Sin

Deadly sins find 7 suitable hosts across time.

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5. Chapter 4- Gluttony

Chapter 4

 

Gluttony

 

The smell of dirt, pine, and blood

 

     The fire crackled, an orange glow radiating from the dying flames, holding on the best it could to the life it had left. The sound of wind rushed through the air and the smell of blood soaked the land. Sometimes, Seraphinus thought he was the only one who recognized that the odd smell in the air was actually blood, almost making him vomit when he saw his friends lying on the red dirt. He held a bone in his hand, taping it lullingly against a tree, a hollow ringing spreading through the empty trunk.

     Anna sat near the fire, looking at it as if it would give her the answers she needed. She was gnawing on a piece of what looked like brown meat on a stick, probably prison food. She didn’t have much left and it worried Seraphinus, he wasn’t happy when he didn’t get food, probably a side effect of the demon somehow. They had to find food eventually, but he hadn’t seen one animal yet.

     Seraphinus sat next to Jessica, who was sleeping on a pile of clumped up dirt, and Joseph who was sleeping on a dead log. They all looked haunted, twisting and turning, convulsing with fear. Seraphinus wanted to wake them up, but he knew he would never have been forgiven if he did. They looked so terrified, steam coming off of their skin, which he was now so used to that he thought he was going mad. The only person who was getting a decent sleep was Ermolai who hadn’t moved the entire night.

     “You wanna catch some sleep? I got this if you don’t.” Anna said as if speaking to the firepit. She was cracking sticks in her hands in a strange rhythm.

     “I’ll be fine Anna, thanks.” Seraphinus paused, “What about you? Are you sure you’re okay?”

     “I mean, yeah I guess so.” She sighed, looking up “Actually, can I tell you something?”

     “Of course.”

     “When I tripped,” she said, solemn, “I had a dream, not like any of the other ones. This one felt real, but, unreal at the same time, ya’ know?”

     “Yeah,” Seraphinus replied, “what was it about?”

     “Well, I only remember parts of it but I was walking down a street and there wasn’t even a single person or car, i-it’s like modern day horses.” She had to explain everything to Seraphinus, he didn’t even know what she was saying half of the time, “I kept walking and running until I met a guy who was standing near a sidewalk and he had like his brain comin’ out of a hole in the side of his head. He said, like, ‘never underestimate a desperate man’ or something. I have no fucking idea what it means.”

     “We never do.”

     “Have you ever had a dream like that?” She asked, Seraphinus nodded. “They creep me the hell out.”  Anna laughed nervously at that, looking back into the fire.

     “I’ve never really had any that feel realistic. They’re normally just flashes and sometimes words, I see golden cups and roasted pigs, but I never get to really look around before I’m-,” he hesitated, “before I’m ripped apart by thousands of hands.” Seraphinus was silent after that, recalling his dream felt like searching through mist and pulling invisible memories through that refuse to budge.

     “It’s like a mystery that’s so obvious, the answer is right under our noses!”

     Seraphinus looked down, “No it isn’t.” Anna laughed quietly, even if Seraphinus thought that the joke wasn’t funny.

     Seraphinus got up and walked towards Anna, who looked up at him, and sat down on the dead log. He stared at the fire, his bitter eyes trying to look into it for any clues.

     “I’m dead.” It was out of the blue, but Anna’s lips quivered, “I’m actually dead.”

Denial had been slowly wearing off and realization was kicking in, hitting some harder than others. Anna got up and marched off, probably needing breathing room. She disappeared out of the safety of the firelight, darkness engulfing her figure, only a dim orange light reflected against her. Seraphinus couldn’t blame her, they’ve died, been killed or murdered, their lives were over, or had life only been a set up to a larger future? Seraphinus had no idea.

     He  saw a dark figure approaching, it definitely was not Anna. It loomed in the shadows, heavy breathing and grunts could be heard from the silhouette that came near. Seraphinus jumped to his feet, grabbing a makeshift torch and waving it in front of him.

     A strange beast looked back at him, a long snout protruded from its hairy face, white eyes studied him, sharp teeth that didn’t fit in it’s mouth snapped, and two tusks protruded from its jawline. As it rose to its back legs, Seraphinus looked up in horror. The body was covered in fur, bone, and muscle and claws that were like knives twitched. It had a wide body and no tail, but spikes made of bone shot down its spine. It roared in his face, slobber spewing everywhere.

     “ANNA!” Seraphinus shouted, stirring the creature. He felt a rush of wind before he was then smacked against a dead tree with a CRACK, splitting it in half. He saw a flash of orange zoom by him, wind rushing by as Anna ran back into the fight. The beast swiped at Anna, she dodged the blades, rolling under it.

     The peaceful night was disturbed by a roar that was let loose by the beast, blood and muck leaking from it’s mouth. The group woke up, taking a moment to realize that they were going to die unless they ran so they stirred and bolted toward an opening in the trees that led to a cliff. Seraphinus got up, propping himself up with a tree trunk. He saw Thomas leap at the monster, easily swiped away with a giant, dismissive paw. Everyone ran, the beast getting on all fours and circled the fire with wide eyes. His world froze when he saw Ermolai peacefully resting on a pile of dirt, the beast glaring at his calm face.

     Seraphinus leapt out of the dead brush and grabbed a bone that was protruding out of the red earth. He suddenly felt power rush through him, his heart becoming heavier and his feet meeting the ground with unexpected force, driving him forward. He screamed as he ran, dodging bones that tried to trip him up as a purple-blue glow formed around him. Hunger, hunger for power filled him and he felt heavier, but he was still moving at a brisk pace. The beast only had time to grunt before it was stricken with a bone, shattering it, and sending the beast’s jaw flying. It’s tongue flopped out of its missing jaw, blood dripping from its maw as it roared with anger. Hatred, wrath, revenge all filled the eyes of the beast and they were pointed at Seraphinus. Shit.

     But suddenly, he felt stronger. Glowing legion armor was now covering him, a shield and spear filling his hands. He knelt, placing his shield in the bloody dirt, and sat his spear on top of his shield. “TENERE!” He shouted as the beast leaped towards him, launching its body at him. Seraphinus pressed, pushing his shield through the dirt, driving his spear upwards. The spear impaled the beast’s chest, blood splattering against Seraphinus’ clothes, sending the beast backwards.

     “Seraphinus!” He heard come from behind him, Thomas was running toward him, red seeping from his skin. From behind Thomas, Anna zoomed past with an orange ray speeding behind her, kicking up dirt. She slid under the beast, grabbed Ermolai, and curved back around, winking at Thomas. Seraphinus threw his spear towards Thomas, catching it as he ran towards him. Seraphinus instinctively placed his shield above him, as Thomas leapt on it, then pushed it up, giving Thomas force that he used to drive the spear through the beast’s skull, a crunch echoing throughout the forest. Thomas stood over the monster, who was now limp on the ground, pleading with its eyes not to die, but Thomas’s eyes were smoking red as he crushed the beast’s skull with his boots.

     The air cooled as the rest of the group arrived, looking terrified. Thomas was coated in blood and the spear was  gone. Seraphinus’ armor was gone too, only his shirt and pants remained,tattered. He was breathing heavily, sweat soaking his shirt and his mouth was dry, but the beast looked so delicious right then. Thomas grabbed the tusks and hauled the beast over his back, blood soaking his shirt. Muyet seemed to point down the forest a little more and spoke to Thomas before he left, dragging the giant beast. The rest followed except Anna, who looked horrified, staring at her hands.

     “It felt like second nature, like I had been doing it my entire life.”She explained, but then smiled, “You ever seen a bear that big before?” Seraphinus didn’t know what a “bear” was, but if it was anything like that, he didn’t ever want to meet one. Seraphinus felt confused at what he had just done, but he also felt exhausted and drained. Walking felt like a chore as they followed the group, dirt crunching under their feet.

- - - -

 

     The room was dark and the air tasted like blood, Seraphinus was sitting at a table and a pig was lying on it, still alive and was blindfolded with an apple stuck in its mouth. It was squealing because one of its legs was ripped off, on a plate that was in front of him. Seraphinus didn’t want to, but he picked up the leg. He took a bite, blood running down his face, the taste was indescribable and the texture of soft flesh made him want to vomit.

     But the meat inside his mouth began to move, twisting and convulsing to the point where he was choking and screaming. The meat had suddenly became a frenzy of hands that clogged up his throat, clawing and tearing the flesh in his stomach. They filled his body, ripping him apart from the inside, and started crawling out of his stomach. He screamed, but the hands muffled his voice. He tried to run, leaping from his chair and crawling towards the door that kept getting farther away.

 

- - - -

     Seraphinus woke up with Muyet over him, shaking him awake. Thomas was just getting back to bed, which meant that it was their turn to watch over the group. They were now located on a cliff, overlooking a bay below. The sea was a dark black in the night, lapping into the rocks below. He sat over the edge, swinging his legs back and forth, looking at the mountain across the bay. It was tall, arching over the village that lay on its side, seeming to be embedded into the side of the towering mountain. Fog covered the land that lay to the right of them, blanketing the land below in a thick, grey mist.

     Muyet sat beside him, taking her boots off and letting her feet breath for a moment. She smiled at him and looked over the landscape in awe, excitement filling her eyes.

     “Have you ever seen such a tall hill before?” She whispered, looking at the dark mountain across the bay.

     “Yes, a couple.” He answered, “But not as tall as that one.”

     “I-It makes me feel powerless.” She looked down at her feet, he could tell that she didn’t like not being in control, a natural born leader placed under the control of everything around her.

     An orange glow began to resonate from below them, through the fog. Seraphinus couldn’t make out what it was, but it certainly wasn’t good because smoke began billowing out of the fog. He stood up and walked back into the group, Jessica twisting and turning with fear, Thomas breathing heavily and scratching at the dirt below, and Joseph whimpering into the makeshift dirt bed that he had made. Seraphinus sat on a log, poking at the fire, the image of hands tearing at his throat filling his mind.

 

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