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In Hell: The Streets Of 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

The screaming skies of Hell seemed to be dripping blood as the demon Kratak made his way up from the street, through the narrow portal, and into the outer chamber of the palace. To both sides of him, work gangs of Souls scraped and polished at the stone, shaping and forming it under the supervision of watch-demons. The palace, though incalculably ancient, was far from complete, and in the scheme of things, never would be.

Kratak ignored the watch-demons and the Souls. His heavy stride carried him through the lower, inner portal and into the main chamber where guard-demons stood aside when they recognised his Sigil of power. Kratak was a Demon-Master; not a very high ranking one, but any Master was far beyond the challenge of a mere guard.

Kratak was gigantic. His immense arms and legs were covered with grey skin like armour, studded and spiked with sturdy knobs and spines. His face, which grew into a heavy snout, was guarded with thick protrusions of bone above and below his amber eyes, and two hooked tusks thrust out of each side of his mouth. He was so tall that he had to bend his head to enter the inner portal, but he moved with a grace and speed belying his size and bulk.

His clothing was simple and functional. He wore short thick boots and leather overalls, both fashioned from the skin of a monster of the Abyss which he had killed in single combat. He was unarmed except for a rune-incised knife at his belt, but in one hand he carried a short staff of bone.At the top of this staff his Sigil was affixed, so intricately carved that the eye was lost in its lines and whorls, its circles and spirals and boxes. As he walked into the main chamber, he held the staff up, so that the Sigil was held up for the guards to see.

The main chamber was huge, so big that the far side was lost in darkness. Its black walls sloped up to a domed ceiling high overhead, illuminated only by narrow slits through which the red Sun of Hell shone dully. Things moved and crawled in the shadows, nameless things that even the guards who spent endless time in the chamber had never seen clearly, and had no wish to.

But Kratak had no business in the main chamber. In the centre of the floor there was a shaft leading down into utter darkness, and he paused only a moment before gathering himself together and letting himself fall into it.

The distance he fell was unknowable. It may have been only twice his own height, or he may have fallen just less than forever. Time and space could be twisted by the Master Demons, and there was no way to tell.

Kratak landed on his feet in a circular stone chamber illuminated by a glowing soul-torch set in the wall. The chamber was roughly finished, its single wall interrupted by doorways at regular intervals, leading into dark corridors. Kratak selected one and passed through it into complete darkness.

He had been down here many times before, but never got used to this stinking maze of passages, where strange sounds came out of the walls and the very air tasted of unknown things. No demon from the outer reaches ever came down here unless he had to, and no demon who came down here ever departed but with relief.

Here, in these vaults and tunnels, things happened which were only whispered of in the upper reaches of Hell, in the black desert under the red sun, among the caravans that crept along the lonely highways, and in the streets of cities like Dis and even Pandemonium. Only rumours ever emerged of what happened to demons, even if they be Masters, who fell out of favour with the Lords of Hell, and found themselves in these tunnels. Kratak – though he had been here many times before – hurried nervously through the maze, deeper and deeper, through tunnels half submerged in liquids whose nature he could not even guess, until he came, finally, to the place he sought.

It was a place of such profound darkness that even Kratak’s eyes could not see a thing, so vast that the noise of his footsteps disappeared into silence without an echo. But his other senses gave him an indication of what sat before him on a gigantic throne, high above the floor. Walking slowly and steadily to the foot of the structure, he made obeisance.

[ Continue to page 2 ]

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Genre:General Horror
Type:Medium length story
Rating:7.6 / 10
Rated By:19 users
Comments: 3 users
Total Hits:11223

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