More Humour, Now With Added Death!
December 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
You heard me.
Amira’s descent into Hell was anti-climactic. She had experienced a strange feeling of falling, which she attributed to the fact that she had been in a plane that was falling, but it continued even when she thought they had hit the ground. Technically, she had been one second off and attributed the actual impact to an earlier, slightly smaller impact as the plane smashed into a pine tree, but ignored it. Most humans would shrug and judge the difference of a second would be irrelevant.
The billions and billions and billions of chemical reactions that take less than a second would like to disagree. Even a second is incredibly important, but humans don’t think in terms of seconds, much to their loss.
Amira fell into a dark, dark hole that went down and down and down. She did not float in light, nor was there a pleasant voice to greet her. She was therefore, and quite unlike Patrick, terrified out of her mind. Amira had never been a religious person, nor did she have any truck with what a large part of her generation had termed “spiritual”. It tended to involve too much rubbing of crystals and “communing” with spirits in the dark corner of the bookstore for her liking. No, she firmly believed that when you died, your consciousness disappeared into a deep blackness from which there was no hope of recovery.
So when her consciousness disappeared into a deep blackness from which she was recovered, she was understandably terrified.
The bottom of the pit came suddenly. The sensation of falling was suddenly, and painfully, replaced with a sharp jerk upwards as an invisible force grabbed her and held her up by the neck. For a second, she hung in the absolute blackness while her brain tried to get her lungs to breathe heavily and refused to listen to reason. Her wits were currently out gallivanting, and were in no rush to return.
The force let her down, gently, onto a ground that felt like cobblestones. She scrambled as she looked for a corner to hide in, and not finding one, gathered her arms around her legs to shield herself. The feel of her legs was one of refreshing solidness. Her hands felt quite real as they gripped her knees, and the sheen of sweat that covered her dripped onto the ground with a little plock plock. It smelt like a damp place, and the darkness was absolute.
“I can’t be alive.” She said in a valiant effort to kill herself with words. “I simply can’t be. The plane crashed. It had to, and everyone on board exploded, or burned, or was just killed by the impact. This is a dream from a dying brain that’s trying to cope with sensory burn-out. I’m just dreaming, that’s all. I can’t be alive anymore.”
“No, sister, you ain’t.” A soft, seductive voice that dripped with promise, sex, and blood whispered to her from the darkness. Two eyes appeared in front of her, and then a glowing skull that they fit into. That skull sprouted a neck, clavicles, a spine, ribs, and more and more bones until a skeleton stood in front of her, jauntily leaning on a bone staff. Without a sound, muscles knitted themselves over bones while veins and organs sprouted into being. Dark skin, dark as coffee and un-smeared blood rolled up from the tips of the man’s (Amira noticed with a mixture of disgust and desire that he was quite a man) fingers and sheathed him from head (to groin) to toe. Clothing wove itself together on him, covering him in a fine black tuxedo. He even wore a silk top-hat perched jauntily like a crown. The only colour was his white shirt and the white face-paint that covered his handsome face. It glowed in the darkness, offering what little light there was.
He offered her a hand and smiled. His teeth sparkled in the non-light of the pit. “Tifi, you as dead as a four-hour boiled crab. They’ll be pickin’ up pieces of you for a raccoon’s age, if you lucky.” Amira was uncertain, but she took his hand and stood, albeit shakily. He was magnetic; he was terrifying; he was attractive; he was sickening. Amira wanted him and wanted to run away from him as fast as she could.
She was suddenly aware that she was very naked. There are several types of naked. The first is “unclothed”, the type of naked where one simply lacks clothes, as when in the shower or the doctor’s office. The second is “naked”, as when one comfortably lies down with a similarly naked member of the opposite sex (or same sex; the important thing is comfort).
And then there is “very naked”, where one is naked and is very, uncomfortably, aware of that. Amira, finding herself more naked than she wished, tried to use her hands to cover herself.
The man chuckled and it sounded like a tiger’s growl. “Don’t worry about that, Tifi. God don’t like ugly, so He must love you. Ain’t no shame in being naked.” He leaned in close, his voice rumbling and his warm breath blowing on her neck. His fingers touched her arm and they felt hot. Not the even warmth of another human, but the sharp burn of open flame. It spread throughout her, a mix of fever-warmth and urgency. “Unless you’d rather some company?”
“No, sir.” Amira put ice into her voice. It melted immediately, but at least it put a bit of a damper on things. Her flesh cooled a bit and the man let go of her. “But I would like to know where the hell I am.”
The man winked and stepped back. He leaned on his cane and regarded her like she was a particularly interesting insect. She resisted the urge to shudder, but just barely.
“Where the hell you at? Why, Tifi, you in Hell.”
There was a sound like a thunderclap as the pit they were in began to shift. Red light, sick and heavy, peered through the cracks as walls of stone appeared around them and began to shift and change. A long tunnel, low and dark, appeared that led to a lighted area. Amira, less and less able to control her terror, simply shook along with the stone as it groaned and ground together.
In a moment, however, and however long it may have felt to Amira, it was over. The tunnel was smooth and even. The light, no longer red and sick, beckoned to them, urging them closer. Amira thought that it would be nice to be able to see well and not have to rely on the glow that came from the man’s skull.
The man stood there, unmoving. And not just standing still, but no part of him moved. His nostrils did not flare, his chest did not rise or fall, there wasn’t even a breeze to ruffle his clothing. Even his eyes were motionless, the black irises small pieces of obsidian that drank her in, devoured her.
Amira swallowed heavily.
“I don’t believe in Hell.”
“That’s no problem, cher. Hell don’t believe in itself either. Just is, s’all.” He offered her his arm and for reasons Amira didn’t understand, she took it. “We all the damned souls who pass a good time down here in the dirt.” He winked again, and Amira noticed that the whites of his eyes were lost in the shining skull. “Don’t you worry, Tifi. It’s just a big fete down here.”
He pretended to smack his forehead in surprise. “Oh, more twompe I, I didn’t introduce myself.” He stepped back and swept down into an impressive bow, sweeping off his hat and bowing low with his staff. “I’m Baron Cimetière La Croix Kriminel Samedi, but you can call me Mr. Saturday. And you, cher?”
Amira did not return the bow. “I am Amira Mehenni-Flanagan. You can call me Amira.”
Mr. Saturday smiled from the depth of his bow. “Amira.” He smacked his lips like he was tasting the word. “A beautiful name, non? Ah, but we in Hell appreciate beauty, and there’s nothing more fitting than a beautiful name to go with a beautiful woman. Come, I’ll introduce you to the others. You will be my charge, and I will be honoured if you would accept.”
He took her arm again, and Amira did not fight. There was a coiled strength in Mr. Saturday’s fingers, and though he did not force her, she knew that he could. It wouldn’t be right to say that Mr. Saturday terrified her, mostly because her terror was so complete that it was a swirling vortex that turned and twisted and collapsed into itself, rendering individual aspects of said terror indistinguishable from the whole. What scared her more, the fact that she might have actually arrived in Hell, or that Hell existed, or that Patrick was gone, or that she was alone, or that Mr. Saturday could force her into anything if he wished, or even that they were walking toward some place that wasn’t going away.
She was terrified because it was all real. Real.
Reality is something that is difficult for the human mind to process. Rest assured that Amira’s mind, though somewhat altered by the fact that she was dead, was still human. Reality has the unfortunate habit of being filtered into something more palatable by humans. Take, for example, the memory of a war. Were one to ask either side what happened during the war, we would find the impossible contradiction that both countries were simultaneously invaded by the perfidious forces of the other country, making it completely necessary for both sides to be fighting on the defence against forces which were both defending by attacking. In either case, neither side will be at fault for the horrible atrocities inflicted by their side, and instead blame them all on the other side. The human memory conveniently filters out the fact that someone had to shoot someone else in order for their to be a war, and in the end, there was a lot of bad things done on both side. This filtering allows the human mind to blissfully ignore the consequences of the past just in time for the next big war, thus keeping generals, politicians, and arms manufacturers in business and in a state of temporal and aggressive uncertainty. Did they invade us or did we invade them? After a long enough time, it ceases to matter.
But reality, when it’s big enough, has a habit of sticking itself out in the open, incredibly large and impossible to ignore. When faced with that reality, the human mind can either reject it in the face of evidence to the contrary, as most people do when thinking of the size of the universe, or accept it and experience mental fractures as the brain tries to re-write itself to accept this new reality, as most parents do when they find they actually have another life in their hands for the first time.
For Amira, her mind accepted that despite all her certainty, Hell exists and she was going there. At that moment it clocked out and wished her a good night. She shuddered and clung to Mr. Saturday’s arm, who smiled and patted her on the arm, murmuring something reassuring.
The light got brighter and brighter.