[Short story] To Choose Hell
Light spreads all around. I look at my hands, then at the people surrounding me, and notice there are no shadows. So, this is what my skin color looks like. Everyone is naked, each one the same silhouette when compared to the light. Instinctively everyone gravitates towards a spot. Their legs walk, but there is no distinguishable floor. I head to a random direction, and after some time I stand still. As I look around, I assume that we have formed a perfect circle, infinitely huge. I can see a line of humans across from me, far in distance yet clearly defined in my vision. The line, wobbly and diverse, containing different heights and genders, extends beyond either side, slowly curving into the section where I stand, and beyond myself the line rejoins from where my eye had first wandered.
If I was back on Earth, I would have had many questions. But here and now, there is one question. We feel excitement, we feel fear, hope, everything at once. The most prominent feeling is earnest curiosity. Each of us has one question: “Can I dupe God?”
With impeccable timing, a booming voice, without shaking us like normal sound waves should, says, “Begin.” I feel the flutter of wings, but I only see the bright light and the formless shapes of my brethren. Starting with the first man conceived, he steps forward and we all crane our necks to see him. Any queries by the man are answered, and the man steps back in line with the circle. And like so it proceeded, by chronological order of conception, the time of conception determined by some unknown algorithm. Time flies, and yet seems to stagnate. I can safely say that time does not exist here. Nevertheless I wait.
When it is my moment to step forward, all necks turn to watch me. I put out my right foot, and then my left. As soon as I plant my left foot down, a voice states my name, then asks, “Who are you?”
I do not respond. I have nothing to say; my name had already been stated. The voice asks a different question, “Who am I?” Again, I do not say anything; it is obvious.
The voice offers, “Would you like me to do anything?”
How curious. “Yeah, there’s one thing.”
“What do you want of me?”
“Convince me that Hell exists.”
Not missing a beat, the voice says, “Your sister lived as a drug addict since her teenage years. Your parents raised her with kindness and all of their strength, and yet she does not show evidence of such an upbringing. You were angry at your mother, because your mother enabled your sister to continue in her ways. You were angry at your father for not intervening and choosing to ignore a problem.
“By some miracle, she started recovering. She would visit the house with proper clothes, well-groomed and confident. One day, she brings home a man and declares they’re getting married. Your parents were ecstatic.
“In the end, your sister murdered her husband to claim all his money. She remarried two more times, and killed two more men before authorities tracked her down and sent her to prison.
“Your sister does not belong in hell. Tell me, what is Hell?”
“A fiery inferno!” a person from the circle crowd calls out. “The devil’s domain!” chirps another person.
I ponder a bit. “I do not know.” The light seems to emit a heat pulse, but there is no visual change I could detect.
“Would you like me to say what Hell is?”
A sensation flows over me; I interpret it as the light extending a finger pointing at my chest—-no, my heart. “Hell is where I am not. Anything else you would like me to do?”
“I have no more requests.”
I take a step back into the circle. What a fool! Just as coldness is the lack of heat and does not actually exist as a tangible construct, Hell is the lack of his presence? Not even God can convince me Hell exists.
I wrote this in 2015 a couple days before my birthday? Wow okay. I guess I was a f*#ked up piece of shit in high school, and I still am.
I still like this story though.