Rainbows and the Seven Vices

by Shawnong

I was standing on ice, an ice path. The path undulated aimlessly; its sides lined with voluminous clouds. The clouds were of the most pristine, untainted white. They shone so brightly my eyes hurt. Overhead was the darkest sky ever. The blackness was an absence, a void, rather than a colour. It made me feel non-existent and insignificant, and it seemed as if it would have swallowed me if I had stared any longer. The darkness was freckled with stars, burning passionately with iridescence. There wasn’t a Sun, nor a Moon. The atmosphere was severely cold, it was certainly unmeasurable on the centigrade scale. The coldness was more of a fact than a feeling. It was something I knew, but couldn’t feel; like knowing the events in history though not having been alive to experience them- a very matter-of-factly phenomenon. I placed my hand over my chest, just where the heart was. Its beating was unnaturally regular, as if it were a machine programmed with mathematical precision, down to the nanosecond. I strolled the path, instinctively, devoid of emotions and thoughts.

After about 10 minutes (It could have been 1 or a 100. The laws of natural physics were obsolete there), I reached an edifice, resembling The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, with a towering archway entrance. I walked past the archway into the building with profound amazement, and witnessed an expansive hall filled with birds. Birds that were fluttering around, sleeping, chirping and some simply idling. Each bird had a unique colour. I recognized red, orange, yellow, green and blue, but never indigo or violet. At the farthest opposite side, I saw a yellow bird,resting beside a considerably larger counterpart. Their eyes were trained on me the moment I entered. I walked across.

The larger bird was as tall as up to my knees, and had a majestic coat of grey feathers, similar to the greying hair of a wizened man. “I’m Darwin,” he introduced, “and this is Jay” gesturing to his right with his feathery appendage. He spoke with the most melodious voice. Every word carried such mesmerising inflection as if he was singing. I nodded with servility. “What is this place? How did I get here?” I asked. He let out a chuckle, and took considerable time to ponder upon the questions before he began. “This is The Sanctuary. The birds possess each a unique colour of the rainbow. Every colour of the rainbow represents one of the seven cardinal sins. Red for Wrath, Orange for Pride, Yellow for Lust, Green for Envy, Blue for Sloth, Indigo for Gluttony and Violet for Greed. Rainbows are formed as a reminder of morality when men indulge excessively indulge in the vices. The death of the rainbow gives birth to birds which journey to all corners around world and die when evil is prevalent. Thus the deaths of the birds breathes life into a rainbow. Oh how mysterious nature works, the death of one resulting in the life of another! The fate of Earth is not dependent on the morality of mankind, but what good is fate if mankind is without morality?” A bemused laughter ensued, as if what he had said were merely tales. Were they? “And how did I get here?” I injected.

Before Darwin or Jay could speak, I was crudely disturbed by the sound knuckles rasping furiously on my desk. And I awoke to thirty pairs of eyes riveted on me.