The swans appeared on the lake every year.
Their wings whiter than the snow.
Pure birds. Full of innocence.
The town gathered each night with campfires and carols.
They loved the swans.
Tourists from all over would pay a lot of money to glimpse the seven birds. The town was even on the Travel Channel once.
Fires raging, carols singing, and the swans would stand perfectly still – waiting.
One male and one female, both virgins, would be sent out onto the ice. They would slowly make their way to the middle, their feet cracking and spiderwebing the thin ice under feet.
The whole town would cheer them on.
Their families sat front and center of the festivities, proud to be able to contribute to such a special occasion.
The two in the middle would slowly undress each other. Whoops and hollers would erupt from the shore when both were finally naked.
The fires were put out and the music gone. The crowd held their breaths.
The swans began to circle the virgins. Circling and pecking st the ice, at naked flesh, until the ice began to crack and split apart.
The crowd would bow their heads when the sacrificial virgins plummeted into the frozen water.
The swans would honk in unison, twelve times, and fly off.
The water could be heard as it re-froze, trapping the panic screams underneath.
Two more virgins added to the lake and the town would be safe for another Christmas.