Sin

Deadly sins find 7 suitable hosts across time.

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4. Chapter 3- Greed

Chapter 3

 

Greed

 

The smell of oil, smoke, and paper

    

     Anna gripped Ermoli’s hand tightly. She wouldn’t admit it, but she was actually kind of sad to leave that place, though the opportunities of what lay beyond the annoying door were much too exciting to pass up. She heard the door slam behind them, a sigh of relief coming from the face on it. She passed by other doors with different faces carved on them, sleeping, Cell block 667 was written on one the cell next to theirs.

     “We’re in a prison?” Jessica asked nervously.

     “Would seem that way, Lust.” Anna said, hoping it wouldn’t offend her.

     “Don’t call me that.” Shit.

     “‘Ey now, don’t go all wrath on me, perhaps the demons made a mistake? ”

     “Shut it, Anna.”

     “Fine.”  Anna grumbled reluctantly, she saw everyone was dealing with the bad news with their own way.

     The group continued down the long dark hallway, passing cell after cell, each with  an identical face carved into it. The world was dark and grey, which was what Anna was used to, cracks finding their way along the ceiling and floor.

     “Muyet, wanna count these cracks like back in the old days?” Joseph laughed.

     “The ‘old days’ were merely a few minutes ago Joseph, I suggest you keep your pathetic comments to yourself.” Muyet retorted, not even glancing his way, but a hint of a smile played at her lips.

     They stopped at a door with another face on it, sleeping. He woke at the sound of the seven approaching. The face did it’s best to try and stifle a yawn, but failed miserably.

     “Halt!” The door said after the yawn had passed.

     “What for?” Joseph countered to the door.

     “For the king has but arrived.”

     “The king?” Muyet inquired, “What king?”

     “The king of death of course, you should know him. He picked you up in your dying moments and carried you down here.” The group looked at each other seeing if anyone remembered anything, the air was silent with forgotten memories.

     The door suddenly sprung to life, unlocking and swinging open.

     “Have a nice stay!” It said, awake. Anna stepped in, looking around. It was a nice room, grey curtains covered windows, only letting a small fraction of orange light through. Other than that, there was a small lamp in the corner sitting on a small table, illuminating the room. Red and white wallpaper lined the walls, patterns of skulls covered the ceiling, and a nice black rug lay on a small part of the floor, obscuring some of the wood underneath. The wood creaked with every step, a fireplace cracked, and a radio next to the lamp was playing classical music that soothed Anna, almost lulling her.

     “Oh, hello. It seems you are a bit late, do none of you know the importance of timing?” A strange voice said. It was soothing and peaceful, but had a critical tone. Many voices echoed at once behind an old withered voice that spoke.

     In a chair sat a man, no not a man, a thing. A skull with skin decaying and moss growing on it replaced a head and where hands and feet should have been, there where only bonds with tendons and veins still hanging off. His eyes stared at everyone at the same time, two black, obsidian holes buried into his skull. It was empty but so full of emotion at the same time. He wore a black robe, white fur lining the outside. The robe was decaying, holes and tears covered it, showing ribs and a beating heart, brown and rotting. A tongue slipped through the bottom of its jaw, nearly making Anna puke. Grey hair attached to the skin that was left, leading strands of grey down to the floor. The most impressive part of the king though was his crown, a dark stone crown that seemed to be bolted to his skull. He motioned to some seats, veins flying in the air, “Nice of you to join us, please do come in,” they did so, hesitantly, “would you like some tea, you all seem a bit tense.”

     Anna looked at Seraphinus who stared at the king, terrified he muttered, “That is not Pluto, it can’t be!” He looked heartbroken, everything he had been taught was a lie. Seraphinus allowed himself to be vulnerable for a second, a tear dripping down his cheek before wiping it and going back to smiling, his eyes dark. Muyet had the same reaction, looking in shock at the king, her mind frantically looking for an answer.

     “So is that a no on the tea then?” The voices said, the king’s jaw didn’t move but it was definitely coming from him.

     “No sir,” Seraphinus said like he had practiced it a million times, “but if I may, do you have anything to eat my king?” Anna nudged Seraphinus who looked at her. She gave him a piece of ham she had in her pocket.

     “Sadly, I do not my child,” The king said, “and please don’t call me ‘king’, you are too important for that, call me Pacem.” Seraphinus smiled.

     “Pacem, why are we important. Why do we have these demons, why is this happening to us? W-why don’t we have our memories?” Jessica asked looking at her shoes.

     “No one has their memories when they die, that is normal. This is so, when you die, you can find who you really are, and find who you want to be at the same time. My dear, don’t worry about your memories, they will come soon enough. The reason all of your memories havn’t found you yet is because they have had no reason to. The demons have now chosen all of you as hosts so you are all interconnected, your memories will come fast and painful, let’s hope it doesn’t come too quick though, as all at once would certainly have consequences.”

     He sighed and looked at the ground, “I’m so sorry.”

     “Sorry for what.” Thomas said quickly, defensively.

     “You have all been chosen because we needed you to…” He stopped drifting off, not wanting to say, “I, all of us actually, need you seven to kill someone, bury him in purgatory. His name is Valor, he is a self proclaimed God.”

     “So,” Anna said, rocking back and forth on her heals, creaking the floor, “seven against one, sounds fair.”

     “No, it is not fair to you.” Pacem stopped, trepidation creeping into the voices, “He and his angels are slaying, raping, and burning people in the name of God, who is now Valor. He-he…” He couldn’t finish.

     “He what sir, what could he have done.” Pride asked.

     “He killed the son of death itself.” The room went silent, only the sounds of fire crackling and wind blowing could be heard, “He murdered him, saying after he would murder me next, he would hold the power of death in his hands. He started by killing my son, my wife, my people. Now he is more powerful than me, for I am weak. I have failed, all I can do now is carry souls down and send them to a fate so evil and cruel. There is nothing worse than being alone with just your mind, you go insane wanting to end it all, but you can’t. He’s coming for me next, so I do what I do in extreme cases, break myself apart, unleashing demons upon the land, but they need hosts. Those are you. I don’t know if you will complete the job, but I don’t expect you to survive either way, I hope you understand.”

     Pacem stood up out of his chair, looming over Anna, “You all are capable, whether you let your demons help you or whether you use it for your own gains are up to you, but for the sake of all life and death, I insist you choose wisely.”

     He took a key out of his robe and shook them in his hand, “Well I must be off, perhaps we’ll see each other again. Hopefully, under different circumstances.” Using the key, he etched a sleeping face on the wall, a door quickly carving itself into the wallpaper. The face on the door looked annoyed and groggy but reluctantly opened itself, creaking. Pacem looked behind him, staring at the future of death, then left.

     The door didn’t close, indicating that they should leave. Anna felt a sense of freedom, she hasn’t been outside in years. She scooped up Ermolai, raising him above her head, and ran outside making train noises with her mouth.

     She ran out of the door, laughing and crying, tears streaming down her face. Her blue eyes were clouded with the joy of freedom. She ran and twirled, smelling the air, hearing the wind, and feeling dirt beneath her feet. The air smelled like an old fireplace, a burnt scent replacing the aroma of stale air. She heard the others come out behind her, gasping, laughing, and crying. They had come out of a small old shack that was decaying, there was no hint that there was ever a giant prison anywhere. Anna stumbled on something, sending her into the dirt and sending Ermolai into the air. He screamed as Anna’s head struck the ground, sending deep cuts into her forehead.

     Then, everything froze. Her friends, the wind, even the sound of Ermolai had stopped. She saw what she tripped on, a bone that was protruding from the red, rocky ground. She looked up, seeing even more bones sticking out of the earth everywhere she looked. She then remembered Ermolai, who seemed to be fixed in the air, moving slowly downward at the speed of a turtle. She kicked up, dirt flying into the air before settling, slowly falling back down to the ground. Anna ran as fast as she could toward Ermolai, who was falling gradually, his hair only moving lazily in the air. She reached up and grabbed him, pulling him down.   

     Everything then came back to normal in a frenzy. She heard Muyet scream, the dirt and rocks landing back on the ground, and Ermolai squealing in terror and delight. She looked around, sweat dripping down her forehead and mixing with the blood that was now streaking down her face. Orange steam was now coming off of her tinted skin, but was slowly fading. Her soul felt heavy, her eyes felt tired, and her heart was pounding. It wasn’t long before her head hit the dirt.

 

- - - -

 

     Anna was walking on a sidewalk, crumpled newspapers and other trash were rolling across the street as Anna crossed it. She wore a brown, dirty vest she had stolen the other day and a cap… that she had also stolen. She felt great as she added a bounce to her step as she whistled like in one of those new cartoon things. She then realized she was alone, neither cars nor people occupied the streets, just her and her tunes. She ran into an alley holding her hat and jumped a fence. She landed on a trash can and did a tada motion with her hands. Jumping down, she sent a cloud of dust into the air, and ran off again. When she turned around, there was a man waiting for her. Blood leaking from both sides of his head, brains also leaking from his left side. He turned to her and laughed, “There’s nothing more dangerous than a man with nothing to lose.”

 

- - - -

 

     Anna woke up from the sound of laughter, maniacal, insane. It was pounding in her head as she screamed, gripping her ears and yelling.

     “Get out!” She screamed, “No! Stop it!” The laughter only got louder until it turned into sobs, echoing throughout her brain.

     “Anna!” Seraphinus ran to her, kneeling down next to her. The rest of the group ran to her and hovered over her, looking at her with fear and worry. The sobbing and screaming dumbed down in her mind and was now just a slight buzz in the back of her ear. Sweat drenched her shirt and breaths came more rapidly. She sat up sharply, her red hair shooting everywhere and her hands clamming to Jessica’s. No, she had to get up, she was going to get sick. She scrambled out of the makeshift bed that the group had put together, and ran towards a nearby tree. Chunky vomit slid up her throat and spilled onto the ground below. She couldn’t stop, her insides emptied as she threw up until there was nothing left.

     She leaned against the tree, feeling soft, old wood. The tree didn’t have any leaves on it, but instead had empty, broken branches. The bark was black and brown, and was peeling off. She looked at the other trees, and they were mostly the same, decaying and charcoal black. She felt a tug on her pant leg, it was Ermolai who was looking at her, worried. She pet his hair and booped his nose, sending him giggling. She sat down back on the bed of twigs and leaves that they had set up for her. She felt mentally exhausted, but she couldn’t go back to sleep.

     Night was creeping down over the land. The white sun setting and a broken moon appearing. The moon seemed to be split in half, rocks and chunks floating off to the side. The group sat down around a fire that Jessica had made, yellow flames licking the side of Anna’s face. Seraphinus had volunteered to stay up, so Anna did as well, seeing that she wasn’t tired anymore. The group went to sleep next to the flames that seemed to lull them to dreams and nightmares.

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