Roland Banks (Agnes/Wendy)
I’ve never missed like that before. The beast must have moved her at the last second. I don’t know. I don’t know what happened. What happened? Daisy’s lifeless body collapsed on the floor in front of us. The creature, satisfied that she was dead, ripped a piece of her shoulder off of her and started eating it.
“Roland! What did you do? You shot her!” Wendy screamed.
I aimed my gun at the beast for a second shot. But before I could brace myself to pull the trigger, the creature began convulsing. It spat out the bits of Daisy’s shoulder that were in its mouth, then began to contort into twisted shapes. It let out an earcurdling shriek as its bones snapped in half. Then, the disjointed mass of reptilian bones and flesh dropped onto what was left of Daisy.
I turned to face Agnes. A look of hate was in her eyes.
“I had it under control,” she said thinly. I had no idea she had this much power. I had suspicions, but even those suspicions never went so far as to… as to cover what I just saw her chant do to that creature. “Make no mistake, Roland. Her death is your fault.”
I wanted to protest. To defend my actions. But the fear in Wendy’s eyes as she looked at me… how could I live knowing I made her feel like this?
I dropped my gun on the floor.
“No more gun, Agnes,” I said, holding my hands up to show them empty. “No more gun.”
Agnes’ eyes narrowed at me. “An improvement. Wendy, check the walls. See if there’s some other way out. A secret switch or button, perhaps. You too, Roland. Nobody touch the door. If anything moves, you tell me and I kill it. I’m in charge of that now.” This fierceness. Where did it come from? She spoke like she was possessed by some other kind of power. This didn’t sound like the mild and meek Agnes from not even an hour earlier.
I started to wonder if maybe I shouldn’t have tossed my gun aside so quickly.
Skids O’Toole (Akachi/Mateo/Silas)
“So this is the Sloth Room?” Silas said as we emerged from the dark hallway. He placed the torch he was holding inside a notch in the wall. “It’s just a pool of water.”
“There’s probably more to it,” Akachi said.
The room we entered was a perfect square shape, similar to how the button room was. Thick square stone tiles made up the floor of the room. In the middle of the room was a square opening, filled with a sparkling pool of water.
Silas walked up to the edge of the water and peered into it. “Nothing more dangerous than water,” Silas said. “But I’m not scared of it.”
Akachi clutched her staff and stood beside Silas. “Do you see anything in the water?”
Silas shook his head. “No fish or anything like that, if that’s what you mean. This pond is completely stagnant. Sterile, too, for a body of water as stagnant as this one.”
“Maybe the water is blessed somehow,” Mateo interjected.
“Okay, well, while we all enjoy looking at the water, let’s remember we have a mission here,” I said. “This room must be called the Sloth Room for a reason. At this point the only slothfulness I’ve seen is you three staring at your reflections in the water.”
“Like Narcisuss,” Mateo muttered. “Except… a mirror trap like that would probably be more suited for a Pride Room. And this is not that…” Mateo scratched his head.
Silas sighed. “Well, the only thing in this room is this pool, so I’m diving in it.”
Mateo grabbed Silas by the shoulder. “Don’t do it! We have already guessed the water is enchanted somehow. It can’t be safe.”
Silas shoved Mateo to the side, prompting him to fall over. Akachi and I pulled him up to his feet. “Silas, cool it!” I yelled.
“I won’t be lectured on what I can and can’t do around water! I am a Marsh. If anybody in this whole temple is capable of searching this thing, it would be me and me alone. And if I die in this pool of water, because of some enchantment mumbo-jumbo, then well, at least I died surrounded by my true love – the water!”
With that, Silas dove in headfirst.
For about a minute, nothing happened. “Is he… is he going to be okay?” Mateo asked.
“Silas is very skilled in the water,” I said. “I’m sure he’s in his element.”
“But like you said, Skids. There’s got to be a reason this is called the Sloth Room. It’s one of the deadly sins,” Mateo said, emphasizing the word “deadly”.
“This was his choice,” Akachi said. “Nothing we can do but wait for him to come back.”
About ten seconds later, Silas’ hand broke out of the water. Moments later, Silas’ head showed, gasping for air. He tread water and shook the water off of his face, a huge grin on his face. “Help me out! I found something.”
Akachi and I went to the edge of the pool and helped pull him back onto the tiles. Inside of Silas’ right hand was a gold coin. “I saw this thing shimmering at the bottom of the pool. Thought I’d take it with me. Some kind of treasure?”
“If we’re truly in some kind of alternate dimension, I don’t think any treasure here is going to be of much use back where we’re from,” I said. “If it’s down at the bottom of this room, it must be because it’s part of something else.”
“If it’s a coin, it might be part of the Greed Room,” Mateo offered. “We could try moving over to that room, giving it to them, and seeing if they can make use of this coin?”
Out of the corner of my eye, I looked at the pool. A black layer was beginning to form on the surface. “Silas. Do you remember when Mateo said that perhaps the pool was blessed?”
“Yeah. What of it?”
“Did it ever occur to you that the reason it was blessed was because this coin was inside of it?”
Akachi looked behind her and immediately ran for the door. I followed her right after. Silas and Mateo were not close enough to the door to be able to avoid what happened next.
All of the tiles were beginning to slide into the wall. Akachi and I had made it into the opening of the hallway. Silas and Mateo fell into the now black waters of the Sloth Room.
“Silas! Mateo! Swim out of it!”
I watched as Silas, who had previously been swimming up and down the pool with no problems, was now swimming at a snail’s pace. He was barely moving. Thankfully, his face was above water. “It’s like I’m fighting something! I’m moving as fast as I can! Akachi, try to get your staff to me!”
Akachi extended her staff out and Silas was just barely able to wrap his fingers around it. “PULL!” Akachi and I pulled and with our force from outside the pool, Silas was able to make it out without any problem.
“If that pool does what I think it does, you’re very lucky to have survived falling into it,” Akachi said.
“Be grateful you’re alive later! Where’s Mateo?” I yelled.
The three of us scanned the pool. Nobody could find Mateo right away.
Then, Akachi pointed out the tips of fingers jutting out of the water. They descended downwards, millimeters at a time. Silas, a lifelong sailor, was able to make some headway against the pool. If that was how it was for him, there was no way Mateo would have been able to get out of a trap like this.
We didn’t say a word. Silas opened his fist to reveal he still held the coin.
“It can take up to three minutes to drown. Should I… should I throw it back in?”
Akachi shook her head. “You held the coin underwater when you we saved you. If you broke some kind of enchantment on it, having the coin back in the water isn’t enough to put it back.”
Silas started shaking. He turned to watch Mateo’s hand continue to sink slowly into the water. “If only I had known – we could all have been by the entrance, ready to move out. We could have all made it.”
Akachi placed a comforting hand on Silas’ back. “There’s no way you could have known. I certainly don’t find fault with your actions. You did what you did to help us. And this coin may help us still.” She motioned back to the entrance of the temple. “We must continue onwards. To do anything else would mean Mateo dies for nothing.”
As we walked down the dark hallway towards the central room, I was suddenly struck by Akachi’s choice of words.
Dies. Present tense.
Because he was still drowning.
June 4th: MATEO, drowned in the Sloth Room
June 3rd: DAISY, shot dead by Roland in the Gluttony Room
June 2nd: NORMAN, disintegrated in the Envy Room
June 1st: LOLA, abandoned in the Button Room
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