Jim Culver (Diana/Joe/Yorick)
“Finally made it,” Joe said, as we stepped into the Lust Room. Yorick put the torch into a holder built into the side of the wall. As I gathered, it seemed the torches were only needed in some places of the temple, particularly hallways. The rooms around this part of the temple probably all contained their own light.
However, this room was a little different. It didn’t just have the lights emanating from the crystals that were built into the side of the walls. This room also had two streams of light that descended from the ceiling.
Beneath each stream of light was a perfectly sculpted human statute. On the left, a man and on the right, a woman. Both beautiful in form, completely naked, eyes locked on one another.
Yorick cautiously approached the statues. “I can appreciate such fine art,” Yorick said. “But seeing such beauty inside such a twisted dimension as this one doesn’t do wonders for the heart.”
Diana folded her arms. “I also don’t trust this. Everyone, be on your guard.”
A voice. “On your guard? Sweet one… we would never try to hurt you…”
“Who said that?” Diana yelled, whirling around the room. The voice certainly didn’t come from any of us.
“Could it be the statues?” I asked.
“They didn’t move!” Yorick exclaimed. “I’ve been watching them.”
Joe drew a gun and aimed at the male statue. Diana grabbed his arm and pulled it down.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” she said. “We don’t want any trouble, and your gun is useless against whatever it is we’re stuck with.”
“We long to be together.”
Two voices this time. One distinctly low and gruff. One distinctly high-pitched, melodious. Together, the voices formed pieces of a dissonant chord that scratched across the mind. As a musician myself, I couldn’t bear to hear it.
“It’s got to be coming from the statues,” Joe said.
That’s when the door slammed shut behind us. A bright red glow came off of it, and immediately, we all knew this could not be good.
“Damn it!” Joe yelled. “We’re stuck in here with these things.”
“How dare you complain! To be entrapped here amidst such beauty is a true privilege,” said the female voice.
“Release us from our statues,” the male voice said. “And we will show you what beauty we have to offer.”
“You need never know imperfection again,” the two said together. Their voices as one produced the same grating dissonance. I felt myself clutching my ears. Yorick dropped to his knees, shaking his head as though that would help get the voices out. Diana was breathing so loud and so fast that we could all hear it. Joe was the only who seemed able to hold himself together in spite of the voices.
“My name is Ambrose,” said the male voice.
“And my name is Arianna,” said the female voice.
“Don’t talk at the same time, don’t talk at the same time…” Joe muttered, stepping back from the statues. So he, too, could feel what we all felt.
“WE LONG TO BE REMADE AS ONE.”
The voices were so loud this time, it was as though each statue was screaming directly into our ears on either side of us. Joe, who had been standing upright, toppled to the ground under the force of the voices. Diana lay flat on the ground, screaming.
“Make them stop!” she yelled.
“Why ever would we stop… when what we have together is so beautiful?” Arianna’s voice said. I tried to steady myself and I noticed something that made my heart stop.
Arianna’s head had turned to face Diana.
“I’m so glad we had this opportunity to be trapped forever here today,” Arianna said softly, her voice floating through the air like a song. Diana sat transfixed, locked onto Arianna’s glare. She seemed completely frozen. Yorick went by her side and tried to shake her out of it, but she seemed to still be stuck in place.
“There may not be a way out of here with the door sealed but there’s got to be some way to stop this!” Joe said.
I steeled myself to look at the statues one more time. Neither of them had moved since Arianna had turned to look at Diana. We didn’t have much hope against these things. But we had to try. We would surely all go insane here and now if we were forced to listen to the voices for much longer.
I crawled across the floor to approach the pedestal Ambrose stood on. I caught a glint of something… there was something at his feet… a coin….
“Joe, look,” I said, pointing at the coin.
Joe tried to pick himself up. “See what that’s about! I’ll try to distract them.” Joe took a deep breath and yelled out at Ambrose. “Hey, you ugly bastard! What do you think you’re trying to do here?”
“The beauty I see before me… it must be mine,” Ambrose’s voice said. “All of it must be mine. And yet, I am frozen in stone.”
Joe’s distraction seemed to be working as Ambrose didn’t mention at all that I was crawling ever closer to his own pedestal. I’d get there soon.
“But perhaps there is a way out of this prison we find ourselves in,” Arianna said.
Arianna stuck out her hand and pointed at Diana.
“A vessel for me.”
“DIANA!” Joe screamed.
The coin was now mere feet away.
“She has already opened her mind to me!”
I reached out my hand to take the coin…
“SHE HAS OPENED HER MIND TO US!”
A loud thud reverberated around the chamber.
The coin was mere inches from my hand. I snatched it and rolled aside. The statues disintegrated into ash before me. It was over.
It had to be over.
“Diana!” It was Yorick. He was by Diana’s side, shaking her. “Wake up!”
I hurried over to join Yorick and Joe by Diana. The thud must have been her falling to the ground. Slowly, though… she opened her eyes.
They were completely white.
Diana sat up and held her hands in front of her… like she had never seen them before. She touched her arms, then her cheeks, then her chest. An enormous smile broke out over her entire face.
“We’re so beautiful.”
June 5th: DIANA, possessed in the Lust Room
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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