The smell of sulphur and burnt flesh rises to my nose.
I wink my eyes slowly, realising that I am lying on the ground.
Stalactites stare at me from a cave ceiling.
Hesitantly, I get up. I don’t remember how I got here or what ‘here’ even means. The temperature feels unbearable. Like lying in a volcano. I try to see into the distance but a thick fog blocks my vision. I examine the floor around me and shockingly discover that I am naked.
I don’t get the chance to fully process my situation as a creature about half my size enters my field of vision. An impish looking fellow. Red skin. Pointy-Toothy smile.
“Welcome, you poor bastard!”, they cheer, “Welcome to your new and great eternal life of Doom and Despair! Welcome to H̶̦͍̪͊É̶̜̒̽͊̕̕L̵̝̻̹̬͔̐̒Ľ̷̫͈͎͕͙̎̔̇̄̚!”
“What?”, I returned blankly while I started feeling my heartbeat in my throat.
“No worries! Take your time. I am going to prepare the first few torments for you so you have a bit of time to process. I’ll be back in a bit~”
It turned away but before leaving, added: “And don’t think about running away. You are my personal little bitch for now.”
Disappearing into the mist, it left me dumbfounded and frightened.
“I died?”, I mumble in front of me and started looking at my body. It didn’t seem harmed in any shape or form. Oh, how I wish I weren’t naked. I don’t even need anything fancy.
As I was thinking that, a soft tingling went through my skin. Slow but steady, fabric formed around my body, culminating in my favourite pair of jeans and a shirt. I grabbed it at the bottom, pulled it a bit up and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A big 20-sided dice prominently pictured on it with the 1 being in front and the words “Party-Killer” below it. The shirt my mother ‘accidentally’ threw away shortly before I left home. Dungeons&Dragons, the devils game. I smirked.
I look up and around. The smog being still there, I carve a cross in the dusty terrain below me and try to take a few steps. I wander around for a bit but always get back to my cross.
I sigh. Is this some sort of test? Surely, I wouldn’t have been able to make myself clothes out of nothing if this were a punishment?
Well, if I have to wait, I could try to do it comfortably at least. Closing my eyes, I visualised the lounge chair from my small living room. A soft breeze around my ears makes me open my eyes again. With a shit-eating grin, I stare at my newly manifested seating and throw myself on it. I let my mind wander, trying to recreate what happened before I got here. But only emptiness greeted me.
“Okay, I hope you are ready for the burning hot sulfur bath I prepa- What in the name of the nine hells is this shit?!”
The imp had returned, apparently not amused about my arrangement. “I just made myself a bit comfortable while waiting. Weren’t I allowed to do that?”, I replied, a bit sheepishly and nervous about the outcome of this conversation.
“What? Comfortable? In hell? Where did you- How?”, its face turning even more red than it initially was. But suddenly, it relaxed and started laughing. It wasn’t a very pleasant laugh. Far for maniacal than I could stand.
“I get it now, I get it”, it started and put its clawy hands on its hips. “This is about Steve, right? Look, I am sorry that I got on your turf with that whole ordeal but Steve had it coming and you know that perfectly well. Can we just forget it? I have stuff to do. Don’t you realise how many new souls come down here?’
When I realised that my mouth was wide agape, I shut it and started nodding. “Deal.”
“Oh, no! No, no, no, no. I don’t make any stupid deals with you Devils. I know that it’s your fetish but I don’t like to get fucked over. Someday, you have to tell me how you managed to sneak into my list for today's arrivals, though. But for now, please sod off and let me work in peace. For Antichrists sake…”
With a throwing hand gesture, the fog around us dissolves into nothing. I nod one more time into the imps direction and go into the opposite direction.
‘What just happened?’, I ask myself. Infront of me, a sprawling and chaotic land unfolds. A mixture of the worst favela anyone had ever seen and wild dreams of H.R. Giger.
‘Well, this definitely doesn’t look like heaven to me.”