Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fiction: Damned Appointments by Jerry Langdon

Damned Appointments
By Jerry Langdon

Dante described Hell as having nine circles. He was wrong. Hell has nine hundred and ninety-nine planes. Each plane is a hell unto itself and yet coupled in a mysterious way, like lovers. I think it is pain connecting us.
Satan is God here, Hell’s overlord. That is how it works here. Kings, queens, dukes, and duchesses rule the planes, and so on. We have a chaotic feudal system with chaotic laws.
There are always conflicts going on in the attempt to gain power. The stories I could tell.
Hell is not the lake of fire as we are taught, although there are lakes. Many lakes would fit the description that we generally refer to as a gas oven. It is not as if everyone ends up in a lake of fire for eternity. Time has no meaning here, but does flow strangely in comparison to time experienced by the living. One day here can last one hundred living years; or one hundred years packed into one living year. Eternity is an earthly measurement of time, so you might end up in one of the lakes but you will not be there for eternity. We have our punishment times, and our life as usual times. We have jobs just like you. We live in houses or apartments. We have family and friends. We live pretty much as we did before we landed here.
I work as a taxi driver. Yeah we have taxis. You are probably thinking where the hell are you going to go in Hell. The answer is anywhere but out. There is always someone trying to escape. There are ways out, but do not get caught. The cops will not let you go without a fight, and you probably will not win. Every once and again someone does escape. In such cases, hunters are sent after them. I would rather deal with the cops. I have dealt with a hunter once, well, not directly but I saw enough to get the big picture. I see the cops all over, demons that will smite you for looking the wrong direction at the wrong time. If one of them hits you, you will know it. They carry a wide range of weapons, from razor sharp whips to maces with heads the size of a basketball. They do not carry a badge to show they are police, but you know by the arsenal they carry around or by the vehicles they drive. 
Hunters on the other hand are not so easy to distinguish, and they know no mercy. They hunt down those that escaped; those that try to avoid their punishment periods.
Everyone here gets appointed times for punishment. Punishing everyone at once is not as easy as you think and Hell has many inhabitants. We get told when and where to report. If we miss the appointment, the cops come. If they cannot find us, they send out the hunters.
Hunters have their dogs to aid them in their hunts. I am sure you have heard of Hellhounds; if not, be happy. I have looked one in the eyes, eyes that burned deep into my soul. The pain was terrible, as if a million cats are clawing your flesh at the same time. I dream of them every night. Hellhounds burn nightmares into your soul. They are the size of a quarter horses, with rancid, burnt flesh full of gaping wounds infested with oozing putrid puss. Muzzles are filled with what I might only describe as octopus tentacles ending with mouths full of shark-like teeth.
Shit. I hear the Hellhounds now. It did not take long for the hunters to find me. Goodbye. I’ll probably be back, even if only for a moment.

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