The seven chosen children have rehearsed this moment well. Tonight the raggedy man has come to life and real blood flows. They must push beyond their revulsion and remain steadfast in this honorary task so important to the annual ritual. They drink until the blood stops flowing and the scarecrow grows lifeless again. Not a drop falls to the ground. The litany of Pine Hollow's residents swells to a crescendo. All those present witness the purging of the blessed flow, the dance of death of the miraculously animated straw man and the radiant full moon high above accepting their sacrifice once more. That autumn harvest was their finest ever. - From Blood and Straw by George Wilhite
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