Life can be hell... let's face it, for some of us, life is Hell. So, Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Friday this week is for us to write about just that: Life is Hell... well, our version of it anyway. My version of it is what you're about to see below. Enjoy!
“Here, take it.” He offered his blade to me – again – as he always did at the end of each and every damned day I’ve been here.
“No.” I was exhausted from his torture.
Alexander had sliced and diced me and my soul a million different ways today as I laid on his rack, while I screamed in agony. And he enjoyed every single moment of it… as my blood poured onto the floor…
…as my bones snapped and cracked under his hands…
… as I was taken apart while my heart and mind was still intact…
Then, as the day drew to an end, I was put back together by him with a snap of his fingers, his mouth pulling up the side of his face – that snide, shitty smile I wanted to burn off his face in a second, but knew I couldn't.
“Okay.” He nodded, “Back to your chamber, arsehole.”
Tomorrow was another day of the very same thing.
But you see, time moved differently here than on topside – you know on Earth where you guys are living, where it’s peaceful. You get to see the sun come up in the mornings. You get to hear the birds singing and plants grow. You get to eat fresh fruit and vegetables and have weekends and Christmas and eat chocolate and … well, live in a world where you can believe in being safe.
Here, I’m never safe.
I can’t run away from Alexander.
I know, I’ve tried to a number of times, and he’s found me each and every time. He knows every corner of Hell and knows all the hiding places, all the passwords and who to bribe, with what and where I’d go to try to vanish… yep, he’s been here that long.
When he knew my butt was coming here, he actually volunteered to torture me. Yeah, we go a long way back… he bullied me big time on Earth, and now he rides my soul’s butt in Hell.
How shitty can ya get, eh?
And after he pulls me apart forty ways from Sunday on his bloody, hideous blood and guts-covered rack, and he’s had his fun with me, he snaps his fingers and I’m whacked back together again and I’m forced to remember what he’s done to me for his own amusement. And he offers me an internship… to take over torturing souls in his place. To take up his shining, sharp blade and be his apprentice – to do his job as he watches over me – so I am always in his debt.
I always say no.
I’ve been here for fifty years (that’s five months for you guys) and I always say no, and he sends me back to my chamber where I never get to sleep, as there’s nothing comfortable about the place. There’s no bed, nothing to sit on, no window to look out of and no peace… there’s always somebody having a screaming fit about something.
And if that’s not keeping me awake, I get visitors who are demons who look like people I’ve loved… like my Mum or my niece… just to confuse me and make me feel horrible and have nightmares when I do get the odd two hours sleep before that dim light of dawn filters through the halls and I’m dragged back to Alexander’s rack and my day starts over again.
In Hell, I’ve noticed I don’t eat anything… all there is to do is endure the torture Alexander hands out. And this shit goes on for another thirty years before I find myself sitting there on edge of his rack, naked, covered in blood and hearing him laugh at me yet again as he asked me, “Here, take it.” And his blood-stained hand holds out that razor sharp blade to me yet again.
The temptation is there. I bowed my head as tears came easily, “No.”
His finger pulled my chin up to make me look at him, “Take it.”
“Aaah, but you’re tempted.” He grinned.
Climbing off the rack, I stand ankle-deep in human remains, “Of course I am, I never will.”
“Because, Alexander, no matter how much you torture me, I believe I will get out of here.” I turned and walked away from him, no longer ashamed of myself.
“Get your arse back here!” His voice thundered in his workstation and suddenly I’m strapped back onto his rack again, “Well, if I haven’t broken you by now, we’ll do double time.” He raised his hand and the shining blade began to slice my flesh again. The pain felt as new as it did on the first day as my howls of pain echoed around the room; joining the choir of other souls of Hell.
I woke in my chamber. My wounds were still healing. Alexander must have lost control, I’m not sure.
“Well, you’re still alive.” A voice said at the door, “I’m thankful.”
I tried to move, but my injuries were too extensive, “Oh dear Lord, help me.”
“I heard your prayers, and I’m here to raise you from redemption.” His voice whispered in my ear as his hand touched my shoulder…
…as my wounds healed…
…as I opened my eyes and …
… woke in a hospital bed with a man next to me; the same man who was in Hell.
“Who are you?” I whispered.
“A friend.” He smiled.
“I saw you in Hell.”
“Hell is relative… everyone has their own private type.” He replied, “Yours was very real…and I had to help you out of it otherwise Alexander would have killed you.”
“How do I thank you?”
He handed me a blade, “Don’t give this to Alexander… he’ll be looking for it.”
“So, you…?” I looked down at my hand and found a tiny sword pendant in my hand, put it around my neck, and pushed it under my shirt. This thing looked totally different in Hell. I looked up and found the man gone, “Exactly who was that?”
A doctor walked into the room, picked up my chart and looked at me as he sat down, “Hi, Angela, my name is Alexander. I’m here to help you.”