When HIRS Rules the World: Part V
We waited nervously for the night to settle in.
“It looks like it’s the waxing gibbous,” announced Eddy, “which leaves with about… three days to solve the puzzle and get out of here, before the full moon.”
“I think it’s possible. Besides, a little water won’t do too much damage if we protect ourselves somehow,” offered John.
“That won’t be necessary,” promised Syb. “I’m confident we’ll have solved the riddle by then.” That’s all I needed to stop worrying: reassurance from Syb.
We didn’t return inside right away. We sat for a while, under the moonlight, surrounded by the light of hopeful stars.
A new note. Some comprehensible and incomprehensible words.
"The sections are a white canvas.
You are an entity, a whole body.
Paint what you are."
So, now we knew what the sections were, and that we had to paint something on them, but that was about all we could figure out right away. The initials ‘H.C.’ rang a bell, but I couldn’t recall what they stood for right away. I dug through my memories to find the answer, but I couldn't. It irritated me: I felt the words tickling the tip of my tongue. I decided to take my mind off of the matter and look up some information about the professor who had discovered the island. Philipp Davis was his name.
After an hour of research, I hadn't uncovered any information about him, except a quotation that he came up with—perhaps the only one, for all that I knew. I read it carefully:
"Latin is the logic behind the mystery. It is the certainty behind the uncertainty. It is the answer to our questions."
Latin is the logic behind the mystery, I repeated silently to myself. It suddenly made sense to me: the initials were Latin words, represented by the H-shaped building and the C-shaped island!
"H.C. means Humana Corpus! ‘Human body’ in Latin," I exclaimed to no one in particular.
"What?" Antoine didn't understand.
"The initials on the note stand for ‘human body,’ that's what they meant by you are and entity, a whole body," I clarified.
"Oh!" John processed what he'd just heard for a moment, the he said: "How do you even know this? What are you, an ancient Roman?" Again, I couldn't help but smile, smothering a laugh.
"What did they mean by paint what you are, then?" asked Louise.
"Probably go to our respective sections and paint our portraits or something..." proposed Antoine.
Syb shook her head. "I don't think so, she countered. It says paint what you are, not who you are."
I nodded in agreement. "Maybe it has to do with symbolism..." I paused for a moment. "I remember having read about the symbolism of the human body parts some time ago."
"You mean each one of us is supposed to represent a body part?" asked Eddy, following my train of thought.
"Let's look up the symbolism of the human body and see where it leads us. Maybe we're onto something," announced Syb cheerfully.
She was right. We were onto something. We found a small booklet hidden deep within the shelves of the library, dedicated entirely to the symbolism of the human body, and studied it carefully, trying to relate a body part to each one of us.
We came to these conclusions:
Louise was the eyes: She saw the world with clarity. She could understand anyone’s feelings by a simple glance in their direction. She was our source of light and purity. It was an obvious match.
Sybil was the heart, and it didn’t take us much time to figure it out. She was faith, confidence and trust. She was the spiritual and emotional center of our group, and the heart held the same function in the human body. There was no possible way to be wrong about this.
Eddy was the ears. He was the best of us at picking up small details and making sense of them. And the book had described the ear as ‘the organ that picks up sensory information, vibrations and sounds.’ That was undoubtedly Eddy.
John was the face, and this was because of his mesmerizing talent at showing the perfect facial expression in any given scenario. He could be an actor, for all that I know—or better yet, a comedian. His personality was all captured in his face, and that’s what guided our decision.
Antoine was the mouth. He knew his way with words and had the best communication skills. He could just look into someone’s eyes and figure out the perfect words to say to them. Any word that came out of his mouth just sounded right. All the time.
We couldn’t decide what I was. We were still looking, when John lost his patience and fell to his knees, raising his eyes to the ceiling:
“Please, just give us a hint,” he begged, directing his words to people he could not see.
“John,” said Eddy, “you’re a genius!”
We all responded in unison: “What?”
He walked over to the wall, and read one of the sentences aloud: Here’s a hint: Abby is the trigger. It made sense: Antoine was telling me about how everything changed ever since I’d arrived here. “We’re making much more progress in solving the puzzle now that you’re here,” he’d said. Had I triggered that progress?
John had gotten up quickly, and with a proud voice, he stated: “Yeah, I guess I am a genius.” I didn’t have to hide my giggling, because all of the others started laughing. It was great to just laugh together and forget about everything else.
“So, what am I supposed to be? Like, the nervous system? With neurons and stimuli and all that?” I finally asked after the laughter had stopped.
“I was thinking the brain,” said Antoine. “For two reasons: Firstly, because it’s easier to draw. Secondly because the nervous system doesn’t appear in the booklet. Only the brain does. Besides, the brain is the organ that triggers our actions, isn’t it?”
“That’s actually pretty good reasoning—for once,” I joked, poking his arm with my elbow teasingly. He rolled his eyes and put on a sarcastic smile that made me chuckle.
“Well, guys, we’re halfway done with the puzzle,” announced Eddy. It felt good to actually hear that we had made progress. “We only have to painting left to do.”
“We could camp outside tonight and start painting early in the morning. Then we’d be out of here by the end of the day tomorrow,” proposed Louise.
“That’s actually a great idea!” I exclaimed. The others nodded. “Let’s get going then!”
We all headed towards the storage room—all except John. We turned to ask him why he hadn’t come along.
“You guys have forgotten one of the most important factors in play here! I am so utterly disappointed!” he voiced passionately. “You could have easily died if I wasn’t here to remind you that…” A short pause. Suspense and Confusion. “…that you need food, you idiots! May I just point out that we haven’t eaten anything since noon and that it’s 7 PM right now! I am starving, and you must be, too!”
We were all just laughing our heads off by then.
He cleared his throat to get our attention. “Now, listen to me! We’re going to go eat a very hearty meal and pack some food for tomorrow. Then, and only then, can we go out to camp. Have I made myself clear?”
We answered with one unified voice: “Sir, yes, sir!”
Our laughter filled the building as we headed towards the kitchen.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
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