Something This Way Comes

“We should probably head back to the mines,” Jim said as he hefted his pickaxe. “Last time we got there late we had to work the row in front of the sodomites and even you have to admit that was an uncomfortable way to spend a week.”

“Ah, those guys are harmless really. At least they’re better company than those fools who keep trying to commit suicide by pitchfork. You reckon they think they’ll come back somewhere else next time?”

Jim rubbed his chin with fleshless fingers and mulled the question over. As he did so he watched a skeleton hop past on one leg, arms flailing wildly in an attempt to maintain its balance. That would probably be a lot easier, he observed silently, if there was a foot attached to that leg.

“I’ve got better things to do than decipher the intentions of all these suicidal simpletons. There have been so many of them showing up lately that they’re overrunning this place, like rats or something.”

“Yup,” Roger said with a twinkle in his empty eye socket, “this place is really going to hell in a handbasket.”

Jim shook his head and turned his back on his companion. Swindle a few old folks out of their retirement savings and end up with an optimistic murderer as your eternal roommate. Death just wasn’t fair at all.

“Let’s go Rog. Maybe the futility of chipping away at constantly replenishing rocks will get my mind of this uneasy feeling I’m gettin‘.”

“That’s the spirit, Jimbo! If we’re lucky we might even get one of the lava holes that’s only ankle-deep! I dunno about you, but swinging these axes when you’re up to your neck in bubbling lava just ain’t my idea of a picnic.”

The two skeletal souls began to make their way to their place of work, the steady drizzle easily keeping pace with them. The bones of their feet sent up clouds of black smoke at every step to accompany the rhythmical sizzling sound they produced.

“It’s kinda funny, don’t ya think, that blasphemers end up here in the Seventh? You’d think The Big D would be a touch more hospitable towards those folks that spent their mortal lives bad mouthing The Big G.”

Jim was about to reply when they were stopped in their tracks by the approach of a man coming along the brimstone path from the direction of the mines. Their heads swivelled to look at each other in unison, then returned to take in the unexpected sight together.

“Well… I’ll be damned.”

“Can’t say that’s something I’ve ever seen before, Jimbo.”

“I suppose that’s true enough, Rog.”

“It’s not that he’s obese, you know? You could put that down to being a new arrival. It ain‘t common, but we‘ve run into a few fleshy bastards over the years. Can‘t hardly recognize them an hour later, once the heat and acid rain gets to ‘em.”

“Exactly. Bloody hell, I hope this wasn‘t what that funny feeling was all about. I don‘t like the looks of this at all.”

“And it’s not even that rainbow coloured parasol he’s got twirling over his shoulder.”

“Nope, that’s certainly not it either Rog.”

“Then we’re in agreement: it’s definitely the Technicolor clown suit.”

The End

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