In Hell – Flash Fiction

I watch as the bookshelf topples over onto a five year old boy, his arms raised in self defense before being crushed beneath the weight of it. A bookshelf that I pushed. Another spectral sin added to the list. I listen as he cries out, wailing for his parents. Parents who will never come because of me. They’re both dead upstairs.

It’s a horror show, this existence. I’m only nine months in, and there’s been so much death, so much violence.

We were all taught that good little girls go to heaven when they die. We were lied to. Death is just the beginning.

In the place of waiting, between blood and dust, there is a collector. A foul, vicious man that squats in the darkness between, waiting for strong, courageous spirits to cross. Some succeed. Those who don’t end up in a clay jar on one of his shelves, forced into service.

I never believed it, myself. I was always taught that those who did not serve Christ were wrong. That evil ones would be crushed under His mighty heel. How laughable. I get it now that the creator, whoever he/she/it is, allows everything. There are no rules left. We’re ants in an insane zoo that’s been left unattended for bigger and better toys.

The boy is weeping now. He’ll die slowly if nobody calls for help. I am to stay in the house until he dies and then return to my taskmaster.

These are the terrible errands that I’m sent on now. There is a dark thread between me and the wicked devil that chuckles in the firelight, demanding my obeisance. I can almost feel his clawed fingers dancing against the surface of the jar housing my spirit as he whispers to it, his voice dry and cracking.

There are other phantoms, lost and wandering here, in this house. Some are locked in frustration, unable to move on for whatever reason. Others try to watch over the family; relatives long dead. There’s little to nothing they were able to do against me. The family had made a conscious choice to believe that dead was dead; that nothing existed beyond the flesh.

Pity.

If they’d propitiated their ancestors, given them respect and lifted them, they would’ve been able to keep me out of the house.

I can already see the spectral outlines of the father and mother, standing beside me, frowning as they watch their little boy die. No fear, no anger; just confusion and sadness. There’s nothing they can do to help.In the first year after crossing lies the time of only resting and learning. Neither of them looks tormented, so they’ll probably make it across – if they hurry.

I open my mouth to warn them but a savage jolt crashes into my body and my mouth slams shut. I can feel impotent tears coming but they never fill my eyes.
The boy’s parents fade away and I am relieved. I can feel anger ring through the connection to my dark keeper at the lost opportunity.

‘It isn’t my fault they’ve gotten away, you rotten…’, my thoughts trail off as I realize that he’ll punish me anyway. It’s what he does.

And then he’ll send me out again. Until I’m all used up.

My family has forgotten me. There is nobody left to release me.

I am in hell.

© Copyright Jhada Addams 2012

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