Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Eating Shit

by Jared Woods

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Eating Shit, Part one of four - I shimmied my way up towards the ceiling until my head began to rise above the surface of the congregation, and I finally caught a view of the voice in charge. But let me tell you, I almost wish I hadn’t of.


There I was, only moments ago, stomach bloating up from a foamy death, the dry bitter taste of poison transitioning into the sweet euphoric escape of darkness. And then, I was abruptly elsewhere. I guess that’s how dying happens? At first, you’re in one place, the next, you’re in another.

I instinctively rubbed my cheeks with my fingertips as I surveyed my surroundings with uncertainty. The immediate sense of discomfort was quickly understood, as I was now standing in frustratingly close proximity to a large quantity of people, all squashed together within some sort of an unstable container, like a fistful of stress balls. I cannot express this enough: the majority of my body parts were squeezed up against so many other different body parts, that limbs and hips and torsos were prodding every surface area of my skin, crudely invading my personal space and polluting my comfort zone with their odours. At the best of times, such an intrusion would surely be enough to make me scream—and I would have too, if only everyone else wasn’t already screaming.

I awkwardly pushed my thumbs into my earholes to dampen these sounds and to bring a bit of calm into my mind, and began summoning my best memories to connect the last event of suffocation into this dire position. I got as far as remembering the fishy stink of Palama’s jaws until another (louder) external sound crept into my brain and sabotaged my thoughts. I removed my fingers to hear a weird little ditty of music, of all things, followed by a voice crackling over our heads from some speakers in the ceiling which was so unexpected that it ceased all the screaming, thank God.

“Ladies and gentlemen!” it broadcasted. “Please give yourselves a waaaarm welcome this evening to the one, the only, the Johnson Line!” ...fake applause crashed from the speakers, and then... “I will be your host for this evening, Rodney the Marcidus! Applause! Applaaaause!” Naturally, no one beyond the speakers were actually applauding as far as I could see, but being cursed by my unnaturally short pubescent female stature, there was no real way for me to tell what was going on. Perhaps I would have even applauded myself, but besides watching the fields full of legs and arms surrounding me shift nervously at something or other, there was simply no way of knowing anything from this standpoint. Regardless, the high-pitched voice continued its speech. “Alright then! Would you all allow me to welcome you abound my carriage today, and please do not be afraid! As I am here to explain exactly what is going on, in no time! But first of all, I’d like everyone to pat your bad selves on the back for being selected for the ride of a lifetime! Or should I say, the ride of a deathtime, heeheeheeee.”

I won’t lie, I wasn’t exactly paying attention. Rather, my priority was to worm my way around this crowd and try to get a closer look at whatever was making this racket, but his recent words did call attention to the shifty floor and clanky sounds vibrating the underneath of my feet. We were on a train! It seemed so obvious now, the whole motion was identical to those underground tubes in the Goat’s Nest, except this one was a hundred times more rickety and unkempt and stenchy. It squeaked and moaned at every bump as if it was moments away from falling apart, which disrupted the crowd just enough for me to use to my advantage, contorting my small frame between peoples’ kneecaps whilst their senses were flooded with distractions. So yeah, as I was saying, at this moment I was only half paying mind to the voice itself, but I did catch the next thing it said, which caused my mission to stall. It was probably the most terrifying information I think anyone could have ever imagined.

“The rumours are true!” it flamboyantly continued. “You are all, indeed, very very dead! Some of you may be able to wrack your little minds towards themselves and pinpoint those few minutes ago, when your merry earthly lives were stolen right out from your core. However, this information could come as a shock to others of you, as your death may have happened so abruptly that you don’t even know what caused such a demise. But none of this is of any matter! For, whatever the fuck, you are dead! So bloody dead! The deadest of dead! And what’s more, you are in the one place your mommy told you never to go! You are in Hell!

What a disappointing thing to hear, especially when (like myself), you did not believe in a Heaven and Hell, world in opposites kind of reality. However, when considering the odour of sweaty bodies all overcrowded on this moving vehicle, it did make some sort of sense. And now that I thought about it, if there was some type of afterlife for the wicked, I guess it would always be where I ended up anyway. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t bothered by all of this—because I was. But judging by the pathetic shrieks and sobs that immediately followed this grand reveal, it seemed I wasn’t quite as surprised or even as phased by the punchline as all the others. No, rather I was smart about it, and used this sudden influx of panic to my aid once again, edging my way towards a rusty pole I noticed a few feet ahead. My hands eventually found the beam and wrapped themselves around it, and I suddenly found myself humoured by its existence. I knew the function of such poles on transport systems were placed to give travelers something to hold onto in order to prevent tumbles, but when you are already forcefully propped up by the bodies surrounding you, their whole purpose was rendered utterly pointless. Well, that is except for what I intended to use it for, of course.

I gripped the rough steel as high up as I could, and then jumped, quickly wrapping my legs around its circumference which kicked a few fellow passengers in assorted parts of their upper bodies, but if they noticed then I didn’t notice. Then, using the pressure of the crowd around me, I shimmied my way up towards the ceiling until my head began to rise above the surface of the congregation, and I finally caught a view of the voice in charge. But let me tell you, I almost wish I hadn’t of. I probably would have slid right back down that pole in shock if the tightness of my neighbouring people wasn’t glueing me to my position.

Quite a distance ahead of me, addressing the crowd as if a pastor, was what could only be described as a giant lump of flesh; like a mound of cancer the size of a small car, with no distinguishable parts except for a gaping hole I assume worked as its mouth and one football sized eyeball darting in seemingly random directions. But as if somehow aware of its grotesque flappy veiny testicular-esque appearance, it had made a slapdash effort to beautify itself by covering every wrinkly crevice in brightly coloured glitter, complete with a comedically undersized top hat balanced precariously on the highest point of the mess. And then, finally, there was perhaps the most out of place piece of this vulgar creature: one long skinny arm protruding out from its pulsating excess of flab, so brittle that it seemed as if it was about to snap right off, quivering as it held up a megaphone to the crater-mouth performing its game show host speech. It was the most revolting sight I had ever seen. Worse than any hooker with a crustacean head, that’s for sure. And I gagged.

I was so consumed by this rancid tumour’s appearance that I completely zoned out, forgetting to listen to its valuable information, and by the time I came to, it was already in the middle of another point. “ say whatever you will about Hell, but never say we are an unfair bunch! On the contrary, you are all bad people, but we have deemed you undeserving of the eternal torment we offer to most of our customers. You are very lucky indeed! As we, as in me, as in the powers that be, have granted you a second chance at life! And to redeem your spirit back into your earthly existence, all you have to do is partake in these little games! Oh, how we love games here on the Johnson Line! It’s what we do, baby! And we have plenty of them, you be sure of that! Enough for everyone! You and you and you and you! Simply pick whichever one you fancy, and in doing so, you will choose your own destiny! Oh, and what’s that? I think I hear the first game approaching right now! Toot-toot!

Despite the curiosity flaring up inside of me about some chance to win back my old life and go crawling into my mother’s arms... and despite the engrossing grossness of this monstrosities’ faggot demeanour... and even despite the fact that I was fucking dead on a train in Hell... my attention had diverted elsewhere. For, up ahead, a dozen yards or so beyond me—quite close to that fat ballsack thing, in fact—stood a black-and-white boy. About my age. And the only passenger to be standing in the opposite direction of everyone else, as if he too was the leader of the show. And what’s more, he was staring right back at me.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Eating Shit, Part two of four - His bombastic monologue got too campy for me to repeat here word for word—I definitely couldn’t do the accent justice, I’d just embarrass myself.


You don’t even notice the jagged rust injecting bacteria into your hands and ironising your bloodstream when there is a gigantic animated blob of meat in front of you, detailing an activity which revolved around an eternity of sexual depravity and perversion. He called it The Bucket Chamber, and spoke about it with such glee that you would be forgiven in assuming it was the first time even he had heard of it. But his showmanship did the trick, as we, the audience, were captivated, all fearful chatter now kidnapped by his eager detailing.

By this point our involvement was clear: we were here because we were evil, but for whatever reason, not evil enough for full-blown damnation. Rather, we had been given another shot at life, which we could earn by competing in a sick game of our choice, each task held at a stop on this train line. It was as simple as successfully completing one of these challenges, and then apparently our freedom would be granted, just like that. Some passengers still seemed confused by these rules, whilst others silently protested in defence, simply offended that they were included on this naughty list in the first place, as if death had made a mistake. But not me. No, I was more surprised that I wasn’t sent straight to the most uncomfortable region of Hell’s corners, do not pass go, do not collect 200 credits. I was not a good person. I had spent my final earthly moments with a knife in my hand, ready to murder a useless hooker, driven by a repulsed hatred and a homicidal desire which had plagued me my whole life. There was an evil rooted deep within me far greater than the weight of my own soul, and for me to be forgiven to some degree was much more unexpected that any of the shock some of these passengers were vocalising just by being here.

But we were here, wide-eyed and gaping-mouths, listening to this monster explaining just what the first potential task entailed, which is where we came in. This was a vile game, structured around lust, where the ‘client’ (or so we were referred to) would be locked in a small room and then sexually pleasured by a never ending conveyor belt of attractive partners, all acting out our greatest fantasies, forever masturbating our genitals until we eventually produced enough liquid to fill a bucket. With a certain predetermined volume, the weight of bucket could pull open the door to freedom, and there you would go, back to the real world, more sexually satisfied than you could have ever achieved in your previous life. At least, that’s what I think was said, I only half paid attention as I’d lost interest during the very introduction of the premise. I don’t know, I guess growing up with a prostitute mom literally surrounded by the darkness of men and their pathetic sexual appetites helped me see straight through the practice. And even if my own virginity still held strong (as any 12-year-old’s should have), I think my upbringing had desensitised me to the sickness of males, and ultimately the concept of intercourse did nothing more than repulse me as a human weakness. Not to mention, in hindsight, how illogical the idea would be of a female ever leaking enough foam to fill a whole bucket. It seemed ludicrous, a total sexist disadvantaged game, which I opted to give a miss immediately. I was far more curious as to what lay ahead, anyway.

I can’t say the same for everyone else, however, as my stomach churned watching the almost exclusively male clientele salivating at the thought of this endless sexfest, the disbelief of their luck shining from their sweaty foreheads while the train squeaked to a halt and allowed them to scramble out the doors. A sick part of my brain imagined what they were in Hell for, and I could almost smell the aura of rapists or pedophilia musking off of them. Maybe I was making it up, but I choked regardless. However, once the doors beeped closed and we were on the move again, I was actually grateful as to how many perverse figures had been surrounding me, the crowd having dissipated substantially, allowing some breathing room as well as the chance for me to carefully lower my feet onto the ground again and still hold a decent view through the gaps between people’s legs and armpits.

And this train, like life and death, carried forward oblivious to the murmured unrest of the passengers’ incessant oppositions. But I did not join in. On the contrary, looking back, I was naively having a twisted sort of fun at this point of the story, quite charmed by the idea that I could potentially escape this realm just by winning a game. I was certain that if any one of these puny characters could pull it off, it would be me. I did not subscribe to the surrounding fear, but was rather calmed by it, almost amused at how weird the afterlife could be, how strange it was that trains of retribution existed. And there I squatted, watching the blob doing some vocal warm ups from his abyss of a mouth, while I endlessly moved my head from side to side to improve my view, eagerly anticipating the next game.

And that’s just about when that goddamn black-and-white boy came back into play again. I could still see him eyeing me through the assorted array of legwear, and naturally I looked right back at him, refusing to look down, hiding my curiosity with what I hoped was a glaze of fierce antagonism. In that moment I figured “well, we’re in Hell after all”, and I might as well play the part and attempt to provoke my own breed of terror, but he did not break character, and I started to realise that maybe he was as hard as me. And there we were, probably having one of the weirdest exchanges in all of history: two pubescent dead kids, staring each other down from a distance, standing on a train riding through the dark side of the afterlife, yet with a promise of potential redemption. How bizarre.

“Ladies and gentlemen, would you please settle your pretty selves back down and get ready for the next station! The next game! Your next chance to win win win freedom!” the fat mound began to inform. “And, may I add, this is truly one of my personal favourites! Before you know it, we will be arriving at the one, the oooonly... the DigestiTrack! Which I know many of you will adore as much as yours truly!”

His bombastic monologue got too campy for me to repeat here word for word—I definitely couldn’t do the accent justice, I’d just embarrass myself. But what he said was true, as his explanation scraped a spark of interest in me, and I briefly forgot I was playing the no-blink game with this boy and turned my attention to listen. The seemingly symbolism of this specific game was not lost on me: the participant was abandoned in a multiple story high glass container which was filled with an edible substance, and you simply had to eat your way to the top and crawl out a free lady. Now, as you can imagine, for someone like me who had spent her life starving herself just to gain some transparency, nothing could possibly sound more satisfying. I knew I could eat better than anyone on this train, because the very idea of being stuffed was not a discomfort in my experience, but rather a luxury I never afforded myself. And if I somehow overestimated my ability and exploded my stomach from an excess of content, I’d be fine with that too. That too was a fantasy I’d played in my mind many an occasion during my missions of self-induced hunger.

But even if my mind was already made up before the wheels yelped to their halt, nothing could have encouraged me more than what that little fucking black-and-white boy did. As soon as the doors beeped open, he aimed his direct eye-contact my way, raised his hand upwards to make the OK symbol with the index and the thumb, and then turned to get off himself. I don’t believe in signs, but that was a white rabbit if I ever did see one.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Eating Shit, Part three of four - It was shit. The edible substance, it was fucking faeces.


It was shit. The edible substance, it was fucking faeces. Do you want to know what a bad feeling is? It’s when you’re placed in a massive glass container, five stories high and the width of god knows how many football fields, and then you suddenly get covered with mounds and mounds of poo. Instinctively, you’d be forgiven in thinking you’re going to suffocate in this mess and you hold your breath for as long as you can until you can't, and then you gasp it in, only to realise you can somehow breathe under this crap because... well, you’re in Hell now, and I guess that’s how Hell plays. Except with each breath, the rotten stench of shit still swims into your lungs, and I, for one, dry heaved for what felt like days.

But eventually, you just kinda get used to it. What else you going to do? After, like, a week or so, the smell becomes fairly normal and the idea of gulping down mouthfuls of poop doesn’t irk in quite the same way as it did at first. Which is all fine and good, except even once the desensitising acceptance kicks in, you realise it is still far more complicated than that.

The consistency of the matter was thick enough to fill the belly real quick, yet watery enough that natural gravity took control of things and insisted on sucking you back down to the bottom. You’d swallow and swallow and thrash your arms and kick your legs, only to rise a few inches before growing tired and sinking down to the floor again like quicksand, frustrated and disheartened and defeated. There were various times that I figured this must be impossible, which would not be surprising considering this was eternal damnation after all. “Let’s just humiliate them by covering them in shit and watching them struggle to eat the stuff for the rest of time”. It seemed likely, even now.

And weeks went by like this. Days passed when I rose by almost a meter before slipping back down, and days passed when I lay on the bottom, thinking about mommy, thinking about Palama, watching the brown mud swirl shapes before my eyes, wondering why they didn’t sting my retina, wondering how my immune system was managing to hold up. But all that changed when Priscilla came along.

At least, that’s what I think she said her name was, it’s hard to communicate with ears and mouths full of crap. But I could just about make out her appearance through the muck, as a large woman, obviously quite a glutton in her time, the reason why she chose this station not lost on me. Regardless, as so many often do, she saw me as the helpless child figure I was, perhaps reminding her of someone back home, and she took pity on me. Through muffled shouts and hand gestures, she told me she wanted to help get me out, and personally, I was all for that. God knows why she felt this way, perhaps she too had become discouraged by the months we’d spent in here, and figured by some good deed, she could get into heaven after all by saving someone else, someone lighter than herself, I don’t know. She seemed relatively stupid, I wouldn’t put it passed her.

The reason why I make such a rude judgement, is because her grand plan of assisting my escape was to slowly pick up my tiny frame, and force me upwards, ascended me in the dense faeces until she managed to place my feet upon her shoulders. The thickness of this fecal matter (or perhaps all fecal matter, I don’t want to know) means that such a fast rise put a whole load of pressure on my body and my ears popped and rang in response. And for what? So I could stand on her shoulders and be several feet closer to the goal without actually being anywhere near the top? It was a stupid idea from a stupid stupid woman, and I was astonished by her simplicity, but in hindsight, bless her for trying, really.

And bless her for something else too, as by the time I had sunk back down to her level, I’d devised a plan of my own. She had started to talk to me about something or other, mouthing a bunch of muffled bubbles that I struggled to make out, when I reached out as fast as the poo would let me, and grabbed her windpipe like it was a cylinder under a sink. I dug my fingertips as deep as they would go into her neck, and then yanked out towards me, ignoring her shocked face with guilt as I did so. Whether my hands were the perfect shape for such an act, or whether people have extra weak throats in Hell, I’ll never know, but her oesophagus came loose relatively quickly, a tube now only half attached to her lower jaw floating aimlessly about in its freedom while she thrashed in slow motion, the poop gradually diluting with the colour red. And I didn’t let go. Not until she stopped her stupid thrashing, anyway. And you know what? It actually felt good. After the miserable failed attempt of murdering Palama, it felt like I’d finally scratched a craving left exposed for far too long now, even if the death was of someone already dead.

Now, you might be wondering why I killed Priscilla like that, a woman who had obviously taken some sort of a liking to me and was only trying to help. Well, I’ll tell you. It’s because I had figured something out, and as I dragged her fat corpse through the mud for what felt like miles, I became more and more certain that with enough bodies like hers, I could build a ladder to the top of this horrific torture container and escape the fuck up out of here without having to swallow another mouthful of bacteria. Which sounded great, especially because I suddenly had an urge to kill everything.

And, lucky me, resources were somewhat plentiful. I’d wade around half blind in a fixed direction, counting my paces, until my eyes could make out a blurry victim ahead which my fingers could jab into. They’d generally be quite surprised by this child entering their comfort zone, but perhaps the months of solitude had weakened them, their loneliness relieved to have someone seemingly non-threatening to attempt a conversation with. That’s why not a single one was prepared for this little girl to strangle them or push their windpipes deep into their necks or whatever, and my collection grew as fast as I could drag these lifeless bodies through the excrement—which, truth be told, actually took a fucking long time.

I couldn’t tell you how long all in all, but it must have taken almost a year or so to get the job done, I guess? Still, I was so preoccupied by the task, even entertained, that it hardly felt like a chore, imaginatively stacking dead corpses on top of one another in the most logical fashion, interlocking limbs as elaborate placements to grip or stand on, minimising the time needed to pack the latest human corpse onto the collection, and ensuring they did not topple over by using a mix of constructive ingenuity and the firmness of the poo. Actually, looking back now, this was really great. I recall periods of much pride and happiness for a few moments there.

And the hard work paid off too. Bodies on top of bodies until I could feel I was almost at the top. The shit was different up there, more watery, easier to swallow, less likely to drag you down. Which is why I spent the last few days refusing to come down, bored of the murder, rather trying to stay afloat, moving my arms as minimally as possible and allowing my body to ascend bit by bit naturally, until my head finally began to surface out of the top, feeling the cold crown of actual oxygen upon my wet hair, eventually reaching above myself and wrapping my fingers upon the glass ledge, lifting up and out to freedom. Oh, what a feeling.

Except, weirdly, in that brief moment my only regret was that I never found that black-and-white boy. I would have loved to had killed him too.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Eating Shit, Part four of four - His skin was so black that he looked almost like silhouette with horns, only his mustard eyes betraying his life.


The slurping sound of my body worming its way out from the gigantic tank was soon blasted away by the click click sounds of cameras swarming my every angle, the once drowning vision of brown now blinded by white flashes of nothing. “Macy! Macy!” were the only words I could recognise beneath the snapping percussion of film being memorised, disorientating my attempt to stabilise until I fell over, sprawled out onto a crap covered carpet, once a dark red now the colour of soil from my own body. I was beyond relieved to be breathing real air, the type of luxury you only appreciate once starved of it for so long, but all my liberation was ruined by this brand new annoyance, and I felt more angry than I had for weeks.

What the fuck is going on? I had been trapped in silent isolation for such a lengthy time that I could not cope with this abrupt mass of unrecognisable creatures excitedly surrounding me, creepy fingers of all lengths and thickness and variations reaching out to touch my skin while all I wanted was a few moments alone with actual clean oxygen, invited naturally in through my mouth, expanding my lungs, arming my blood cells. This attention was not welcome, and all fury in my fiber told me to tear down these beings, except my exhaustion refused to start any engines, and I lay there, destroyed and suddenly very self-conscious of my nudity even though I had been naked for most my life.

Thankfully, this embarrassing predicament was short lived. A group of muscular hands tucked beneath my armpits and raised me to my feet. A being that looked like an oversized ant wrapped a towel around me to cover the fresh shit sliding off of my body as well as the dry clumps which had hardened to my skin colour. I witnessed various other assorted creatures push the collected crowd aside, out of my view to reveal a pathway, and whomever had lifted me up guided my steps in that direction, in between the blur of flashing cameras and gawking cheers. I clumsily stumbled, placing one shaky foot in front of the other, remembering how to walk until I noticed our destination a few yards ahead. It was a door.

As we approached the sight whilst attempting to ignore the noise, the door creaked timidly open and a few steps later, the hands holding me steady let go, and I tumbled into a room, onto my knees, followed by the sound of the door shutting behind me, instantly swallowing the chaos into silence and allowing my mind the calm it needed to look up and evaluate my new surroundings.

“Please, take a seat,” said a demon I found sat on a throne-like chair in front of me. His skin was so black that he looked almost like a silhouette with horns, only his mustard eyes betraying his life. Beside him stood another monster type, about seven feet tall and dressed in a dapper butler suit, a total normal physique other than his head, which was nothing more than a floppy tube resembling a flaccid elephant trunk, hung limply over his collar and down to his belt like a sad tie.

I achingly stood up, leaving an impressive imprint of muddy poop in my shape behind, and then sat on a quaint leather seat pointed out to me. The room was a small space dimly lit by candles, and after the vastness of the crap tank, I felt a slight shallow pang of claustrophobia. But I dared not speak a word, as the intense overbearing of my senses had drained me entirely, dulling any logical comprehension and cultivating distrust for my own thoughts.

“Would you like a cup of tea?” this dark figure asked me, and then without hesitating for a response, signalled to his sidekick who promptly went to the corner and pulled a steaming mug out of nowhere, handing it to me. The aroma cleansed my sinuses and it screamed of health, to which I eagerly cradled in my palms, unfazed by the burn as my lips stole a huge gulp. It tasted of plants but in the best way possible, my eyes watering from the pleasure of not tasting shit.

“So, I guess a congratulations is in order,” the demon requested my attention once again. “For you have not only escaped the DigestiTrack—a feat only a small crowd have managed to conquer in all of eternity—but you have also achieved this mission in a much faster fashion than anyone else in our history: 9 months, 10 days, and 9 hours. Such a time beating the record by years and years, it must be noted.”

He paused for a moment and sat there, staring at me, his sharp eyes encouraging a response, but I just continued to sip this ‘heavenly’ tea, appreciating the warmth it provided but feeling a touch awkward in all other areas of the situation. I wasn’t sure what he was expecting from me. Was I supposed to cheer for joy? Jump to my feet and pat myself on the head? Thank him for the congratulations after I’d been shoved into a tormented tub of poop, having pushed myself alone to freedom, without any intentional help from anyone else? I did not know, and so I did not respond, which was enough silence for him to get on with it.

“Ok, let me cut to the chase, Macy,” he leaned forward. “By all deals and agreements, you have succeeded in what so many have failed to do—you have rightfully earned an exit from Hell. But you have done so in such a resourceful and unique manner, that Lucifer himself has taken notice of you. What an honour this is. Not a usual affair, and not something that should be taken lightly. Which is why I am here, to deliver a message, sent from him, to you, through me.”

I’ll admit, the idea that the Devil himself knew who I was did stir some intrigue in me, but I was also wary about what the consequences of such an attention could be. How weird it is, that only a short time ago I would have sneered at the concept of a Satan and a Hell, disregarding it as a technique invented by religion to instill fear into children, ensuring they obeyed some rigid rules to the Church’s liking. And yet, here I was, receiving a message from the Dark Lord himself. Strange how quickly things change. I stopped sipping my drink. I listened.

“There is a natural evil in you, Macy. A fundamental villainous core which cannot be taught, one we foolishly didn’t notice before, otherwise you would have never been granted a ride on the Johnson Line in the first place. However, what’s done is done, and we can only extend an invitation to you. Stay here, Macy. Stay here in Hell with us, and you will be rewarded greater than any king on Earth, showered with such rewards that even the most wealthiest of human beings wouldn’t have enough imagination to fathom it. Everything you have ever desired will be placed in front of your fingertips—your own mansion filled with slaves, food so fine that the soil it came from would be considered a delicacy in your old home, but most of all: power. You would be granted an acclaimed position in the ranks of Hell, one which would harness and progress your skills, giving you the opportunity to command a large fleet of Satan’s already very potent army. Make no mistake, Macy, this is an offer of the most desirable calibre. The face of every single person living on Earth will soon be affected by our intentions, and we want you to be a part of its leadership. A seat in this congress is not something which comes available very often, and I myself have never heard of it being offered on such short notice.”

At some point, without realising it, I had begun to sip my tea again, which had cooled down considerably and lapped comfortably at my pallet. The idea of power interested me—as it would interest anyone—but after what I’d just endured, with the faeces and that, not to mention the countless amounts of times I’d cussed down the name of Hell during the ordeal... I personally still held onto some resentment towards the favour of Satan, but decided not to mention that.

“And what if I refuse?” I croaked, the hoarse voice which came out of my mouth giving me a fright, the first words I’d spoken in close to a year.

“Then that would be a great loss for both of us, Macy,” this demon leaned back. “But a deal is a deal. We here in Hell pride ourselves on keeping our deals. And you must also know that there would be no hard feelings from our side either, if you so choose to go down this route. Lucifer’s interest in you is... special. He has made it clear that no matter what your decision, just be aware that his eyes will forever be upon you, eagerly awaiting your inevitable return.”

“Well, then, I must wholeheartedly thank you for this opportunity,” I didn’t even blink. “But I have to gratefully yet regrettably turn down your offer. I've got to go back to where I came from. There is something I need to do.”

And to that, the demon laughed. “And I’m sure I know exactly what that something is. Alright, Macy. So be it. Jasmith, prepare the box,” he spoke to his sidekick as he stood up. “And Macy, until we meet again, it has been a complete honour to watch you work.”

With that, he bowed, turned, and exited out a door that wasn’t there before, and I watched as the trunk-monster shuffled around, producing a large wooden box out of thin air, and then placing it at my bare shit-encrusted feet.

“Whenever you are ready, ma’am,” he spluttered from his one nostril, and I reluctantly placed my half empty mug upon the floor. I was apprehensive, but knew I had to commit to whatever this was before I started to second guess my decision. I stood up, tiptoed into the box, and then looked up, awaiting further instruction.

“Please lie down, ma’am,” this creature snotted, and I followed his order, scrunching myself into fetal position, suddenly feeling very vulnerable and fearful in my discomfort. Was this yet another trick to trap me in a Hell within a Hell? There was definitely a chance, but thankfully, this was not the case.

Jasmith picked up a matching wooden lid and just before he placed it on top of my little compartment, he hesitated, then reached into his top blazer pocket and produced a safety pin about the size of my pinkie. “Here, take this,” he spoke in a flustered hurry. “It will come in use, I promise, but please never tell anyone where you got it from”.

Before I could question the item I had suddenly found in my palm, the box was shut with me inside. Utter darkness, and I began to hyperventilate until I could hear crickets chirping and a slight chilling wind molesting my nude skin through the wooden slats.

They gave me the name Macy Dull. And this was the first, and only time I was resurrected.

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