This is one of my first stories to be almost completed! I still have a ways to go, and I'm even thinking of beginning a prequel, and a sequel!
This is one of my first drafts, so I do plan on bulking it up and smoothing it out.
The fires of Nether crackle beneath me as I stand at the edge of the hollow, pondering my mission. I haven’t always wanted to kill people; still would prefer another way to reach bliss. Before all of this, I was even a nice guy. Now don’t get that confused with popular, normal or sane. I found a home video, a while back. It depicted a young me, from when I was three or four, and Mom still called me Little Lenny. I was showing her my array of stuffed animals, telling her different the different names and what they were like. Then I turn my head to the side, looking at a spot of air beside me. I smiled, and the smile was not a friendly one. It is the smile of a hunter before it pounces on its prey. I take the stuffed animal in my hands, gripping the body with one and the head in the other.
With strength that one that age should not possess, I ripped the head from the body, and looked straight into the lens, still smiling the cold smile. “Why on Earth, did you do that, Lenny?” Mom’s voice held fear in it, though fear for me or of me, I could not tell. “Adam says we have to set him on fire, now.” I told her this without emotion, without regret, even though I had been snuggling the stuffed animal just moments ago. By the age of ten, normality went out the window, when a diagnosis of “schizo” became a label I wore printed on my forehead. The voices were always talking to me, telling me I was special. I started talking back. When imaginary friends stopped being imaginary and started becoming palpable, my tangible friends were out of the question, too.
By age fourteen, even the imaginary friends turned against me. They never left me alone, even in my sleep. Strings of black outs occurred, and I would wake up with my own blood on my hands. I swear I remember beating the owner of the voice, a boy my age, who was cruel in his ways, telling me I was a devil, but the cuts and bruises on my face and body told a different story. A higher dose of the meds made me a zombie, but it still didn’t quiet the rambling that only I could hear. The nice guy disappeared for a while, and instead, I was a monster; always angry at the voices teasing me, telling me I was different. Like I couldn’t fucking tell.
By age fifteen I had attempted my first suicide, and that’s when I was hospitalized. Oodles of medication made me a drooling, peeing, pooping vegetable, unable to construct a proper sentence. I got angry at that, and I tried to show it; the nurses mistook it as violence towards them, and the doctor prescribed even more medication. I finally gave up; just waited to die from the overdoses I was sure were taking place in my body. But the doctor only saw my surrender as compliance, and they gradually dissipated the dosage of vegetable medications. I started attending therapy in little increments of time, even though I was hostile as could be. And at that time, I met someone. Someone who reminded me that I wasn’t a monster.
Memories flood my eyes with tears as I think of the love of my life that was no longer. Because I was no longer. I mean, I knew I was dead after the crash, had known after the car started rolling that I was going to die, knew that the sharp pain that scattered up my back and up into my neck must be my spine snapping, but I kept waiting for the white light that meant Heaven would come. I was taught as I child that one could repent his sins, and if I were to pray hard enough, if I tried with all of my might to be a good person, that I would achieve the Pearly Gates and be granted eternal happiness. But as the darkness was encompassing me and terror that would have killed me if I had been living unfurled itself inside my soul, I knew something was awry.
I remember looking around for the sea-blue eyes that meant my love was with me, and I found myself feeling relieved when I saw that they were nowhere to be seen. Good. At least God had spared her. The relief was gone in an instant as a feeling akin to being electrocuted shot into my veins like wildfire. It ran along the inside of my skull and cracked my brain open, settling itself inside. “HA” a voice cackled at me, in me. “There is no God, you feather-brained fool!” The voice sticks in my head to this day, like it was put there with industrial-strength glue. It is a cacophony of all things utterly wrong.
As soon as the voice, and the electricity, subsided, screams of bloody murder stuffed themselves inside my ears. Darkness was still clouding my vision, and for a moment, those screams obliterated my thoughts. Dots of red light speckled the darkness, and I immediately tried to zero in on where the screams were coming from. At least ten people sat in front of me, in front of a wall of fire. I rushed over to help them, and grabbed the first man I could get to by the shoulders, struggling to turn him towards me, away from the wall of burning, trying to save him from the flames.
But the face that I gazed on was not, could not be, the face of a human. Humans could not contort their faces into such horrible, mangled shapes. Humans are not drained of all color, leaving them a rotten gray. Humans are not colder than ice. The thing that was in front of me was completely alien. I stumbled backwards, away from the repugnant thing, not stopping until I hit a brick wall of arms and legs. I spun around to say that I was sorry, to ask for help for the man, to ask what the hell this place was, and I froze.
An ocean of gray, lifeless people lurched around, their eyes unfocused and their faces hung slack. My sight started staggering, and my feet became unsteady. Balance abandoned me and I tripped over the lifeless-but-not-lifeless thing. Eyes that were rolled up to their whites, and a jaw stretched open in an eternal scream met me on the ground. I felt as if I was going to be sick, and quickly turned my head from him, staunching the flow of bile that had risen in my throat. Through the waves of nausea that flowed over me, I spotted a cave at the edge of the sea of gray. I ran for it.
The quietness of the cave would have been comforting, if I had not tried to travel deeper into it. The darkness would have been consoling, if not for the Wall of Shadow I had discovered. I now call it The Veil. I have found that it is a door to the other side. The portal to the living. The place where He lives. Where He sentences souls like me to nothing, to better, or to much, much worse.
I have taken to calling Him The One, for He is my authoritarian and my world beater. My king, the Devil to my expected God.
The electricity tingles into the worst type of pain, and travels through me. “Leanord, it is time for your Haunting.” He spurs my mood, dark from the memories, down a darker track. I set my feet in place, ready to ignore Him. “"I suggest that you begin to move, Leanord. Surely your unprofitable self would not like to be damned on this day, when one is so close to achieving his goals. Nether has many demons waiting within it to harvest your mind." That incentive gets my feet moving. Nether is possibly the worst thing that could happen to a soul. It is damnation; the modern day Hell. All fire. And demons are the sparks that light it.
The thought brings another memory to the surface of my conscious. “Demons” He told me, “Are those souls who are so riddled with Corruption that little humanity remains. They used to be souls as normal as those who walk the Earth. But darkness and evil has taken hold of them and twisted them, until the last bit of their sanity is burned from them.”
Shudders go through me, even now, as I remember the Nether soul who I first encountered in Hell. I had been curled up in the cave, in front of the veil, locked inside a shell of my own fear when the electricity had consumed me. He had told me that Nether souls are the process of demons in the making; desperately trying to cling to themselves, trying to fight the fire of Corruption and losing. I had decided then and there that I would never be one to become a Nether soul. “It is not a choice, Leanord” He said, with sorrow in His voice. “No one wishes for that kind of torment.”