Memo From Hell
By Louise Dragon
Sue kicked off her heels the moment the door to her apartment swished shut behind her. Yes, her apartment; Neil was gone now. Although she’d been careful not to let her true feelings show at the funeral; she’d squeezed out tears and everything. Sue was rid of him – and she was thrilled about it.
He’s gone; she wanted to shout as she scooped up her mail. No more weirdness, no more fear; the man had been one scary guy with all of his strange books and secret mumblings. For the first time since her wedding six years ago, Sue felt serene and at ease. She was glad to be unburdened from a husband whose bizarreness had increased over the years until it finally killed him.
Scanning through the bills and junk mail, Sue paused at a chartreuse envelope with her first name scrawled across it in spiky letters. No stamp, no postmark, not even a proper address. Perhaps a sympathy card she supposed. The envelope felt warm in her hands. She tore it open and a rancid odor struck her nostrils making her hands tremble as she read the grisly message:
Since eventually you’ll be joining me, I thought you might be interested in the goings on down here.
Yesterday was my first day. It started at six A.M., when temperatures began to rise. This place reached six hundred degrees by early afternoon. The other poor souls down here tell me that’s about average for this time of year.
When they closed the lid of my coffin, I awoke almost immediately here in my little honeycomb cubicle set into the walls along with about a million others. Every one of us has his own little niche. Since it’s too hot to sleep, we amuse ourselves by counting the drops falling from the stalactites above. Sound boring? It better not be – we have to pay attention. In the morning, He might ask how many drops fell. According to the souls of the damned, it’s in our best interest to know!
Since it was my first day, I played it by ear. We can eat anything we can find. Everything tastes like charcoal, and water is hard to find. Steam is plentiful, but difficult to drink. My sinuses haven’t bothered me since I arrived.
Work assignments are passed out daily by Him, and I didn’t hear any complaints. My job for the day was clearing more little caverns in the walls to make room for new arrivals. For this I used a pick and shovel == dropping the rocks down into a bubbling pit of puke green lava to be melted down into more puke green lava. Other workers use this vile concoction to paint pictures of hideous atrocities on the walls between the small caves. The drawings give off a luminescent green glow and this where our light comes from. I’m told, over in The Blazes, the drawings give off a yellow-red light. He lives over there.
You probably want to know more about Him. What can I say? The guy looks different every time I see Him. In the morning He looked like your typical Devil image. You know – hooves, tail, pitchfork, etc; leering and ugly, just like in the movies. Big too – had to duck His head to keep from scraping His horns on the ceiling. Later on, when He came around to check our work, He looked like a giant dog – black as night with fangs the size of daggers and slanted eyes emitting an eerie purple glow of iridescent evil. I could not look into those eyes. I think I’d have gone mad. They say the bonkers souls end up in one of The Pits. No thanks, I’ll try to stay right up here in The Inferno – It’s rather cozy. They tell me that you get used to the heat at about the same time your eyes become accustomed to the green light.
I rather like Hell. I’m told that if you play your cards right, He sometimes sends you upstairs on assignment. I intend to be one of those lucky few, so plan on seeing me soon. I promise that you will be receiving my utmost attention.
Your doting husband, Neil.
As Sue read the last hideous word, greenish flames began to lick her fingers around the vile smelling sheet of paper. She managed to drop it into the kitchen sink just before she fainted.
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