Welcome to the beginning of the RELISH Scavenger Hunt!
Read the entire Chapter 1 by clicking on the "Next Page" links and travelling to different blogs. When you reach the end, enter the giveaway for a chance to win signed copies of Taste, Savor, and Relish plus awesome swag!
So, without further ado, let's begin:
Distant drumbeats reverberate inside my chest. I’m lying on the earth in a thin white dress and nothing else. The chill of the night coaxes my nipples erect. An electric charge in the air scatters goose bumps all over my skin. Chanting women in flowing dresses dance around me, stomping and clapping. Their jerky movements spill their long hair over their slender shoulders. Their words sound familiar, yet too confusing for me to understand. Rhyming, like they are casting some spell. I concentrate on my breathing. In and out. In and out. In sync with the drumming. Several torches surround us in a circle. Smoke curls toward the darkening sky from their flames. An acrid, almost choking smell rips up my nostrils. Yet, I have to inhale, no matter how vile the odor.
A wrinkle-faced woman with white hair steps forward. Her ruby cloak stands out in the firelight. She says something in a murmuring language that is garbled when the words reach my ears. It’s like a mysterious force is preventing me from comprehending what is being said. Something inside my belly twists and I cry out. My back arches off the ground. The chanting and dancing grow more frantic. The women are screaming their words now, their hands in the air, swaying like drugged-out club whores.
The old woman sprinkles red dust over my belly, forming a cross like X marks the spot with a circle around it. Then she pulls out a dagger from its sheath at her hip. She licks the gleaming blade from base to tip then whispers something to it. Again with the rhyming words. It’s as if she’s singing. A faint shimmer enhances the curlicue carvings on the steel.