Jeshea is a graduate of honors BA in English and is a freelance writer.
You find yourself gasping for air that somehow hurts your lungs every time you breathe, and you are lifted by an invisible force that makes you stand up. You try to recall how you got into a place that is so dark, and wonder why your eyes are adjusting to the darkness. It was an accident, you remember. You were hit by a car on a rainy day while you were trying to cross the street (without using the pedestrian lane), and it occurs to you that you might be dead.
Fear creeps in, because you were never much a believer, but looking around, you’re pretty sure this isn’t heaven.
“Precisely, Heaven was always too bloody blinding,” a voice seems to come out of nowhere, and you turn around so suddenly, wishing you’d just vanish on the spot, because standing before you is the King of the Hell himself, Satan.
“Don’t be so surprised why you’re here, most of you do end up here anyway,” he growls at you while you frantically try to recall your life, asking yourself why of all the things that you could have done, would have made you be in Hell. You scan for escape paths, but of course the devil anticipates that and his minions that seem to be even more scarier the more you see them appears to look at you.
“There is no more getting back. This is where you shall be,”
A force drags your feet to move forward.
The events suddenly come to you. You didn’t have much choice when he captured you for the job as the new torturer. You had been in the hospital, brain dead after the accident. You aren’t religious, and never believed in an afterlife, so you screamed when he came for you, in all his glory, a demon who was a human dragon. You are crying, begging for mercy, but Satan doesn’t want to deal with your petty begging- although it is acknowledged by the law of the divine that as an average human being, you were offered the job.
Satan gives you a personal tour of the place.
Hell is terrifying to behold. All the books that described it were right, even ten times more. You never liked horror movies, so it is quite a shock for you to see the ways all souls are being tortured. Wailing souls, oh the sound of it isn’t like anything you’ve heard before- the cries of people who have realized that they are submitted to Hell for eternity.
Satan turns to you, and your heart stops upon seeing his face. “Do you not see why we are running out of ideas? Souls here have been around since mankind sinned, this is the end, and yet when punishment comes to you everyday, the souls have learned to expect it.”
He brings you to the section where the oldest of them were punished. Their wails are not like the new ones, as their cries have only turned to anguish, the way people sob when the same things happen to them over and over again. You see how much they welcome torture more; their bodies bleed and they are fixed again.
You finally understand.
“You measure their tolerance of physical pain.. and that is the pain that is easiest to accept. Especially when it comes to you everyday and you are fixed after. A wound only hurts when it bleeds.”
“You question me, human?” His voice is something that will make you shake, and so you do.
“I… I.. you have hired me…” you stutter, but you continue. “I am speaking as a human myself. Physical pain is expected, our lives are short- we are frail, weak.. but their heart.. our hearts.. that is the punishment we all avoid, because we always expect the best. Break their spirits.. look back into their lives and see their regrets, their feelings.. and take it from there.. we.. we have enough of that within our lifetime. then.. then.. you can alternate between physical torture and that..”
You tell him your ideas in a blabber. How you can reenact the way a father rejected his daughter, how a boy you trusted most leave. How friends stab you in the back. How you missed to tell people you love them because you were too stubborn to do so, and you regretted it.
The devil walks to you, his size changing according to the average, and little by little, you notice his features. For in the beginning, the devil was the most beloved, the Morning Star- Lucifer, the most beautiful of all angels, God’s favorite.
In a flash, you see the hurt in his eyes, now turning as gold as the sun. You see him as Lucifer.
You gather courage to ask. “…do.. do you have any regrets?”
He doesn’t answer, and return to his former form. For a moment it is as if Hell had gone quiet under the powers of its master.
© 2020 Jeshea Pineda