Haphazard Explorations & Experiments In Fiction
Hell is not what I expected. Not at all.
Two days ago I woke up laying on a riverbank. In pain, feeling like I broke a few bones on the way down. It was a few hours later that I found out they were broken bones. My escort let me in on that little secret. He also told me why.
The fall actually happened. It had nothing to do with dying, it happened just after my brains splattered onto that pleasantly blank black wall. And the only reason I don’t remember anything after that? He told me the impact killed me again. My escort, that is. He told me I’d be fine in another few hours. I guess you can’t really die once your dead.
Oh and apparently the river Styx is a real thing.
Anyways, after my body was on the mend good ol’ Johnny boy, my ferryman, led me to the boat. We crossed in silence most of the way, but I had to ask him, “so how the hell did you get this gig man? Doesn’t seem like much fun.”
“Oh it’s plenty fun,” he answered, “I get to see all the newcomers. There’s always something about them that I like… Maybe just that they have no idea what they’re in for… whatever the reason, I like this job.” He paused a while after that, then as he was rowing and frowning, he said, “take it from me pal, this ain’t the worst job a fella like me could have down here.” That was when we hit the shoreline.
All other questions aside I had some immediate concerns, so I asked, “where do I go? What am I in for?” Grinning, he shoved off and started rowing back to the other end.
That was pretty much the first day. Agony, especially as my body put itself back together, and a brief conversation with my ferryman. There were other ferrymen too. Seemed like a lot of them, but I guess that makes sense. After all, the side where I hit the ground was littered with people. Or souls… whatever. New arrivals as far as they eye could see, none of them in any condition to be wondering what was next.
I wonder if I’ll miss the mystery surrounding the afterlife of a hellbound soul. Probably, because as far as I can tell it’s not much different down here than the world I spent my whole life in. I found that out on the second day after talking to a few people further into the mainland. They’d both only been here a few weeks but they seemed to have a handle on what was what.
You can get hurt, you can even die, you just can’t stay dead. You can find work here just like you can on earth too, although a lot of it is more depraved than anything the world above has to offer. You can even rise through the social ladder because believe it or not, there’s a hierarchy down her. What you can’t do is stop or rest. Other than that? I hear whispers. Whispers that the sky is the limit, and you’ve got an eternity to get there.
Those are just hopeful rumors I’ve heard from the few people I’ve talked to so far though. The only thing I’ve learned for sure so far is this: There is no rest for the wicked. So I find myself sitting here on a black, flat rock.
It’s the third day and I’m contemplating my new world.
My new home.
III. Rain of Fire