Congratulations to Chrissy Catlin who correctly identified the literary allusion in these recent episodes, and further postulated a few theories of her own.  Other than affirming the accuracy of the literary reference, I neither confirm nor deny any of her other theories but merely post them here for your interest.  What are you theories?  Comment below or on the Facebook page if you’d like.

I was very impressed with your Dante’s Inferno allusion! It was like seeing an old friend, but a really depressing one. I suppose the most depressing thing in the world is to abandon all hope.  SOOOOO….this is an allegory then? Seven is God? He is stuck in a purgatory of some sort? It seems like there is a way out, so I am guessing purgatory?…Ha! Ok, I just got caught up with the last episode. Seven is Virgil. So, then he is in hell. Virgil would not be able to get out of hell. Troy’s sin was that he knew too much about everyone and now his punishment is that he doesn’t even know about himself. Or you are not re-writing Dante’s Inferno, just making references to it. Either way, kudos.

The Stolen Man:  Into the Wilderness:  4-4

(S.M. Table of Contents)

Angry rain; cold sharp stinging rain.  Blinding rain, deafening wind.  Blown by the wind, the rain comes attacks you from every direction, like millions of cold biting insects.  You can neither see nor hear, but only feel.  You are completely lost.  The boundaries of the hallway are obscured by the storm, or perhaps torn away by it.  Neither Lorelei or Seven are anywhere to be seen.  You move pointlessly, head down, crouched against the wind, seeking a way out of the storm.  As you walk something strange is happening to the floors, they seem to be moving, shifting, grasping at your feet. The ground appears to be turning to mud, and it clings to your shoes, weighting them down each step.  More than this every step the ground seems to close in around your shoes, struggling to pull you down.   The rain seems to be turning to hail and in your attempt to move faster, to find a way out of the mud and the hail and the storm, you stumble over something in the mud, something barely recognizable.  A hand reached down and catches you before you fall face first into the mud.  It’s Seven.  When you start to look back at what you tripped over, he stops you, “No Troy.   This time, you really don’t want to know.”

“But, was that…”

“Troy.  I like questions, but something are too much for even you.  Look if you must.  But if you stand in one place too long, you might become just like them.”

You start to look but Seven’s words confirm what you thought you’d seen and you decide, perhaps for the first time, not to investigate further.  The rain seems to be slowing, and as Seven walks you forward, the floor seems to be stabilizing as well.

“Them?”

“Those who got caught in the mud, unable to rise, stuck on this level forever.”

Thinking back to your high school English class, it comes to you, “Wait, so, we’re on level three already?”

“Yes Troy we are.  Each level requires some revelation, some understanding to move on.   What did you learn from level two?

You nod slowly, there was something.  What was it you remembered?

***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

””This is it!” Dan says to Lorelei excitedly.  Then turning to you, “What is you remember Troy?”

***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

“What is it Troy?” Seven is asking you.

“Trust no one, but find out for yourself.  Lorelei said that on level two, but she was quoting me.  I said that.  Dan was right.  I was some kind of interrogator.

“So you are remembering yourself then?”

“Still not really.  Just a little sense of who I was..am.  Truth is a good thing.  I thought any thing I did in pursuit of truth was ok, but somehow, something went horribly wrong.  Somehow truth destroyed me…or something.  That’s it.  Nothing else.”

“So that explains level two.  Why are we here Troy?  What’s Level three got for you?”

“Well, I guess I was a glutton for knowledge.  I thought knowledge was the same as truth.  I was wrong about that wasn’t I?”

A thought strikes you with terror, “Wait, are you telling me I’ll never remember?  That it’s wrong to seek the truth about myself.”

“This is all you talking, remember?  You chose the venue.  You chose the lesson plan.  Maybe you don’t want to remember.  Maybe you’re telling yourself to stop trying.”

You are very troubled, “Do you think I should?”

“Maybe knowing yourself is the one thing you should pursue.”

You nod again, “Maybe it was a diet of other people’s lives, other people’s truths that was bad for me.  Maybe knowing myself was what I needed all along.”

Seven shrugs.

************************************************************************************************************

Dan is frustrated, “Nothing, nothing we didn’t already know!”

“Hey, relax cleansweep, he’s remembering something, and he’s not done yet.  He’s still got 6 more level remember?”

“You think there’s really nine?”

“I know it, and he aint in Sunnyvale either. “

Dan smiles, “Yeah, what a weird way to get at the truth. “

“Well, I suppose it’s the only.  Six says no one ever comes back from what happened to him.  So maybe it’s fitting this is the only way out.”

Dan startles, “But we don’t want him out.  Not really.  We just need to know who he remembers.”

Lorelei smiles, “You and I may be working together, but that doesn’t mean we have the same goals, broom boy.”

************************************************************************************************************

The rain has subsided greatly, the ground feels reasonably solid again.  It’s still dark though and the wind still howls distantly.

“How do we get to level 4?”

“Back to the stairwell, of course.”

“Stairwell, but out here?”

“In here.  We’re still in the building, remember.”

And there, in the middle of the darkness, stands a Sunnyvale door.  Seven opens it and the stairwell is clearly visible through it.

You follow Seven through it, “But I can see the stars.”

 (Next Episode)

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