Book II: Chapter 7
I wasn’t surprised the next day when my Sight showed me another vision of the scene back at the New Babylon.
And even though I didn’t want to take part in the fight against him, I found myself unusually intrigued by him – like watching a horror movie where you can’t look away…
Meanwhile, when my vision fully cleared, I saw that Dr. Ma’bus was talking with my friend Alan – the latter still the captive of the UMAN League dictator.
“Seven Rooms. Seven Chairs.” Ma’bus said to his prisoner.
Getting my bearings I could see that it was evening – apparently a day and a half after I last saw them in Ma’bus chambers.
In that short time I could see in Alan’s face that much had occurred – and it wasn’t good.
To begin with, I guessed Mystery that had delivered on her promise. And although I was sure that Alan probably tried to resist her, in the end, Mystery had likely forced herself upon him and thus consummated his sin — much to his horror.
That ‘event’ must have happened the previous night.
Since then I’d wager that Alan had probably been left alone to wallow in his own self-pity – an effective psychological assault indeed.
Looking at the hopelessness on his face, it was easy to see that Alan was not thinking straight and I knew if he didn’t get out of there soon, his soul was going to be lost.
For a brief moment, I felt a tug on my heart, pulling me to help my friend. But I quickly squashed this – after all, Alan knew the danger of being a Keeper of The Nails – we all knew this day would come sooner or later.
Now it was simply Alan’s turn to face the music.
(Sorry if that sounds harsh but I don’t have time to coddle you anymore).
Standing alongside Ma’bus, Alan was at the end of a hallway, with seven doors forming a semi-circle to the fore.
Behind the doors, only the unknown awaited.
Just then some color came into Alan’s face and he straightened his back, “The Lord saves — let us exalt His name forever.”
Ma’bus chuckled at Alan’s attempt to show faith, “Ah, nice try, ol’ boy, but it won’t work here. Oh sure, we both know that you’ve been able to praise your way through the storm before, but your words ring hollow on this occasion. I can sense your self-doubt, Alan. It’s gnawing at you. This is your Moment of Truth but you can’t help feeling like you’ve already lost.”
Alan didn’t reply directly to Ma’bus, but instead looked upwards, “Oh, Lord, how can I be delivered now? For I am already in Satan’s hands.”
Ma’bus grinned at that. “The Lord has assigned you your portion and your cup, eh? Do you accept it?”
Hanging his head, Alan said, “There is a time for everything – a time to kill and a time to heal, a time for love and a time for hate, a time to be born and even… a time to die.” At last he looked boldly at his captor, “I will not shy away from my destiny. But I also know this — The Lord redeems his servants – and no one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned.”
“That’s nice. In any case, let me present…” And here Ma’bus put on his best game-show host persona as he stood in front of the seven doors, “The Chairs of Woe.”
Each door had a name printed on it in Latin, which Ma’bus read off, “Luxuria, Gula, Avaritia, Acedia, Ira, Invidia, and Superbia.” Then translating further, “Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride.”
“I understood you on the Latin.” Alan stated without emotion. “The Seven Deadly Sins. How clever.”
“Well, obviously I didn’t bring you all the way here to just leave you in the hallway. So, which will it be?” Then in an ominous voice, The Beast commanded, “Choose.”
Yet Alan remained silent.
“Well, we can eliminate Lust,” Ma’bus didn’t miss a beat and proceeded on his own. “You’ve already experienced enough of that from your time with Mystery, eh?” And even as Alan blushed painfully, Ma’bus piled on, “Or maybe you really DID enjoy your time with her and you just won’t admit it?”
“That’s enough, you dog.” The professor snarled.
“That leaves you six options. Which Chair would you like?” And before Alan could reply, Ma’bus added, “Of course, you do understand that once you experience even one of MY Chairs, you will never be the same. Most people perish from the terrors they experience, but, I’m interested to see what’s going to happen to you…my immortal Lazarus.”
Despite flinching at the name, Alan again refused to reply.
Ma’bus made no effort to say anything either and so the minutes dragged by.
Finally Alan spoke – in his most professorial tones, “I gather your expectation is that, since I can’t die, once I experience ‘The Sin’ from one of your Chairs, it… will engulf my soul.” And sweating, he spoke on, certain realizations now becoming clear, “And furthermore, you’re hoping to force me to endure… ALL Seven Chairs… so that you can see if it’s possible to… to destroy the soul of an immortal?”
(Actually I was thinking the same thing — again I was sad for Alan but grateful that it was not ME in that position!)
Apparently Ma’bus didn’t think Alan would have guessed that because he had a look of astonishment as he applauded, “My good man, you truly are a Sef de Catadre! Again I ask you to join me!”
And Ma’bus held out his hand. “Come, be my second in command. Surely I am offering you a higher post than what the Cursed One and his Son have promised you.”
“At least the promises of my Master are to be trusted. Yet, we both know yours are worthless.”
“As you wish. Again, your loss.” And then, looking back towards the doorways, Ma’bus asked again, “Well, which room will it be?”
“A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” Alan avoided the question. “After all, what can mortal man do to me? I am protected by God Himself.”
At that, The Beast finally lost his patience. “First of all, let me remind you that I am no mortal man. And secondly, if you won’t choose your fate, then I will do it for you…”
With that my vision ended. I never got to see Alan’s choice.
I wonder – which door would YOU have chosen: Lust? Gluttony? Greed? Sloth? Wrath? Envy? Or Pride?