Writing Prompt: You’re a living person, sent to the Hell by mistake. Instead of being evil crazed, and tortured, you find the citizens of ‘Hell’ to be pretty chill, and all eager to help you get home.
“You!” Styx stammered, wagging a webbed fist in Frey’s face, “You’re far too flush in the cheeks,” Styx said as he pinched them, “not nearly as gaunt as I like ’em,” he poked at Frey’s belly, “and you still have both your eyes.” he spat in them both, the left one then the right.
Frey stumbled back from the amphibious man, his spewing spit, the rickety boat and the fire lit waters. She shook her head as if in a dream, trying desperately to wake herself up.
“It won’t work.” Styx flashed a grin full of horrid, blackened teeth, like beetles without legs stuck fast in the fat of his gums, “You’re stuck here, with us.”
Jumping back onto his boat Styx threw his arms up to the skies (which were clouds of sombre greys and deathly purples) summoning a wild torrent of flame from the river.
Frey watched, fixated on the bubbling stream of molten lava, as the bubbles rose gently and then popped. And with each pop, from out from the bubbles crawled the most disgusting looking things.
Demonic creatures, keepers of the lands below, each with only one eye to speak of. They bore far too many legs with fine hairs to coat each one, a tentacle here, a tail there, and the remnants of some foul disease stuck upon some place other.
Some looked alike spiders bathed in silk, with horns rising from their bulbous bodies, a lone eye protruding from their backs. But mostly the creatures looked human, with extra (or vacant) limbs, one eye gouged out and far more hair than any mortal could hope to grow.
“I want to go home!” Frey screamed, still backing away from the river of flames.
“We know.” the Horde replied in one voice, climbing out from the waters.
There was a grunt, a series of soft clicking sounds, the roaring of an engine, then silence.
Frey felt her back hit something solid, but not so solid as a wall. Slowly she turned her head to face the thing that had stopped her in her tracks…
“G’day there m’lady, fancy a hand?” it was Azmagol, the literal Hand of Death. He opened up his withered cloak of deeply depressing colours, and from it writhed a hundred tiny members, each grabbing at Frey and trying desperately hard to tickle her to death.
Frey screamed. She jumped. She backed away. Then turned to see the Horde approaching. She was trapped between so much fire and too many hands.
“M’lady?” Azmagol croaked, “Well there’s just no need to be like that! We want to help you.”
“Help me?” Frey froze in place, a terribly hard thing to do around that much fire and flame.
“Yes.” Azmagol waited, hoping Frey might understand, but clearly the mortal was slow of mind as well as feet, “You don’t belong here, you’re upsetting the children.” he gestured to a shelving rack (had that always been there?) filled with cages that held behind their bars little monsters and liquid jars that contained a mixture of dead goldfish and putrid, green eggs. “So, you see, what we’d really like to do…”
“Is to help you get back home!” Styx shouted from over by his boat, utterly dismayed by how long this was all taking, “Now, would you mind, m’lady…”
Azmagol glowered at the little amphibious man. Styx simply laughed.
“…kindly stepping aboard my vessel?” Styx presented the rickety boat atop the fiery river.
Frey shook her head, “No.” she peeked again at the river, “No way.” and once more at the boat, “Not a chance.”
“Jesus H. Christ.” Styx slapped a wet hand over his face, and at his outburst all eighty seven of the demonic horde gave a unified gasp.
“Blasphemy!” screamed a toad.
“He can’t say that name!” yelled the corpse of a man with bright yellow horns. But the corpse knew better than to make assumptions in Hell so added, “Can he?”
“Burn them all!” a nearby goat cried out in a bleat, deciding now was the right time to bring up its ingenious idea to sacrifice Azmagol and the nice lady Frey.
“You can’t burn them,” sighed an egg, “that’s far too cliche.”
Then a beetle suggested, “Why not skin them? You could pickle them, sew the remains together, and I dare say it would make an awfully comfortable rug to lie on.”
“I like that.” the goat started pawing at the grounds under-hoof, “I like that a lot.” it smiled, “Sounds soft.”
Styx decided the madness had gone on long enough, “Silence.” he crowed.
Azmagol saw what Styx was trying to do, and so did it for him.
“Silence!” Azmagol bellowed, in the most harrowing tone, atone that shook the very spine of the underworld, summoning in its wake a flock of ravens that shed their feathers upon the lands in a blanket of pitch black night, causing an avalanche (or three) as it echoed back up from the depths of the abyss.
The Horde fell silent.
“Impressive.” Styx muttered, before addressing the crowd, “We will not be burning, skinning or pickling the nice lady Frey.”
“Or me, for that matter!” Azmagol said in a huff as he folded a thousand arms.
“Or Azmagol.” Styx rolled his eyes back to whites, stuck out his tongue in feigned disgust, and the finally he said, “What we will be doing, however, is helping the nice lady Frey get back home. Alright?”
There came the mumblings of half hearted agreement from the Horde.
“That’s all well and good,” Frey interrupted, still in quite a bit of shock, “but I’m not getting on that boat.”
“Ugh, fine.” Styx clapped his hands and at once no less then a dozen of the Horde seized Frey by arm and ankle, carrying her in their tentacles and on their backs and by use of other such limbs.
She started screaming, the Lady Frey, and so Azmagol put a hand or two over her mouth and whispered gently, “It’s for my own good, M’lady. You’re far too loud, this is meant to be a peaceful place, and your screaming… well, it’s disagreeing with my ears.”
Copyright © K R Perry 2019