Well Met in the Corridor's of Hell

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Who said hell was going to be hot? Maybe it's just a long corridor down which you walk for ever.

Submitted: April 26, 2017

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Submitted: April 26, 2017

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"Hey!  You!" a voice shouted behind me.  Surprised, I stopped walking and turned to see who was calling.  Back along the corridor a young woman stood waving.  Dressed neatly in a dark slim skirt and blazer, a white shirt, and black, low heeled pumps, she looked as if she'd just stepped out of the office.  I watched as she ran towards me, her long blond hair bobbing to and fro.  A little out of breath, she pulled level with me and smiled.  "Hello," she said, "can you tell me where I am?"

"Oh yes," I replied smugly, "I can do that.  You're in hell."

"What!"  She looked at me as if I was insane.

"You're in the corridors of hell," I told her with a smirk.  "You must be new."

"Don't mess me about," she snapped, "I've had a lousy day."

"I'm sure you have," I sniggered, "but I'm not bullshitting you.  This is hell."

She pursed her small, moist, mouth and stared at me intently with her big, blue, eyes.  Then she grinned and shook her head.  "You're winding me up," she snorted.

"OK," I sighed, "have it your own way."  I turned and began to walk away.  The corridor stretched out before me, all white walls, white ceiling, and grey floor.  At regular intervals anonymous wooden doors faced each other, while overhead neon strip lighting provided tepid illumination.

I felt a restraining hand on my shoulder.  "Don't leave me," she pleaded, "I'm lost."

"Aren't we all, love," I retorted as I turned to face her.  Tears began to well at the corners of her eyes.  "Gawd," I thought, "now the silly bitch is going to get all emotional." In my book, if people do wrong, they should accept their lumps without blubbing.  "For fuck's sake, stow the waterworks," I told her sharply.  It was definitely the wrong thing to say.  Tears cascaded down her cheeks as she sobbed uncontrollably.  "Fuck it," I said apologetically, "I'm sorry."  I put my arms around her shoulders and gave her a reassuring hug.  The scrawny thing was going to be trouble, I could tell.

It wasn’t long before she regained her composure.  She pushed me away, wiped the tears from her face with the back of her hand, and sniffed.  “I thought hell was all fire and brimstone,” she said accusingly.  

“So did I until I got here,” I told her.  “Just goes to show you can’t trust anything anybody tells you.”

“So what’s behind the doors?” she asked.

I pushed the nearest one open and let her take a good look.  A corridor, just like the one we were in, stretched out of sight.  “It’s the same behind every door I’ve opened,” I informed her, “just another corridor.”  I shook my head.  “This place is nothing but corridors.”

“So why is hell supposed to be hot and smoky?”

“How the fuck should I know,” I replied, exasperated by her questions.  “perhaps that’s reserved for committed Christians.”  From the look she gave me I could tell I’d put my foot in it again.  “Look, I’m sorry,” I told her irritably, “but I just don’t know.  OK?”

She looked at me sourly and shrugged.  “If you say so,” she said grudgingly.

“I do,” I replied, as a rumbling sound issued from my belly.  Her eyebrows rose and she giggled.  “Yeah, right,” I said, miffed.  “I’ll give you a bit of advice, young lady," I continued.  "If you’ve got any sense, you’ll keep walking.”  She gave me a quizzical look.  “You don’t get anything to eat down here,” I explained.  “Nowt to drink, either.  So the only way to keep the hunger pains at bay is to walk.  Stop, and you’ll soon feel as if you’re being eaten alive.  Got it?”  She nodded in silence.  "OK then," I said, "let's get going."

We began to walk, side by side, down the corridor.  It didn’t take long before she was asking her damn fool questions again.  “What makes you think this is hell?” she asked, looking at me.

“Because I’ve been a bad, bad, boy," I growled.  "Oh, and because I met Adolf and Eva shuffling along, arm in arm.  She was quite nice actually.  Gave me a smile and a nod.  Adolf was completely out of it, though.  Just kept muttering in German the whole time.”

"Adolf and Eva?”

I looked at her in amazement.  “Adolf Hitler and the missus, Eva Braun,” I replied contemptuously.  “Didn’t they teach you anything at school?”  She looked at me crossly and jabbed her tongue out.  “Right,” I said, “be like that.”

After a moment's pause she was at it again.  “What did you do, then?”

“None of your business,” I shot back huffily.  I took a deep breath and exhaled loudly.  “Actually, I strangled three women who got on my wick,” I said, looking at her menacingly.

“Ha, ha, very funny,” she retorted mirthlessly.

“You’re right,” I said, “I didn’t kill them because they got on my wick.  I topped them because it was fun.”  Oh my, that had the desired effect.  Her face dropped faster than a tart’s knickers.

“Are you serious?” she exclaimed.  “Have you really killed three women?”  She began backing away from me, her head shaking.

“Yes,” I told her bluntly, “and I’d do it again if I had the chance.”

I expected her to run away, but she just stood there, looking aghast.  At length she opened her mouth to speak, changed her mind, and snapped it shut again.

“Look love,” I said finally, “I don't intend hurting you, because you're not my type.  So if you want to bugger off, pick a door and be gone.”

“You’re type?”

“I like women with meat on them,” I answered, “not scarecrows.”

She blushed.  Clearly, I’d hit a nerve.  “I’m not a scarecrow,” she retorted angrily.  I shook my head in amazement.  Here she was, standing next to a confessed killer, and what riled her was being called a scarecrow.  Jeez, I’ll never understand women.

My belly was starting to ache so I was keen to get moving again.  “Look love,” I said, “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.  I just wanted to clear things up, OK?  Anyway, my guts are giving me jip so I’m off,”

I started on down the corridor.  I’d gone just a few paces before I heard her padding after me.  She caught up and we walked on together in silence.  Time has no real meaning in the corridors, so I cannot say how long it was before she spoke again.  Finally, though, unable to contain her curiosity, she aimed another of her intrusive questions at me.  “How long have you been here?” she asked, looking at me intently.  Fuck, she was one nosy cow.

“Depends on what the date is,” I told her.

“March twenty seventh, two thousand and seventeen.”

“Well, the rozzers shot me in two thousand and one,” I replied, “so I suppose I’ve been here sixteen years.”

“Rozzers?”

I shook my head despairingly.

“What?” she demanded, giving me a withering look.

“Where the hell was you brought up, girl?” I asked.  “Rozzers, the boys in blue, cops, police.  Got it?”

“Alright,” she replied tartly, “keep your shirt on.”  She glared at me, and then she was off with her questions again.  “Anyway, what’s your name?”

“Stewart,” I answered, “but everybody called me Stew Pot.”  She snickered but thought better than to comment.  “So, what’s your name then?” I asked in return.

“Debby.”

“OK, Debby,” I said, “what brings you to hell?  What naughty things have you been doing?”

She shook her head vigorously.  “I haven’t done anything,” she wailed.  

"Yeah, right," I snorted, "so it's all one big cock-up, you being here?"

"Yes!" she snapped back.

“You haven’t bumped your old granny off for the inheritance, then?”

She glared at me indignantly.  “No I haven’t,” she shot back, “I loved my gran.”

“Well,” I retorted, “you gotta be here for something.”  We carried on walking in silence, step after tiring step.  I cast a quick glance at Debby and saw her brow was deeply furrowed.  Clearly, some hard thinking was going on.  Perhaps she really didn’t know why she was in hell, after all.  A thought popped into my brain.  "You never said what bumped you off?"

She gave me a look of surprise and shook her head.  "I don't know," she answered mournfully.

"What do you know?" I asked mockingly.  "The cops shot me.  Adolf and Eva committed suicide.  But you, you just appeared here for no reason.  Is that it?"  I twisted my face into a facetious grin.

"Get lost!" Debby snarled.  "All I know is that I was driving to work when there was this great bang and the car was pushed sideways.  Then I was here.  OK!"

"A car crash then," I said.

"I suppose so," she conceded reluctantly, "but that's no reason to think I'm dead.  "I could be in a coma."

"Yeah, right," I said, "where you just happen to be talking to a dead guy you've never met before."

"It's possible," she insisted.  "You could be someone I've imagined."

"OK," I replied, "then explain me this.  How come you're walking down a corridor, instead of screaming your head off in a cauldron of fire?  Did you ever imagine hell would be like this?  I didn't."  That shut her up for maybe three seconds before she uttered a cry of anguish, and burst into tears.  Obviously, I thought, the shock of realising she was dead had hit home.  I moved to comfort her, but she pushed me away.

I was wrong.  Debby gave me a wet, wild eyed, stare and howled.  "I know," she sobbed, "I know why I'm here!"  I said nothing.  There was more frantic sobbing before she blurted out her story.  "I was on holiday with my friends, straight after uni," she began.  "We were having a wonderful time when I got this call from my brother.  He said my mother was ill in hospital and wanted to see me.  I didn't know how bad it was, so I said I'd be back in a few days and carried on partying.  He didn't tell me she was dying.  Then he rang back and told me she was dead.  Said it had broken my mother's heart that I hadn't come to see her."  Debby paused to sniff.  "OK that's bad, I know, but it doesn’t warrant me being condemned to hell for eternity.  I'm only twenty three, after all.  I didn't know."

"It does seem a little harsh," I replied, "but maybe it's not for eternity."

"What do you mean?"

"Well," I answered, choosing my words with care, "I've been told there might be a way out.  Behind one of these doors.  Maybe this place is like prison.  When you've done your time, you're let out."

"Like purgatory?"

"Yeah, that's it," I replied, “like purgatory.”

"Do you think it's possible?"

I gave a hollow laugh.  "I don't know," I said.  "They don't give you a rule book when you come here.  It seems only fair, though."

Debby nodded.  "Yes, that would be fair," she replied, brightening.  "Then her face clouded again.  "But is it true?" she asked.  

I shrugged.  "Some people spend their entire time looking for the door.  Stupid bastards.  You can't look behind every one.  It's total insanity, so best not to try, I say."  Debby gave me a crestfallen look.  “Sorry girl, but that’s the way I see it,” I said.

“I suppose you’re right,” she sighed.

“Well,” I replied, patting her gently on the shoulder, “I like to think I am.  Actually, I've a little routine I go through.  I walk until I’m knackered, take a breather until my guts ache.  then choose a door to go through.  I’ve never found a way out, but it breaks the monotony.”

“I suppose we should get moving then,“ Debby said with a sigh.

One has time to think in the corridors.  Even with Debby by my side, there were long periods when we walked in silence.  Perhaps that was the reason the corridors were created.  To give us sinners time to dwell on our sins.  I certainly had a lot of dwelling to do.  Taking three lives had to be a big no, no.  Just as Adolf would never get a second chance, neither would I.  So no door would reveal a way out while I was around.

“I’ve been thinking,” I said at last.  “Maybe it would be best if we split up.”

Debby gave me a long, cold, look.  “You want to get shot of me, do you?”

“No, it’s not that,” I replied hastily, “it’s just that you stand a better chance of getting out without me.  You might be selfish, but I’m a fucked up killer.  I'm never going to get a second chance, but you might, if you're on your own.”

She shot me a searching look.  “Do you honestly think this exit exists?” she asked.

I shrugged.  “How would I know,” I replied.

“Well,” she said, “I don’t want to be on my own if there’s no way out.  So, if it’s all the same to you, I’ll tag along for a bit."

I smiled.  “That’s fine by me,” I told her.  She nodded and smiled back.  I raised my head and shouted: “Hear that, God?  You can sod your exit!”  Debby giggled and poked her tongue at the ceiling.  “Well,” I said, “I reckon that’s us fucked good and proper.”

“What shall we do now?” Debby asked.

“Let’s take the scenic route,” I said, pointing at a door.  Debby smiled and nodded.  “Here we go then,” I said, pushing at the door.  As it swung open a brilliant light flooded into the corridor, followed by a blast of intense heat.  Numbed, I stared at the scene before me.  Stretching as far as the eye could see was a dazzling, white, desert.

“Is this it?” Debby asked nervously, “is this the way out?”

“Fuck knows,” I answered, “but one thing’s for sure, it doesn’t look like heaven to me.”

“What should we do?”

That was a good question, to which I had no good answer.  I was soaked in sweat from the heat, and from something else as well.  Fear.  My swirling thoughts screamed to me to back away into the safety of the corridor.  Every fibre of my body cringed at the thought of stepping into that baking desert.  I stared ahead, rigid with terror, unable to decide.  Then I remembered that it had been exactly the same when I was about to murder my first victim.  I had been transfixed by doubts then, as well.  Only, I know not how, my mind had suddenly cleared and I had sprung into action.

Events were repeating themselves.  I glanced at Debby.  She gave me a questioning look in return.  I shrugged, and she shrugged back.  It was down to me to decide.  “Fuck it,” I thought, grabbing at her hand.  I stepped onto the burning sand and pulled Debby along with me.  She resisted for a moment, then stepped beside me.  I glanced behind us and saw, as expected, that the door had disappeared.  There was no going back.

The heat was terrible.  A fierce midday sun burned down on us.  We would be dead within the hour for sure.  “What now?” Debby asked in a trembling voice.

I scanned the scene before us.  Off in the distance, a little to our right, was a small stand of trees.  “There,” I answered, pointing to the trees, “we walk there.”



 

 


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