In the corner of my mind, I can see the reality of others. Yet, in another corner there is nothing…not even close to being my own reality. Once you’ve entered purgatory, the burns from fallen ash, the heat for the Lake of Fire…it scares you.
But then…you remember that place sorted out for the others, and perhaps your pain and suffering was meant to be.
I watched Cecilia look over the horizon. She did it to remember the sun rise. We knew what time it was on the surface world. Dawn, about four thirty, may be four forty five. No birds. No light. Just the constant glow of blue meshed with orange…like a burning piece of paper.
It always smelled of flesh. I wasn’t sure if this was due to half of my body being burned. The first twenty years, it really bothered me. But there weren’t any mirrors.
Not until today. Often times, trash would roll its way down here. There was a specific area that allowed it to happen, and only upon consequence. So when Cecilia needed something, I would go digging. But today, I stood over the broken piece of mirror, glaring at the irony of the situation.
I also felt like a macaque, for I longed to see a face I couldn’t recognize. Today, I left my love with Choke Fire. This way I could take my time. But now, not only had I caught a glimpse of my burned disposition, I could peer up through the trash hole at people constantly dumping garbage.
If I could get a little closer, would I be able to escape? But then, I’d be leaving Cecilia behind, and I couldn’t do that to her.
Instead, I continued searching around, occasionally kicking her voodoo dolls to move. This saddened me, knowing she resorted to the very thing that kept us bound. But Corle’s soul would make commandments…
However, what could be worse than Purgatory?
Choke Fire would answer.
“The Damnation of your soul, for all eternity.”
Someone was dumping a rope?
I was sure this was a joke. The rope then dangled there, swinging slightly in the light. And I had no intention of fighting my urge to climb it. Perhaps I could come back for Cecilia? Maybe this was just a bad dream?
When I reached my escape, I tugged on the cord and instantly heard hissing. Scelpher was the gate keeper on the east side of purgatory’s entrance. This side was meant for angels, demons, demi gods, deities, and half breeds.
His body tugged through the trash, and as he hissed once more, he twisted to look at me, his belly at my face.
“Think you not a trick?” he hissed.
“I mulled that over. But perhaps I can go back and get retribution.”
“No such thing since you’re already here…”
Our eyes met, his black except for the yellow sliver most would call his iris. I knew leaving would do more harm than good, but something was telling me I didn’t have a choice.
“If I allow you to leave…you must kill and return. But each time you do, you lengthen your stay here,” Scelpher explained.
“Fair enough,” I answered, ready to go.
“What you will come upon is Corle’s family. Kill everyone, including the children…”
“That’s quite a sacrifice to make, seeing as how…”
I stopped, eyeing him again.
“A curse is a curse…”
No rope was needed. I appeared in a room full of photos, guns already strapped to each side of me. Pulling one from its case, I looked over the handle, recalling the feel.
“Rossa,” I whispered.
Both guns made of stainless steel--stained gold. The handles made to represent pearl. Beautiful. But looks can kill.
The door to the room began to creak open. Darting behind the closet door, I peered around as much as I could, shocked to find a teenage girl stumbling in.
“Hello?” she said.
I had no breaths to concern myself with. Though I returned in full flesh, I knew and felt I was still dead.
“I know what you are and why you’re here…” she continued, “everyone in my neighborhood is dying of this virus and my family hasn’t been touched…”
She walked to the middle of the room, looking in all directions.
“Except me,” she whispered sadly.
Not being able to bear it anymore, I showed myself. She was beautiful. Sweet face, small frame. I could tell her eyes were ice blue. In the dark, her irises appeared white. She was close to fifteen, judging by her awkward stance. Or could it be from her near synthetic form?
“I am here to finish a deed given to me,” I said cautiously, “and perhaps we shouldn’t introduce ourselves.”
“I’m Eliza,” she whispered softly, “I used voodoo on my neighbor’s oldest daughter and she died. I drew stars around my home to keep the worst from happening…”
“There is a such thing as karma…” I answered her.
Our eyes met. She was holding a piece of onyx, and I instantly knew who she could have gotten it from. Her hands were shaking, and there we stood still staring at each other.
“Through the chaos, I didn’t recognize the chaos. Meaning…I knew things were bad…but I was jealous…”
The last of her statement was almost inaudible.
No, I couldn’t kill her. Not in the way suggested. I walked past her to the door, looking back to her still standing there, hands shaking.
The house was quiet. But you could hear the people outside. Moaning in pain, screaming. It sounded like a war beyond these walks, one in which I did not want to witness. I crept down the hall, pistol ready for the first victim. All of the doors were closed, and one had a bright light conveying from the bottom, and soft moaning and smacking could be heard.
“Do I have any special powers?” I asked to myself, “I don’t want to walk in and kill naked people…”
“You are only visible to the undead,” Scelpher whispered.
I gasped, looking back to the room I just left, the door still open.
And how am I to kill with guns? I looked at my weapons as if they were not useful, but knew I had gone too far to turn around. Opening the door, I stepped in, disgusted instantly by what I saw.
There was a younger girl bound and gagged, bent over the railing of the bed as another watched in delight-her entire being synthetic. The man with them was lubing himself down when he stopped, noticing the open door.
No one acknowledged me until it was too late. As soon as I decided it was time, the woman standing screamed, backing away and tripping. All the while, the man with her was unsure of what to do. The girl bound began screaming no, so I assumed she was in need of help.
Without hesitation, I shot both the woman and man in the head, and began to untie the girl who was still screaming. Thinking after she was free, she’d be thankful, I began to realize she was with it all along.
“I didn’t come…” she whispered.
With this she began feeling me up and down as if I would join in.
“You shouldn’t have stopped them…”
I didn’t have time for this. I needed to return to Cecilia. As she approached a position of submission, I did us both a favor and ended her life.
The sound of my gun echoed as the room blurred and began mixing and transforming into the trash dump. A swirl of fire and black smoke wisped by as I looked upon the only person I didn’t have to kill. She was smiling and waving.
She looked thankful.
After fully being transitioned, I made my way down the pile of trash, dreading my conversation with Scelpher. Instead, he dropped a bag at my feet and slithered off into the ash and gray surroundings.
The bag was filled with what I was looking for. Bows, remnants of broken dolls, tattered pieces of fabric.
“Thanks,” I mumbled, making my way back.
When I arrived, Cecilia was laying down, pretending to be asleep. I dropped her newly found trash by her bed, kissed her cheek and walked to the bar.
As I returned, and wiped it down, I noticing something catch my eye, and assumed it was built up ash.
But it was the same exact piece of onyx the girl had.
With Eliza etched on it.