A tall, naked man was standing in the center of a very large room. His eyes not used to the intense light, he could not make out his surroundings past that. "Please take your seat." thundered a thousand voices as if out of nowhere, but in perfect unison. His eyes cleared and he could now see where he was. It was a large white room. No, it couldn't be a room. There was only the reflective white floor and the white metal chair standing upon it. Looking around, it was like an illusion. The walls and ceiling appeared to not exist or to be far enough away that they were out of sight. Remembering the voices' command, he grasped the cold metal of the chair's back and sat himself wearily in it. He looked around in every possible direction, but could not see anyone.
"Do you know where you are right now?" inquired the voices from an unknown location.
"No." he croaked.
"You are in the Hall of Judgment David. It is time for our decision." replied the voices.
Everything came flooding back to him. He was dead, or at least that is what he'd been told. How long he had been this way was undeterminable, it could have been days or weeks for all he knew. All he could remember was being in a very small bleak room with no doors or windows since it happened. It was much like this room only on a much smaller scale. A few minutes after he had woken up in that cramped cell a voice, much like the ones he now heard, had told him plain and simply that he was now dead.
The last memory he had of before was of lying in a hospital bed somewhere in Arizona. He was alone and painfully dying. No one had come to visit him, he had no one he cared about or that cared about him. He had driven the last of his loved ones off years ago and now he lay helpless in a bed watching his life fade away before his eyes. Shortly before he died a well-dressed man came to see him to his surprise. He couldn't make out a lot of what he was saying but managed to get that he wanted him to sign his body over to him for scientific research after he was gone. It wasn't like anyone that cared was going to bury him after he went. No, they'd probably just roll him into a ditch out backwhen it came to it; and he definitely wasn't going to needa bodyafterwards. So, he scribbled his signature down on the form the best he could manage and the man went on his way. Six hours later he took his last breath and awoke to see nothing but an empty white cell.
He rubbed his eyes, "What decision?"
After a few moments the voices replied, "The decision of where you will spend you eternity David. We will review your file here and ask you some questions."
He looked around again. "Where are you?" he asked after a minute of scanning the abyss.
"That is not of any importance David, but to satisfy your curiosity, we are all around you." said the voices in a blank tone.
"Then why can I not see you?" he wearily asked.
The entity responded almost instantly. "You must really learn to be more open minded. Just because you cannot see us, does not mean we are not there. Now please, if we may begin."
After a short pause the voices continued. "Williams, David. Born to Anne and George Williams on October 29th, 1973. Life ended on February 17th, 2006 at the age of thirty-three years; Condemned to die by the disease known as cancer." The voices faded momentarily.
"Now we will ask our questions."
David sat up straight in rough metal chair. "Sure, go ahead I guess." He replied.
"Do you feel that you lived an honest life in your time?" inquired the voices, still with an emotionless tone.
He ran his fingers through his thin brown hair, hunched over in thought.
"I would like to believe I have." He said hesitantly after a while.
"We would like to believe that as well David, but you know as well as we that it is not the truth." said the voices, showing a hint of emotion for the first time in the conversation.
He sat back up, his voice slightly shaking. "What do you mean?"
"Do not act oblivious, we have every moment of your life to look upon and we have. We know of all the atrocities you have committed during your time."
David felt a wave of fear wash over him.
"Oh yes." They continued. "We've seen all those times you killed innocent men and women over some petty matter such as drugs or money. Most times though it was for fun, for some dark longing you needed to satisfy. We've seen those women you've taken advantage of, despite them pleading for you to do otherwise."
He sat there horrified and speechless as the voices continued. Every word from them was calm and intelligent, yet they cut into him deeply. Things he prayed no one would know; that no one could scold him for or throw them back in his face; were coming from the unseen lips of something powerful.
"It was not just women you did this act to, was it David?" They continued. "No, a couple of times it was children too. Can you actually sit there and still tell us that you've lived an honest and good life?"
His body was shaking with building terror. After a couple minutes he answered them. "No. No I can't." He whimpered through the tremors in his voice and the couple tears that had escaped.
"That's what we were hoping you would say. The truth is your best choice at this point." There was a brief pause. "Now for our next question, do you believe these wrongs you've committed can be rectified David?"
He had stopped weeping and was now looking off into the distance. "I want to, I really do. I just don't see how that can happen now." He replied.
In a gentle tone, the voices answered him. "Well it is possible. You must make us believe you are truly repentant for your sins."
David was hunched over again. He thought about all the things he had done with his life. Most of them were not particularly good natured. The more he thought about it, the more and more he was surprised to realize he didn't actually regret doing them. They were purely awful things he had done, but then again he was a purely awful man. He had done what he wanted when he wanted. He had also done what he needed. What he needed was the worst battle he faced. The dark desires that built up in the back of his mind would reach capacity and start clawing for attention, and like any good slave, he would have to obey.
An image of a blonde haired woman in a red dress flashed though his mind. Her name was Tina. He had seen her one night at the strip club she worked at, crawling around on the stage with dirty crumpled bills all around her; Ugly, balding men sat around her on purple velvet stools, whistling and hollering at her. He knew she was the one he wanted from the moment he laid his eyes on her. Just his type. He waited out back by the dumpster until she walked out of the back door. Tonight was going to be the night he satisfied the evil urges boiling up inside him. It had been too long since his last.
She didn't notice him when she came briskly walking out, her heels loudly clicking on the asphalt. He began to silently move towards her as she fumbled around for her car keys. When he was no more than arm's length from her she heard the rustle of his clothing and quickly spun around. With a scream she threw her hands up in fright and dropped her purse; the contents scattering out every which way across the pavement.
"Oh I'm sorry miss!" he said quickly and bent down to collect her things. "I was just going to ask you for a light, I didn't mean to startle you." he nervously continued.
She took her purse from his hands and pulled it tightly against her for a moment before fumbling around inside of it for a lighter. "Oh no it's alright; I just didn't see anybody back here when I walked out. Scared the hell out of me." she said panting a bit.
She fished around in her bag for a few moments and retrieved her lighter. She met the end of the cigarette that was now hanging between his dry and cracked lips with the small flame of her cheap lighter. He stared deeply into her dark brown eyes, his urges beginning to consume his thoughts. He needed to relieve the growing need inside him and quickly, but something resisted action for now. She smiled and stared back.
He snapped out of the memory and looked up from the shining white floor. His thoughts returned to the matter at hand. A new attitude taking command within. A sort of childlike rebellion now hung in his mind.
"Who the hell are these guys to judge me and have control over my fate?" He thought.
"I wish I could persuade you." David said after a while. "But, I must confess that I'm not sorry for what I've done." He still held his head down, a smile of acceptance spreading across his face.
"Now now, David. That's not the attitude we want to see from you." said the voices with a sincere graveness to their voice.
David was becoming annoyed and enraged by the voices. "Yeah? Well whoever you are, you can go fuck yourself. I'm done playing your game."
The voices remained quiet, as if trying to process the situation. The silence only made David angrier.
"Hey, I said I'm done with this bullshit! Now show me the door. I regret nothing, and I am just fine with that!""
He began pacing back and forth in an angry fashion in front of the chair. After a few minutes the voices came back. "Very well David, as you wish. The door is now open. Please enjoy the rest of your eternity." They said with the same grave tone of voice as before.
He turned around and saw a large gray door now standing at least ten feet from the chair. He walked over slowly and cautiously opened it. Inside he saw what looked like the inside of a cave. After a moment he hesitantly took a step inside and the doorway disappeared behind him. He heard a shuffling noise somewhere down the path and he slowly began walking towards the source. Not long after, he came to a fork in the tunnel and saw a torch hanging from the wall in between the two paths in front of him. He saw something shadowed in the opening of the left path. It resembled the figure of a very tall man, but an abnormally hairy man. The figure reached out and grabbed the torch but he could only see his arm. This confused David because the mans arm was about half a foot thick and fully covered by a cotton candy colored pink hair. When the man drew his arm back, now with torch in hand, he as well as the cave wall was bathed in the soft orange light from the flame. David felt a pulse of fear flow through him once he laid eyes on the being in front of him. It was a man about six feet, three inches tall in a thick pink rabbit suit. Its open mouth displaying an assortment of dirty cloth teeth and a dust smeared red tongue. The thing that disturbed him most about this man though, was the pair of big black glassy eyes that seemed to look straight on into his soul. The rabbit man held out his right arm and beckoned for him to follow. Against his better judgment he did just that.
The man didn't walk normally. Each movement was a forced shuffle. Like his mind said no, but his legs said yes. Like some unseen figure was working his puppet strings as he pleased, and the rabbit man was completely aware of it and resistant to it. The tunnels they walked through were extensive and unchanging; Just the same brown and gray rock walls for the entire length of the tunnels. It seemed like they were never going to come to an end. His mind began to wander and his thoughts eventually returned to Tina.
After talking her into it, he was sitting in the passenger seat of her car on his way to her apartment. He looked over at her. She was quite beautiful. Strands of her dirty blond hair draped down across the right side of her face, covering most of her smooth pink cheeks. Her deep brown eyes attentively fixed on the rain soaked road disappearing in front of them. The urges were nagging at him once more; he hadn't meant it to go as far as it had. It was supposed to have ended back in the parking lot, but he had gotten caught up in the moment. It had been too long since the last time; perhaps he was just a bit rusty. Or maybe he had wanted to make it different this time, but it's too dangerous to stray from what you know; especially in this situation. But, maybe he still wanted out. He hadn't killed anyone in a while because he wanted to try and be free of the need; To try and live a normal life and maybe make up for the terrible things he had done some day. But he had caved. He had given in to the temptation, and now that he was here sitting next to his next victim, he had really been sloppy this time around. "I don't want to." He thought. "Not anymore. But, it's gone too far, I'm breaking my rules. It has to end here." He gripped the blade in his pocket and began coughing heavily.
She looked over in alarm. "Oh my god, are you alright?" she said startled.
"Pull over please." he managed in-between coughs.
The car slid to a halt on the side of the road and he jerked the door open. He slid out onto his hands and knees. She came running around the front of the car and knelt next to him. He felt a hand on his shoulder. His urges were in control now, and the rage they brought was almost tangible. He stopped coughing and looked up at her.
"Jesus, what was that all about? You alright?"
"Nothing, nothing." he said slowly hoisting himself up. "I'm alright now."
As soon as he was standing straight he swiftly produced the knife from his pocket and thrust it into her stomach. He saw her mouth open in terror, the only thing coming from it was a dry heaving sound. Warm liquid quickly streamed over his hand. He grabbed her and flung her around so she was against the car. He pulled out the blade and repeated his initial motion until the life was drained from her face and her chest no longer took in air. He let go of her and she slowly slid down the side of the car. He looked down at his shaking hands which were covered in her blood. It was dripping down to the cold, black ground as it ran in-between his fingers. The light rain that fell began to wash it away. He took one last glance at her face, which was too pale now to alive. Her brown lifeless eyes stared off into nothingness. A small river of blood ran up her neck and began pooling before running off the side in either direction. He grabbed her body and moved it to the trunk.
Once she was inside he carefully pushed the car off of the road and into the ditch on the side of it. He turned and examined the clearing night sky and took in a deep breath of cold air. The urges had crawled back into their hiding place and were quiet once more. He then started down the bleak, dark street, making his way back home.
He let the memory go once again after they had walked for what seemed like an hour. They eventually came out on a path overlooking a vast cavern. The room was lit by the enormous pools of lava around which people scurried back and forth in tattered clothing pushing carts of rocks and tools. Some looked at him with a mournful look on their face. The most sincere display of despair was but a stone toss away. The smell of sulfur hung heavy in the air and the heat from the molten pools was becoming unbearable on his naked body. "Well, this must be hell." He thought. It is where everyone used to say he'd end up, and he had. And, by those people's standards, he deserved whatever was to come next. They left the cavern and entered what looked like a cellar off to the right in the rock face. The walls, floor and ceiling were made of the same rock as the cave outside and were incredibly warm to the touch. They came to an old looking wooden door at the back and the rabbit placed the torch in a holder on the left side of the door and went to stand on the right as a silent guard. On either side of the door were two long benches and on each there were a handful of the filthy and depressed slaves he had seen on the way in. David stood a few feet back paralyzed from moving with a mix of confusion and fear. It must have been a waiting room, but for what, or for whom? The rabbit motioned for him to go through the door.
He finally worked up the courage and walked towards the door. As he grabbed the handle he took a closer look at the rabbit man. He hadn't noticed it before, a thick air of sadness hung around this creature. He felt pity for whomever or whatever was behind those big black eyes. Whatever it was, it was clearly a damned soul forced to do whatever was asked of it. He was becoming increasingly disturbed by the rabbit man so he quickly opened the door and stepped inside. He came out into a room much like the one he was just in, the only differences being that it was pitch black in there except for a single lamp shining down intensely in the middle and it was much colder than he expected.
He heard a man speak from the opposite side of the room. He had a thick British accent, and sounded relatively young. "Come into the light would you please David?"
He looked for a source to the voice, but couldn't find it. So, he did as he was told. The harsh light from the lamp was uncomfortably warm on his face.
"Ah tha's better." said the man. "Ya' know Davie boy; you should have shown the examiners a bit more respect back there. They seemed to be quite pissed with you."
David scanned the darkness. "Who are you?" he asked.
"Ah yes, where are my manners. I suppose tha best way to say it is that I'm the man who can either help you here, or make your stay the highest degree of hell that you can possibly imagine." replied the hidden man, with an almost playful tone to his voice.
Still he looked around trying to catch a glimpse of him. Nothing but the mocking blackness of the room stared back.
"Well, can I at least see who I'm talking to?" he asked hesitantly.
He heard the scuff of shoes from somewhere in the darkness along with a sigh.
"Well I suppose I can grant you that much."
He saw a spotlight snap on in the back of the room and it focused on an empty spot of the floor. He heard the cold echo of the rhythmic tapping as the man crossed the smooth stone floor towards the light. He heard the noise abruptly quicken and a man clad in black gracefully twirled into the center of the spotlight's warm beam. He removed his black top hat and skillfully tucked his polished black cane underneath his right arm. He then went into a slow, deep bow.
After a moment he placed his hat back on and spoke while maintaining a playful smile on his face. "'Ello David, good to finally meetcha."
He couldn't help but stare at him for a few moments. He had his head down at an angle so that his eyes were shadowed from his view by his hat.
"What the hell is this place?" he asked.
"Well, I guess you could call this here my office, and you're the cheery, bright faced, new employee I'm getting to know."
The man lifted his head and David saw a pair of cold, lifeless gray eyes now staring into his.
After a moment he spoke. "You don't care much for giving me straight answers do you?"
"You could say that, But Davie, did you consider the possibility that you may not be able to 'andle the truths I 'ave to give?"
He hadn't. There were so many questions he had about this place, but the more he thought about it, the more the realized he didn't want to know the answers.
He looked at the man again; staring blankly momentarily. "What's your name?"
"Well those happy souls you saw out there working call me Jasper."
"Well Jasper..." he started "What do you want from me?"
Jasper began walking toward him, the spotlight flawlessly following his movements.
"I'm just trying to figure out what I want to do with you. I don't want to have to put you out there with those lowly bastards working the mines. I believe your potential may be higher than that."
"Thanks for the consideration, but what the hell makes you think I want anything to do with this shit?"
Jasper walked even closer. He was close enough now that David could feel his stale breath hitting his face. He looked closely at his face. The tufts of hair that hung out from underneath his top hat appeared to be blonde, but also had a lifeless gray glow to it. His face bore few wrinkles and he had the dark shadow of a recent shave around his mouth.
"Because Davie boy, you don't have a choice in this situation. Down here you are no less human than you were when you were alive. You can breathe, bleed, love, and learn. When and if you die here, that is it. Nothing exists beyond this. If I so choose, I can wipe you clean out of existence. Not even a memory shall remain." he said placing a gloved hand lightly on David's left cheek. "So don't fuck with me." He turned away with the same playful smile on his face as before.
He watched him walk a few feet away and then turn back around.
"Well, while I figure out what to do with you, you may ask any questions you have." he said with an uninterested wave of his arm.
David stopped and thought a moment. "Okay, for starters, what the hell was that thing that brought me here?"
Jasper stared at him blankly for a moment and then realized what he was asking about. "Ah yes, Ralph. Quite a character he is." He began to pace slowly back in forth in front of him. "About what you would consider ten years ago, He was in the same place you were. He had been a children's entertainer on a popular kid's television program, hence the rabbit suit. He was much like you, had a craving for the taboo. Would lure a child or two back to his dressing room after filming and have his way with them. The crew got wind of it and he disappeared before they could act on it." He paused for a moment. "They finally tracked him down about fifty miles out of town at a bed and breakfast where he started at shootout with the state police. After an hour of trading shots they finally landed one through the right side of his head, killing him instantly."
He walked back to face David. "Then, shortly after, he was in this room. Much like you, he did not please the examiners so he got to this point in I think record time. Our meeting did not end in his favor. When I was finished he had a broken leg, a severed nerve in his spine, gouged out eyes and a missing tongue. I put him back into his rabbit suit just out of personal taste. Since that day he's been ferrying the damned from the examination chamber to here for me."
David eyed him for a moment. "What did he do to piss you off like that?"
Jasper stared into his eyes. "It's more like what he didn't do." He said with a hint of anger. "He just stood in the light looking into my eyes just like now, but never speaking. He always just stared with a big smile on his face. I may have lost my temper after a while and decided that since he had nothing useful to say, he wouldn't need that hunk of meat behind his teeth. As for the other injuries, those just kind of happened." He said shrugging.
"I think it sounds like you're just a big attention starved pussy in a fine suit." He said mockingly.
David felt a hand sharply collide against the left side of his face.
"Come on David! You're not seeing things in the correct manner here!"
"And what manner is that?" he said rubbing the side of his face and recovering from being thrown off balance from the slap.
"When you are here in my quaint little slice of hell you are in no position to insult me, bargain with me, say what you want unless i say you can, or have any kind of free will beyond what I allow. You violate these terms again and I will erase you out of existence with as little difficulty as if I were dabbing up a spot of water on a table."
David stood there and stared at him for a while. The deadness behind his eyes was disturbing, but it didn't frighten him. "I have one last question if you'll let me ask it."
Jasper put his right leg foreword and leaned on his cane. "You may." he said with a sigh.
David didn't care anymore. There was no future for him here. Nothing to live for. Only to die for. Why not have a little fun?
"How did a little sensitive bitch like yourself get put in charge of anything other than suckin' some guy's dick down here all day?"
David saw a dark grin spread across Jasper's face. After a minute he held up his left hand and snapped his fingers. Disorientation overwhelmed him once again and bright white lights hit him and quickly faded back to darkness several times before he recovered. His head hung down. He could see that he had vomited down the front of himself at some point during the confusion. He was restrained to something, a big metal slab was erected at a semi-steep angle behind him and he was fastened to it by large leather restraints. There were hollow sounding footsteps approaching him from somewhere in the darkness. It was Jasper, this time in an old fashioned surgeon's outfit instead of his suit.
"Ello old chap, thanks for meeting me on such short notice." he said moving around his left side. Jasper eyed David's chest for moment. "Good lord boy, bit of a messy thing aren't you?"
He struggled with the restraints. "Where the fuck am I?"
Jasper was fiddling around with some cutting utensils. Grabbing a scalpel and holding it up to the light. "Jeez Davie, you kissed your mother with that mouth? You must 'ave, would make anybody blow their brains out in front of their children."
Jasper knew David's past well enough to taunt him with it. It struck a nerve.
"Don't you talk about my mother like that you piece of shit! You let me down and I will fucking kill you!"
"Oh quiet you, this where I'm supposed to have a little fun. I don't need you yammering on about...Ya know what? Fuck it, I'm not in the mood anymore." Jasper said with a sigh while slamming his fist on the surgical tray next to him.
The restraints released him and the slab slid away. And after a quick bright flash, Jasper was nowhere to be seen. Then he heard his voice, it was coming from somewhere in the room but felt like it was all around him.
"Normally i just kill the fuck and be on my way, but today i think I'll give you a shot at "fucking killing me" as you so delicately put it. I'm always up for a good laugh."
David looked all around the blackness. "Just show your face motherfucker and I'll rip your throat out."
"Ooooh now where could I be? Could I be in dark corner number 1? or dark corner 2? Maybe you should come take a peak tough guy."
David felt helpless as he searched the darkness that surrounded him and seeing nothing but a solid curtain of black.
"Aw c'mon ya not even trying!"
David was angrier now. "I'm going to play your sick games here! Now get out where I can see you!"
The spot beam that shined on him significantly decreased it's radius and began spinning wildly around the room while blinking, briefly illuminating certain areas. After a minute he heard Jasper's voice again.
"Ooooh ooooohhh wherrre am iiiiii? Spooky spooky."
"Hey fuck you man! You wanna keep hiding like a pussy or come out and fight me like a man!?"
"Yeah, you're right. I was starting to get bored. Though that is some tough talk you've been spouting off for a man who prays on the innocent for sport; for a man who wakes up in a cold sweat every night crying out in disgust over what he's done with his life; for someone who can't even tell when someone has been standing behind him the entire time."
His heart began racing and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. As he started to turn Jasper's arm swung around and tightly grippedDavid's neck. "Ya know, I was even going to offer you a position as one of the guards here. Even though you'd become one of my mindless killing machines, I figured you'd like the idea of killing questionably innocent people for no reason. Thought that was your thing. But you just had to piss it away."
Heleaned in andkissed David on the cheek. "Tough break mate. Shoulda been more polite. Goes over much better with narcissists such as myself"
A terrible ripping sound echoed through the room. Jasper released David and he fell to his knees. David's entire body was numb; he looked down. He was gripping his stomach and hot, thickstreams of blood were flowing from beneath his hands. There was a deep cut from the left all the way to the right side. He fell down face first and began bleeding profusely. Jasper grabbed a towel off of the utensil tray and wiped the blood off of his scalpel. He snapped his fingers and the entire room was illuminated. Ralph opened the old wooden door at the opposite end of the room and approached David, who had died shortly before in a forming pool of his own blood and insides. He grabbed him by the ankle and dragged him backto the door;atrail of blood smearing along the ground behind him.Jasper had changed back into his suit and was walking towards the large hallway opposite the door. Halfway down he began whistling cheerfully and skillfully twirled his cane. Not a care in the world.