Hellhound (3 - The Condemned)
This probably seems like it’s going by rather quickly, but I’m just doing that so I can get to the main part of the storyline faster. I did have to cut this chapter in half, though, cause of the length, so the next one is a direct continuation of this chapter. And, as for the implied accents of some of the characters, I found it far too difficult trying to write their dialogue that way, so I just continued writing normally for the most part Hopefully, it doesn’t kill the mood or anything like that:D Oh, and anyone who’s not religious, please note that I’m not trying to be preachy in any way, shape, or form with this entire story premise. I can’t stress that enough. Enjoy
<- Chapter 2
“Quite a sad story…and to go through it at such a young age…just horrible.”
“…Yeah, …but even so, people my age die almost every day, unfortunately. The way of the world, I guess, no matter how morbid. …She’s safe, though, and I’m grateful that I could’ve been there to help her when she needed me most. …Truthfully, though, I think I have more pressing matters to think about right now.”
I was still unsure exactly who this man was, …but even so, I’m glad that he had come to speak with me. He said that his name was Ivan Castro and, while also taking into account his thick accent, I immediately suspected him to be Russian…or, at least, of Russian lineage. The smile that emerged on his face when I asked him about this only confirmed it.
“Indeed, I am. …Forty-nine years-old when I was killed myself…about thirty-two years ago.”
“…It was a big drug raid. About ten tons of coke and heroin, I remember there bein’. …Cops caught onto us, …I ended up bein’ shot dead by a rookie that was among them. I could tell he was a new gun cause didn’t anyone provoke him into doing it.”
“…You were a smuggler.”
“Well, I did what I could to survive, my boy, …Justin, was it?”
“…Yeah, it’s Justin. …Did you ever…um…?”
“Hmhmhmhm, no no. Rest assured, we weren’t the killin’ type. …I reckon you’re tryin’ to find out why I’m in Hell.”
It sounded almost mischievous the way he said it, …so I hesitated a moment.
“Um, …yeah. I guess.”
It was at this point that Ivan hesitated, as well. He had only just finished listening to my own story, …so he must have assumed that I wouldn’t…appreciate his answer.
“…I never did find much proof in God during my lifetime. …Oh, there were signs here n’ there, but I just never found somethin’ to really make me believe. …I was a stubborn man, I guess.”
…Naturally, a religious man, such as myself, would completely agree with this remark. …However, …I suppose that means that I’m not very natural.
“Anybody that supports a claim they can’t prove true is stubborn, Ivan.”
“…That goes for anyone and everyone. …Those who deny the existence of deities can’t prove that they don’t exist somewhere in this universe or in another, …nor can those who believe in them prove that they do. The only difference is that the stubbornness of believers is called faith. …It’s all just a pointless battle, in my opinion.”
“…Maybe so, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m in Hell now.”
“…I guess not. …After all, if there was a way out once you’re already here, why would anyone bother following his teachings while they were alive?”
“…If they KNEW there was a way out.”
I was about to start speaking again, …but then this small remark began running through my head.
“…What the hell did he mean by that?”
He must have noticed the look of confusion I was now sporting on my face, because his smile got slightly wider.
“I think we ought to speak of this in another place. …Come. Follow me.”
“What!? …You’re kidding me.”
“Hmhmhm, …age and disease no longer apply here, if you haven’t realized it already. It’s the reason I still look the way I did when I died. …However, the resurrection you just went through only applies to wound-inflicted death, …like your little episode with the guillotine, so malnutrition is still a concern. …It’s not anything big, though. They only feed us enough to keep us…uh…alive until we’re to be killed again.”
…I understood why he paused while choosing his wording. I would’ve chuckled a little, …but this new information brought something else to question in my mind.
“…What happens if you…?”
“…Die in Hell?”
I nodded slightly…to let him know that his assumption was accurate.
“…Well, …if you think about it, …what other option is there?”
I felt a shiver run down my spine as I thought about it.
“You…you fade away.”
“Completely from existence. …Did you see the demons yet?”
“Rather pathetic in appearance, aren’t they?”
“Well, that’s cause they are. If one had the strength to do so, they could keep from ever having to go through all that torture. …Unfortunately, that’s the way we get our meals, so we’re left with no other choice.”
“…Do you ever get used to it?”
“Afraid not. They always come up with some new way of killing us. Everyone always starts with the guillotine, cause it’s so quick, …but it only gets worse from there, I assure you. …It is said that no one in Hell ever dies the same way twice.”
“…Good to know.”
By the time this conversation had ended, the two of us had entered a large room filled with many other condemned souls. …The cafeteria itself bore some similarities to the rooms, the walls being decorated with blood and several different instruments with which to draw it. Anyone that wasn’t getting food was sitting down and conversing, …surrounded by demons on either side of the numerous tables. It was almost like prison, only much more…terrifying in person. We wasted no time in getting into line after grabbing one of the rusty trays stacked lazily upon the ground. The food, in every shape of the word, looked…delicious, …though I admit that I was rather famished at the time. Fortunately, Ivan was there to give me advice.
“Whatever you do, stay away from any meat other than chicken. They make them look decent enough to trick you into getting them. The chicken has a few…maggots on top of it, …but that’s to make you think there’s some inside of it, too. I’d get it because it fills you up better than most of the other things here. …And no fruit. Stick with the vegetables. They know all too well that most people prefer fruit and take advantage of it. …And as for soup, …clear broth only. …There’s no dessert, obviously, but that’s to be expected, I think.”
“Is there a limit?”
“Hmhm, they’re amazed when anyone is willing to get a trayful of this garbage. …Oh, and you only get one meal in between torturings.”
“How do they know you aren’t lying if you say you haven’t had your meal yet?”
Just after I asked him, I watched as he placed his hand on top of the bare counter in front of us. He looked as if he was bracing himself for something and I began wondering what was going on, …until I saw a demon appear from behind the counter with a small knife in hand. I instantly began shifting my gaze between the knife, the hand, and both of their faces, wondering what was about to happen, …until the demon plunged the knife through the center of Ivan’s hand. …It seemed he had gotten rather used to the pain, because he hardly cringed at all.
“…That’s how. Don’t worry about it too much. …This is nothing compared to the other things they’ll do to you here.”
I took his advice and placed my right hand on the counter, as well, gritting my teeth as the same wound was inflicted onto me. Once this was done, we began looking for a spot to sit down at, …all the while I couldn’t stop looking at the blood dripping from my punctured hand. When we finally found a table with a few empty seats, we quickly took them for ourselves, while one of the men already sitting at the table greeted Ivan as he sat down.
“Hey, Ivan. Where you been, man? You up n’ left your room as soon as you got back from the stake.”
“…Same thing as usual, Carmine.”
“Ah, greetin’ the newcomers, I reckon? …Is this one of ‘em?”
I was attempting to scarf down the tray of revolting food before me when I heard the man mention me. Looking up to greet him, I instantly realized that…I had seen him before, …though not in person. Before I could completely wrap my head around the answer, I noticed his hand stretched out in front of me.
“The name’s Carmine…Alvatraz. Pleasure meetin’ you, uh…”
…Alvatraz, …now I was certain of who he was as I shook his hand.
“Um, it’s Justin…Justin Drayton. Hey, aren’t you the Italian crime lord that got caught in New York last ye-?”
I stopped when I felt Ivan place his hand on my shoulder. Coupled with his fretful expression, …as well as the dismal look on Carmine’s face, …this was obviously a rather touchy subject.
“Sorry, I meant no-”
“Hehe, no no, it’s…it’s all good. …Yeah, you got the right guy in mind.”
His head was lowered as he spoke, something Ivan must’ve taken notice to, …since he suddenly began speaking for him.
“Carmine had been trying to get out of his business for many years. …Of course, that’s not an easy thing to do, …no matter how high up in the ranks you are. …By the time of his assassination, his sins were far too great in number.”
I let the words sink into my head. …I had been in Hell for what seemed like thirty minutes at most, yet my original interpretation of both it and the souls imprisoned within it was already proven to be greatly distorted.
“Hey, Carmine. Cheer up, won’t you? At least, you TRIED to repent. …Compared to some of the other trash here, you’re quite the saint, no?”
Another new voice. …I had forgotten that this table wasn’t exactly empty when we sat down.
“Hmhmhm, good point, Louis. …Of course, if you place it in that perspective, everyone at this table should be in heaven, eh?”
This man was sporting a rather faint, …though indistinguishably French accent. …A descendant of immigrants, most likely.
“…Oh, hello there. I apologize. The name’s Louis…Louis Markova. I heard you say your name was Justin, yes?”
…Markova, …a little Czechoslovakian blood in him too, it seemed.
“Yes, it’s Justin. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Louis, …though not exactly in the greatest of places.”
“Hehehehehehehe, can’t agree any more with that. …So, what were you sent here for?”
…I knew he was going to ask me this, …though I’d rather he hadn’t.
“…I…killed someone in…in self-defense. …It was an accident, though. I got shot in the chest and the knife was right there and-”
“Whoa ho, easy, my boy. It’s not worth franting over now, is it? I think that goes for all of us, no?”
“…Yeah, I guess not.”
“Haha, you see? …My own demise holds some similarity to yours. …Of course, the big difference is that…the death of the man I killed was something I had intentions for.”
…To be honest, I wasn’t too surprised. I knew I would meet at least one murderer during my time here. …We were in Hell, after all.
“Unfortunately, the fellow had more of a bite than I took him for. …I died of blood loss shortly after he did.”
“…Do you regret those choices you made in life?”
“Hm? …Well, of course. I took a man’s life and paid the ultimate price for it. …I’d give anything I still had in order to make it up to God.”
“Hmph, I suppose everyone here thinks that way.”
“Still your tongue, Justin.”
I half-expected at least one person to speak out in response to this remark, …though I didn’t anticipate on that one person being Ivan.
“Contrary to what you’ve only seen so far, the large majority of the damned population is fueled only by anger and hatred, just as most of them were in life. …In reality, very few of us begin to develop some form of guilt after our deaths, Louis being a fine example of this. …His desire for forgiveness has pushed him to attempt escape four separate times, when very few of us attempt it even once.”
I instantly recalled what Ivan had said before we came here. …I had almost completely forgotten.
“Justin, …since you’re going to remain here with the rest of us for eternity, it’s in your best interest to let this information seep in. …Everything you’ve ever been told about Shaitan’s domain is little more than utter nonsense.”
“…The fallen archangel known as the Devil, …it’s his true name. You might have heard names such as Lucifer and Satan in the past, …but those names are not his.”
“…The Princes of Hell.”
“I’m a Christian, after all, Ivan. …I know about the hierarchies of Heaven and Hell.”
“Hmm, …you may think so, my young friend, …but there is knowledge in this universe that human beings can only obtain through death.”
“…Like the ability to escape from Hell.”
“Heeheeheeheeheehee, and the fact that it’s impossible for you pitiful vermin!”
“…Heh, speak of the devil, Ivan.”
- The End -
In case you were wondering, I did get most of my source material from demonology. Hope you guys enjoyed this one and sorry about the wait. It did wrap up pretty quickly, though, once I found out where I was going with it