A Short Story – My take on Hell, influenced by research on Dante’s Inferno

Hi guys!
I’ve got something a bit different for you today! I know I’ve posted writing in this past, so if you’ve been around on my blog for a while, you may know I am a creative writing student. Today I wanted to share with you a short story that I wrote a year or two ago which I stumbled upon looking through my laptop documents.
I hope you enjoy this & let me know in the comments below if you’d like to see more short stories & other writing bits from me!

Roller Coaster

My whole life I’ve served myself. I didn’t care how people perceived me or the things I did, as long as I was happy then I thought it would all be okay. I never believed in karma, God, life after death or any of those things. I lived hard, fast and happy and, by God, I enjoyed it. But now… I see I was very wrong.
I’m walking towards these big steel gates, a sign on them reads ‘Abandon all hope’. The letters are sprawled in blood red, they look like they are literally dripping. But they’re not and it’s all probably some stupid joke. From all else I can tell, they have been here for an eternity. A few moments ago I awoke in a deserted dusty grey pit, it reminded me of the time I went camping in a Valley with some friends but the mood was much more eerie in the pit. I don’t know why I woke up there, probably been on another four day bender and the lads thought it was funny to drive me there. I don’t know. Probably. The Valley had been more fun… Girls, booze, drugs. I think I probably smiled at the memories, but if I did, I’ve stopped smiling now. It only got colder walking towards the gates and all my former happiness was drawn away. I think I have abandoned all hope. Excuse the pun.
Just as I’m thinking, fuck this I’ll go back to the grey pit and wait, the gates slowly open and the creepiest fun fair music is playing somewhere faintly in the distance. I’ve got to enter, that’s all I can think. I’m just too fucking enticed.
In front of me is a walk way made of yellow brick and for a moment I swear I must still be high and dreaming of the Wizard of Oz but something tells me this is real. The way the cold wind blows through my arm hair giving me goose bumps, that’s what tells me it is. I walk down, suddenly brave because let’s face it, what’s gonna get me? The wicked witch of the west, Dorothy herself or a Munchkin?
After walking for a few minutes, with the awful music gradually getting louder, I see the red framework of a roller coaster to my left just ahead. Just above the music I can hear screams. They aren’t the normal type of screams you’d hear at a fun fair though, they sound more like the screams of an accident scene and I would know. It sounds like grown men are crying, maybe even begging for it all to stop and I don’t fucking understand. I walk towards the fence that surrounds the ride and watch as the carriage goes around the track. The laughing smiling faces that are painted at various points of the ride and that music really freak me out and everything starts to feel sinister. Just as the carriage is about to pass where I’m standing I see the spinning blades attached to the framework and I just say ‘shit’, and it’s the first time I hear my voice since I awoke and it startles me.
The carriage slows down, but not to a stop, they are going to go past those blades. To my horror, I see that the people on the ride have their arms and hands strapped outside of the carriage. Each finger held with tiny clasps making them unable to wriggle even a little. That’s when it happens. The front row get it first. Their fingers are slowly taken by the fast spinning blades. Each tiny finger causing a blood splatter, a drop even gets my face and for a second I’m a little bit outraged but at least I still have my fingers to wipe off the blood.  The cries are the worst, they echo through my head and all’s I can do is watch and wonder why it’s happening, and where the hell I am.
I back away from the fence because quite frankly I can’t take it anymore. I see the queue for the ride, masses of people all wearing the same blue jumper. Some are crying and I wish I knew why they didn’t just leave the queue. But then I notice the guards that are situated all around the queue line. I’m not even sure what they are, they look human but not quite. Red horns stick out of their temples, I don’t know if they are costumes or genuine weirdos. Either way, they won’t let the people leave. I walk around the ride until I see the entrance, more people in the blue jumpers are being forcefully led to join the queue. Above the entrance a lit up red and blue sign reads ‘thievery’. That’s when I notice the word ‘Thief’ on the matching blue jumpers and I realise that this is a punishment. Maybe I’m in some weird prison, but surely this would never be allowed. Our government are shit but even they wouldn’t do this.
I’m left feeling more confused, freaked out and I’m not going to lie, a little bit scared too. I follow the yellow path further into the apparent fun fair until I come across a long line of people and instantly I know they are queuing for another form of punishment. I’m quicker this time, to read the word ‘Abuser’ on their orange jumpers. There is a whole host of people in this line, women, men, children, adults and I think about the things they might have done to other people.
I make my way past the people, some of them stare at me but mostly I’m invisible. I eventually reach the front of the queue and see a massively muscly guy (he kind of looks like the lad my girlfriend left me for actually now I think about it). He’s holding a hammer, waiting for his next victim in front of a light house. The next victim is a woman. She is middle aged with greying blonde hair and looks miserable as sin, but I can’t blame her if the last punishment I saw is anything to go by. She makes her way up some steps that I can see through small windows of the light house. When she reaches the top, she is made, by some of those guards with horns, to put her head through a small opening. She looks scared a little, but mostly she’s resigned herself to this. The muscle man hits his hammer hard on a platform at the base of the light house causing a heavy weight to shoot up and hit the woman hard on the chin. Blood runs down the light house and is immediately spayed with water by some guards. But again, what gets me is the high pitched scream that rings in my ears. Again I can’t take it and I back off.
I know I should run, I should turn back down this yellow road and out of those steel gates and back to my grey pit and wait. But I can’t. Something is telling me to continue further and who am I to ignore an instinct?
After a couple more minutes I see a huge circus tent and I can hear someone cheerful inside saying “roll up roll up, take your seats the show is about to resume”. I circle the tent until I find a gap in the curtain so I can look inside. The circus is the biggest I’ve ever seen. Four screens face different directions in the middle and they project the image of the person I heard from outside. He is a clown. A typical yellow and red onesie covers his body and a smile is painted on his face over the top of white face paint. He freaks me out, like everything else in this God damn place. The lights go out in the circus, apart from one spot light that illuminates a man in a green jumper. A video begins to play on the screen and I can barely watch it because it’s so horrific, but at the same time, I can’t turn away. The video shows a man, (I think the one who is under the spotlight), and he has a gun which he is pointing at a young girl behind a till at a shop. She cowers, clearly frightened, clearly harmless, and clearly about to die. The gun goes off and the girl drops to the floor. Over the video, twinkle twinkle little star plays softly and somehow this makes it worse. Suddenly, the illuminated man screams and it’s louder than any scream I’ve heard today. Then I notice he is strapped to the chair and my guess is that it’s electric. I don’t have to read his jumper to know it says ‘Murderer’. The video ends and another person is illuminated under a spot light. I don’t stay to watch though, I’ve seen all I can handle here.
I continue down the yellow path, knowing I shouldn’t but doing it anyway. That’s basically my life motto anyway, doing things I shouldn’t, why change now? I eventually find myself stood outside a haunted house and part of me is disappointed that I won’t know what happens inside. Just as I’m about to back away from the house, two horned guards run towards me. I don’t have time to run. They grab me hard and despite how much I’m struggling, I can’t release myself. I don’t understand, maybe they think I’m someone else. I try to explain to them that I’m here by mistake and I truly believe I am, until I look down at myself and see my purple jumper and the word ‘Addict’ bold across my chest.
I break down. If the things I’ve seen today are anything to go by then I’m about to be in a lot of pain. I’m led forcefully to the queue and handed a leaflet. The top reads ‘WELCOME TO HELL’, and I understand, even though I don’t remember dying, but honestly that part doesn’t even surprise me. The leaflet gives me information about my life and how I’ve spent it, about how I’m an addict and because of that I’m here to be punished. I read all of this with ease, they’re things I already know. But under the heading ‘Punishment’ reads ‘Because you have abused your body, you may no longer use it’. I scream, a common sound here. Some smarmy git has even written ‘enjoy your stay’ at the bottom.
All’s that’s going through my head is fuck this so I turn and run. A shot gun rings in my ear, blood pours from my stomach and I feel excruciating pain. My vision goes black and when it comes back, I’m back in the grey pit. And that’s when I know, if I want to move on from here, I’ll have to go through that haunted house.
Jazmin xx

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2 thoughts on “A Short Story – My take on Hell, influenced by research on Dante’s Inferno

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