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It was so close to its goal. Sloth could feel the laziness rolling off the boy in waves. Sloth was so close to capturing his body that it could almost taste it. To be human again, to lay in a soft bed, to watch TV… Sloth was starting to get excited as it hovered right beside the boy. He was sprawled on his couch, watching TV, a marvelous invention in Sloth’s eyes. A lethargic glaze had worked its way into the boy’s eyes just as his mother’s voice called from the kitchen.
Sloth hated the woman, or as much as the essence of apathy could hate. She was the only thing standing in the way of the boy’s full dissention into sin. With chores, school, and that sport the boy had started three years ago, there was never any time for him to be lazy. Every time Sloth got the slightest chance, the mother intervened. If it didn’t know any better it would have thought Diligence was influencing her.
The boy got up from the couch to do the dishes but Sloth remained where it was, watching the flickering lights of the electric box with a subdued interest. When Sloth had chosen the boy, it had thought it would be easy. The boy had wanted so bad to be lazy, to be slothful, that Sloth was instantly drawn to him.
‘Having trouble?’ came to sloth and it looked around to see Lust hovering beside the television.
‘That vile woman is ruining my plans,’ Sloth complained to its sibling sin. ‘Every time I get close, she makes him do something!’
‘I’ll help,’ Lust informed Sloth. ‘But you have to get Gluttony to help me.’
‘Why won’t Gluttony help?’ Sloth inquired, forgetting what it was doing momentarily.
‘Already has a body,’ Lust did the closest thing to a shrug they could do in that form. ‘Now she refuses to help out little ol’ me.’
‘Alright, how will you help?’ Sloth never had been the smartest sin.
‘You’ll see…’ Lust faded away and Sloth got distracted by the television again.
Brandon finished the dishes and went to bed. He’d had soccer practice that day and there was a game tomorrow so he was tired. Then again, he was always tired these days, like some cloud was weighing him down. His mom said it was just puberty, even though he was seventeen.
His dad had left when Brandon was six so his mom needed more help than normal. Most of the time he didn’t mind but, lately, it got on his nerves more and more. She said that was puberty too.
He drifted to sleep quickly and was oblivious to the next events.
The front door swung open silently. Brandon had been the one who usually locked it but that had been taken care of by Sloth. The mad that entered wore all black and a dark mask that showed only his eyes. His gaze burned with a hungry intensity that was fueled by Lust, who glided along behind him.
The man came around the corner to find the mother reclined on the couch and watched a TV show that might have been a movie. The sound was down low so she heard when the man stepped on a creaky floorboard.
Brandon stirred slightly at the screams that were muffled by the distance. His room was on the second floor.
Sloth was watching the muffled TV and couldn’t have cared less what was happening to the mother of its intended host. Only when all was quiet again, the man had left, and Lust drifted over to it that it acknowledged that the mother was dead.
‘You have to let the boy free of your influence when he finds her.’ Lust told its soon to be brother sin. ‘The police won’t believe him innocent if he doesn’t show guilt.’
‘Fine,’ Sloth pouted slightly but its attention was focused on the flickering images.
It wished that it could turn the volume up.
Brandon woke up with his alarm clock, a first in months, and proceeded with his daily routine. He grabbed breakfast in the kitchen and, only then, noticed that his mom wasn’t up and about. He went to her room but she wasn’t in there either. Finally, he ventured into the living room.
After puking up his breakfast, he got his nerves under enough control to call the police. He waited on the stairs and tried not to look at the door to the living room. That’s when he noticed the front door was slightly ajar.
He felt a cold fist of guilt wrap itself around his stomach, as he remembered not locking the door last night.
The preliminary police report stated that ‘Sophia Linns died of rape and multiple beatings. Ms. Linns’ son, Brandon Linns, was the only witness and, being in a state of emotional distress, could not answer questions to satisfaction at this time.’
In truth, Brandon couldn’t speak at all as cops asked him dozens of questions at once and paramedics carried his mother’s body out in a body bag. He cried the whole time and never felt guilty for it.
When everything calmed down, forensic people had collected all the evidence, hundreds of pictures where taken, and almost everyone had left, one cop stayed behind with Brandon. He looked at the boy with sympathetic eyes as Brandon blew his nose and stayed on the stairs where he’d been before.
“Are you going to put me in a foster home now?” Brandon sniffled a little as he looked at the cop pitifully.
“Probably,” the man sounded regretful. “Unless you have other family in the area that you could stay with.”
“There’s my aunt,” Brandon said hesitantly. “But she’s my dad’s sister and I think she hates me.”
“Anyone else then?”
“Umm… oh, I think my grandma’s in town,” Brandon was happier about this option.
“Do you know where she’s staying?” the cop was still sympathetic but now he was coolly efficient also.
“Maybe… I think it’s in my mom’s address book,” Brandon got up from his seat and ventured into the kitchen. He found the small, black notebook and flipped through the pages until he found what he was looking for. “She’s got the number written down right here.”
“Will she be in town long?” the cop wrote down the number, address and name in his own notebook.
“She’s here looking for a place,” Brandon was more confident about this answer because he remembered the conversation he and his mom had had about visiting his grandma more often.
“I’ll call when we get to the station,” the policeman said and turned to go.
“I can’t stay here?” Brandon was on the edge of tears again.
“It’s a crime scene,” the policeman informed him with that guilty tone again. “I’m sorry but I can’t. You can stay with me down at the station until we find a place for you.”
Brandon’s lip trembled but he didn’t question further as he followed the man out the door and got into the car with him.
Sloth was almost dancing with joy as he rode in the car with Brandon. Finally, Brandon’s body would finally be able to host Sloth! It would also go quicker because Sloth would now be able to influence the boy into depression.
‘You seem very… happy,’ Lust’s ‘voice’ came to Sloth. ‘Aren’t you never supposed to be able to show emotion or… something?’
‘No, not exactly,’ Sloth informed sheepishly. ‘I can but it takes effort… a lot of effort. I’m not used to it.’
‘Of course not,’ Lust seemed to roll its eyes as it surveyed its surroundings. ‘I take it that it all went well?’
‘Yep!’ Sloth smiled at Lust.
‘Well, then I’ll leave you to it,’ Lust said simply. ‘Just don’t forget your end of the bargain.’
‘I won’t,’ Sloth promised.
‘Good, because I wouldn’t want to have to punish you,’ Lust smirked at its sibling. ‘You’re just too adorable for me to do that.’
Sloth pondered the consequences, as Lust drifted away, and didn’t really like where its thoughts wondered.