Ch.10: Blood-covered Sinners

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Oh, dear.

It doesn't take more than a glance to explain what exactly lies before them, in the third trial that awaits the two supposed criminals.

The moment that Ray and Zack enter the room, the glint of metal and the mixed scent of blood along with something cloying and rough hits them. A few steps inside, and the entirety of the area becomes crystal clear:

A room filled with spikes.

Sharp, razor-edged pointed blades jut out from deep pits in the floor. The platform they stand on is connected to a rickety, rather broken and mangled bridge that doesn't look like it'll hold for much longer, and there are various platforms around the room- far too placed apart to be safe for someone normal to simply jump across.

Approaching the bridge carefully, Ray glances down into the pit below. It seems to stretch out along the room, broken up by the sparsely placed lifted platforms and half hidden in the limited light. Patches of blood here and there indicate that someone must've tried making their way across before.

"it's dark and barely visible, but the floor looks deadly," Zack comments, peering over her shoulder.

Before she can answer, the now-familiar sound of a static transmission fill the air around them. Their gazes are drawn far across the room, where a TV screen that had been camouflaged in the shadows comes to life.

"Greetings!" Cathy giggles, and her image appears on screen. She twiddles her fingers around the riding crop in her hand, her green eyes glimmering noticeably even from this far. "Welcome, kids! Congratulations on making it this far! As you can see, make one wrong step and you'll fall to your spiky demise!"

Her laughter erupts from her throat with glee as she continues. "But... it's actually not as bad as I make it out to be. There are just two paths; yep, the path for each just winds up in a slightly different place, that's all. Which path you take is entirely up to you!"

Ray can feel herself growing colder just by hearing the woman's words, and Zack is strung tight as taut wire by her side, barely holding silent.

Though she says these things, there must be a catch.

"Well, punishment awaits beyond here as well though, right? Anyways, which will it be? There are two of you, after all. Isn't it about time to end this silly charade? You and your childish promises— it's laughable. I think it's an unfair promise... considering you will die anyway."

Her wide, eerily pleased grin sets Ray's teeth on edge. She can't put her finger on why, but somehow, Cathy's words are able to get under her skin, just a little. Not to mention, every time she mocks the vow that Zack had made with her, it makes her skin crawl.

"Enough about that!" The irritatingly high-pitched voice dismisses her thoughts with a light chuckle. "In this room anyways, the both of you won't be taking the same path! Best of luck; I'm waiting to see who gets condemned first!"

The transmission cuts out, and the screen goes dark, fading into the background once again. Once the silence returns, Zack breaks it again, ruffling the hair peeking out of his hoodie.

"Shit, why's she gotta make everything so tedious?" he grumbles angrily. "When the hell can I get outta here? Aaah, gotta keep my cool... That stupid cackling bitch, I wanna chop her to bits so bad..."

Ray glances at him, her mind whirling with thought. She doesn't understand why Cathy enjoys tormenting and toying with them so much. What does she stand to gain from these things besides amusement? Or maybe that's truly all she wants... her sinners to dance along with her to the music she chooses.

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