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Hell

Hot. Hot as Hell.

Bad joke she supposed wryly, considering that’s where she was. She looked around with interest. So this was it. Taking it all in, she mused that they had gotten a couple things wrong. Yeah, flames and all that, but she thought they were actually quite pretty. And the agonized moans of the damned being roasted alive—why they were rather pleasant to the ear.

Daintily stepping around some dirty, chained-linked souls, she shook her head in irritation, her perfectly highlighted blonde hair swinging in tangent. MUST they look so absolutely wretched? Entirely no consideration for their impact on anyone else. Her temper further flared when she became aware that the heels of her Armani suede shoes were melting from the heat.

This is just too much she raged to herself peevishly. Marching up to a nearby cage, she interrogated the miserable inhabitant. “I would like to be directed to the Devil’s residence!” was flung at the huddled creature in an imperious, no-nonsense tone. For a second the poor thing could only gape in shock until prompted by an exasperated “Well?” to which it pointed a trembling, bony finger to a black skyscraper directly in front of them with heavy red lettering on the front: THE DEVIL’S ABODE.

Nonplussed, she covered her gaffe, declaring huffily, “Well how is one supposed to find anything around here with all this smoke!” With that, she strode off, head held high—only to catch her heel in a lava fissure where it snapped like a twig. Incensed by this further mortification, she glared at the curious eyes peering at her from the darkness, before again stalking away, her uneven gait and fuming expression so ludicrous that for the first time ever recorded, laughter was heard in Hell. It lasted for a full five seconds before the flames, whips, and other torture devices worked double-time to cover the lapse.

Finally arriving at the front doors of the skyscraper, she paused to gather herself. Taking a soothing breath, she smoothed down her silk suit, shook back her hair, and lifted her chin before determinedly walking through the doors. Her first thought was complacent as she reasoned that the Devil must be civilized—there was air-conditioning. Immediately following this reasoning came distaste as she gazed critically at her surroundings. It was obvious that Satan needed a new interior designer. The art was just horrendous, paintings of people in various stages of torture. Truly hideous in her expert opinion.

She located the front desk where a secretary was drearily typing on a computer. It looked up in shock when she swept in before the desk and demanded haughtily to see the Devil immediately. Again she was met with the same unflattering gape she had received before. Impatiently she thought to herself that everyone in Hell just seemed to be a tad slow.

Obviously this one more so than any other, as she had still not received a response in five minutes, just the open fish-mouth revealing rotting yellow teeth from which a foul odor emanated. Lip curled in disgust, she turned away in revulsion and made her way to the elevators. Just as she had hoped, there was a little map telling her what was on each floor. Hmmm. Soul check-in…sin tally…Innovative Torture Technologies (ITT for short)…and The Devil’s Office. Naturally, located on floor 13. How utterly cliché, she thought to herself scornfully.

The lighted numbers of the elevator clicked ominously to 13. A bell rung hollowly. She gulped in sudden panic as the elevator doors slowly slipped open…

…to reveal an imposing ebony desk behind which sat Satan: blood-red, horned, pointy-chinned—and rather hairy. This last bit caught her by surprise, and for a lengthy second, she and Satan just stared at each other. And then came a horrible squeak. In confusion and displeasure she looked around for its source before realizing it came from the Devil himself.

Satan was quickly working himself into a fit, the squeaks coming out faster in barely coherent speech as he leap out of his chair to confront her. Amidst the trauma to her eardrums, she realized dazedly that the Devil was only 4 ft tall.

By now Satan had hopped his little self in front of her, still indignantly squeaking, his demon tail agitatedly twitching back and forth. This time it was she who felt lethargically slow as she stared down from her 5’7” at the odd, completely unintimidating creature dancing wrathfully from one hoof to the other. Eventually, the squeaks arranged themselves into some understandable pattern so she grasped the fact that he wasn’t supposed to be interrupted.

This pathetic little display restored all her confidence so she cleared her throat authoritatively until the squeaks faded away before demanding, “Devil, I’ve come for my soul”. For the third time that day she was entertained by an open mouth before he managed to sputter, “But—but, that’s just not DONE! Plus anyways, why would you need a soul in Hell?” She answered him smugly, “Because I’m not dead yet.”

This unwanted news seem to take the wind out of his sails. Satan clumped despairingly back to his seat and scrambled ungracefully up onto its massive height. Once there he asked plaintively, “But how did you get here?”. Her answer was a brusque, “I took the stairs” before stating her request for a second time. This answer made him sink further down into his seat before he asked resignedly, “Well why do you want it anyways?” She began to pace as she related the tale of the man she wanted to marry and his foolish concern that she had become a conscienceless bitch. Indignantly, she raged, “He actually said he wouldn’t marry me unless I discovered where my soul went!” At this, the Devil squeaked out a question: “Do you love him?” She stopped pacing for a moment to give him an incredulous glance. “Love? What does that have to do with it? He’s rich, obviously.”

If it was possible, the Devil slumped even further down into his seat, muttering grumpily under his breath before glaring up and shaking his fist, saying something suspiciously like, “Why do you get the easy job?!” He proceeded to push a black button on his desk, which prompted a timid knock at the door. Satan did his best impression of a thundering “Come in” which sounded strangely similar to a bird’s dying squawk before a meek little creature walked in, staring at its toes, before handing the devil a thick file. He flipped through it for a while before leveling a disgruntled gaze at her. Prissily, he sighed before stating “Well I have your file here and there’s simply NO WAY that I could possibly give you back your soul. I mean, really, what did you expect after all the awful things you’ve done?”

Whirling around to target him with her best deadly glare, she retorted, “I haven’t done anything!” Satan harrumphed at this obvious untrue announcement. He put his horn-rimmed spectacles on before droning off a long list of sins. An hour later he finally finished and set down the file, peering at her over the glasses now resting on the tip of his warty nose. “You’ve done everything from frame your older siblings for your own actions to sleeping with someone for a job promotion!” Sullenly, she answered, “Well you didn’t see him, sleeping with him was punishment itself!”

After a little pause, he straightened and primly said, “Well there’s nothing I can do, you’ll just have to make do without marrying him.” With that said he flipped the file closed and tried unsuccessfully to cross his stumpy legs before giving up and settling on sitting with a dignified ramrod-straight spine.

She, however, was not satisfied with this conclusion at all. A torrent of curses poured out of her mouth as her face transformed from attractive but snooty into the ugly, twisted countenance that far rivaled the Devil’s. She ranted, she raved, she threw her broken Armani shoe, she clawed his desk—he put up with it until she started taunting him about his whiny voice and dwarf stature.

Grimly, one hairy-knuckled finger edged towards the big red button on his desk. With a final nonchalant squeak, he said cheerfully, “Well since life without a soul is looking so grim, why bother with life? I’ll have a nice little bonfire made up for you down here.” With that said, he hit the red button and a hole suddenly appeared underneath her feet where only a second before some first-rate hard wood floor had been.

The steadily softer echoes of her piercing scream as she fell became the background as Satan leaned back, propped his hooves up on the desk, and settled back for a hard-earned nap.

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