She might be a Sin, but clearly she knows more about this barrier than I do...
Nathan stared at her, then back at the wall of thorns, then back at the Sin again. He lowered his arm, still pointing towards the barrier, and took a deep breath. "What else do you know?" he asked. "Besides who can and can't get through. I mean, that's kind of obvious..."
"Is it?" Gula tilted her head to the side. If it was an attempt to look cute or innocent, it didn't work; she turned it almost completely perpendicular to her shoulder, at an angle that just didn't seem quite right. It was more disquieting than anything else. "Sins can't get through. You can't. Angels can, but they need special permissions, special allowances." She straightened her neck. "If Be-Be says no, no one can go, but some can come in. Virtue is a lobster-pot trap for those who enter. Mmm... like Raphael." She giggled, showing her unnaturally white teeth. "I was mistaken when I thought I knew how Be-Be's game worked, how his prison was designed, but now I know better. You couldn't have made good on a promise of freedom even if you had agreed to help me before. Be-Be controls everything."
Her explanation only brought more questions to mind. Admittedly, Gula sounded a bit crazy. The wind started to pick up, the sky already growing darker. It would be nightfall soon, and he needed to wrap things up before he worked on how to get home. "Why do you keep calling him that?" he eventually asked. "Be-Be. What does that even mean?"
"Be-Be?" she echoed, as if she didn't understand. "Be-Be is Be-Be to me. Beelzebub, one of his many names. When he is with me, he is this demon. Avaritia calls him Mephy for Mephistopheles, but he is Mammon with her. With Ira, he is Moloch. Acedia calls him Belphegor; Luxuria, Asmodeus. Invidia, when she isn't distracted by her own envy, calls him Leviathan. Only Superbia has the distinction of knowing him as Lucifer." Gula giggled again. "And you call him Lumiel or Alton, and you don't even know him!"
Nathan refused to comment on that, trying not to think about the various definitions of knowing someone. Back to questions about the barrier. "Can anything get through the barrier without Alton's permission?"
Gula thought about this for only a moment, then nodded eagerly. "Oh yes! Humans can, if they wish. They may leave on their own, but they may not enter." She grinned at him. "You can't because you are a special case. That's what Be-Be said. You are human, but not human enough, I guess. Maybe you are almost the eighth... oh! Maybe you are my brother!" She laughed and began to dance back over the bridge. "Maybe you are Tristitia -- or, Tristitius rather -- Acedia's lost twin! Ooh, wouldn't that be something?"
Maybe he should just stop asking her questions, as her answers only seemed to make things even more complicated. Tristitia? Eighth? Nathan's head began to throb as he followed her back into town. Light flurries had started to fall, and he'd learned nearly nothing, except perhaps that Gula was even crazier than he had at first thought. Only one thing was really certain: he was stuck in Virtue until he finished Alton's game, win or lose.
Even then, he didn't know if winning would grant him freedom.
He opened his mouth to ask Gula is she knew anything actually useful, but by the time he'd crossed the bridge, she'd vanished. The flurries were coming down harder now, the snow starting to stick. Nathan shivered. He'd left his coat at the auditorium, and in it his phone and house keys. Damn his impulsiveness; this was the second time he'd gotten stuck by the bridge during bad weather. The only difference was that this time, it was a lot colder.
"Fuck my life," he muttered to himself, sitting down on the freezing curb. He winced. "Fuck my God damned life..."
The only way I'm going to get home is by summoning one of the angels, but all of them are bound to ask questions. Questions I really don't want to answer, particularly the one about why I'm here. I don't know where I could go though, so my options are limited.
What should I do?