Teesha Thomas is a copywriter working on a full-time basis with an advertising agency. About this story, she says, “Dudley’s Sons is a humorous take on the seven Deadly Sins and how they came about to be. Greek mythology talks about Pandora ’s Box, which contains all the evils of the world, which is where these sins also originate, though, in the story, Pandora is their mother. I like imposing characters on inanimate objects or ideas because it gives you a lot of freedom since there is no fixed image of the object or idea in people’s minds.”
On the slopes of Aluthesia, a mountain much higher than Everest can ever hope to be, one might, if unlucky enough, hear the rustle of leaves. It starts. It stops. This, while generally considered commonplace, is in fact, quite strange.
For you see, no trees or bushes ever grew here. No wind blows. No snow falls. Aluthesia has absolutely no life on, in or around it, being as it is, a massive structure of solidified hydrochloric acid. One misplaced step on its surface and you might as well say goodbye to your leg (waving is optional).
The noise you hear is actually the sound of four brothers at work. Oh, and their sidekick: picked on, bullied and generally mistreated but loyal to the end. The oldest, Envy is arrogant, always scowling, and will stab you in the back quicker than you can say ‘Bazooka’ (though, why you would want to say that is beyond me). Next is Gluttony, the most horrible dinner party guest, fairly plump with ogling eyes, (I don’t know how his face really looks, it’s always stuffed) with manners that could definitely do with some pruning. Older than him is Wrath – red hair, flushed face, bared teeth, balled fists. Talking to him is a waste of time, and, quite frankly, an unnecessary risk. He only yells and, if you insist on having a decent conversation, attacks. It is when he does, that Akward Silence (fan, follower, and in his own eyes, friend) steps in to try and soothe you. Not much good at that, like everything else he’s ever tried to improve. Very easy to forget he’s around. However, when he does assert himself (never in front of Wrath, mind) he can make anyone uncomfortable. Finally, always straggling behind, comes Sloth. He’s so dull I can’t even be bothered to describe him.
These brothers are known, where you come from, as Deadly Sins. The truth is, however, that their actual name, passed on from mouth-to-ear-mouth-to-ear has been distorted (trust humans to muck up everything!). Their real name is ‘Dudley’s Sons.’ You know, the sons of that fool Dudley who went and knocked up Pandora B. “I just want her to open up to me,” he’d said. Well, everyone knows how that turned out.
Anyway, when the brothers, who were seven in total, grew old enough, they wanted solid food. No more of that ‘mind’ goop! So obviously the first thing to go was Dudley’s soul. Once they’d had a taste of human soul, it was all they could think about and they left home, traveling the world in search of more souls to gobble. Over time, they even developed preferences. Their favourite kind was politician (so easy to get, too!) and they detested nuns (bland, unpalatable and required way too much effort). After a while of soul-satisfaction though, things took a turn for the worse. Wrath got upset because he had to eat the same stuff everyday and started fighting with Envy who accused him of always taking the biggest share. While they squabbled, Gluttony quickly ate both their shares. Sloth couldn’t care less about the situation and took the opportunity to sleep some more (that extra five minutes does make a difference).
It was one of those typical days that along with the news of their mother’s approaching death came Awkward Silence (he’s been with them since). Calculations showed she would die in the month of December of the year 2012. If they didn’t get there on time, they would be stuck, forever, in a void, what with the world coming to an end and all. To mother they must go!
And so the brothers started on their way home (I cannot tell you where ‘home’ is because, well, I don’t know). Unfortunatey, neither did the brothers, they simply could not remember! Envy, Sloth, Gluttony and Wrath wanted to try the summit of the highest mountain, (it’s Aluthesia, in case you went about thinking of piddly Everest again). while the other three felt it would probably be at the base of Frangdea Trench, that lies under the Mariana Trench (which, unknown to most, has a collapsible base).
Thus, the brothers split up, each group trying their best to reach home on time. Aluthesia has a rough terrain and food is scarce. Hunger gnaws at their innards but fear and desperation drive them onwards. Anything they find, they eat, but a soul is relished the most.
Beware, then, if you hear the sound of rustling leaves. It could be, if you’re unlucky enough, the sound of your soul being devoured by Dudley’s Sons.