Synaesthesia Magazine Seven Deadly Sins - Page 42

“And what did you exchange for?”

“Wrath.”

“Ah," said the lead figure thoughtfully. "And nothing changed?”

The figure paused, seemingly thoughtful for a moment, but then shook its head decisively and said. “Not really, no. It was just a little less physical, that's all. And a little less fun."

“Hmm,” said the first figure. “What about the rest of you?”

Another figure stepped one pace forward, took off its hood, and began to speak. “Well, to be perfectly honest,” it said, “as you all know I was against this from the very start.”

A sigh rippled through the group.

The figure, undaunted, continued. “I mean, it’s hard enough, this eternity thing, this bloody singularity, but - you know - after a few millennia one gets the hang of it, and in fact one actually begins to, if not exactly enjoy it, at least kind of, oh, I don’t know, accept it.”

The lead figure looked long and hard at the figure who had just spoken. “And you are?”

“Sloth,” said the figure, and then - with a little, nervous laugh, “for my sins.”

“And what was your exchange?”

“Greed,” said the figure. “And let me tell you, it was no fun at all. Bloody hard work, actually, and whichever one of you chaps it is that has to put up with that for eternity, well, I salute you.”

A fourth figure - one who had been silent so far - de-hooded itself. “Oh, it’s not too bad once you get used to it, you know.”

“Oh, far be it from me to criticise another man’s raison d’etre, old chap. No, all I’m saying is, you know, it’s not for me.”

The recently de-hooded figure nodded in acquiescence, and both smiled at each other.

“What was your exchange?” said the lead figure to the newly de-hooded Sin.

“Gluttony,” said the figure, flatly. “And, you know what? All it did was reinforce something I’ve long believed.”

“Go on,” said the lead figure, and anyone listening may well have detected a slight impatience in the tone.

“Well, Greed, Gluttony, I mean - really - what’s the bloody difference?” The figure looked around the other figures, as if trying to locate an ally. “I’d always thought, you know, the whole thing was a little bit flawed, that we were all a little too similar, and that it could have pretty much been covered by one category. I suppose there must be a reason for the differentiation but I can tell you all that - having taken part in this little experiment - I’ve had all of my preconceptions entirely confirmed.”

A fifth figure slowly removed its hood, and anyone observing would have been as struck by the terrible beauty of this figure as by the others. “Well, old man, I have to say I’ve always tended to agree with you.”

“Gluttony?” said the leader.

The fifth figure nodded an agreement and then turned back to address the fourth figure. “I’m sorry you had a dull time of it, old man. Should have realised when we made the exchanges, I suppose. Not much fun for you, but to be honest it doesn’t sound like anyone else had much to get excited about either.”

“What was your exchange?” asked the leader.

“Oh, Pride,” said the figure. “And to be honest, it was a bit of a bore.”

“Really,” said the lead figure, and anyone listening would have discerned the slightly dejected tone.

“Unfortunately, yes. It was all a little bit me, me, me, I suppose. I’m quite a self-depreciating chap usually, and all this constant harping on about oneself, well, I’m afraid my heart wasn’t really in it.”

The lead figure sighed. There was a long pause. It was getting a little hotter on the island, and there was still no wind. The sea was still flat and dull and grey.

“Who’s left?” said the leader.

“Me,” said a figure, putting his hand in the air apologetically. “Envy”

“And your exchange?” said the leader.

“Sloth,” said the figure, nodding slightly at the third figure to have spoken, who nodded back almost imperceptibly.

“And?” said the leader.

“Well I have to say for a while it was an absolute boon. You see, I’m usually quite an active chap. Lots of nervous energy. So, for a while, it was a really nice rest for me." Anyone watching couldn’t have failed to notice the nostalgic smile on the face of the speaker. “But, you know, after a few hundred years I have to say it got a little tiresome. Lots of sitting around, you see. Sleep, too. And I got a little fed up with feeling so bloody tired all the time.” The figure shrugged its shoulders. “To be honest, it’ll be a relief to get back to normal.”