Book II: Chapter 9
Although it was July 4th for me in real time, I continued watching a vision of of Miriam from the prior week – I’d just witnessed her leave Ma’bus’ servant Iffat to fall in a heap, as she now raced to the dictator’s torture chambers.
The hallway was empty when she arrived – and ominous — this was not a place that anyone would want to intrude into. Nonetheless, Miriam read the scripts plated on each door: Luxuria, Gula, Avaritia, Acedia, Ira, Invidia, and Superbia.
“The Seven Deadly Sins,” she said grimly. “Do not be far from me, Lord, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.”
Brushing aside her fears, she began to <probe> into the rooms…
(As you’ll soon see, this was an odd vision because not only was I looking in on Miriam’s physical body, but I actually felt like my own mind was transported into the rooms too!)
As soon as OUR minds <moved> into the room, I could tell that Miriam found more than she bargained for because a surprising <force> surged back against our psyches and Miriam’s physical body was violently thrown backwards in the hallway outside!
Although I was fine (and actually somewhat amused by the whole thing), it took Miriam a few moments to recover from her daze. This time she was more cautious as she moved back towards the first door – merely peeking her mind inside verses rushing in like before.
The forces were still there to confront us, but this time, Miriam (and I) were prepared for their mental onslaught. Steeling herself against their illusory blows, Miriam began to search through the room. Yet once again, she apparently underestimated the force she was contending with — for even though a vision of burning flames did not affect her, I could tell that Miriam was appalled by what she saw — a scene of total debauchery.
The room was filled images of with every kind of sexual deviance known to man: adultery, bestiality, rape, incest, and further transgressions worse than these — for this was Luxuria, and it held the Chair of Lust!
<Ugh!> Miriam pulled her mind (and mind) back from the horrible visions and left the room.
Once again she took some time to gather herself.
“I must go back in,” Miriam said breathlessly. “If Alan is there, I have to find him.” And looking up to heaven, she prayed, “Be not far off, O Lord. You are my strength!”
Cautiously Miriam pushed her mind back into the obscene room.
Visions of sexual immorality assaulted her…overwhelmed her… beckoned to her. She did her best to try to stay above the fray, searching for Alan within this madness, yet the longer she allowed her mind to remain inside Luxuria, the more that Miriam found herself being pulled towards the obsessive transgressions.
(As for me, I didn’t even try to resist. What will be, will be. And as an old man who hasn’t known a woman for what seems like centuries, well…)
Slowly, more and more of the people committing these terrible acts became aware of Miriam’s presence. They called to her, inviting her to join them, showing her the satisfaction that could be obtained by participating in this excessive love of each other.
She kept searching for Alan, but more of the participants called her to join them — to submit to them, to forget about the future and enjoy the PLEASURE OF NOW.
Miriam continued to resist.
Yet, the scene grew more intense.
The acts more obscene.
The flames stronger and hotter.
Soon, Miriam felt herself being pulled in by the lechers. Her inhibitions were clearly weakening…
(By now, even I was getting a bit appalled at what was going on, and yet…)
<NO!> Miriam pulled her mind out of Luxuria. “Alan is not in there!” She hissed – HOPING that she was correct – and retreating away from this awful hallway.
I watched her run from the corridor and jump into the first lonely room she could find – she obviously needed time to gather herself and I knew that it would not be easy.
Nearly an hour later, after many tears and prayers, Miriam emerged from hiding and cautiously made her way back towards The Hallway of Woe — seemingly resigned to her fate.
By now, it was clear that each room, each Chair, would attempt to overwhelm Miriam with its Sin.
Understanding that she could not win this battle alone, I was not surprised to see her call upon her God, hoping that He could help her resist Temptation and thus find Alan, “But as for me, I will always have hope – I will praise Him more and more!”
The Chair in Gula confronted us with conflicting images. We saw sins committed by those who had an excessive desire for food and by those who were purposefully withholding food from others. We saw people eating too much. Eating too passionately. Eating everything – even THEMSELVES!
Despite her repulsion, I sensed Miriam realize that she herself hadn’t had anything to eat in over a day – and I felt her hunger gnaw at her. She started talking to herself about her next meal, then craving for some of the delicacies that she saw at the breakfast where Alan and Ma’bus dined, then desiring to fill herself with excessively costly foods, then hungering for the blood of animals, then salivating for the taboo…
(By now I was thirsting for some Jack – straight up. Please!! Very quickly I felt as if I was about to rip at my throat in an effort to overcome an unquenchable thirst)…
“Enough!” Again Miriam pulled us back. “Alan is not there.”
Having successfully resisted Gula’s temptations, Miriam took no time probing her mind into the third room.
We searched Avaritia – the Room of Covetousness. Once more a Chair confronted us with a sin against God. Here we saw the floor covered with mud, and more than a few people joyfully groveling in the dirt – totally fixated on earthly thoughts.
Elsewhere we witnessed scenes of disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason – all which resulted in some form of quick, personal gain for the sinner. Looters, scavengers, hoarders – these too were out in force. Violent men took what they want. Others manipulated the weak to steal from them.
And everyone everywhere was overcome with GREED!
Once again, Miriam (and I) felt ourselves being enticed, but as soon as she confirmed that Alan was not inside, Miriam left this room and thus we were no worse for wear.
After that little victory, I could sense that Miriam’s confidence was growing. However, she underestimated the power of “Slothfulness” and this would turn out to be a major mistake.
For it was the deadly sin Acedia that nearly did us in…