The Worst Misery: Chapter Four
This was the real Hell, I decided. Not the Hell that had taken over Earth, but this right here. A vast and empty place that offended the senses. Nothing like the fiery world of orange, red, and black that I’d grown used to. This place—the true Hell—was cold.
“So cold,” I muttered through chattering teeth.
My breath crashed against the ground like glass as soon as it hit the air. Breathing was a laborious task. The overbearing feeling of infinite gloom in all directions was so lonely that I thought about curling up into the fetal position, and simply wait for death to save me.
“Hello!” I shouted wondering if something would answer. If Luci honored our arrangement, then I was the last soul in Hell. I looked up to the purple hazy sky that shined dimly against the obscurity melting the space into a dull painting of the lowest point in a suicide victim’s life.
“Hello!” I shouted once again as if expecting a demon to reply, saying, “Hello, how are you?”
I wasn’t eager to meet my doom, but I didn’t want to linger in this place. The act of loitering here was ill-advised by the little voice in my head—the same one I ignored more than I should—and, seeing as I had no real choice but to act, I pressed forward into Hell. It isn’t as if I’ll be able to wander this place unnoticed. I’m the only soul here to torture, a needle without a haystack, but I wanted to try. The hopeful side of me said, “You can outrun your fate. If they don’t catch you, then they can’t break your spirit, right?”
So, I walked, sneaking like a rat, like I thought James would.
James? O, yea…
It was hard to remember people before the day that I met Luci. The only person who shines at all in my memory before Luci came into my life was my father, but other than that I remember nothing but a blurry mess of images like silent movies. Utter nonsense basically.
I could make out faces.
But are those faces real? Or are they just random people you saw in passing…or completely fictional?
Anger climbed in my chest. The day the Devil came to me is so burned into my mind! But they were their like flickering flames, fond memories. Really the only memories I have anymore. Only them, my father, Hell and that included. I tried to picture them—give a face to the good dead I’d foolishly decided to pursue.
They’re all back on Earth.
I hope they do the right thing. I hope kindness is enough to get them into Heaven…
I walked some more.
More and more and more and more and more!
I never grew tired. I felt no need to sleep. My feet were bloody, and the space never seemed to change other than the slight shifting you saw in the lethargic clouds on a dark stormy day, yet nothing seemed to be moving. How is that possible? How’s that make sense? It doesn’t!
That’s it! I saw through this torture. Endless nothingness? To be alone for all time? That’s how Luci plans to break me?
I laughed hard, but not hard enough to want to bash my brains out.
It seemed like a weak first move considering the stakes, but I guess it was something best taken over a thousand years span or more. I’m sure that by then I will be singing a different tune.
I took a seat on the icy dirt. The frost burned my ass-cheeks. I looked around and inspected the state of my birthday suit. That was when I noticed that with each step the frozen ground had taken a layer of flesh off the bottoms of my feet. Seeing it now brought out a pulsating sting that went deep into each and every visible bone my feet had. It hurt. It hurt a lot, but thanks to my time at the claws of demons—lesser or not—I’d learned to deal with pain. I acknowledged the pain but did not react to it. That would just be wasteful.
I stood up to try to keep other body parts from losing layers of flesh. I felt bits of skin get ripped from my legs and ass thanking my lucky stars that the bitter cold had my balls clinging to my body otherwise I’d have slightly reacted to pain. Naked and alone, I marched forward and onward, onward and forward, and in every which way found myself inclined. The cold prevented my wounds from bleeding. The blood solidified when the air touched it. Ice cauterizing the wound so to speak. I kept walking until my feet were nothing but bones wondering all the while how that even made sense.
I shouldn’t be able to move without muscle, right? I wondered watching my bony feet move. Also, the cold was so harsh that it should be freezing the blood in my veins and doing some damage to my insides as well. Stopping at the surface makes no sense.
I guess Hell doesn’t have to make scientific sense. It’s probably through some black magic of something beyond my mortal mind’s understanding that Luci is bending the conditions of reality to create the perfect degree of torment.
“Make him walk forever! Alone in a world so cold seeking warmth and never finding it,” he must have said.
That does seem to be your fate, Malloreigh.
I miss Luci.
That face lifted my spirits as much as it disgusted me. But just seeing that perfect beauty was something I needed. Don’t judge me…or do. Judge me all you want. I couldn’t care less. All I have are the fuzzy memories, and the blighting light of Luci enveloping everything I once knew. I wondered if she would soon become the only thing I would know. The only reason I think I remember the others at all is because they were there the day I saw Luci in all her hideous—hideous? Who am I kidding?—purity.
God’s most loved angel.
Is God real?
Maybe all of this is a just my mind creating a false life after death based off Christianity. I mean it’s close, but kind of off… So, maybe?
A laugh left my throat as I said, “Who knows, maybe I’m still asleep in my cage waiting until the demons take me out to play…”
I hope not.
I banished the thought. This could all just be following the Bible because I grew up in a “Christian” society. It was impossible for me to say to be honest. If I was to believe what my eyes saw, my ears heard, and I felt then this was Hell. And if Lucifer was real, God had to be real, right?
My thoughts jumped to and fro as I walked for eons, which I am sure that Luci will come to tell me was only a handful of years or less.
I walked further and further hoping—expecting—change, but never once did it happen. I started to miss the Hell I suffered on Earth. At least it was different. Things happened differently all the time. This constant streaming sameness is maddening!
“Just stop!” I howled at the overcast.
“That was not begging! Do you hear me, Luci? I know you’re listening, reading my thoughts. I’m all you have after all. With the world freed from Hell, I’m all you have!”
“I was demanding this to end, for it’s such a bore to not suffer!” I said, yet I knew that once I was made to suffer I would miss this.
The grass always seems so green just across the way…
But what if I just break down the fence? That’s it! I should just break through the fence, destroy it completely! If I do that all the grass is mine! And then it will be at least somewhat entertaining, because I will then have all—
No… Now you’re just missing what you once had and hating what you once wanted.
“I’m bored! Is this really all Hell has to offer?”
After nothing came to cure my boredom, I started trying to learn how to whistle. I started small, I started with Twinkle Little Star.
Ages later, I learned some songs that I could vaguely remember, I think. After a longer while, I could whistle Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, if I’m remembering it right. I had a girlfriend—I think anyway—that loved all that classical shit. She played everything, mainly the Ninth, constantly for me. Unless that wasn’t a real memory. I bet I just invented it, and, out of loneliness, gave it meaning. I sighed and took to whistling away my troubles.
I started running!
“I ran so fast! You should see how fast I ran. It was so fast!” I cried out. “You weren’t looking! Were you? Watch me! Watch me! I run so fast!”
I thought of Luci. I wanted her to hold me and tell me everything will be okay. I needed that! What man or woman or whatever doesn’t need that? Lizards, that’s who! Evil, cold blooded lizard people!
“I Love Luci!”
That was a show…right? I think so.
I laughed! I exploded with laughter as I ran in circles tugging at my long beard.
I began to sing testing the range of my voice.
I sing so well! I should start a band! But it must be a metal band, because I’m in Hell and they have a certain taste, right? Or is it death metal? I need to know my market.
I kept singing. I have had so many years to practice. That’s why I’ve become so good. Why my voice sounded like a choir of angels with the grit of demons in wonderful harmony.
It’s been so long. Countless years. It has to have been hundreds! So long! So very long!
You’re losing it. A meek voice inside my mind said to which I shouted, “Shut up! What do you know? Please, enlighten me little voice?”
The pressure in my mind was crushing my mental strength. My spirit. I could feel it failing!
You must have saved some. You must of. Bought them enough time to ascend into Heaven. You did it, Malloreigh.
“Madness! You stay away, you… You—” I sprinted away trying to outrun the thoughts. “Stay away madness! You leave me alone!”
I ran for what must have been years.
“Why can’t I sleep? I want to dream!” I cried out falling to my hands and knees praying not caring that the frozen ground ate away at my flesh.
“Dream of me?” A voice echoed against the lonely air. It was Luci! She came back to me! She’s back! Thank my lucky star!
“To think that it has only been seven-hundred and thirty-seven—”
“Years?” I interrupted, unsure. “No, Centuries?” That seems more possible. “Yes, centuries… That’s got to be right. I know it! I just know it!”
“—days.” Luci finished, cackling at my ignorance. “How sad. At this rate Earth will be mine.”
“Nonsense. Nonsense! That is nonsense! I will save them! Give them a second chance! Everyone needs a second chance, Luci! Everyone!” I shouted at the Devil so happy to talk to someone that I could not hold back my glee! A smile burning at my cheeks with unbound ferocity. It probably ruined my bold claims, though.
I couldn’t see him, but I knew he smiled at his pet name! I’m so happy to have someone to talk to! So happy! I missed this so much. So very, very much! And Luci looked as beautiful as ever. So stunning that the light of her perfection made the rest of this boring world look all the more—
Seconds ago, I was in Hell, lonely and dark. Now… Well, now I’m in the center of a coliseum from…
Rome? I wonder at the name. Is that a place?
I can’t differentiate between my imagination and the old reality I left behind. Can barely remember that reality at all. Am I repeating myself? You must forgive me.
Anyway, I’m in the center of an overly large stadium, sand under my feet and walls so high that the opening in the ceiling is as tiny as a pinhole. Floating balls of fire dancing about the air lighting up the darkness, painting up a pretty autumn look that you see deep in the forest during the dying. It inspired me to paint.
Was I a painter? Yes, I must’ve been.
Looking over my body, I saw that I’m ironclad. I look like a knight. I feel safe, but wait…
I guess that would be too much to ask for. At my hip hung a sword that has a striking resemblance to a sword in my favorite Saturday morning cartoon. I drew it out and brandished it up in the air, screaming, “I have the power!”
That entertained me more than it probably should have. Then I spent a moment wondering about the name of that cartoon. Shrugging it off, I looked about the area for something. I had a sword now. I could fight back.
But why would they allow that? If they give me the ability to fight back it must mean that I have no chance, and if I have no chance then what was the point?
My mind asked too many questions about it all to process at once. I decided to deal with them all when the time comes.
I know one thing. I’ll have to fight something. Probably send—
I stopped thinking out of fear that Luci would read my thoughts. I took to whistling. Had to keep my mind blank! Couldn’t give Luci any ideas. He probably has a few good ones, but just to be safe. Just in case I must keep my mind blank.
“The Prince of Darkness is not here. He has left the breaking of your spirit to me.” The voice was brash like a destructive force crashing against my eardrums. I got a headache within moments. “I am—!”
“Shut up!” I shouted over his grand announcement of who he was. “Does it matter? Let us skip the pleasantries of me knowing you and you knowing me. Allow us to skip merrily to how you will break my spirit! Luci promised—”
“Speak not of the evil god, lord Satan!”
“Do you see yourself as evil?”
“I’m wicked to the core, like darkness, like the wickedness that plagues a monster’s deeds. I am the destroyer, I am—”
I cut off the voice once again to shout “Whoever you are please do—”
A claw against my throat cut off my smart words. I was going to mock his foolish nature. What sort of being sees themselves as evil? What a fool! How foolish. Back to being strangled… The claw was attached to a dark man clad in blackness with all the hatred wrath seeks. His everything was littered in thorns. Face was frozen with such rage that it would empty your bladder. Glowing scarlet like radioactive blood, his eyes destroyed me. He was wicked, I could tell, just had one of those faces. But to knowingly indulge in evil for the reason of it simply being such seems foolish. I thought that evil people assumed a justification for whatever it is they were doing.
“Silence! Silence that worthless mouth of yours!”
“Have I upset you?” I tried to say, but the words leaked out like droll. I wasn’t sure if he understood me or not.
“Worm!” I felt the blood drip from my ears. This demon was powerful. Aren’t there princes of Hell? Is he one of them? He dropped me to the sand. I gasped for air and choked as it entered my lungs. Choked even though I’m sure that I shouldn’t be able to.
“Bow before me! Admit defeat, and I will show mercy!”
“That’s clearly a lie…,” It took a while of steady breathing until I could say that. “If you’re so evil then why would you show me mercy. Wouldn’t that nullify the wicked nature you seem to be so proud of?”
“Beg for mercy!”
I thought of all the people living on Earth. The freedom of choice to do the right thing was theirs. To show one another kindness. They’ve been given a second chance, and all I had to do was continue to scream in resounding defiance!
“No!” I shouted. I did this for them. It took a lot of effort to stand up against the angry fool before me. “Cast all you have at me. I know the demons of Hell have legions under them, my friend, I think, talked about that. I’m to fight, am I not? Send your horde of lesser demons at me!”
“Enough!” I shouted, dumbfounding the demon. Standing against this monstrosity was invigorating. He was a drama queen after all. So eager to give up his name just so that I’ll know. Does it matter? Is this all the fury of Hell? Pathetic. I would’ve expected so much more. Luci must be building up for something. Time to put a wrench in the gears of his master plan.
“What’s your name?” I asked the fuming demon before me.
“I am Abaddon!” he spit out the words so fast. I found it funny, because I knew he was worried I would cut him off again. I had thought about it but curiosity got the best of me.
“Abaddon…,” I faked fear, quivered mockingly. So good in fact that Abaddon drank it up. But I shattered his dreams of greatness by saying, “I’ll be sure to tell Luci personally of how you failed to break a mortal man.”
He raged! And in the blink of an eye, he vanished as if never having been there, which is something that things in Hell love to do. That was when I heard the beating of wings.
Bugs? I wondered searching for the source. In the distance, charging in from all sides was an army, an army of armies. They had the wings of bugs, the fangs of wild cats, whipping tails that ended with a razor’s edge. The beating of their heavy hooves, paws, or whatever they had reverberated off the walls.
He wants me to fight, to try, and destroy his army.
I know I can’t. I refused to indulge this false hope that he was building, giving me this sword and armor like it meant anything. I was no knight, no warrior of any kind in fact. I was very sure of that. I was pretty sure that I was a painter.
I wish I could paint right now. Make something pretty in this miserable place.
I took up my sword, like Abaddon wanted, I’d bet money that was what he wanted, and fell into what I believed was a good fighter’s stance. I held this for a moment just to trick him into believing that I was that stupid.
To prove a point, to show my strength of spirit, to spit in his face and mock this Hell, I flung my sword as far as I could. I bet I just made another fallen angel speechless, another demon left to scratch their head at a mortal’s actions. I took up all the strength I could muster. I was scared. So, scared in fact that when I began to whistle it had a bit of a shake to it.
You’ve had it worse.
I proceeded to remove my armor one piece at a time, as best I could. It wasn’t easy seeing how I’d never put armor on, pretty sure I’ve never seen any in real life.
The army was drawing closer and closer as I tossed away the only thing to protect me for at least a little while, at least before all those nasty things could dig through it. I kept my eyes wide and open, until they became dry and teary, looking at the charging pain that promised to make me scream bloody murder. At least I had clothes on underneath the armor. That was nice of him. They were made of a worn thin red fabric, his color I bet.
Red… Why is that seen as evil?
I saw it as passion, as love. To be honest I can’t picture any color as evil. Not even the combination of red and black, black isn’t even really a color, which was what the armor of Abaddon as well as the armor he gifted to me was. I saw black as full. It was all colors, at least to me it was, because it absorbs all light. I would actually call black ambitious. Thinking of colors was calming to me. I must be a painter. I kept whistling. Time slowed down as the army collided with me in an eruption that probably killed a few of them from impact alone, but I only broke a little. No death for me! My whistling was replaced with laughing as I thought of how I just welcomed my torment. The look on Abaddon’s face must have been priceless. Luci was probably thinking up a new grand design to my ultimate fate.
My laughing didn’t last long. I was being ripped at, tossed about, bitten, scratched, eaten, beaten to a mess that was a perfect display of a madman’s mind. The chaos that took over me was a pain I have not felt in forever, and I screamed as my body healed faster and faster trying to keep up making sure that the feeling of being disemboweled never stopped. My screams became laughs became screams and laughs. I screamed and laughed louder and louder.
Finally! Something is happening! Something new!
I bet he found pleasure in this. He was probably grinning from ear to ear as I wept from the reminder of what pain was. My laughing stopped and my screaming took over. I found myself missing the cold void that I walked through alone.
I forced myself to start laughing again. Pushed it out as loud as I could at the thought hoping that I could stand against the wrath of Hell. I hoped my laughing was as disrespectful as spitting in someone’s face.
But it didn’t last long. I was screaming at the unbearable pain within moments!