There was an annoying pattern of flickering spots destroying Rebecca’s field of vision in the shadowy underground chamber. She was not certain if it was real or some creation of her overactive mind. The damp cavern was scary enough to make her want to call it a day and wait for the power to be restored. The flickering light of the oil lanterns made it extremely difficult to decipher the wall carvings recently unearthed.
She was totally unaware of how her buttocks were twitching about as she bent to the task at hand.
Rudy her devoted second in command was not paying much attention to the drawings because he was perusing the shapely heart-shaped bottom directly in front of his face. They were both on their hands and knees in the narrow, low-ceilinged chamber and would have to leave shortly because of lack of sufficient oxygen to finish the translation.
Rebecca began to worry that she had misinterpreted the meaning of the clues to the location of the dig and that they were in the wrong place. There were some similarities to the right target date, but it was beginning to look like these drawings were inscripted much later and perhaps “salted” to mislead searchers like herself in their quest for ancient temple of the moon goddess.
She knew Rudy was shamelessly ogling her bum but she didn’t really mind because she knew he was totally harmless and easy to handle. The close quarters made them physically attuned to each other’s bodies and she was readily agreeable with his invasion of her “comfort zone” in the furtherance of the project.
She wished her father was present on the site, because he had a firm handle on the different languages of the era and was much better versed in such things than either she or Rudy. They both heard the rumble at the same time and looked at each other, afraid to ask the question. It was unmistakably an earth tremor of some sort, hopefully not a full-blown quake but just a simple settling of the plates running under the nearby hills.
The ruin of the old Roman villa above them was reputed to be haunted and in point of fact the entire edifice was pock-marked with the vestiges of time immemorial including some damage sustained during the Second World War.
The partially demolished Roman Villa was not considered to be of any archeological importance, but Rebecca had a hunch that the caverns situated below were a key to the missing temple and perhaps could shed light on the mystifying disappearance of the entire cult of vestal virgins from Roman History.
In some circles of Academia, the temple and the cult were considered just a sidelight to the era and no more influential than a symbolic substitute for prostitution in the upper classes.
The circular stairway down to the tombs was decorated with intricate designs. They strangely looked more Greek than Roman and the figures were obviously engaged in various forms of coitus straight from the pages of the “Kama Sutra." Rebecca was particularly intrigued by the altar-like platform in the center of the cavern that was scooped out in the center with little scuppers that made it resemble the sacrificial platforms of the Aztec and Inca Gods. If it was intended for sacrifice, Rebecca wondered who the victims were and why they were being sacrificed in the secret chamber.
Rudy had discovered some clever little eyelets of what looked like carved bone set into the walls at ankle height. They looked suspiciously like the restraining anchors found in medieval prisons. She let her imagination run away and pictured the frightened females secured to the walls for eventual sacrifice, for some unknown reason, to some forgotten God.
They made their way to the surface, and both headed right to the showers to get the mud and clay off of their skin. The fact that they were showering right next to each other didn’t bother either of them. They were both a lot more interested in getting clean than in any thing of a baser nature. Rudy did offer to “scrub” her back but Rebecca just threw the soap at him and kept on rinsing.
Their next stop was the mess tent and some hot food and tea. She knew Rudy wanted something a little bit stronger, but their agreement precluded him from imbibing spirits until after the dig was wrapped up. He had already disgraced himself on two other digs, and this project represented his last chance to make good on the archeological circuit. His propensity for drink and impulsive “grabbing” of the female interns made him an unlikely hire at most sites.
The power was back on again, and she started to research the clues from the cavern in the database. It only took her an hour to determine that the signs pointed to a lost temple of the “Vestal Virgins,” which was devoted to total obedience to the wishes of the “Moon Goddess”
Rebecca fell asleep as soon as she went into the horizontal and she was dreaming strange dreams as soon as her eyelids closed. She was almost naked and lying prone on the ground in the cavern. Her wrists were tied together with woven leather and attached to the bone eyelets only a scant six inches off the ground. She saw two other girls in the same situation and they seemed in some sort of trance looking off into the distance and humming a strange chant in a funny language she had never heard before. A beautiful woman with glowing white hair came into the cavern and instructed two slaves to move one of the chanting females to the altar. Rebecca saw that the girl was so far under the influence of some potion that she only settled her body into the recess on top of the platform and quivered at the touch of the mysterious white-haired woman’s hand. It sounded to Rebecca that the woman was speaking a form of Latin that she had seen written in old Vatican manuscripts making each word seem like a drop of enlightenment on the cold hard surface of the altar. When she saw the blade, Rebecca was certain the platform was indeed a sacrificial altar and that the young girl would soon be dispatched to the afterlife. It happened so quickly that she almost didn’t see it. In fact, it was the sound of the lifeblood draining into the scuppers that made her aware that the ceremony was completed before it had barely begun. The two slaves carried the lifeless body away to some disposal room and the female slaves scooped up the vases of blood handing them to the priestess. The woman dipped her little finger in each goblet and tasted the red liquid.
Rebecca awoke in a sweat.
Her heart was beating fast. She was fearful of being the next one to be drained of her lifeblood on the altar of the “Vestal Virgins." Quickly, she went back over to her computer and searched for the details about such sacrifices in that particular era. One thing that caught her eye was the fact that the victims were all selected because they were still untouched by male equipment in their virginal core. She cursed the fact that she had not yet taken the time to attend to that matter. It was something she had been putting off for some time. She wondered if she woke up Rudy in his tent, if he would be willing to eliminate the risk of being made a victim of the “Moon Goddess”.
It was such a crazy idea that she giggled at her own stupidity. It was over 2,000 years since any sacrifice had been made on the hidden altar and it was unlikely any of the “Vestal Virgins” were still around to make use of it again.
The next morning, she did not mention any of her worries to Rudy or anyone else for that matter, and they went back down the marble staircase to the hidden chamber. Everything was just as they had left it. There was no evidence of blood or any incursion by ancient cults.
Rudy yelled out loud when he found a hidden compartment in the side of the altar. There was a rolled up scroll with ornate gold decoration on it. She put on her gloves and opened it carefully. The words were fortunately in Latin and they were both able to read it at the same time. It spoke of obligations of the various families of Rome to turn their youngest daughters over to the “Vestal Virgins” temple when they reached the age of 16 and remained unmarried and unspoiled by male hands.
If her translation was correct, the blood was used to reverse the aging process of the high priestess and her selected entourage, keeping them forever young and beautiful. When Rebecca read that passage, she noticed that the emblem of the blood seal signifying purity was identical to a famous Swiss company that charged female celebrities huge sums of money for rejuvenation treatments given in the secrecy of the corporate headquarters in Bern.
In fact, when she looked closely at it, she recognized it to be identical to the amulet on the golden chain around Rudy’s sun-tanned neck.
Suddenly, she heard the cavern entrance slam shut behind her and she was alone in the small space with Rudy. He looked at her with pity. It was a look that scared her more than the dream about the blood. He had never looked at her like that before.
“Rebecca, this could have all been different if you had only given me your guarded treasure. I would have simply found some silly girl to take your place and you would escape this inevitable fate.”
She looked around the small room. Was it possible the drink had addled poor Rudy’s brain? He had her in his grasp now, and she knew she was not match for his strength. He had always seemed so weak and passive. Now he was like an iron-man determined to bend her to his will.
When she looked up into his face, he blew some yellowish powder into her nose and mouth making her gag and sneeze with sudden allergy.
She wanted to yell at him, tell him he would have to pay for his insubordination, but her lips were unable for form words. Rebecca found herself chanting in a singsong voice just like the poor girl of her dreams who was ultimately drained of the very last drop of her virginal blood. She stood like a statue as Rudy stripped her of all of her clothing leaving only her panties to hide her untouched womanhood as a final tribute to their friendship.
The white-haired high priestess entered the sacrificial chamber and muttered the incantation of purification for the sacrifice.
Rebecca smiled up at the both of them as if she knew some secret of her own, but inside her mind she was so terrified that this was reality and not a dream.
Everything went dark as she heard the scuppers filling with her draining blood. It was the last sound her ears heard as she slipped into the afterlife pure as the falling snow. She was much too quickly taken from the earthly dimension and grieved her unnecessary fate.
Then she heard the alarm clock go off, and it was time to get back to work. She was going to corner Rudy first thing and made sure she was not a candidate for the silly games of the high priestess.
To be continued...
This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than Lushstories.com
with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="https://www.lushstories.com/stories/supernatural/rebecca-discovers-the-temple-of-the.aspx">Rebecca Discovers the Temple of the Vestal Virgins</a>