“Now,” he said, “for things to really go smoothly, I’m going to need you to keep quiet after the Consumption is complete.”


His hands succeeded where Phoebe’s muscles had failed, and the stranger pulled her head forward to tie a gag around her muzzle. He retrieved some rope from the inside of his charcoal suit jacket and began binding Phoebe’s hands behind her. As he repositioned her, Phoebe tilted towards the floor of the car, and she realized why she was frozen.

Image: A close-up of Phoebe’s muzzle. The man is holding it, forcing her mouth open. Her tongue is sticking out partially. End description.

Phoebe had unknowingly stepped into a binding hoop that her captor had placed on the floor. An infamous ritual tool used by witches. This one was just big enough for a person to stand in it, with eight woven cords tied onto a ring of pure white. The cords looked like they’d been white at some point as well. If she’d wanted to scream before, she definitely wanted to now, but she could only feel fear and confusion pulse through her veins. Even the thought of cursing her own gullibility was far in the back of her mind.

Image description: The man’s binding hoop. It is a white ring on the floor, with eight lengths of stained, red rope tied to it. End description.

There were two types of binding rituals known to man, the Rise and the Consumption. Both were performed by witches, and both were disturbing in Phoebe’s opinion. But the Consumption was, no doubt, the worst. It was infamous as an arcane and violent method of execution, and it was most certainly what Phoebe was about to experience unless someone came to her rescue.