The Day was relatively dull to start out. The teacher, who's name I have long since forgot, was teaching a lesson I no longer recall. What I do remember is I had only one hour of sleep the previous night, and was due for a nice nap. It was the only time in the history of my existence that I had fallen asleep in school. This is a fact many ignorant individuals would be tempted to dispute, however it is true nonetheless. None of this is actually relevant to the story however, it was the dream that is most worth noting.
I dozed into a solid sleep, at which time I found myself in a towering library stacked with so many books tou couldn't see the floor or any walls to speak of. In fact, I was doubtful the library ended. I grabbed a nearby book, one which I was particularly proud to find for I was to write it later in my life. However when I tried to read it the words were completely illegible.
“What is this?” I asked myself, not at all expecting a response.
“It's a tome you dolt.” A feminine voice announced proudly behind me. I had gotten what I didn't expect.
“album, manual, bestseller, brochure-”
“you mean a book? Well of course it is, thanks for the wonderful help I don't know what I could have done without you.” I retorted, allowing my sarcasm to reach its peak.
“whatever” She snarled, but I wasn't paying attention for I had decided to face who I was talking to. Before me stood a beautiful woman wearing moderately suggestive clothing. “Demoness Metria not at your service”
“D.Metria? From xanth?” Being the reader that I am I had read many of the histories that had been smuggled out of the magical world of xanth. D. Metria was a third of a demoness with a quarter of a soul. She was stomped on by a sphinx splitting her into three existences, then she married a mortal and gave her children half her soul. D.Metria, was the existence that tended to get the wrong synonym. “what are you doing here?”
“Unfortunately Demon Xanth has asked me to guide you through your imaginations interpretation of hell. If hell existed this is what it would look like.”
“But, I LOVE reading!” I responded in confusion. D Metria loved to cause mischief, particularly with humans, but to lie like this was a bit abnormal.
“This is the first level of hell. It is designed for those who choose to be ignorant and live blissfully puerile”
“Blissfully what?” I asked, then smacked mself again. This kinda nonsense was definitely xanthly.
“immature, brainless, obtuse, sluggish, foolish-”
“Stupid, yes I get it”
“What did you just call me?
“Nevermind.” I mumbled as I looked around. The library was filled with people, who simply sat at tables and stared blankly at the books. “So what's their punishment?”
“They are cursed with an incurable desire for information, but are unable to read the print. The smart things ignore those who ignored them.”
“err yeah... 'smart things'” I replied. This is undoubtedly where many school dropouts ended up. As well as many adults as well. One of interest was president Hoover, who chose to completely ignore the state of America during the great depression. Suddenly I felt incredibly sick as the scenery changed.
“I have poofed us to level two of hell. I hope we can ignore as much pointless dialogue here as possible.” She mumbled. Then she turned and motioned towards the vast nothingness around them. “This is the punishment for the intolerant. Those who are prejudiced against others for their differences are unable to see, hear or even touch the other occupants. In other words, they will be stuck with only themselves for all eternity.”
“That's harsh. The only people they love will be the only ones left to hate.” I pointed out. All of a sudden the ground fell out from under us and my body forgot that my mind prefers to take this kind of situation slowly. We tumbled down and landed in an endless sea of people, a definite contrast of the world they had just left. Metria laughed beside me.
“That was fun, you squeel pretty loudly you know! Anywho, this is the third level of hell. Around you is an endless mass of younger siblings, radio show hosts and preachers. This is the land of the incredibly obnoxious.”
“Whats the punishment?” I asked, only to find that I had no voice.
“They are unable to hear their own voices that they hold so much adulation.”
“so much what?”
“amour, lust, tearning-”
“love?” I interrupted. How the many citizins of xanth dealt with this was beyond me.
“whatever. Hey! You didn't let me give enough synonyms”
“Sorry, I was getting annoyed.”
“How rude! If Demon Earth wasn't watching I would sooo... anyways, those imprisoned here also must listen to each others pointless chatter.” Demon Earth must have sent her, she just showed a pretty obvious sign of fear. “Anyways lets go.” She muttered. Another dizzying poof later and we were in circle 4. “To your left you will see the entrance to circle 4. Inside is the largest theater able to exist. It seats infinite people and they all have a clear view of the show.”
“whats the punishment? I bet over 95% of the people in the real world would love it!”
“They are forced to watch the worst movies of all time, and then some. Right now there is a showing that reminds me of xanth. It is a comic strip.”
“A comic strip? Those always make me laugh!”
“you'll see.” she snickered as they entered the theater taking their seats. The movie screen lit up and everyone but me, including Metria, screamed in terror. A small copyright warning followed by a copyright warning followed by an overuse of warnings warning later the movie started. The screen was completely empty except this one corn-stalk in a corner. Then a mercedes drove into the scene. As soon as it came to a halt it bent in half. The stalk howled with laughter. The crowd uttered a large “Ugh!” at the pun. “Mercedes Bendz” Metria mused.The other ones a laughing stalk. Xanth's puns are at least almost mildly sapient.”
“Intelligent.” I mumbled, in an attempt to avoid more nonsense.
“sage, acute, wise, together, sharp, smart, well- informed, quick witted, knowledgable, bright, brilliant-”
“I already corrected you!!!” I shouted.
“And it hurt my feelings, so I gave you extra synonyms.” Metria muttered. When I attempted to speak again she merely pointed at the screen. An eye was blinking in the middle of the screen, and then an ear shattering, bone shaking scream pierced the sky. So loud it needed an overabundance of descriptions. “Eye scream” Metria enlightened me, as the stalk laughed and everyone went “Ugh!” again. Then a large bull stepped into the scene. It rubbed against the stalk and then fell into a million pieces. Another “ugh!” more laughter and another explanation from metria. “Rub-bull. I think thats enough, I will explain this level of hell. This is the level reserved mostly for Critics and those who talk in the theater, as well as those who like to spoil plotlines and other story-based evil-doers.”
“I see.” I replied, still shocked by the horribleness of the puns. Heck I am still forced to use grammar bad after revisiting the event. Used to the feeling of 'poofing' I barely blinked when I found myself in level 5.
“Level 5.” Metria pointed forward. Her expression, had just made a drastic change. She was dangerously serious about this one. In front of them was a charred valley filled with screaming men and women. “This is a distasteful land designed for the wrathful. Those who spent their lives blaming everyone for everything, and in turn hating them for it. Their punishment is in itself a pun, but in the worst bearable taste. Their blood boils for eternity, while they are forced to hate themselves for putting themselves in this situation.” Another poof.
They were in a tiny room with one large door and a series of buttonson one wall.“Level 6?” I asked, Metria. I had gotten used to Metria, and the sudden change was disturbing.
“Don't be stupid this is just the service elevator!” Metria retorted. Her smile widened when I stumbled for a comeback. But nothing came to mind. When the door opened she burst into laughter. Before them an enormous number of formless ghosts floated around.
“Isn't D. Mentia supposed to be the crazy one?” I asked.
“This...is...level 6... Meant for those...who sinned...in the flesh!!” She exclaimed, trying to stop laughing. “I am responsible... for a number... of these peoples...abode here!!”
“adress, habitation, occupancy-”
“whatever. Those who sin in the flesh are fated to live without the flesh they so cherished in life”
“what, that doesn't make any-”
“valued, worshiped, idolized, fancied, enshrined-”
“It was right the first time. I was going to ask why that makes sense.”
“It's your imagination, perhaps you couldn't come up with anything better?”
“Ouch” I groaned. She merely poofed us to level 7.
“Level 7, were everyone is the same.” She smiled. Around them a bunch of hideous blobs cried, wailed and bawled. “These are the people who sought only to fit in with others. Okay, Poof!” Again the scenery changed, without allowing Me enough time to look around. Before them a tall demon stood. He wore a large cloak with his name on the back. D. Saster. He was shouting to an endless army, and sending them somewhere in the distance, where there were many explosions. “This is level 8, Home of the tyrants. My old colleague Sends the army of tyrants to certain death.” I looked over the balcony were D Saster was, and saw among others, Stalin, Hitler, Lenin, Moussullini and emperor Mao marching hand in hand towards certain destruction.
“That was odd, Never saw the five of them ganging up together.”
“Odd indeed. See ya Saster.” Metria waved, and then the scenery changed again. A bunch of statues stood around them, incredibly real, but none moved. “This is level 9, reserved for druggies. They are paralzed for all eternity. This is undoubtedly because they did nothing in life. They merely resorted to drugs and failed to live.” I noted a pun, but decided it would be best if I didn't mention it. The scenery changed yet again and I found myself looking at a crowd of what I would imagine were the happiest people of all time.
“This doesn't look like much of a hell-”
“This is the level of hell reserved for the sadists. Those who enjoyed seeing others suffer. They are fated to forever feel the worst imaginable pain, while everyone else seems to be having a jolly old time.”
“you actually said jolly old time? Wow...” I laughed.
Without responding she changed the scenery again. “The final level of hell.” There was no creativity here. It was obvious what the punishment was, a large line walked towards a large furnace. “This is the last stop for those who stole life or have done things that no punishment will fit. They are forced to visit every level of hell, and then their souls are purged here.”
I merely stood there silently, watching the horror before my eyes. This was purely hell!!
Metria Turned and faced me again. “I hope we don't meet again, but this is your stop.”
“What?” I screamed in horror. “I don't belong here I...”
“No you imbecile, the service elevator is right there. It should take you back to consciousness where your teacher will undoubtedly yell and scream at you for falling asleep in class!” She was right...
- Title: Xanth meets "inferno"
- Artist: Shikyotoshi
This was a spin-off of the old story "inferno" and Piers anthony's Xanth series (really good books if you like humor)
Side note- I'm not actually religious, but if you happen to be please do not take offense this is merely a fun little short story.
Disclaimer: Demon Earth, Demon Saster, Demoness Metria and the comic strip belong to Piers Anthony and his wonderful Xanth series. I take no these, but I AM the sole writer of the actual story.
- Date: 07/15/2008
- Tags: xanthpiersanthonyinfernohellhumordemon