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In Hell
(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)

This contribution is part of a series:-
1. In Hell (5-Sep-2011)
In the streets of Hell, where the Souls of the damned slave for the Demons, one lonely Soul gets a chance to escape.
2. In Hell: The Streets Of Hell (9-Oct-2011)
The demon Kratak is sent on a scouting expedition that leads him into lethal danger. This is part two of the Hell series.

Page 1

"To work!" The demonís lash fell violently, cracking. "To work, every last one of ye."

The Souls stirred, sluggishly moving from their torpor. The Sun of Hell glared through the open windows, already bright and hot to the limits of tolerance, burning huge and red in a black sky. From the streets of Dis the sounds rose, mumbles and scrapings and the occasional demonic howl.

"To work!" The demonís lash curled in the air, cracking.

The Souls shuffled out of their chamber into the street outside. The chamber itself was built of their pain, the streets of their despair, harnessed by the demons and turned into brick and stone. The entire city of Dis was built of and by the Souls, and more flooded into the work gangs by the day. The demons had no shortage of labour.

The streets were already crowded. Gangs of Souls were being led off to labour, guarded by watch- demons of many different types. Among them moved other demons; tall, spindly ones with eyes on stalks, whirling by at the speed of the wind, squat, sluglike blobs with mouths full of needle teeth, giants so huge that their size was beyond guessing, or tiny ones that skittered between the legs of the others. Bent on their own business, they all ignored the watch-demons and the Souls alike.

The Souls all looked alike; grey, virtually faceless and featureless, with only approximation to their original shape as human beings. None of them was entirely complete; some lacked a hand, others eyes, or ears, or mouths. All shuffled on together with an identical gait, heads drooping, into the misery of another slice of eternity as slaves for the demons.

The Souls were alike in another way as well. None of them retained personal memory or a sense of individuality; they had no idea who they had been or why they were here. They were utter automata, serving their demon masters, with their labour and their suffering, until the end of time.

Group by group, parties of Souls began to be separated from the main group, to be taken off to different sites where they would work the day away. Many of these slaved away endlessly on the huge, blocky buildings which never seemed to be finished and whose nature and purpose was known to the demons alone.† Many of the others, more than half those remaining, were led off up the winding road leading to the great palace of the Demon Lords of Dis, there to build up the titanic black walls and furbish the gates with carvings.

The remainder, now quite a small group, only a few thousand strong, shuffled on, under the cracking whips of watch-demons, towards the city gates. They towered over the city, huge and black, carved with screaming tortured faces and glaring, terrorised eyes. There were already Souls from other parties hard at work on the gates, carving, rubbing and polishing. They did not look down at the passing Souls, and the passing Souls did not look up.

Outside the gates and the city walls was the broken plain, black rock under the black sky, lit only by the dim glow of the great red sun of Hell.

The road that led from the gates of Dis was raised slightly above the rough stone of the plain, and had been smoothened by countless caravans over the millennia. The road branched within sight of the city walls, the smaller path leading off to the mines. With a crack or two of the whips, the watch-demons led their charges on to this path and began herding them into the mines.

Among the Souls there was one who was confused. This one had been among several which had only arrived in Dis during the night, and it had not yet endured the crushing routine of suffering that removed the last trace of spirit. It had no memory of itself, no thoughts of the past; it, however, thought that there had been some other reality, which it had known. It still retained enough humanity to know sadness, and confusion.

The watch-demons began to lead the Souls down into the mine-pit. It was a hole in the ground, dimly lit by heat so intense that the rocks themselves glowed a reddish hue, and the air would have seared the lungs of any who might have breathed it. But of course neither the demons nor the Souls breathed.

[ Continue to page 2 ]

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Information
Genre:General Horror
Type:Short story
Rating:7.09 / 10
Rated By:29 users
Comments: 0 users
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