When I started to become aware, the first thing I remember was the sound.  It was a loud mixture of such strange noises.  There was a roar, and a crackle, and the sound of human voices.  I couldn’t make sense of it at first.

The voices were the strangest.  They were many voices, in unison.  They were rhythmic, pulsing even. I couldn’t tell if there were words because it didn’t make sense in my mind.  But the voices were intense and fervent.  Something about them made me extremely agitated.

The crackle seemed gentle, and somehow repetitive, almost soothing.  The roar disturbed me on a deep level.  My mind screamed that it indicated danger and horror, but it was also somehow familiar.  My mind connected the crackle and roar together, and I realized that it was the sound of fire.

A very large fire.

Very close.

I realized I hadn’t opened my eyes, and managed to do so with some difficulty.  Once I could see through the smoke, I realized that the light was strange.  It was both extremely dark and jarringly bright.  It was a black night overhead, but right in front of me was a wall of fire.  Flickers of white-hot flames kept me from seeing anything beyond it.  It was so close I could feel the heat.  I tried to move, but found my body wrapped with ropes.  I turned my head to the left and right, and in every direction was the searing pyre.  The fire surrounded me.

I let out a scream.  It echoed around me, and it was met by even louder voices, chanting more fervently.  Somewhere beyond the flames, there were people enjoying this, witnessing my horror.  I discovered that I was not bound, but was trapped by the flames.  I looked desperately around, searching for a way through the inferno.  Right in front of me, the flames were a little lower, and I could see beyond them.

I saw faces reflecting the glowing light.  Just faces.  Nothing else.  At first, I thought there were only a few, but as my eyes adjusted, I could tell there were many, maybe a hundred or more.  They were moving in unison to the chant.  At first, I thought something was wrong with their faces.  They seemed ghoulish, almost melted.  I shook my head and looked harder.

As my eyes focused, I could finally understand the shapes.  Masks. The masks were skeletal white and made to mimic the faces of animals, but strangely warped. The rest of their bodies were covered in long robes and hoods.  All of them were dressed alike.  All but one.

He had a robe as well, but his mask was long, with gold-tipped horns.  There were symbols carved on its forehead.  As he left the circle, the others joined hands behind him.  They never stopped chanting.

This figure must have been the leader.  The others seemed to bow toward him as he approached the fire.  From the midst of his robes, he pulled something out that reflected the firelight.  It looked metal, and long.  He held up the blade before the crowd and they intensified their noise.  He walked up to the flames, directly in front of me.  From somewhere else, he produced a bowl.  He placed the dagger in the dish and stepped forward, directly into the flames.

He came through, right in front of me.  I leaned backwards, as far as I could and eyed the sharp edges of the blade.  I then looked into the eyes behind the mask, which reflected the flickering light brightly.

I spoke, but slowly.  The smoke-filled, heavy air caused my words to catch.

“Let... me... out.”

He smirked, seeming intent on his actions.

His hand wrapped around the dagger, lifting the blade high.

He sliced through my ropes, then turned, and spoke in a loud voice for all to hear:

“I serve the lord of demons!  None may leave until the sacrifice.”

I became frantic. I lunged forward and grabbed the dagger from his hand.  The flesh gave way as it entered his neck.  I twisted it, hard.  Blood soaked his robes in pulsing waves.  He halted, but didn’t fall.  I fought him with my hands, scratching and hitting blindly, with everything I had.  I rushed at him, and his body fell, forming a bridge over the flames.  I stepped across.

The circle of robed figures dropped their hands when they saw me.  It was obvious that many didn’t expect to see their leader crumpled in the flames, and me emerging from them.  Some approached—others backed away.  Screams.  Curses. I dared not stop.  I found a place where the crowd thinned and sped toward it, blood pounding in my temples.  I shoved hooded figures out of my way as forcefully as I could.  I used the chaos to my advantage.  I must have been full of adrenaline because I fought my way through a dozen people before I saw it. Outside of the clearing, the trees grew thicker, providing cover.  I tore my way through the last few forms and fled.  I got as far as I could until I thought they would follow me no more.

Time passed, and I realized I was not being followed.  My curiosity got the better of me, and I silently turned and crept back toward the gathering, as much as I dared. I found the most secluded, thick group of trees and hid.

I sat for a long while in the dark of the forest, just listening. There was no more chanting.  I could still hear a few voices shouting, but it was replaced with quieter noises, and then the last sound I expected.  Laughter.  There was still talking, but it sounded strangely joyous, as though people were congratulating each other.  In disbelief, I watched for almost an hour as the light from the fire slowly died, as did the talking.  The moon came out, casting an otherworldly light around the woods.

I made my way back to where the hooded figures were before.  This time, I noticed the strange symbols on the ground.  It may have been ancient writing of some sort, mixed with curious shapes.  In the center I found the remains of the fire.  This must have been where it all started.  Nearby, there was a pool of blood, and the blood-soaked body that once stood before me.  The dagger and bowl were missing, as was his hood.  These must have been taken by the others.  His pale face and lifeless frame looked strangely smaller in the moonlight.  I saw his wounds, and realized that I must have dealt the fatal blow to him.  I felt no remorse; only one of us was going to leave alive that night.  The clearing was oddly silent.

As I looked around, I felt revulsion.  How could they have done this to me, and brought me here?! I hated them all.

I took stock of my health.  Although I was once surrounded by fire, my arms and legs did not appear to be harmed. The skin was intact, although red. There was still the strong smell of smoke and sulfur around me.  My hands were shaking slightly.  There was still blood drying there, though not my own.  It covered my hands, right down to the claws.  I reached up and felt my face… the strong chin, the cheek bones, and horns.  I was whole.  I was alive.

And I knew what I needed to do.  My hatred for these beings filled me, and at that moment I swore revenge on all who summoned me here.  I must destroy them. Every… last… human.

A Creepy Pasta by Professor Z