From the Archives: Welcome to Hell

Step 1: Create your own vision of Hell
Step 2: Drop a character into it
Step 3: Enjoy the show.

This story wasn’t so much abandoned as much as it mutated into something else, and then that something ELSE was abandoned.

Yeah, that makes sense.

I figure creating my own version of Hell was a bit ambitious, but I did it and I’ve got the notes to prove it. I didn’t really have an ending in mind for this story, but it would have been an entertaining ride as the plot would be, quite literally, one damned thing after another (after another!).



Damnation: Welcome to Hell


He never imagined the gun would be so loud. He’d fired over a hundred diffent types of guns in his life… but none of them had been as loud as the one he had pointed at his right temple. Maybe it was because it was next to his ear when it went off. Maybe it was because it was the last sound he ever expected to hear… so his brain, in the few milliseconds it had before the bullet turned it into tomato paste, amplified it a hundred times louder than it would have been ordinarily.


The last thing Dale saw was his wife’s face. Sheryl was screaming… leaping off of the bed… her naked body lunging towards him. Behind her, Todd just watched without moving. Shock? Maybe shock at being caught… but certainly not at seeing Dale’s reaction. Todd had been in the war with him. He’d seen and done every bit of nastiness that Dale had. The sight of a warm brain spurting out of a self-inflicted 9mm exit wound wasn’t going to stir him one bit. Maybe he just didn’t want to get out of bed. He probably had an excellent view of Sheryl’s ass from where he was.


Sheryl had taken one step when everything went black. Not dark… but black. Perfectly black. There was no light anywhere… not real OR imagined. Nothing.


It wasn’t all that bad.


Too bad it didn’t last.


It was like an explosion. An explosion with no sound or heat… only the brightest light he had ever seen. It flowed around him like water, each drop like a miniature sun. Dale tried to close his eyes, but he had no eyes to close. He had no arms or legs either. He was just a consciousness floating in the light. For a moment, he thought he felt the presence of other people. He didn’t know how or why… but they were there. Beings of an even greater light than that which surrounded him. They were beautiful. They drew closer, and one reached out… but Dale suddenly started to move away from them. They grabbed him and tried to hold him back, but he slipped through their ephemeral fingers like water. He was caught in some unseen tide, and with no arms or legs he could do nothing to resist it. Faster and faster he went… then the light began to dim, and the blackness rushed forth to claim him. Soon, the ocean of light was just a bright dot in the distance… a single star in a perfectly black sky. The star grew dimmer and dimmer… further and further away…


… and then it was gone.


And then Dale opened his eyes.


He was naked, laying on his back in the sand, and looking up at a pale gray sky. There was no sun or clouds, just an expanse of gray emptiness above him. There was white sand as far as he could see in every direction. Rolling, hypnotic dunes vanished over the horizon. It was either a desert or a beach, and, judging from the air, it wasn’t a beach. The air was harsh… dusty and yet sharply acidic at the same time. The first few breaths felt as if someone were scrubbing out his sinuses with sandpaper. It got only slightly better as he continued to breath. His back hurt. Not a muscle pain, but a sharp prickling all over his exposed skin, like millions of tiny splinters jabbing just far enough into him to make their presence known. Dale sat up, and the pain spread to his buttocks and legs. It was the sand. He reached out and grabbed a fistfull, and his palm erupted in fiery pain.


Glass.


The ‘desert’ was a field of finely ground glass. And he was sitting naked in the middle of it.


Dale stood up, and immediately the soles of his feet felt like they were on fire. He tried to brush the glass off of his legs and back, but the effort only aggravated the tiny splinter-like shards, driving them deeper into his skin.


"Dammit." Dale said. He walked, and each footstep was torture. He was walking on powdered glass, and that’s exactly what it felt like. The splinters jabbed under his toenails and into the sensitive flesh between his toes. It wasn’t quite enough to draw blood, but after a few steps it didn’t even feel like he had feet… only jagged lumps of pain on the end of his legs. Dale pushed himself onward. He had no idea where he was going, and with no sun or landmarks he would end up walking in circles in no time at all. But he concentrated and kept going.


"Where am I?" he said. "What is this place?"


The fact that it could be Hell occurred to him with every other step. But was it? Wasn’t there supposed to be fire and brimstone? And pitchfork-wielding red satyrs with pointed tails?


And if this was Hell, where was everybody else?


No. No, this wasn’t Hell. It had to be something else. Dale remembered shooting himself. He remembered the light. But none of that gave him any clue as to his current location. But who said that he had even GONE anywhere? He was probably still laying on the bedroom floor leaking brains out onto the carpet This painful drama was merely the last few surviving brain cells firing their final payload. A fading figment of a dying imagination. It would all be gone soon. The glass. The pain. Everything.


But it FELT so real. Especially the pain. ESPECIALLY the pain. He was even hungry. Could dead men feel hunger? Or thirst? The more he walked, the more he felt both.


Dale walked aimlessly, waiting for the moment when either he’d cease to exist or he’d cross his own footprints in the wasteland.


Dale had just reached the top of a steep dune of glass when he saw the creatures that were mounting it from the other side. It was a caravan of sorts… three creatures on foot, accompanying a crude covered wagon, that was being pulled by a large horse-like THING. It had a shaggy tentacle for a tail, and its teeth were much too long and sharp to fit comfortably in a normal horse’s mouth The walking creatures were all hideously deformed, though they looked like they may have started out as human. One was tall and muscular… like a bodybuilder, only with bright pink skin that bore a network of pulsing red arteries. The arteries were especially noticeable on the thing’s smooth, bald head. The second was deathly pale, and looked to be in the advanced stages of necrotic decay despite the fact that it was walking around and quite clearly alive. The last one had a greenish tint, and its skin was a patchwork of bumps, boils and weeping sores. It was like a walking disease. They all wore clothes and boots made from the same kind of bulky leather, and they carried crude clubs… large stones attached to the end of thick, sturdy sticks.


They saw each other at the same time. Dale turned and ran. Perhaps he was wrong to judge them by their appearance,… but he didn’t want to take that chance. He descended the hill as fast as he could. The glass bit into his feet with every step. He heard shouts behind him.


"THERE’S ONE!"


"GET HIM!"


English? Were they speaking English!?! Dale hesitated…


"UNNGH!" The pink creature plowed into him from behind, and knocked him to the ground. Dale twisted and landed on his right shoulder, barely avoided a face-full of powdered glass. He rolled onto his back, and the creature grabbed at his neck. Dale stiffened his fingers and drove them right into the thing’s snarling face, pulping one of its eyes.


"AARIEIEIEEEE!" It leapt off of him and backed awy, but the green creature was already swinging is club. Dale rolled to one side as the heavy tip of the club hit the glass beside his head. He got to his feet and ducked


WHOOOSH!


The club barely missed his head. Dale kicked the creature in the crotch while simultaneiously grabbing at the club. The thing shrieked, and Dale snatched the weapon from its hand. He immediatly turned and swung it at the third creature that was coming up behind him.


CRACK!


The thing staggered away, a disgusting white fluid pouring from the crack in its skull. The green creature grabbed Dale around the waist in a powerful bear-hug. Dale’s stomach clenched at the thought of the thing’s diseased arms touching his bare skin.


"HIT IM! HIT IM!!" the thing yelled.


Dale began clubbing the thing in the back, but it didn’t seem to do much harm. The creature lifted him off of the ground.


"HIT IM DAMMIT!"


"I CAN’T SEE! HE BROKE ONE OF MY EYES!!!"


"YOU GOT ANOTHER ONE!"


Desperate, Dale dropped his club and grabbed the green thing’s ears. He pulled as hard as he could.


One ear came away with a disgusting squish.


"AAAAA!!!"


The thing dropped Dale. He reached for his club…


THUDD!


And the zombie-thing knocked him in the head. Dale fell back and looked at the thing in shock. He had cracked its skull a second ago… there was no WAY it could still be up and around. The club came down towards his head. He rolled to one side… avoiding the club, but rolling right into the kick that was aimed for his midsection.


"OOOF!" Pain exploded through his abdomen.


The zombie-creature’s club came down again.


CRACK!



When he awoke, he was being dragged through the glass by his feet. His wrists and ankles were tied together with coarse rope, and his back was on fire from the constant friction across the glass. They were taking him back up the hill… he had only been out for a few seconds.


Dale struggled… rolling from side to side while straining against his bonds.


That was a mistake.


The pink creature released Dale’s feet, then turned and brought the heal of his boot down on Dale’s exposed sexual organs as hard as he could.


"ARRRRRRRRAAAAAAA!!!!"


The things quickly rolled him over and dragged him face-down for the rest of the way up the hill. Dale screamed into the powdered glass as it bit into his face and started to scrape the skin away.


He was still screaming when they reached the wagon. The pink thing held him while the other two pulled the tarp back to reveal a wooden cage. The cage had five other people in it… all naked and tied with the same kind of rope that bound Dale. Those that were conscious averted their eyes… not wanting to look at their captors as the three beasts unlatched the door and threw Dale in. He landed on top of someone, but they quickly shoved him to one side.


"W-where are we?" Dale managed to groan


The creatures threw the tarp back over the cage, plunging them into total darkness.


"Hell," someone replied. "Welcome to hell."


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