The cold sweat off of her back was not yet dry when Persephone decided to climb out of her sleep cubicle and sit down at the com station. She wanted to find some solace in repentance. Another restless night and her prayers were not enough to banish the night terrors she now suffered. The cold grating of the floor panels in her quarters helped cement her back into reality as she stepped closer to the com station in the corner. The system was always on and hopefully she could get through to Sister Agnes or Sister Euness.
It was dark in her quarters until the com system thrummed to life when she typed in the activation code. The screen cast its light across the room and faintly illuminating all of Persephone’s belongings, the few she had. She glanced over in the opposite corner to her Sororitas armor and felt a sense of comfort as if it were a guardian hanging on the wall watching over her. Her thoughts then went back to the console where it was patiently awaiting her command. Persephone typed in the cipher that transmitted her signal to a com relay system and connected her to distant Ophelia where maybe someone from her order will answer her call. Her message read *I MUST REPENT, FOR MY THOUGHTS BETRAY ME IN REST. GUIDANCE REQUESTED*.
Persephone lost track of how many minutes may have passed before her call was answered from distant Ophelia. *REQUEST GRANTED, SISTER PERSEPHONE STANDBY. COM CONNECTION IMMINENT FROM SISTER AGNES*
She adjusted the amplitude dials and rotated the vox grills so she could better receive her superior. A voice then crackled on the vox as a live pict came to life on the screen, “What is your confession sister?” She sounded somewhat cold and mechanical, perhaps the signal was weak. Agnes did look older from her last communiqué, it has been many years. She could tell from the wrinkles under her eyes and the few strands of graying hair from under her hood.
“I confess that my thoughts will betray my faith in the Emperor. My contact with the warp creatures has left a mark in my mind and sleep is no longer a refuge from my labour.” She felt a pang of guilt speaking that truth to Agnes.
“Please elaborate sister, what do you mean?” Came the response.
“When I fall asleep I feel like I awake in a new world that is just as real as this one. Once I stand up from the stone I floor I walk down a nearby corridor. The walls are made of stone and it shifts and grinds out of the corner of my eye. Mocking faces carved into the walls leer at me when I move along the corridors. When I look at them directly they sink back into the wall.” She paused for a moment and collected her thoughts, “It’s not always the same dream, but it is in the same place. A cavernous maze with large rooms and moving shadows, but nobody present. The path is never the same, but it always ends in a room with monitors along every wall and obscene acts are on display by humans and bestial creatures. Once I reach the middle of the room I can not help but stare at what they are doing. Eventually they see that I am watching them and their attentions turn to me as if they can see me on the other side of the screen. I always run away when this happens, all of their gazes are too much to bear.” Persephone shifted uncomfortably on her stool as she awaited Sister Agnes’s response.
“Have you been reciting your daily catechisms and anointing yourself with holy unguents?”
“I pray to our Father 3 times every cycle, but I have run out of unguents.” She said with conviction.
“Have you maintained your standards of purity and not deviated from your sworn oaths?”
“Yes, I have kept my sacred vows.” A feeling of hopelessness was starting to set in. Sister Agnes is not grasping my struggle.
There was a long pause as Sister Agnes looked down at something Persephone could not see in the screen. She began to speak with some minute display of emotion to Persephone as she returned her attention forward again, “You were recently promoted to the rank of sister militant for your bravery and service. It is only natural for the strains of battle to take their toll.” The vox cut out briefly and crackled back to life… “ices you have undertaken. I recommend self flagellation for a fortnight.” With a steely expression Sister Agnes added. “By your expression I can see that you have something else to state?” Part question and observation.
Persephone went flush as her Sister Superior read her expression from this distance so effectively. “Yes, this latest dream was different this time.” The perspiration returning to her skin as she began to speak the details, “Everything was the same as before except this last dream I saw a figure of light emerge from where I came at the end of the stony labyrinth, he stood there in the distance like a beacon. I wanted to return, but the light was too bright and had to turn my gaze away back to the screens. The creatures howled in rage when I looked back and began pushing their way through the screens like a child emerging through a mother’s placenta. I tried to run but my legs rebelled and went stiff. I couldn’t crawl away fast enough and they began to tear at me like a pack of beasts. I screamed for help and none came."
Silence… The screen wavered slightly as the signal faded for a moment.
“My recommendations I made previously still stand Sister Persephone, however I see need to consult with my superior in light of the new information you have given me. If there is need I may send you further communication on how to work with your afflication.” Sister Agnes appeared to be turning pages of a tome, but it was hard to tell, “Please join me in a prayer and perhaps we can use our Father to steel your faith against these dreams.” They began to pray.
Persephone crawled back into her sleep cubicle and did her best to avoid thinking about the topic of her confession. Her back stung. She hoped the pain will keep the dreams at bay.