“Dark things tonight,” he said, slowly sweeping his hand across the sky.

“Mm,” she concurred. “New Moon. Dark things.”

They sat together on the precipice like two ravens waiting for a conundrum, or perhaps like two gargoyles waiting to piss off whoever happened by. They were at peace, but they didn’t want company, and they were waiting for the ceremony below.

“It’ll be dawn before we’ve moved,” she added after a sip from the flask. “Are you scared?”

Midnight. The forest below stirred like the fur of wolves. Sinister wind, cracking limbs, leaves in a panicked flurry. Lights – the in and out fading, unnatural, shocking lights. And then the long groan as the gods awakened. They rolled, scratched, yawned, growled and slithered, but their eyes, black as holes, shot straight up to the spectators on the ledge.

“Hhhhhhooooooooo,” they murmured, mouths closed, with voices of matted gray and stone. “Hhhhhhooooooooooooo?”

Our two sat straight. Posture impeccable. Silent.

“Deathhhhhhhhhh,” came the hiss from below. “We will feed your minds to our roots, our insects, our decaying floor. You should not have come here. We are deathhhhhhhhhhhh.”

They writhed and wriggled and danced and ran like black eels in a pot of oil, but there was no escape from their gaze – no matter how they turned, flexed, ran, jumped, twirled in necromonious glee – their gaze never left our two. They were fixed, solid, innately stone.

“Loooooook into these eyessssss,” the gods screamed through the night birds. “Looooook and look never away until dawnnnnn… Can you dance with us, you mortal two? You’ll die to dance with ussssssssss.”

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