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A Very Exacting Ritual

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“Where do I start?” The knife she gripped in her hand was very sharp and almost too large for the task at hand.

“Th…the first incision needs to be made there,” Giles pointed to the appropriate spot, grimacing when Anya closed her eyes before wildly thrusting downward with the knife.

“It’s very tough.”

Indeed it was, if Giles could judge from the tiny grunts Anya was making. It was almost an erotic sound when combined with the squelch of the knife as it cut through the slightly fibrous skin. But then, erotic and Anya always seemed to be irrevocably linked in his mind…for better or worse.

“It smells.” Anya looked at him, her nose wrinkling up into a grimace. “Is it supposed to smell like that?”

“As I recall from when I have performed this ritual in the past…the answer would be yes.” Giles removed his glasses and began polishing them. "Now you have to reach inside and—"

"Inside?" Anya's eyes grew large. "But Giles… that's so…so gross."

"I know it is, but it's also the only way this can be done properly."

"Uhhhhhhnnnnggggnn…" Anya grimaced and reached her hand deep down inside. "Oh, god, that's so disgusting… and… slimy."

"I'm quite sure I agree with you."

"What's next? And please say, 'pull your hand out and go wash off'."

"I'm sorry," Giles said, looking at her sympathetically, "but the next step is to remove the entrails."

"I knew you were going to say that."

"Ah, but once that's done it's all just…" he tried to find the proper word, "…embellishment and candles."

"What? No chants? No gourds to rattle?" Anya's mouth curled into a taunting smile. "No dancing naked to appease the Harvest God?"

"Alas, no… but if you wish to dance naked, far be it from me to curtail your…holiday spirit."

"Really?"

"I will, however insist that you wash the foul remains of your…vegetable vivisection off first."

"It's okay… I think I'm done." Anya lit the candle and turned the pumpkin around to face the middle of the room. Its grin was more cute than horrible and slightly lop-sided, but the fact that she had carved it with three eyes made it a bit more…unique.

"It's lovely, darling… Happy Halloween."

"Happy Halloween to you too." Anya wrapped her arms around Giles and paused for a moment to admire her handiwork. "Giles?"

"Yes, my dear?

"Can I dance naked now?

"Please…."

 

**fin**