Calvin Wright (Jenny/Preston/Rita)
I hastily put the lid back on the pot. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but I couldn’t deny it had been right there in front of me – Skids’ head in a jar.
“What did you mean he’s in every pot? There are hundreds,” I asked Rita.
Rita shrugged, slowly regaining enough composure to get back on her feet. “I mean… I don’t know if he’s in every single one… but he’s in… pieces of him… are in different pots.” Rita took a deep breath before continuing. “He was cut up into multiple pieces by something. I don’t understand. It all happened while I was still here. I didn’t see it though or even hear a sign of a struggle. One second, he had been in the room. The next he was dismembered and in the pots.”
I looked at the rows upon rows of pots around the room. Rita’s story certainly sounded insane, but given we had already seen Skids’ head, there was no reason to doubt her.
“Time does work differently in here,” Jenny said. “I mean, it couldn’t be just me who felt that. We all felt like we had been searching the pots for hours upon hours. When the others arrived, they said it had been not long at all. If there’s some kind of… murderous presence in this temple… and time is no barrier to them doing as they please while they’re in here…”
We could have gone through all the pots to verify the theory being tossed around further, but… dead was dead. We still had so much to do.
“Well, now I’m scared for Preston,” Jenny added. That suddenly reminded me that Preston would still have been in the room. Jenny yelled as loud as she could upwards. “PRESTON! Can you still hear us?”
A small echo came back. Again, it was faint, but it was enough for us to be confident that Preston was still in the net and not in pieces around the room.
“Rita, we need you to come back with us this time,” I said. “It’s obviously not safe to linger here anymore. And we need six people to enact Marie’s plan in the Envy Room. With Skids gone, we need you as our sixth.”
“We have to go right away,” Jenny said. “Can’t keep any one else waiting a moment longer. Lives are at stake. Whatever killed Skids hasn’t bothered to touch Preston, despite having every opportunity to do so. I’m more convinced than ever that Preston is safe in here in the net. In fact, he’s probably more safe than even you or I right now.”
Rita somberly nodded. And with her unspoken agreement, we were off.
Finn Edwards (Marie/Rex, Jenny/Calvin/Rita, Akachi/Silas)
“So now we have six more, eh,” I said, as Rita joined the others in the room. “I guess we can start your little gambit, Marie.”
“I mean, it could get us all killed,” I said. “But after being up here so long, I’m willing to try something crazy.”
“Don’t bringing up people getting killed!” Rita yelled.
“Sorry,” I muttered.
“I’ll go first,” Marie said. She stepped – bravely, I must add – on to the pedestal Norman had been on. It was still bright red, with Norman’s ashes still scattered across the floor next to it, so I was surprised she stood on it at all. There was no change.
“Everything as it was,” Rex said. “This is how the room looked when Marie refused to stand on that pedestal, the one that we said corresponds to the Button Room. Then Norman stepped off his pedestal and disintegrated.”
“So Marie, I guess you’re thinking if we put someone on every pedestal at once, something will happen?”
“Everyone being equal would solve the dilemma of Envy, wouldn’t it?” Marie said.
“It makes sense to me,” Jenny offered. “I’ll stand on the next pedestal.”
Jenny stood on the Button Room pedestal. Something very unexpected happened then.
Instead of one pedestal lighting up, the remaining four pedestals all lit up red simultaneously. Damn. We definitely could never have solved this room with the four of us. It was a death wish from the start. Thank goodness Marie never got on.
“This is new,” Marie said. “But I suspect we’re on the right track.”
“Come on, you guys,” Jenny said, waving her hands at Calvin, Rita, Akachi, and Silas. “Get on pedestals.”
One at a time, the pedestals filled up. Once Rita stood on the last empty one, every pedestal was full.
We waited for a second, to see if anything would happen.
“Are we… are we all trapped here now?” Rita asked.
“Hold on a second…”
It was Calvin.
He was pointing to the center of the circle. A small divot had opened up in the middle of the floor. It was barely noticeable, but it had definitely not been there before.
“Akachi, can you reach that with your staff?” Calvin asked.
Akachi seemed confused for a second, but then, picked up her staff, got as low down as she could to maintain her balance and carefully aimed at he center to prod at the divot.
She made contact with the very tip of her staff and pushed in.
Rumbling noises came from all around us – including from above us and below us. The ground shook with all the rumbling. We all gasped, trying to maintain our balance on our pedestals. Then, every pedestal turned a bright green.
I blinked a few times. I had been stuck so long, I wasn’t quite ready to accept what I had just seen.
Cautiously, I took my left foot and stepped off the pedestal.
I was still here.
Marie’s plan had worked.
William Yorick (Joe)
“I think whatever those spirits are… whatever possessed Diana, just possessed Jim too,” I yelled. “Watch out, don’t let them get you too, Joe!”
“Get you?” Ambrose and Arianna – I hated calling them by such human names, they were both simple demons to me – spoke now with the voices of their hosts, our friends Jim and Diana. And yet, the control and terror those voices had held when they came from the statues still remained. “We are only two. We have all the vessels we will ever need.”
“I don’t trust them, Joe,” I said. “Stay near the door, in case it ever opens again.”
“Are you trying to leave?” Diana’s voice asked. Diana’s body levitated above me again. “Stay with us.”
“We never had such kind visitors before.”
“Obedient. Peaceful. Quiet.”
“We want both of you to stay. We will be so lonely if you go.”
“And our beautiful coin is here, with us now. You wanted it, right?”
“If you stay with us, we promise we will let you borrow the coin.”
“But only if you promise to stay forever!”
“We keep our promises!” I never, ever would get used to the agony of hearing both of their voices speak together… and it was even worse when that power came from the voices of two people I had known just moments earlier.
The door lifted.
“RUN, JOE!” I yelled.
I bolted down the dark hallway. I couldn’t see what was in front of me, but I didn’t care. I looked back quickly to see if I could see Joe following me. I didn’t see him but…
I made it. I was free.
I was free.
I gasped as I collapsed on the ground in the main room again.
Then a thought crossed my mind.
The hallway, this hallway was open.
Wide… wide open…
I can’t let them get out.
I can’t let them go anywhere else in this temple!
Not after what they did to Diana. And Jim.
Was I really talking to him to maintain my own sanity?
I watched him shoot himself in the head when the voices overwhelmed him, after being sunk into despair watching Jim’s body get claimed by the spirits.
Only now that I was out of that godless room could I accept the truth of what I saw. He wasn’t going to come running out of the hallway with me. He was doomed to stay there, with Ambrose and Arianna forever, an obedient, peaceful, quite visitor.
Because I was the only survivor of the Lust Room.
June 8th: JOE, shot himself in the Lust Room
June 7th: SKIDS, dismembered in the Greed Room
June 6th: JIM, possessed by Ambrose in the Lust Room
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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