Rain pelts the ground like mournful tears of all the angels in all the heavens and all the demons in hell.
Tears caked in the blood of mankind; tainted red with the stains of eternal punishment for infinite sin. .
They wash over him like bile pouring from the mouths of a million demons; seeping their venom deep within, leaving only humid residue without.
He walks on, nonetheless. As if fueled by a promise too cherished to be deemed untrue, as if beckoned by the master of this domain himself; as if being told that only by surviving the horrors of the vestibule can he earn entrance into what he seeks.
He soldiers on, therefore, too desperate to be frightened, to frightened to be brave. As if encased in a spell of forward motion, he chases each step with another even when every iota of common sense at his disposal shrieks with terror at him to turn around and run away.
Until finally, he finds the door.
Crafted as if by the hands of the god of all monuments, it rises beyond his ability to see. It’s a gleaming shade of white…human bones waxed and rubbed to an almost blinding shine as if to mimic the sun’s brilliance at its most vicious.
Carved within the bones are the horrific scenes he has witnessed all around him of people in various stages of dying. Some burning, some rotting, some turning to flakes of ash and pools of murky black blood. Recorded within the door for all of posterity, and beyond.
An attempt to discourage would be trespassers?
But he isn’t here of his own volition… he isn’t here by any ironic consequence of his malevolent choices… he’s just there, as if deemed worthy, as if desired.
An invitation. The thought forms in his head without his express knowledge or consent.
A promise of deliverance from all the horrors and all the suffering you see divined into this door and in all of existence behind you. A pledg,e that beyond this door, you will find what you seek, what all mortals seek: Salvation.
His heart drops to his toes as the carved figurines in the white door begin to writhe and move and bleed. Turning the surface before him as red as the ground beneath him, the sky above him, the human remains all around him. It drips to his feet and burns away his boots creeping into the pores in his skin. He tries to move but the blood holds him fast like the lustful eyes of a beloved promising sin coated in so much passion that it remains sin not at all, but becomes benediction instead. Momentary and incomplete benediction but benediction nonetheless. The pleasure that rises from the pain is almost erotic. He feels himself aroused at the prospect of peace so consuming and complete that with it in his grasp there would be nothing left to desire.
Seduced, he raises one hand and places it on the blood laden door.
A scream rises from all the contorted faces carved before him that transcends whatever euphoria he had come to feel and leaves him petrified, as if his veins had purged all life blood in him to the floor beneath his feet.
The door to hell swings only once.
Once you enter, you cannot leave.
What you seek may be worth your soul
But is it worth your mortal dreams?
The staccato wail rises from within the blood curdling scream. Almost like an after thought, a memory of a nightmare, foreboding beyond reason, beyond help. Beyond omen.
The song of the dying fills his head like guilt, occupying every faculty, every last ounce of resolve. He lets his hand fall away from the door, such fear filling his heart that his owns breath begins to abandon him. Coming to him in spasms, almost as if too frightened to be exposed to the dread surrounding him.
He wills his feet to move and they seem to comply, the soul salvaging screams overthrowing the kingdom of darkness allow him to follow his own lead.
But only for an instant. For in the next instant, before he can shake of the rapture to tear his eyes away from the grim tableau bathed in crimson laid out before him, it begins to merge.
A merging that seems like the most unholy of all unifications. Corpses ripped asunder coming together to complete each other. One severed leg affixing itself to a stray torso, a contorting tongue flowing into an eye-less face.
It gathers speed, moving faster and faster with every breath he draws. Whizzing together in a grotesque dance as if propelled by a central magnetic pull that will leave no limb dismembered.
The blood flows faster, sucking his feet in deeper. He is soaked up to his ankles in the blood of countless ghosts. And then it begins to take a shape he had wished he would never had to see again.
A face begins t o form, a mosaic of billions of mangled faces fusing together to make one.
No is what he wants to scream as it begins to appear closer to recognition.
But it’s too late to even formulate a thought, or contemplate a response. Before he can close his eyes, before he can turn around and cower, she stands before him.
Her eyes, her nose, her lips. Formed so perfectly by the haphazard ensemble of broken bodies that even with the grotesque constituents, it is still beautiful. And once again he finds himself lured into the depth of those murky brown eyes that had brought him to search for deliverance at the doors of hell itself.
And then the rage returns.
Seething with a fury that can only be borne of true love, he steps forward. Places a trembling hand against the door of human bones transposed with her face and pushes it open.
The song of the dying rings out again in a desperate admonition.
Yes. He murmurs as it drowns in her laughter.