Talking with the Devil

I awoke suddenly, as if I were roused from a dream. I remember that I was walking along the park and then a man came up to me. The rest of the dream faded from my memory. "I must still be dreaming" I thought. I looked around me and found that I was on a floating island. It was completely barren but also smooth. I couldn't see any signs that it was crafted by human hands. It was almost as if it were created this way. All around the island was a vortex that swirled and shone red with an unworldly luminosity. Black lines would appear within the vortex and swirl with the flow of it.

As I gazed in wonder at this other-worldly light show I failed to notice the man that appeared next to me. "Quite a sight isn't it?" he asked. "I come out here sometimes and just watch the ebb and flow of it. Its beauty really boggles the mind." "Who are you?" I asked after my initial shock had worn off. "Oh, I guess you could call me the manager around here." he replied. He was about six feet tall and had black hair that was slicked back. His hair was so black that I don't recall the light reflecting off of it. He wore an excellently tailored, black, three-button suit and a blood red shirt. His tie was also black and made of the same material as the suit. His shoes were black oxfords that reflected the light like glass. His skin had a reddish tint to it that was almost imperceptible. His eyes were black and his teeth were white with two sharp canines. He had a small mustache and a patch of hair that covered his chin.

"What's your name?" I asked. "Oh, I have many names. Lucifer, Prince of Darkness, Abaddon, Apollyon, tempter, Beelzebub, but you can call me, Satan." I couldn't believe it, Satan, the Dark Lord himself was talking to me as if I were an old friend. "I must be dreaming." I said. "Call it what you will but we have some business to attend to." He replied. He snapped his fingers and a door appeared out of thin air. After opening the door, Satan ushered me inside. I went through like a cow being led to the slaughterhouse.

Once inside the door I found that we were in a vast hallway. It was about 10 feet wide with numerous doors on either side. The hallway itself seemed to stretch on to infinity. On each of the doors was a placard that bore a name, presumably of the occupant. Satan led me down the hallway and as we walked we passed several demons. He would greet each one in a language that made me shudder in utter terror. I couldn't repeat it now even if I tried. Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I asked Satan about the rooms. He explained that each room belonged to an individual that, obviously, was not in heaven for whatever reason.

We stopped at a room on the left side of the hallway. "This is one of my favorites." Satan said. He opened the door and inside was a small room with a man standing in the center of the room. The man was white with Victorian Era clothing on. "This is Simon." Satan said. "He was a mathematician when he was alive. He would constantly figure formulae and work on proofs for theorems. In fact that he devoted so much of his life to math that he neglected his own health as well as many other aspects of his life." "What is his punishment?" I asked. "This is a good one." Satan answered. "He started out at the far side of the room. Everyday he walks half of the distance to the door. When he gets all the way to the door he can leave. He is actually quite close to us but I expanded the room for clarity." He told Simon to "have fun" as we left.

We walked further down the hallway and this time we stopped at a room on the right. He opened the door and this time there was a woman in the room. She was dressed in contemporary clothing, blue jeans and a shirt, and was sitting on a stool. She held a guitar across her knees. She was desperately trying to get the guitar to tune, but to no avail. "This is Sally. She's actually one of our new arrivals. She was a musician up until 3 weeks ago" He said. He laughed at his joke and then continued. "Since music was Sally's life and all that she ever wanted to do, we gave Sally a guitar that will never be in tune or play what she wants it to."

We left Sally with her agony and continued our trek down the infinitesimal hall. We didn't actually look into any more rooms, but Satan kept on telling me about the various occupants, as we would pass by their rooms. I noticed that there wasn't any fire or brimstone, however one of the demons that passed by us smelled like rotten eggs mixed with sour milk. The more that we talked, the more that I felt that there was something that Satan was trying to tell me without coming out and saying it. Then something clicked in my mind. "Wait a minute. All of these people were preoccupied with something on Earth. Something that took away from their devotion to God." "Go on" he said. "And then, when they come down here, that thing that was their devotion on Earth, now it only torments them because it won't work. You've shown me engineers whose designs crumble at the slightest touch, musicians who can never play the right notes on their instruments, and mechanics that can never seem to find out what is wrong with the engine that they are working on. But why am I here?"

"Ahh yes," he replied. "The big question. The one that so many of you humans spend so much of your time trying to figure out while not actually enjoying the process of being where you are. To answer your question, the reason why you are here is because you are not up there." He said as he pointed to the ceiling. "Remember that man in the park? Go on. Try to remember what he was holding in his hand." I thought back to the park and the man. I could see something in his hand, but it was fuzzy. It wouldn't come into focus. "Concentrate on it. What's in his hand?" Satan whispered. I focused all my concentration on his hand and then I saw it. It was a gun. That's when it all came back to me. The man had been mugging me. He wanted my wallet and my watch. I hadn't been fast enough in giving it to him because the clasp had become stuck on my shirt. That's when he got angry and shot me in the chest. Then he ripped the watch off of my wrist and stood over me and smiled. He raised his gun and pointed it at my head. The last thing that I saw was his horrible smile as he shot me in the head. "Oh my God" I said as I sank to the floor. "It's a little too late for that" he replied. "You had your chances up on Earth, but now you're here with me." "I was shot," I said, still in shock. "Yes. We've covered that." Satan said. "So, what is my punishment going to be?" I queried. "Well, we had a hard time thinking of what to do with you." Lucifer told me. "You weren't good enough to get into heaven, but you weren't really bad enough to be sent here. You had as neutral a life as you possibly could. We were going to just leave you out in limbo, but you seemed to enjoy looking at the void too much, so God and I talked it over and decided that you would spend all of eternity here in the hallway. You'll be completely ignored by both sides. You'll have to spend all of eternity looking around at all the other people receiving their individual "treatments" and realizing that no one cares about you. But don't be too sad. You're a special case. No one else has had their punishment explained to them." And then he was gone. I spent what I estimated to be a couple of years by normal standards walking around the hallway. I would see demons come and go, bringing people to their rooms, but they never acknowledged my presence. I think I went crazy for about 100 years, but now I've settled into a routine. Occasionally I'll see Satan walk by, but he never says anything. He just kind of has this odd little grin on his face. Let me tell you now, don't make the same mistake that I did. Pick a side.

J. R. Guinness Posted at 12:00 PM

The Chamber

By: J. R. Guinness

As I traveled down the stone steps of the catacombs, a cold breeze came up at me from the depths. It wasn't so much the unexpected blast of air that stopped me as it was the nauseating scent. It was the scent of rotting flesh and sulfur. Nevertheless I pressed onwards, keeping one hand on the cool mossy wall. Whether this was to steady my body or my nerves I cannot say. These catacombs had been found by a construction crew that was making an addition to my New England house.

I lived in the small town of Conway, New Hampshire on a large manor on the outskirts of town. I had inherited the house the previous summer, from an aunt that I had never heard of before. Beatrice Simone was her name. She wasn't exactly liked by many of the townspeople. Apparently in her younger days people said that she had gotten around, mostly with other women's husbands. Then each one of the men would disappear without a trace. She was accused many times of killing the men but since enough proof could never be presented to convict her, she was let go every time. The school kids would call her “witch” when they saw her in town and the parents would call her worse things, but never to her face. That was all 70 years ago.

When the house came into my possession I decided to move my family and me into it and get away from the clutter of life in the big city. I was there overseeing the additions to the house before my wife Janie and the kids came. We were adding another room and a basement when the workers notified me that they had found a previously existing structure buried about 5 feet down. After digging out a sizeable portion of the land around it we found that there was a door leading down into the earth. After asking around with some of the older folks in the city and verifying that no one knew about its existence before, I decided to go down and inspect it myself.

"It's just an old storage chamber" I thought to myself as I went down those steps. "Yeah, right" said the little voice in my head "And that smell was rotting turnips." The flashlight that I had with me did very little to illuminate my surroundings, so I had to go down very slowly. I estimated that I was at least 30 feet under the earth by the time I reached the bottom landing. This landing led out into a stone hallway that was decorated with bizarre carvings of ancient rituals and was littered with bones. In one carving there were many men surrounding a naked woman who held the heart from one of the men whom she had sacrificed. It was probably just a trick of the light but I swear I could see the heart beating as she held it. The other carvings were very similar. All of them included some form of human sacrifice.

I made my way through this gallery of ancient rites into an antechamber. The walls were a good 10 feet high with moss growing down the sides. The air was damp and dusty. I started coughing and the echo was so loud that I thought I would wake up the dead. On the floor were some stone tablets with inscriptions on them. I was looking around the room when I heard a voice call my name. "Norman." I spun around, but there was no one where I had just come from. "I must be going crazy" I thought. "I'm starting to hear things." Then I heard the voice again. "Norman, come to me." It was definitely a woman's voice. "Norman, I'm waiting for you." The owner of the voice couldn't be more than 20. "Norman, you're almost here. Please come to me Norman." I followed the voice towards the big stone door on the far wall. "That's it Norman. Come to me."

I pushed open the door and the sight that befell my eyes was so horrible and shocking, that I won't be able to forget it until I die. There was a large room with vaulted ceilings that were 20 feet high. Stone pillars formed rows that marched towards an altar at the far wall. Torches cast their eerie glow onto the room's occupants. Around the room were bodies of men in various forms of decay. The hair was thin and looked as if it were brittle enough to break with one's fingers. Their bodies all had huge gashes that revealed to the viewer the various organs. The arms were bony and the fingers had long nails on them. But the worst part was the face. The eyelids were scarred from where the corpses had clawed them open to remove some sort of stitching. And although the sockets were empty, you got the feeling that when one of them looked at you; it was as if they were staring straight through to your soul. But on the altar was the most incongruous sight. There was a woman of remarkable beauty. She was dressed in a flowing, white gown that seemed to shimmer with an unnatural ethereal light.

"Come Norman. Come join our little party. It's been so long since we've had any visitors." "Who are you?" I asked. "I'm the host of this little soiree" she said. It was then that one of the corpses began beating on a drum. Slowly at first, the beating was rhythmic and haunting in the chamber, it was then that the other corpses started joining in. I never got a good look at the drums but from the few furtive glances I got, I could swear that they were made from human skin stretched over bones. The woman began chanting with the rhythm. Her voice took on an unearthly tone, as if it were something from the depths of hell using her to give voice to their demonic incantations. I can't remember anything that she was saying and even if I could, I would never dare to write or say out loud those horrible utterances that assaulted my ears. Then she spoke to me again. "Come to me. Come to Asha'nia, your lord. You are to be the final sacrifice that will enable me to reign on earth again."

I couldn't believe my ears. I was utterly horrified. I was going to be a sacrifice so that some ungodly demon could wreak havoc on earth. Then I felt the hands. Some of the corpses had come up behind me and grabbed me. Their hands were cold and the skin felt wholly unnatural. It was like rotten bananas but there was strength in them. I resisted, trying to turn this way and that, but they held me firm and moved me closer to the altar where Asha'nia was waiting with a dagger that looked like it would cut through stone. As I was being herded to the altar Asha'nia was still chanting but she had changed. She no longer looked beautiful, but now took on a rather demonic look. She had two massive horns, each about a foot long, coming from her temples and curving forward, making her look incredibly menacing. Her clothing had turned black and now clung closely to her rippling body. Her teeth were long and jagged and looked very much like the dagger that she wielded.

I don't know how I was able to but I jerked my arm free of one of the ghouls that held me. I don't know what it was that gave me the strength to fight free but it was so powerful that in the freeing of my arm I pulled the arm of one of the corpses from its socket. Putting all disgust aside I grabbed the still attached arm and, using it as a weapon, was able to fight off my captors. One by one I struck them with the disembodied arm. As I was engaged in this unorthodox combat, Asha'nia had started chanting again. This time there was an unmistakable malice in the words. I stopped fighting for a second. The once empty eye sockets of the animated remains were now glowing with a fire from hell. I started running towards the stone door. The corpses would reach out to stop me but would only tear my clothes as I charged towards my goal. Right as I was about to reach the door I felt the blast. It was like a giant hand had hit me from behind, slamming me against the stone door. There was a rush of air, both immensely cold and hot at the same time, flowing around me. I struggled against the force and turned around to see what devilry was now at work against me. Asha'nia was holding her hands out in front of her and a blue light was emanating from them. This light was holding me against the door as her minions came to get me. They came in that slow gimp walk that suggested years of disuse of parts that were supposed to be fixed. My mind raced. My heart seemed as if it would explode. I had to escape. Having dropped my makeshift weapon on my sprint to the door, I had to find another option. I looked to my left and saw an open casket, some scattered bones, and a lot of cobwebs. There was nothing there that would help me now. To my right I saw a torch mounted to the wall. Desperately I groped for it, stretching my body to its limit; slowly my fingers grasped the base of the torch. I ripped it from the wall and flung it at the demonic necromancer who held me against that cold stone door.

The torch didn't do any physical harm to Asha'nia but it did distract her from her spell long enough to allow me to escape from that chamber of evil. I slammed the stone door shut behind me and propped one of the stone tablets against it. Even through the thick stone I could hear the minions on the other side banging on the door. I didn't think the tablet would hold long so I groped my way through the antechamber until I reached the stairs. The stairs. I could see the light at the top of them. Frantically I climbed the stairs; slipping and cutting myself many times. Finally I made it to the top and I raced out into the light. I hadn't gotten three steps from the door when I tripped on something. I looked down to see what it was that had impeded my escape and saw that there was a box of dynamite there. "Yes. Dynamite" I thought. The workers were going to blast a cellar for me. I grabbed one of the sticks of dynamite and shoved a fuse into it. Fumbling around in my pockets I found a lighter. As I lit the fuse I heard the sound of the tablet breaking echo up from the depths of that abominable chamber. I flung the dynamite down the stairs and yelled in the mosy commanding tone that I could muster "Go back to Hell!" The blast shook the ground and knocked me off of my feet. A gust of wind and dust came up from the stairs. I peered down the shaft and made sure that it was sealed by the cave in. I was safe.

The next day I had the workers seal the door to the stairs and cover the entrance with concrete. Then I had them build a high fence around the entire property. When my wife and kids arrived I sent them back home. There was no way I was going to let my family, or anyone else for that matter, anywhere near this place.

J. R. Guinness Posted at 10:03 AM

The Reaver

The man watched as the "machine" ambled over towards it's victim. I use the word machine here loosely because what is now known as "The Reaver" used to be a man. That man was John Simpkins. A mechanical engineer and roboticist.

John Simpkins was highly admired in his field and respected by his peers. That is until he started creating the abominations. Dr. Simpkins created horrors that only the most twisted of minds could come up with. These were machines that were utterly despicable and had no other purpose but torture and killing.

The worst of these was a cybernetic torture device called "The Reaver"...

J. R. Guinness Posted at 2:06 PM

Walking the Dog.

Walking the Dog

It was a dark night in late October. The weather had already turned cool and crisp. Tonight there was a particular chill in the air that sent shivers down Joanne's back. Joanne was your typical 28-year-old woman. She had graduated with a Masters degree in psychology from a prestigious university. She had been one of the top students in her class and was generally known for being cool as ice. In fact, her professional, business-like demeanor had earned her the title of "The Ice Queen." She had abstained from dating anyone at the university and had opted to go for some of the older gentlemen in Yorkshire, Mass.

Tonight Joanne was out walking her dog as was usual for a Tuesday evening. She had had a long day at the office and hadn't gotten home until 8:00. The sun had long gone down and even though she didn't normally go out at night like this, Joann felt safe with Bruno, her German Shepherd, by her side. So out they went, following their routine path. They would leave Joanne's house and walk down to the old convenience store, then they would take a left and follow the road about two blocks to the park, then they would take one of the paths through the park and end up at the covered bridge. Once they crossed the bridge it was only about a mile back to Joanne's place.

As they were walking, Joanne could feel the crisp fall air and smell the leaves that had begun to fall. She loved that smell because it reminded her so much of her home and being a little girl playing in the leaves that her father had raked. Joanne treasured that memory and the handful of others that she had about her father. She only had a few memories of him because he had disappeared mysteriously when she was about 10. It was never said out loud, but there were whisperings of dealings with the mafia or another woman or one of the many things that people use to explain away those things that are too abnormal to have an explanation.

Joanne and Bruno were about halfway through the park when suddenly Bruno stopped. Joanne turned and looked and saw that Bruno had his ears lying down and his tail tucked between his legs and was whimpering urgently. "What's wrong boy?" Joanne asked. But Bruno never kept his eyes off of the forest in front of them. "Do you see something?" she inquired again. "It's probably just a squirrel," she uttered to herself. Whether this was meant to calm her or the dog, she couldn't say. "Come on Bruno, let's go," she said as she tugged on his leash. Bruno came along but hesitantly and he stayed close to her legs, all the while sniffing the air.

"It sure is chilly tonight." Joanne said to no one in particular. They continued on through the park and came to the covered bridge. A chill wind blew through the air, causing goosebumps to raise up all across Joanne's arms and legs. "Come on Bruno." Joanne said. "We're almost home." But as Joanne approached the bridge, Bruno wouldn't move. Joanne turned and tugged on his leash saying "Come on. There's nothing out there." But Bruno wouldn't move. He just kept pulling away and whimpering loudly. "Come on you coward." Joanne said as she continued to struggle with the stubborn dog. "You're supposed to be protecting me." But Joanne's efforts were in vain. Bruno was stronger than she was and manged to slip out of his collar as he turned and ran off back into the park where they had come from.

"Shit!" Joanne muttered to herself. "Damn dog. Now I have to go find him in the dark." Then, from behind her, Joanne heard a growl. "Bruno?" she asked as she turned around. But the sight that befell Joanne wasn't her beloved dog. It was a horrible , unearthly thing. A demonesque doppleganger of a dog. The creature was about 24 inches wide at the shoulders and about three feet in length from it's disfigured nose to it's gnarled tail.

Joanne heard a scream. It took her a moment to realize that the scream was coming from her. Upon realizing this Joanne screamed again. This scream was met with an unholy, unnatural growl from the creature. Slowly , and with purpose, the crature advanced towards her like it was stalking prey. Joanne stumnbled backwards and turned around trying to run.

Published on 01/22/2004

J. R. Guinness Posted at 10:54 AM

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