’t this time either. I take a big breath and climb over
I am still a little shocked at what’s going on, so I don’t realize what the one he pushed me into is doing until I feel something tighten around my wrists again. I then start to struggle, but the guy grabs my arms, pulls me into him, and whispers.“You would be better off keeping still my dear, you are already in enough trouble..”I freeze as he runs his nose up my neck; they seem to enjoy doing that a lot but it just creeps me out except for when Zachariah does it. I continue to struggle a little against the ties around my wrists and his hands touching my upper arms, but I have no choice but to watch as Zachariah moves and approaches the one that was holding me.He doesn’t say anything and I gasp in surprise as he punches him in the jaw sending him to the ground. He then moves up to him and pulls him back to his feet just to punch him in the abdomen, chest, and nose. I stop struggling and do what I do best. I study him as he moves.
He holds and pulls me tighter into him as he deepens the kiss; I tense and freeze as I feel the hardness of his excitement pressing more against me. Smiling against my lips before pulling back and looking me in the eye, moving his hand from my neck up into my hair. He then grips my hair and tugs lightly, making my head tilt back. He breaks the connection with my eyes as he leans forward just a little to run soft butterfly kisses down and back up my neck.I can’t stop the soft moan as I relax and pleasure spreads through me, Zachariah smiles against my skin as he pulled on my hair just a little more allowing him to move his kisses further down my neck and onto my chest, another soft moan escapes my lips as he trails his kisses over the tops of my breasts. He continues to smile as he kisses his way back up my neck to my lips, saying,“Such a fiery little thing, but so soft and responsive to my touch...”He then kisses me again.
Whoever it is, knocks again, but this time a soft girl’s voice comes through the door.“Hello? Um... I was wondering if you were hungry?”As if right on cue, my stomach growls loudly and I hear a giggle from the other side of the door. The girl then says,“If you step away from the door, I will bring in something for you to eat!”I haven’t eaten anything since the meal I had with Charles at the celebration, so probably against my better judgment, I move away from the door and go and sit on the bed. I don’t know how she knew I was no longer standing by the door, but I then hear the door unlock and open; I watch as a very tall, gorgeous girl walks in with a tray in her hands.I glance behind her and see a guy standing just outside once she is all the way in. He reaches in and then closes and locks the door behind her. I then return my attention back to the girl who is now standing in front of me, but with no