Rich has lived in the North Carolinian wilderness for over two years, and while he's heard the stories, he never actually believed they were true. Even after witnessing it for himself, Rich still isn't sure he believes in what’s happening around him. He knows one thing for sure -- he's going to have to rescue the man he thinks is being sacrificed, no matter how much he hates violence.
The guy on the table is a honey-coated wet dream, and Rich isn’t sure what to do after saving him from what appears to be a cult in the middle of the forest. So much for the quiet life.
Rich became aware of the other five people circling within the tiny clearing. All five were wearing masks and togas, quietly muttering something he couldn't hear, dancing clockwise around the fire and what Rich was starting to suspect was a sacrificial altar. This couldn't end well. He knew that leaving the man there would end up with him seriously hurt at the very least and... Rich refused to think about the more extreme possibilities.
Sliding his bowie knife out of its sheath at his waist, Rich started tracking the group, just barely checking his need to act. He certainly wasn’t the violent type, but he damn sure wasn’t going to leave the stranger to those whackos’ mercy either.
A couple of minutes passed before the group did what he’d silently wished for, and twirled themselves away from the table. Rich gripped his knife a little tighter and went for it, bursting from his cover with a feral shout. He ran for the fire first, kicking at it hard as he passed, sending sparks and smoldering chunks flying toward the dancers. For an improvised distraction it sure as hell worked, if the yelling was any indication. Rich didn’t stop to marvel at his luck, and bounded over to the stranger, cursing under his breath as he got a better look at the set-up. The twine was wound around the captive several times at both his chest and thighs. The first set parted easily under his blade.
Hard hands pulling at his shoulder stilted his progress and he blindly jammed his elbow back, connecting with something soft that grunted. The hands let go immediately and Rich sliced through the second set of bindings, heart wrenching the slightest bit when the young man cringed away from him. More hands started pulling at Rich again, trying to spin him around, but Rich twisted out, scooping up the stranger.
Rich leapt recklessly onto the table and hopped off, landing hard enough to rattle his legs, causing him to stumble for a heartbeat and then he ran.
Loud shouts of outrage followed their retreat from the circle of light and one of the crazies, armed with a wicked little dagger, took a wide swipe at him just as Rich reached the tree line. He jerked away as best as he could, but the knife still caught a piece of him, tearing a jagged line of agony along his forearm just as Rich burst into the concealing darkness of the forest.
He ran hard, ears keenly aware of the raving lunatics crashing through the forest for at least a mile before the echoes of them searching faded to silence. Rich stopped long enough to get his bearings with a quick glance at the mountain top, and then turned towards home at a much slower pace, wondering what the hell he was going to do with the burden weighing heavily in his arms.