Synaesthesia Magazine Seven Deadly Sins - Page 43

The lead figure turned slowly to the only figure so far not to have spoken. “And what about you?”

The figure lifted its head, slowly pulled back its hood, looked around at all of the others before returning its gaze to the lead figure. “Well, I’m sure you had our best interests at heart, and God knows we needed to do something, but I’m afraid I have to agree with everyone else.”

The leader figure grimaced. “Your exchange?”

“Envy,” said the figure. “But after an eternity of Pride, Envy felt a little bit demeaning. All of this concentration on what other people are doing. Against one’s nature, unfortunately.” The figure looked at the leader. “I really am terribly sorry, old chap.”

The leader shrugged. “Not at all. Not at all.”

“And your exchange, if I may ask?”

The leader smiled a sad smile. “Lust,” he said. “And it was fun at first. Nice not to be so bloody angry all the time. But it was exhausting after a while. Wrath just seems a little, oh, I don’t know, less seedy somehow.”

The figures fell silent. The wind continued not to blow. The sea continued not to move. The clouds continued to hang in the sky.

And then two things happened simultaneously. The lead figure slowly broke into a smile, and tiny ripples began to form on the surface of the grey ocean.

One by one the figures on the sand became aware of the movement of the water, and one by one they turned their gaze out to sea.

A figure in a shimmering silver cloak was rising from the water. When the figure was fully emerged, it began to walk across the waves towards the beach, and as it walked another figure began to emerge behind it, then another, then another, until finally there were seven figures, all cloaked and hooded in silver, encircling the original group.

“Please" said the smiling grey leader, "let me introduce the Virtues.”

Each of the silver newcomers removed their hoods. An onlooker would have had no other choice than to be captivated by their incredible, feminine beauty. Each of the silvered figures smiled.

“Gentlemen,” said the leader of the Sins. “I am sorry. My plan didn’t work. We all agreed one thousand years ago that we would benefit from a little holiday, and I thought that the exchanges would give us a new lease of life.” The figure held out his hands in apology. “It seems I was wrong. And I suspected that we would arrive here today, at this pre-ordained time, in a despondent mood.” The leader smiled. “So I came up with another plan.”

“Oh my,” said one of the grey figures. “You’re not suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?”

“I had a little chat with my opposite number, Patience, and it seems that they’re pretty much in the same boat as we are. They tried the whole exchange thing about three millennia ago, with much the same result.”

One of the silvered figures nodded slightly, and smiled at the leader of the greys.

“So Patience kindly agreed to come here today with her team and join with us in a little experiment.”

“How do we get to choose which one we swap with?” said one of the grey figures eagerly.

“Well,” said the leader, “I think it’s probably best that we exchange with our opposites, don’t you? Saves any arguments.”

“Bloody hell,” said one of the grey figures, shaking its head. “Pardon my French, but that’s going to be a real mindfuck .”

The leader of the Sins smiled indulgently.

“Are you lot really up for this?” said another of the greys to the assembled silver figures.

“Oh, they don’t speak," said the grey leader. "Can’t, for some reason. But yes, I can assure you that they are - as you say - up for it. Very much so, in fact.”

All of the silvered figures nodded and smiled enthusiastically.

“And what about The Big Man?” said a grey. “Anyone thought to let him know?”

“Oh, I texted him after I first met with Patience. He thought it was a wonderful idea. In fact, He’s going to give Him Downstairs a call, see if they can’t work out a similar deal.”

“That’ll make things pretty interesting,” laughed one of the greys.

“Well, a change is as good as a rest, as they say,” smiled the leader.

“Shall we get on with it, then?” said one of the greys, and as the wind continued not to blow, and the sea continued not to move, and the clouds continued to hang heavy in the sky, that’s exactly what they did.

Jason Jackson's prizewinning short fiction has been performed in London and New York as well as appearing in print in The Poor Press, Cadenza and two Liar's League anthologies. Jason's work has also appeared online at www.3ammagazine.com, www.multi-story.co.uk and www.smokebox.net.