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Jogger's Trail the Story (Part 7)

The Third Peril: Sloth

By Donna Fox (HKB)Published 8 months ago Updated 7 months ago 7 min read
Top Story - September 2023
Jogger's Trail the Story (Part 7)
Photo by mark ager on Unsplash

This is Part 7, for previous installments please click below:

Jogger's Trail - Jogger's Trail the Story - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6

Passing through I feel this ticklish sensation, close to the feeling of a feather's delicate touch upon my skin. My body immediately feels warmed like that from a warm hug. Emerging to the other side we find ourselves in the Hall of Perils again.

“What happened?” I ask as we are met by the confused looks of Nakos, Mendel and Madra. Alaric bumps into me from behind, oblivious to where we now are.

“That was weird.” Mendel comments with a furrowed brow.

“That’s never happened before,” Nakos adds, holding a similar expression.

“Should we try again?” I offer, turning back to the door.

“I guess so.” Agrees Alaric as the pair of us step through the veil again and the same thing happens.

We try this a few more times and then a thought occurs to me.

“Wait,” I say, placing my hand on Alaric’s cold scaly side as I turn to the group.

“Has Alaric ever helped any of the previous tributes?” I inquire, stepping away from the veil.

The room falls silent and all four Relliks thoughtfully furrow their brows as I await the answer.

“No.” Three of them say all together, scowling at Alaric now as they come to the realization.

“Yes, I have.” Alaric disagrees with a stomp of his hoof.

“Name it then.” Madra challenges him.

Alaric scrunches his face into a pout as he tries to recall an instance he helped one of the other tributes. But after a moment or two, he finally admits that he’s never been of help to the tributes before me.

“But what does that have to do with anything?” He inquires, chewing his cheek in annoyance.

“I’ll get to that in a minute.” I assure him, “So then this is the first time Alaric has taken responsibility and chosen to help? Meaning this is his first time taking enough responsibility for not only the sins but also taken a part in the perils.” I state, working through the thought but also hoping someone else could help me piece this together.

“Yes.” The other three speak as one, once more.

“Then we’ve completed this peril already. In helping him learn to take responsibility.” I say, turning to the doorway and watching as the veil turned from lilac-purple to grey and Alaric’s ghost-like image appears, smiling at me in relief.

“Are you kidding me?” Madra huffs in annoyance. “The rest of us have to humiliate ourselves and all he has to do is walk through the doorway and the peril is satisfied, just like that?” She asks in disbelief.

Alaric looks to the doorway, smiling in satisfaction but a glint of doubt lingers in his eyes. “How do you know for sure?” He asks, watching the veil with an air of unease.

“It just did what all the other doorways did, the veil inside turned grey and has an image of an important person from the peril inside,” I explain only to be met by another round of confused looks.

“You haven’t noticed that the veils all change colours once we’ve passed back through them?” I inquire, giving them a look of confusion of my own.

The four Relliks shake their heads.

“Can any of you see the different coloured veils in doorways?” I ask starting to feel like a crazy person.

They all shake their heads again, watching me with weary looks.

“But you can see these things?” Mendel asks tentatively.

I nodded, feeling my heart race in fear. I make a note to myself not to bring up the voices I hear when I approach the doorways either, for fear they will think I’m as crazy as I feel. Although I’m not sure a sane person would agree to do these perils willingly. So the question of my sanity needed to be tossed on the back burner for now.

“And you think we’ve passed the third peril?” Alaric questions, pulling me out of my head.

I nod again, still trying to silence the demons in my mind.

“Then that’s good enough for me!” Alaric cheers and rejoins his comrades with a relieved smile.

“Has no one else mentioned seeing the veils before?” I ask, still feeling uneasy.

“No, but I think that only lends more weight to our theory that you are The Chosen One,” Nakos states with a pleased smile accompanied by a nod of reassurance.

“There you go getting ahead of yourself again old man. We still have four more perils and the ritual to go through before we will know for sure.” Alaric snaps with a look of annoyance.

“She’s already gotten you to do more than you have in the past and if that doesn’t make her the chosen one then I don’t know what does.” Madra chimes in, watching him in anger with her long-fingered hands upon her bony hips.

Alaric steps closer to her and they begin to bicker as they did in the cave, the day before.

Turning away from their nonsense, Mendel wraps a cold scaly hand around me and guides me away. “Let’s pick another doorway.” He mutters in my ear which I agree to, wanting to get away from their negative energy.

He lets go of me and I let my feet guide me again until I find myself in front of a door with a sunflower-yellow-hued veil.

“What colour is this one to you?” Mendel asks, squinting through the doorway in hopes of catching a hint.

“Sunflower-yellow.” I reply with a smile, “What does this one say?” I counter, looking up at the indecipherable text.

“A feeling beyond hunger, one that food will never satisfy. More leads to more and only feeds an angry beast that can never be satisfied.” Nakos reads with an air of disappointment, as he looks to the ground in thought or possibly shame.

“I want to help you. It’s my turn!” Mendel calls in an overexcited voice, practically hopping from one foot to the other.

“Let her solve the riddle first and then we can decide who should help her,” Nakos mutters with a calm voice as though working to keep himself calm.

“It’s greed, I wanted to say gluttony but greed makes more sense,” I reply, still watching Nakos closely.

My gut is saying his behaviour means I should pick him but by the way Mendel is acting, I start to wonder if this is greed showing through. He’s desperate to be a part of the action and eager to show his worth.

But even that sounds off to me and I know he’s not the right fit, he might be a better fit for lust or something to do with envy though. So I make a mental note of that.

“Not this time buddy, I think I’d rather have your help with a different one later,” I admit, patting his cold scaly shoulder.

Deflated, Mendel frowns in a pout, “Awe.” He sighs.

“Does anyone want to volunteer?” I ask, letting my gaze linger on Nakos for a moment longer in hopes he will confirm my suspicion.

“It’s me again,” Nakos admits immediately.

“Really?” Mendel inquires, trying to hide another look of disappointment but failing to do so.

“It goes hand in hand with my last peril.” He begins, “I was greedy for power when I wanted to be a more important kind of angel. I wanted the recognition and praise of humans knowing my name, greedy for recognition and power.” He explains with the same air of defeat as before.

“Can anyone beat that?” I ask, scanning the other three and am met with head shakes.

“Alright, let’s go then,” I say as we walk through the sunflower-yellow-hued veil and pass through into the realm of Greed.

Part Eight:

Young AdultMagical RealismFictionFantasyCliffhangerAdventure

About the Creator

Donna Fox (HKB)

Thank you for your support and feedback! 💚💙💜

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Comments (26)

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  • The Invisible Writer7 months ago

    Can’t wait to find out what happens with Nakos

  • Rob Angeli7 months ago

    A very slothful peril for sure, and well transitioned.

  • Dana Crandell7 months ago

    I'm having so much fun inside the realm you've built here! On to #8!

  • Lamar Wiggins7 months ago

    Hurray! So glad this made top story, congrats! It was really good, and I love the perception reveal, how only she can see things she can't. Very nice added detail. In fact, there was a lot of exciting info packed inside. Okay, off to episode 8.

  • Novel Allen7 months ago

    Hey there Donna. Your storied chapters are coming along nicely. I have been off for some days taking a break. Great to see you again. I will de back in phases for a while. Congrats on making TS. Love, and keep on doing your wonderful stories.

  • Mohammed Darasi7 months ago

    That was nice. Solidifying just how these perils are connected to the rellik, and how choices in the outside world can affect the inside of the perils. Another great chapter 😁

  • Kuba Fiszer7 months ago


  • Real Poetic7 months ago

    Congratulations on top story! 🩷🎉👏🏼💖

  • John kallamu7 months ago

    Wooh I like it congratulation

  • Armah Elvis7 months ago

    Nice make sure you read my too thanks

  • Wow excellent

  • ema7 months ago

    Hi Donna, I am very happy to find your story on TS today! Congrats 😊🎉

  • Thavien Yliaster7 months ago

    “A feeling beyond hunger, one that food will never satisfy. More leads to more and only feeds an angry beast that can never be satisfied.” Yeah, that sounds like Greed to me. Gluttony is typically associated with food or an over indulgence. Greed isn't the actual attainment, but the continuation of a hungry desire, much like lust, that can't be satisfied even once attainment has been fulfilled. The criteria keeps becoming more and more, deeper and deeper does the pit continue to grow. Typically symbolized by the fox since the fox steals one's livestock. So, greed could also be viewed as theft: whether it be a pencil from a classmate or a diamond from the Windsor crown. It also makes sense to have Nakos represent the sin of greed since pride and greed continue to go hand in hand. A lot of people become greedy out of a sense of self-entitlement in which they believe that they deserve whatever it is that they want, only to resort to more drastic measures when they are denied that which they seek. Nakos becoming greedy for power and recognition (fame), makes perfect sense. Especially since archangels tend to have prayers made after them or to be incorporated into prayers. There's a prayer which mentions St. Michael specifically in combating the devil and his horde of evil. Nakos wanting to fight against evil initially has his sins come full circle. I wonder if as a guardian angel the people/person he was watching over died due to their own sin of pride and greed. Imagine a construction worker wanting to earn a commission bonus by cutting corners and doing a lot of work him/herself only to die from an OSHA violation. Like, think of when New York was being built and construction workers were eating on steel beams atop skyscrapers. "If I get this job done, I'll finally be able to afford myself that new Chrysler or Cadillac I've been dreaming about. Can't wait to rub it in Eric's face when I blow past him in his slow-ass Model T." *slips on a grease slick from cranking on nuts and bolts falling 20 stories* I wonder if the Relliks can't see the colors because they're supposed to be like thestrals (carnivorous flying horses) and thus they're eyes just don't see certain colors of light on the electromagnetic spectrum, or if they have to have faith in Tesha since she had to have faith that they weren't going to eat her and that they have to help guide her along through her perils. So, the Relliks not being able to see might just be their own test of mini-trial before going through the actual trials. I think when it comes to the idea that the other people would be saved, I thought that might be a good goal to work towards in the end, but who's to say that the trials are real lived experiences. People only live for so long, so what if when the person who's body they're in the people who've gone through the perils of Efil would either move to the afterlife as well, become a ghost haunting the perils of Efil thus increasing the difficulty of the perils, roam the earth as a spirit until the Relliks return, or what if after the peril simulation passed away the person ended up becoming a Rellik? What if Madra's sin of wrath was because she tried to save other Relliks, but they ended up dying of starvation since she failed her trial at the wrath gate? The relliks were people in place of guardian angels trying to free other Relliks in the hopes of being restored to guardian angels? Now that would be a twisted twist. Though it sounds like something You already might of thought of. This way the series could continue as long as You want, with new people in different scenarios with some sort of continuity for recurring characters. As always I'm overthinking this too much. On a different note I was hoping for a bit more from Alaric. I hope to see another one from him and some from Mendel soon. It would be cool if there would be a case of having two of the Relliks going together. Sins aren't sins cause we sin against ourselves, but because we trespass against others as well. In a sense, if a Rellik sinned against another Rellik, two of them could be opposing forces in one scenario and Tesha has to make one ask for forgiveness and the other willing to forgive if not at the very least become indifferent. That would work well in my opinion for something like envy or lust or gluttony. Alaric: "What do You mean You ate my portion of the meal? I've been saving that liver for years, and You just went and gobbled it down?!" Madra: "Let me explain. I saw this hiker walking by, and she was so beautifully muscular that I couldn't help myself. I couldn't kill her since I didn't want to, but also she never strayed from the path nor disobeyed the rules. Yet, when I saw the muscles in her calves bulging, and her rosy red cheeks, I thought about how we haven't had a decent meal in two years, and my mouth started watering." Alaric: "I turned that liver into jerky, by baking it in the sun. That wasn't easy You know! It was supposed to be a last resort for the five of us to make a flimsy broth at best!" Madra: "Well, what else was I supposed to do?" Alaric: "I dunno! Stage an accident and have an ambulance come here with packets of donated blood for a transfusion! It worked the last time right?" Madra: "You like blood! I like bloody steak! There's a difference you know!" Tesha: *thinking* "Oh boy, I just hope that they don't turn on me for an afternoon snack. How many layers of my skin do I need again? Hopefully not enough to not feel any pain. Would hair suffice? I got plenty of that. What about if I exfoliate my foot? Hmmmm... the forbidden cheese. Hope they like parmesan." Either way, I am stoked for part 8.

  • Ibrahim Brawnzy7 months ago

    Wow excellent

  • Alexander McEvoy7 months ago

    Woot Woot! Top story party!

  • BLANIC7 months ago

    Read mee

  • ThatWriterWoman7 months ago

    YES!! This story is finally getting some Top Story recognition! WAHOO! Proud of you!

  • This comment has been deleted

  • Alex H Mittelman 7 months ago

    Very well written!

  • ThatWriterWoman7 months ago

    Brilliant! The most difficult trial became the easiest to pass! Inspired Donna! You really surprised me, and kept me hooked! Have I mentioned how much I love the Reliks? I LOVE the Reliks! Bring on Greed!

  • Whoaaaaaa! Whoaaaaaa! I was going "Whoaaaaaa" the whole time! I was so shocked that Alaric taking responsibility to help Tesha out was enough to pass the Sloth peril! Like totally unexpected! Like you could have gone with this the same way like you did the first two perils but this was an excellent change. You doing that really spiced up your plot even more than it already is! My second shock came when both Tesha and I learned that the Relliks can't see different coloured veils in the doorways! Like that added more dimension to your story. I hope that makes sense. It's like these small details that you reveal to us. That was seriously so amazing! So the 4th one would be Greed. I wonder what awaits Tesha and Nakos. Reading this story truly feels like watching episodes to a tv show. It soooooo awesomeeee! 🥰🥰🥰

  • Alexander McEvoy7 months ago

    I love the subversion of sloth! The twist was completely unexpected but the train of logic in unbeatable! Simply stepping up to perform a required task is the counter point to sloth so the MC did not have to do more than motivate the fallen angel! This was incredibly clever and I take my hat off to you :) Can’t wait to see what happens in the realm of greed

  • Test8 months ago

    Amazing! I can't wait to read your books one day :)

  • ema8 months ago

    Take responsibility is a great step! Well done!

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