Just a little note. This is a story that we had to write, describing our own trip through hell, a la Dante.
While driving to Emerald Mall I find myself at a strange place. It looks like a shopping mall, but I have never seen such a shopping mall in all my life. It has ten levels, including the basement, but contains no windows whatsoever. I begin to drive past this strange mall, but notice that the road surrounding it goes in a circle that leads back to the entrance, the are no exits off of this road. I pull into the parking lot, looking for an exit, but there are none. Just like the road it just circles to mall, leading nowhere. I am beginning to get worried.
"How did I get here if there are no exits onto or off of the surrounding road?" I ask myself out loud.
I decide to go into the mall and ask someone for directions, surely someone will know how to leave. I pull into a spot near the main doors, get out of my car and begin walking towards them. I notice there are no other cars in this lot, and there is no movement that I can see coming from within the mall, other than a solitary cloaked figure standing at the doors. He doesn't look at me, but opens the door and gestures that I enter.
"Excuse me, sir. I am lost and was wondering where I was and how to leave" I asked with a hint of fear in my voice.
"Follow me and all your questions will be answered" The cloaked figure says in a dry, yet kind voice.
I don't know why, but I trust this cloaked figure. It is as if I've known him all of my life. As soon as we enter the mall he draws off his hood. I recognize him, but I'm not sure from where. Possibly he is a childhood friend.
"Yes, I am a friend from your childhood. A friend from the time when were both so very innocent." He said, as if reading my mind.
"How did you know what I was thinking? Who are you?" I asked.
"I am Thomas. A long time ago, we were the best of friends, do you remember me?"
"Yes, of course I remember you, Thomas. It is good to see you, old friend. But how is it that you arrived here and why were you waiting for me?"
"Well, my friend, I died a few years ago, but because of my lack of faith, I was sent here. When I heard that you, too, were on your way to this horrid place, I found a way to escape for a short while and make sure that you are safe on your journey."
"You died? If you are dead and died without faith, I can guess where we are. I would never expect it to look like this, though. Thomas, can you tell me why I am here?"
"Just follow me through this Mall of the Damned and that question will be answered."
So begins my journey through The Mall. So many questions fill my head, but I trust Thomas and believe that they will all soon be answered.
First Floor and The Elevator
Limbo: The Pagans and Atheists
Those who didn't believe in God, or believed in many Gods
We head towards the only object in an otherwise barren room, an elevator. As the doors open, there is a demon blocking our entrance. The demon looks somewhat like a cartoon frog and is almost amusing, but it has a presence about it that makes your legs quiver, your heart skip a beat and breath horrible enough to curdle milk while still in the cow.
"I am Mathais, second most powerful demon in all of Hell. I am the judge of damned souls and watcher of the Pagans and Atheists, who are kept within Limbo" The demon said in a booming voice. "And who are you that thinks you may enter my elevator while still in the flesh? Know that none who are living may pass beyond this point. BEGONE!"
"Wise Mathais, who sends evil souls to their eternal condemnation, this man is willed by forces more powerful than even your dark lord to journey through The Mall. Step aside and bother us no more with your orders!" Stated Thomas in a commanding voice.
"Very well. I will let you pass only because you say it is willed by higher powers. However, if it were not, I would slay the living one where he stands and give him a reason to be here."
Mathais' final words gave me a bit of a scare and after that I made sure to stand as far away from him as possible. He did, however, step aside and did not say anything else to us from then on.
As I stepped into the elevator, I noticed that the inside of the elevator was massive. It was made of black marble and was not dusty nor was it chipped or worn. At the very end, there was a thick, unbreakable piece of glass and behind that glass stood the souls of the Pagans and Atheists. There the sides and floor were rigged rock that jabbed into their feet and hands. Flies circled their heads and blood trickled from their bruised and torn ears, if they had ears at all. Most were vomiting blood and entrails out of tongue-less mouths. Maggots crawled at their feet, feasting on the mess. Then I noticed why they were in so much pain and why the clawed at their ears in such a manner. There was elevator music playing at a very loud volume, and even worse, it was Kenny G! The Pagans and Atheists ripped off their ears in a desperate attempt to stop hearing the horrible music, but all it did was give them more pain.
I blocked my ears, but that did not prove to be very helpful. My guide seemed to be immune to the horrible wailing, as did Mathais. They were both singing a song that I just could make out. It was: "Everyone has a happy place, a happy place, a happy place.". They just kept singing that over and over. I began to sing to, and soon I could no longer hear the other music and I was no longer in pain.
Suddenly the elevator stopped it's ascent and the large marble doors glided open without a sound. My guide motioned for us to step out of the elevator and into a circular room.
Circle One: The Sluggish
Those who, in life, did nothing but rest and relax.
As we stepped into the room the doors closed behind us and the elevator went back down. The room was a huge, circular one that had a group of sinners in the middle of the room and a mechanical track that constantly circled the room. A cable, hung from the ceiling, also circled the room. My guide explained that the sinners would arrive and be met at the door by the overlord of this floor. The overlord would then bring every soul to the entrance, pull the cable to stop the track and throw them into the torturing area, where they would stay for eternity.
The overlord glared at us, but gave us no resistance. This was because, my guide explained, if we were allowed onto Mathais' elevator, we were allowed anywhere. We stepped onto the track and began to circle the room. The sinners were forced, one by one, to crawl across hot coals with their hands and feet tied for 2 miles. To increase the pain they were being jabbed by demons pitchforks and gnawed at by a rabid wolves that the demons had on chains. When they finally made it to the end, they were dropped in a tub of rubbing alcohol and brought back to the start.
As we went around the sinners, I noticed one soul who seemed familiar, waiting to go through the course.
"Thomas, is there any way I could stop that souls torture for a few minutes so that I could speak to him?" I asked my guide.
"Yes there is. Just pull on that cord, call out his name and cry for a minute of relief." He replied.
And so I did and the soul came to me without hesitation.
"Derrick, is that you? What are you doing here in this damned mall?" The soul asked.
"Yes it is me, Derrick. I am here on a holy journey. But you, poor Ross, how is it that you came to be here?"
"In life I never completed the important tasks when they needed to be done, I always did them at the last second, if I did them at all. I only wish I could go back and do things when they should have be done, complete assignments when they needed to be completed."
"I tried to warn you about being lazy and putting important matters off until later, but you never listened. Now look what fate has befallen you, old friend."
"Oh, I probably should have listened, but now it is too late. I am trapped here for eternity. But, now my time away from torment is growing short and I must leave you. Goodbye old friend, take care."
As Ross was dragged back into line, I felt sorry for him. However, it was his fate and he decided it. I did everything I could to help him. There was no more I could have done.
We came to the end of the track and pushed the button for the elevator. The doors glided open and we stepped in, awaiting our ascent to the next floor.
Circle Two: The Greed-stricken
Those who never gave to others, just kept everything for themselves
When we arrived at the Third Floor, I noticed that it was identical to the Second Floor. It had the same track circling the room and the sinners were in the middle of the room, but the middle looked like a poverty-ridden town in the winter. It was freezing when you neared the center and a light blanket of ugly gray and brown snow covered everything. The town had a few small shacks and was very dank and dreary. As we encircled it I noticed some souls moving about, with a few measly rags covering their bodies.
"What souls are these that they are forced to merely live in poverty for eternity? Why are they not tortured in some cruel manner?" I inquired to my guide.
"These souls are those of the Greedy. In life they would give nothing, only take and keep for themselves. To them, this is the worst form of punishment. They are forced to live in poverty forever, suffering the pains of that state. They only have rags to keep warm, they are covered in lice and fleas and every day they catch various diseases." He explained.
"Oh, well I guess that is horrible to live through for eternity."
While we were talking, a soul slowly moved towards us, though I did not notice him until he was directly next to me.
"Derrick, is that you?" The soul asked in a scratchy, weak voice.
"Yes, I am Derrick, but who are you?" I questioned the poor, weak soul.
"It's me, Tim. Do you not remember me? We went to school together."
"Yes I remember you, Tim. But why are you here? I did not know you as a greedy man."
"Well, that was until I became a big record executive. Then I started making a lot of money. After that, all I did was take money from people and party all the time. I partied so much that I had a heart attack and died."
"Wow, that's too bad. It looks like you're getting what you deserve now, though."
"I know, I wish I could go back and change things, but instead I am stuck in poverty with multiple diseases. Right now we are all suffering through the Bubonic Plague."
"It is time to go, Derrick." My guide gently told me.
"Goodbye Derrick. Do not make my mistakes. Try to give back to those who need it." Tim cried out to me.
As we continued around, I saw the horrors of eternal poverty and sickness. People coughing up blood and other unidentifiable liquids, tearing their own flesh off in an attempt to get ride of the fleas.
"Let's get out of here quickly, Thomas, or I think I will be sick.
I hurriedly entered the elevator to escape the screams of the sick, damned souls.
Circle Three: Kleptomaniacs
Those who did not work for a thing merely stole it from others.
As soon as we entered the fourth floor my eyes met with some of the most horrible sights I have ever seen.
"This is the fourth floor. Eternal home to Kleptomaniacs, or thieves. These are the souls that never worked for anything they wanted, they merely stole it or stole what they needed to get it." My guide informed me.
There were souls with both arms and legs tied to a massive demon. All four demons were running in different directions, tearing off the limbs off the damned soul. Once torn off, the demons would beat the soul with its own limbs until it could not move, then they would take a rusty, dull needle and sow the limbs back on. After this, they would tie the soul to a rack and stretch them until the limbs tore off again, then the soul and all of its parts would be thrown into a pit full of venomous snakes and spiders that would gnaw at the limb-less, defenseless souls until they passed out. As soon as they woke up, they punishment would begin again.
All of this was nearly enough to make me sick, but I held it in and continued on. While going around them tormenting area I noticed one soul close on the rack close to the side. He called to me and begged for me to come near.
"Why does that soul cry to me, Thomas?" I asked, hoping my guide could provide me with a fulfilling answer.
"That soul cries to you because and conversation would take his mind off of the pain, even if only for a second." Thomas replied.
"Can I go over and provide such relief to that poor soul?"
"Yes, I see no reason to do otherwise."
So I walked over to the tortured soul and provided and few minutes from his eternal torment.
"Hello, kind stranger. Hear my story and allow me a few minutes relief from my torment." The soul said to me.
"Very well. Tell me your story and forget your pain for a minute"
"My name is Patrick. I am in this circle of thieves because I found a business in bank robbing. I had a very successful career until one dreary day in February. Everything was going as usual, I made off with the money and speeding away from Fleet Bank when two cop cruisers cut me off. I took off and made it safely to my house, but the cops followed me. I ran up to the roof with a high powered rifle and started picking off some of the cops at the bottom. Suddenly, a police helicopter came up behind me and a marksman in it shot me in the head."
He paused for a second to squint the tears out of his eyes.
"Now I am trapped here for eternity in never ending pain. Thank you for sparing me for those few minutes."
"Your welcome. Thank you for telling me your horrible story, though I feel no pity for you. It is your own fault that you are here. Farewell Patrick."
With that Thomas and I left Patrick and headed toward the elevator.
Circle Four: Substance Abusers
Those who harmed themselves with illegal drugs
"This is the floor of the Substance Abusers. These poor souls went through their entire lives smoking, shooting up and hurting their loved ones, if they had any. Now they are here, suffering eternally for their sins in life." Thomas told me.
"I never understood why someone would put their bodies through that kind of torment. I guess now they feel the results of doing such." I said to my guide.
These souls truly did feel the after effect. Some were tied down to tables and had needles repeatedly jabbed into every part of their bodies, injecting heroin. Some were dunked in a bucket of acid and went through multiple bad trips were they would see various horrible things crawling on them and clawed at their own bodies. Your punishment depended on just how severe your drug use was in life. In the end, though, they all went through hours of pain after the drug wore off.
As we were nearing the elevator once more, a soul came running toward me screaming.
"Help, help!!! The bugs, get them off of me!!!! Help me, help me please!!! They're biting me!!! Help!!!!!" The soul screamed frantically while running around and tearing at his body.
"Hey you, get back!" The overlord screamed at the soul, readying his cattle prod.
"No, you don't understand. The bugs talk to me, they tell me what really goes on here in Disney Land. I know your secrets, demon. They told me everything. The bugs tell me things, ya baby, ya, ya. Know why? Because I'm the evil midnight bomber what bombs at midnight, baby! HAHAHAHAHA!!!"
The overlord leaped at him with the cattle prod pointed right at him. After about five jabs with the prod, the soul went down screaming something about a big blue tick and a moth named Arthur. I just disregarded his comments and asked my guide who he was.
"That is Brandon, he was on drugs since the age of fifteen. He tried every drug known to man, and used most of them frequently, too. His parents were rich and blind to his habits so they gave him all the money he needed. When he was twenty-four he drank an entire vile of acid and went insane. Two months later he was shot by the police after running around New York City with nothing on but two strings of bullets, a heavy machine gun, a backpack full of explosives and a red bandanna on his head. His final words were something about Adrian." My guide informed me, with a questioned look on his face.
"Wow, that's pretty weird. Just goes to show what drugs can do to you, though." I replied.
"Yes, they can do odd things to people. Now, we must move on, the top levels of The Mall await us."
Circle Five: Rapists and Child Molesters
Those who harmed others sexually
While ascending to the sixth floor the elevator suddenly stopped and so did the music. I looked at my guide as if to ask him "What is happening? ".
"We are now entering Greater Hell. Here the sins are much more severe and so are the punishments. The brief stop is to wait for the passage to Greater Hell to open. The next floor that we enter is the floor of Rapists and Child Molesters."
The elevator doors opened to reveal the sixth floor, first division of Greater Hell. As I walked in I noticed that the room no longer had a track going around it and a pit in the center where the sinners were, this room was like a chasm buried deep in rock. The walls were made of some type of rough, black rock with speckles of brown, dried blood covering them.
The sinners have their eyelids cut off and their mouths sewn shut. They are then strapped to a table and forced to watch the crimes they committed eternally.
"They not only watch the events re-conspire, but relive them, from the victims point of view." My guide informed me.
"That is fair. I hope they realize what pain they inflicted." I said
"They do, because not only do they relive the event, they also experience the torment and pain that every victim ever raped went through, all at once and for eternity."
"That sounds horrible, but I guess they deserve it, especially those who committed the crimes on children."
"Come, let us walk through this field of pain, on the other side awaits the staircase to the next floor."
"Why do we not take The Elevator any longer?"
"Because The Elevator only travels through Lesser Hell. Those who have been damned to Greater Hell must be led to their punishment on a leash, which is held by a demon who taunts and whips them until they get there." My guide paused for a breath. "Now come, Greater Hell and finally Satan's Den await our arrival."
With that we began to walk through the sixth floor, my guides final words swimming through my head. "What will 'Satan's Den' look like?" I asked myself, hoping my guide would answer, but he didn't.
"This is Katie, a poor sinner who was so hung up on a guy that she stalked him. One day she broke into his apartment, raped and killed him. She obviously can't speak, but if she could she would say that she didn't mean it and that she loves him. I guess the expression 'Love is blind' is true."
"Yes, I guess it is."
"Come, it is time to ascend to the seventh floor, those who took their own lives."
Circle Six: Terminally Depressed
Those who, for different reasons, felt compelled to take their own lives
We climbed the staircase constructed of human bone up to the next floor. As soon as we got to the seventh floor I noticed that it was completely empty. There was not a person there, not even an overlord.
"Where are the sinners?" I asked my guide.
"They are in special chambers, where they are eternally punished." He replied.
"What type of punishment is inflicted?"
"They have to relive the most embarrassing moments of their lives or some have to relive the last few hours before they committed suicide, except when they do, they don't die, it just starts over. Some just live through a really bad day that they had, but it just keeps repeating and it is many times worse than it really was. Everyone is mean to them and tells them that they are worthless, but no matter what, they cannot end the punishment, and they know this, which is what makes it so horrible."
"Wow that's weird. It is kind of like that movie 'Groundhog Day' with Bill Murray."
"Yes, I guess it is."
Circle Seven: Murderers and Hunters
Those who took a human or animal life
We came to the eighth floor and I saw horrors that of which I thought I would never see in my lifetime. It looked as if a medieval battle has taken place and the losers were butchered. The sinners were impaled or hanging from the ceiling by their necks. The poles used to impale the sinners were like big arrowheads stacked on top of each other so that when they were pulled off the poles, it ripped at their flesh yet again. The rope used to hang the sinners from the ceiling was not rope at all, but barbed wire.
The actual punishment was that they were thrown on the poles and brought up and down them multiple times. After this, they were hung and footstools were placed under their feet so that they could just touch their toes on it, causing them to squirm, making the barbed wire rip into their necks more and more. Then the wire was tightened and tightened until they lost consciousness. Finally, their heads are chopped off, as are their limbs and every piece is thrown into a tank full of demon Piranha where they are devoured. Once every single piece is gone, they materialize back into themselves and the torture begins again.
As we ventured through the field of screams and torture, I noticed one soul struggling to pull himself off of the post that was running through his stomach. He managed to muster up some strength and call me to him.
"Hello Derrick. Though you probably do not remember me, I remember you quite well. My name is Tristan and I am here in The Mall because I killed a young couple. Listen to my tale and you will understand why I killed that couple. I had just gotten into an argument with my girlfriend and our relationship was somewhat rocky. I went for a walk to cool down when I happened upon this couple walking through the park by themselves. They were happy as could be and this angered me so much that I could kill, so I did." He stopped telling his story for a moment because he was still sliding down the barbed pole on which he was impaled. "I found a large tree branch and hit them both on the head, knocking them unconscious. Then, I beat the man until he was dead and dragged him into the pond. After that, I tied up the woman and took her to a bridge. I waited until she was awake, then I told her that I had killed her husband and was going to kill her. She screamed obscenities at me, but I didn't listen to her. I guess I waited too long, though, because someone noticed me and pulled a gun on me. As I pushed her over the edge, the man with the gun shot me several times, but it was worth it. I enjoyed every second of it, you know, every second!" Just then he was pulled back up to the top of the pole.
"He is a sick man and I am glad he will spend eternity in Hell!" I said in anger. "How could someone enjoy killing so much?" I asked my guide.
"I don't know, but he is where he belongs now. Do not think about it, Derrick, let's move one." Thomas said.
Circle Eight: Serial Killers and Mass Murderers
Those who took the lives of many innocent people
Now I am nearing the end of my journey and I have a feeling that the top floor of The Mall is not what I am expecting. I don't know why, but I know it will be very different.
"You are right." My guide said. "It is not at all what you are expecting, it is very different from the bottom of Hell in most myths and legends, but enough talk about that, you will soon see what I am talking about, for now, observe the torments of the Mass Murderers and learn from their mistakes."
So on we continued to view the torments of those who took many innocent lives. These sinners are punished in many different ways. They are all locked up in little rooms, but what lies in the room varies. Some are surrounded by snakes, spiders or other nightmare creatures. Some are dangling above a pit, holding on by just a single vine. Some are falling and falling forever and some are just surrounded by darkness.
"They are being haunted by their greatest fears, and if they fear nothing, they are haunted by all the fears of mankind combined, and all at once." Thomas said to me.
Walking around the room were a couple of overlords, checking to make sure they were still terrified, if not, the fear was changed until something that terrified them was found. One room in particular caught my eye. There was a man tied down to a chair with huge television sets mounted to every wall blasting at full volume. The man in the chair had his eyelids tapped open with duct tape, so he could never shut them. The TV's were all playing different things, but they all had one thing in common, they all starred Jerry Lewis. No matter what it was, it has Jerry Lewis in it. The man was screaming in horror.
"Is he afraid of what I think he is?" I asked my guide.
"Yes, that's Rob and his greatest fear is Jerry Lewis. Pretty weird, huh? A serial killer whose only fear is Jerry Lewis. That's how it all began. He would look through the phone book and kill anyone with the first name Jerry or the last name Lewis. After he killed about ten people, he went for the Jerry Lewis. He was planning it all out, but the night before he was going to kill Jerry, he slipped in the tub and cracked open his skull."
"That has to be the weirdest story I have yet to hear in The Mall."
"Well, yes, it probably is the weirdest story in all of the mall. Now we have to venture on, because my time is drawing thin. Soon I will have to return to my proper place, and you will go on to Purgatory. The final floor awaits our arrival, The Tenth Floor, where Satanists and The Dark Lord of Terror himself rests."
Circle Nine: Satanists and Rock Groups
Those who paid homage to The Dark Lord, played really good music or did both
Now I enter the final floor of The Mall of the Damned. I find out that my suspicions were correct, it is nothing like I though it would be. As I climb to the top of the stairs, I here loud music. It sounds familiar, but I can't quite place it because it is muffled. This is because the is a door at the top of the flight of stairs, guarded by two massively huge demons. They glare at us and motion to grab us, when my guide commands them to stop and explains how it is that we came to be here. They seem to understand and allows us to enter. When I walk in, it looks as if there is a concert going on. I notice a mosh pit and I see people stage diving. There is a bar and a table full of the most glorious food ever seen. We take a few steps in and I hear a voice so scary I almost wet myself.
"Ah, here you are, finally. Did you enjoy your tour through my Mall? It did take you a little longer than we expected, though. Did you stop to talk to anyone?" Asked Satan
"Actually, yes I did, why is that a problem. How did you know I was coming? How do you know who I am?" I asked, full of questions.
"You were sent because you were straying from the light of truth and I was supposed to scare you straight. Did it work?"
"Well, yes it did, actually."
"Good, I'm glad it did. Now that you are here, enjoy it. I don't know if you are familiar with the band playing right now, they are called 'TOOL'. Up next I have an older band that goes by the name of 'Pink Floyd', have you heard of them?"
"Yes I have."
"Well that's good. If you get hungry there is a buffet in the corner and on the side of that is the bar. Everything's free, so enjoy yourself. If you want, you can go for a swim in the pool or just relax and listen to the music. I have to go, now, but make yourself at home."
"Wow, Satan's a lot nicer than I thought he would be, and this is nothing like I ever imagined." I said to my guide.
"Yes he is, though he looks tough, deep down inside, he's a cream puff." My guide told me.
After awhile my guide said that we must leave now and go to Purgatory.
"But, I'm enjoying myself here, I don't want to leave."
"You must, this whole journey would be in vain if you were to stay here and accept sin."
"Oh well, it looks like it was worthless, then, because I'm staying."
"Is there nothing I can do to persuade you?"
"No there isn't. Why would I want to? Many of my friends are here, they have great food, great bands and Beth is even here, you know."
"Well, it looks like you have your mind made up. If you ever change your mind, just call my name out loud, and I will bring you to Purgatory."
"Ok, I'll keep that in mind."
"Goodbye Derrick, enjoy your stay in Hell."
"I will Thomas, and goodbye to you, too."
Here ends my journey through The Mall. I stayed in Hell and partied for the rest of eternity, that doesn't sound too bad to me.