The Offering

“Good morning, Goody Prynnehorne. Fine day for the offering, y’reckon?”

But Constance Prynnehorne did not think it a fine day. She flashed a weak smile at Parson Becker’s greeting and hurried home, holding baby Nathaniel close to her chest. She clung to him like gold these days, ever since her husband passed in the tragic churning accident. That boy was all she had left.

And oh, how the other wives in the village had cleverly abandoned her, cooing their false sympathies while keeping their distance. It was worst now at the time of the Offering, when their husbands prepared their bounty from their fields, while all she had to show for months of spinning was a few meager spools of thread.

“‘Tis not the size of the gift that pleases the Great One,” Goody Proctor assured her at the weekly bible study. “‘Tis only the generosity in your heart that He sees.” But the smug looks that passed among the other wives told a different story.

Constance gathered her thread in her prettiest basket and carried them and Nathaniel to the town square. Already the crowd had begun to gather: Jonas Wynterbrook and six bales of his finest hay; Ethan Grenvelt, with his fattest pig of the season. One by one they took their places around the great stone well that led deep into the earth, where the Great One lay sleeping.

Night came. Men raised their torches and families kept a respectful distance from the edge of the well, knowing the time was near. Soon a foul smell, like a thousand years of death, oozed from the opening and spread into the still air. The ground began to rumble and from deep within the bottomless abyss came an unearthly howl: yyoooooooooooooge.

The gathered crowd watched in anticipation as the Great One emerged from the depths and stood before them. The beast was hideous, with lumpen, leathery skin and a sneer rolling across his face. “Yyooooooooooooge,” he called again, and the villagers rushed to him with their offerings.

One by one the beast devoured their gifts. The creature washed down Jonas’ wheat with a full tankard of ale in what seemed the blink of an eye. Ethan’s pig died screaming in terror as the lumbering beast tore it to pieces and stuffed it into its enormous mouth.

Constance pushed forward with the others, clutching her basket in one hand, Nathaniel in the other. The frenzied crowd knocked her back and forth and her spools of thread fell from the basket and scattered across the ground.

Her stomach twisted as she frantically looked down, but the thread was already gone, kicked into the dirt by dozens of rushing feet. As her eyes darted about, she caught a glimpse of Nathaniel, calm and serene. In that moment, she saw the purity in his eyes, like his father’s, telling her all would be well.

“Yyooooooooooooge,” bellowed the beast.

Constance clutched Nathaniel and pressed to the front of the surging crowd. This year, her offering would be best.


(Update: Now that we’ve all had our laugh at the nice people, I’m blurring the photo out of respect to folks who didn’t ask to be made fun of, and also to avoid the wrath of the Great One and his cabal of lawyers.)

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70 thoughts on “The Offering

  1. Stephanie November 12, 2015 / 3:08 pm

    More frightening than “The Village,” for sure.

  2. kay November 12, 2015 / 3:16 pm

    heh heh heh

  3. Birdcage November 12, 2015 / 3:51 pm


  4. Birdcage November 12, 2015 / 3:51 pm

    Oh hey! I ended up in the Mod Lounge on my first attempt!!!!! Hehehehehe!!!!

    • Not That Mike The Other Mike November 12, 2015 / 3:55 pm

      Actually, all comments go in the Mod Lounge until I can work out which buttons to push. (And this reply will give me a look at what nested commenting will look like.)

      • Not That Mike The Other Mike November 12, 2015 / 3:56 pm

        Hmmmn, needs more nesting…

        • Birdcage November 12, 2015 / 6:09 pm

          Maybe a tad more nesting …. this post is showing your Shirley Jackson side, I feel. Way to set the bar high for yourself right out of the gate!!!!!

          • debg November 12, 2015 / 6:57 pm

            I concur! Wonderfully done, NOMTOM!

          • Faye November 12, 2015 / 10:35 pm

            Hi Birdcage! Thank you. I’m in love with your boid!!

  5. mayitaazul November 12, 2015 / 4:01 pm

    Hahaha, hilarious and frightening at the same time!

  6. Teresa November 12, 2015 / 4:26 pm

    Did not see that coming…Excellent!

  7. tinychih November 12, 2015 / 4:42 pm

    Love it! Awesome writing 😀…….”the churning accident”….!

  8. one cranky lady November 12, 2015 / 6:01 pm

    I don’t know which is scarier: that picture, or Trump himself. (And best wishes on your new endeavor, NOMTOM!)

  9. Michelle P November 12, 2015 / 6:21 pm

    Aaaand now I’ve got a new favourite website to visit. 😀 THANK YOU for putting yourself out there, NTMTOM. You had me at, “Yyooooooooooooge”!

  10. deb November 12, 2015 / 6:43 pm

    Yay, NTMTOM!! Congratulations and good luck! Sometimes our collective heartbreak empowers us to undertake bigger and better endeavors. Hilarious writing, as always!

  11. whawhawhatsis November 12, 2015 / 6:46 pm

    Yay, NTMTOM! Thanks for listening to all your adoring fans!

  12. Faye November 12, 2015 / 6:47 pm

    Make It Work NTMTOM. What a relief. So looking forward to this taking off. Do you need any assistance. Happy to help.

  13. Faye November 12, 2015 / 6:50 pm

    How do we put up a identity pic or whatever you call it in the little box?

    • Not That Mike The Other Mike November 12, 2015 / 6:53 pm

      That uses a free service called Gravatar, which gives you an icon that will show up on sites that recognize it.

      • Faye November 12, 2015 / 8:13 pm

        Thank you NTMTOM. I will try.

        • Faye November 12, 2015 / 8:48 pm

          Got it! That’s my soulmate Sammigirl the dearly departed white Deer Head chihuahua.

          • Birdcage November 12, 2015 / 9:54 pm

            Good job, Faye!! Hopefully my avatar is now my green machine, Merlin the Eclectus!

  14. Brouhaha November 12, 2015 / 6:51 pm

    <3 Faye- doing her best Tim Gunn.

    • Faye November 12, 2015 / 8:14 pm

      Hi Brouhaha! Yup! Big fan of Project Runway.

  15. 6puppers November 12, 2015 / 6:54 pm

    Scariest photo I’ve ever seen Yyooooooooge

  16. maggie November 12, 2015 / 7:14 pm

    What a delight and a relief to find you, alive and well on Koobface and here. Let me echo all of your other acolytes in welcoming you back to our lives. You truly are the reason I kept going back to CO after Teho left and you never let any of us down. I’m not sure how you’ll surpass your first endeavor but I have no doubt that you will surprise us all. Sending a humble thanks. Now, off to the Mod Lounge for me. I’ll get to work making chocolate chip cookies to share with fellow loungers.

    • maggie November 12, 2015 / 7:15 pm

      *Pouting* I didn’t get sent to the Mod Lounge! How can I bake cookies if I don’t get sent to the Mod Lounge?

      • Not That Mike The Other Mike November 12, 2015 / 7:26 pm

        I haven’t set up a Mod Lounge yet. I’m still waiting on the Ikea furniture.

        • Faye November 12, 2015 / 8:16 pm

          Allen Wrench! I know him well.

    • Faye November 12, 2015 / 8:15 pm


  17. Josie November 12, 2015 / 7:52 pm

    NTMTOM -Thank you for being you and giving us all a place to stalk (in the nicest way) you.

  18. Debkb November 12, 2015 / 7:59 pm

    So I didn’t comment much on that other website but here all bets are off!

    Knowing your writing ability for a well crafted punch line I scrolled very slowly so as not to ruin the ending. Bravo. I didn’t see that one coming.

    Hopefully more to come with no lawsuits. A small nod to your tag line!

  19. Jennifer Bullis November 12, 2015 / 8:15 pm

    Hooray, NTMTOM–your brilliance spans from Teh Qte to poli-terary satire! Eagerly looking forward to everything you write here.

  20. tinychih November 12, 2015 / 8:19 pm

    Mike, will you also be accepting Qte submeeshions? I have a few cute photos/short videos of my silly puppehs that you are welcome to.

    • Not That Mike The Other Mike November 12, 2015 / 9:28 pm

      tinychih, you can mail pictures to You should upload videos to YouTube or Vimeo and send me the links.

  21. April November 12, 2015 / 8:38 pm

    Yayyyy NTMTOM!! Happy to see so many other CO refugees!

  22. Tamara November 12, 2015 / 8:48 pm

    What is this? Have i stumbled upon a sanctuary of awesomness? I humbly apply for asylum. Constance, your husband would be proud, and maybe only slightly horrified.

  23. The Commenter Formerly Known as Ricky's Mom November 12, 2015 / 9:10 pm

    My favorite contemporary writer has returned to us in a new forum. Huzzah!

  24. Faye November 12, 2015 / 9:17 pm

    Hi CFKARM. Love that!

  25. Madame X November 12, 2015 / 9:20 pm

    A horrific, twisted tale inspired by current events.

    With a dash of cute.

    Sign me up. I’m hooked.

  26. tinychih November 12, 2015 / 9:25 pm

    Bring on the Qte!

  27. Phred's Mom November 12, 2015 / 9:39 pm

    NTMTOM for president.

    • Not That Mike The Other Mike November 12, 2015 / 9:40 pm

      Ooh, you really don’t want my finger anywhere near the Big Red Button.

      • Brouhaha November 12, 2015 / 10:02 pm


        • Not That Mike The Other Mike November 12, 2015 / 10:05 pm

          Hey-OOOOOOO! G’night, everybody! We’ll be here all week!

      • maggie November 13, 2015 / 9:35 am

        Well, since we’re already ded and gone to heaven, the Big Red Button doesn’t matter much, does it?

  28. DaChickenLady November 12, 2015 / 9:44 pm


  29. sixkatlady November 12, 2015 / 10:02 pm

    I really should have known better than to take that sip of soda when I got close to the end of the tale! As usual NTMTOM has me spewing beverage out my nose!! Officially bookmarked this site on all my devices. WooHoo!!

  30. Gigi_the cat lady November 12, 2015 / 10:16 pm

    YEAH!!! There may be hope for the coffee table book after all. I love you stories, with or without the cute!

  31. dubravkamcvmd November 12, 2015 / 10:17 pm

    I’m very glad you started a site. Bookmarked, and I’ll be back daily. CO not gone completely makes it easier on my heart.

  32. Smartypants November 12, 2015 / 10:19 pm

    Oh, NTMTOM, thank goodness for you!! Bookmarked and grinning like a fool.

    • Faye November 12, 2015 / 10:40 pm

      Hi Smartypants!! I cannot stop smiling either. Good to see you.

      • Smartypants November 13, 2015 / 7:49 am

        Hi Faye! (waving).

        Whoa, look at all these posts overnight! I second Mamabear, I’m happy to subscribe/donate to help make this a success.

  33. Mamabear November 12, 2015 / 10:23 pm

    NTMTOM: Awww, hell yeah!
    Can we say that?
    If not, sorry bout that,
    if so, don’t worry I won’t abuse that privilege!

    Anyhoo, I have always loved your brand of humor
    and am exceedingly glad you’re doing this.
    Like I said over at CO, I (and I bet others)
    would gladly pay some small subscription for the qte.

    Ya need something to help pay the bills incurred
    on website upkeep, and of course, your time.
    That stuff’s not free and everyone knows that.

    • Tina November 12, 2015 / 11:47 pm

      I would also gladly pay a subscription for the laughs.

  34. Catwhisperer November 12, 2015 / 11:17 pm

    This is gonna be so much fun! Thank you, NTMTOM (or do you prefer NOMTOM?), for rescuing all of us from utter despair.

  35. Faye November 12, 2015 / 11:32 pm

    Hi Catwhisperer. I was going to tell NTMTOM to also register NOMTOM too. I always read it that way. Good to see u!

  36. JM November 12, 2015 / 11:36 pm

    Bravo NTMTOM!!! So glad you are doing this! Thank you for resquing us!! Agree with @catwhisperer…gonna be wicked fun!
    I’m in for a subscription…so totally worth it.
    I do hope issues at CO get resolved, but I’m so glad to know the pearls from NTMTOM will keep coming. Hurrah!

  37. David November 12, 2015 / 11:51 pm

    NTMTOM, best of luck with this new site. I’ll check it out in my usual lurkerish fashion…

  38. Kristin November 12, 2015 / 11:52 pm

    Been having a rough time lately, then we lost the qte, then NTMTOM saved the day and this story (didn’t see that ending coming) followed by picture is the first belly laugh I’ve had for awhile! Thank you so much NTMTOM!

  39. daisycam November 13, 2015 / 12:14 am

    Good one! Like The Lottery. Also bookmarked. THANK YOU!

  40. fkaWaldenPond November 13, 2015 / 12:28 am

    Banner line wins it for me. So very happy to see you on this side, Sir.

  41. Andy November 13, 2015 / 12:53 am

    Longtime CO lurker very glad to see you’re writing for the public again! You have a great voice that shouldn’t be limited to cute narratives (though I love those too!)

  42. joods November 13, 2015 / 1:53 am

    Another displaced CO’r reporting in. Thank you NTMTOM for reappearing on the interwebs! More wonderfulness to be thankful for! 🙂 Love what you’ve done with the place. I raise my mug of hot chocolate in a toast to your continued success…salut!

  43. Puddleglum November 13, 2015 / 2:35 am

    Huzzah!! I second what everybody else has already said. BOOKMARKED!! Sincerely, a reader of CO since 2007. 😀

  44. Shari p. November 13, 2015 / 11:35 am

    Love it!

  45. 6rabbits November 14, 2015 / 10:31 pm

    Visited too late to see unpixilated photo, but I was laughing before then, anyway! So glad you started this site. Perhaps the oft-mentioned coffee table book could help fund the site? Just a thought. Reeeeeeally want that book! 😉

    • Not That Mike The Other Mike November 14, 2015 / 10:41 pm

      6rabbits, you might be able to see the unpixellated photo elsewhere on the Web.

      • 6rabbits November 15, 2015 / 9:30 am

        I did find the pic (thanks!) and I am much disturbed by it!

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