Meet Ivanka

That was the first time I remember being in Hell.

Things haven't gotten much better. They never do. It's Hell.

This time, after Rex leaped at me and I hit my head, I didn't wake up on the Plain of Torture, as I think of it. Things in Hell don't have names. Hell is not organized. I've realized, from the many times I've been there, that chaos and evil are closer acquaintances than anyone suspected. I've never met the Devil, and he's probably pretty busy, but I'd guess his office is a mess.

This time I woke up, or re-woke, near a seashore. I wasn't fooled. I touched some water once in Hell and it felt hot enough to disintegrate me. I was under the impression, at that point, that being in Hell meant that I wouldn't feel pain, but that was early on and I was very foolish or naive. The whole point of Hell is to feel pain, right? And there's nothing to eat or drink in Hell. The water is especially vicious. It's hot -- almost steaming-boiling-hot-- and it feels acidic, because it keeps burning after you touch it.

So I didn't go near the water and in fact moved back from it before the waves could get me. I stepped back over the gravelly sand that cuts your feet to walk on. I appear in Hell naked, like always, and I've never seen a clothed person here. Most of the people that I see are being tortured by demons or chased by revenants or burning in fire pits or hanging by their neck from trees in nooses made of barbed wire... you get the picture.

Remember, you can't die in Hell. If they hang you by barbed wire, you hang there suffocating but not dying until the barbed wire slices your head off. I've seen it happen. I don't know what happens to your head then but no matter what it's probably not good.

I crunched back slowly over the sharp rocks on the shore to get to one where I could sit and hide and think. I had no way of knowing how long I was going to be in Hell this time. Or any time. But as I backed up and tried to look around to see who or what might have seen me, I felt a hand on my shoulder.


I knew it was her without looking because her hand was cold. I don't know how cold you have to be to stay icy cold in Hell, but Ivanka does it. I was going to turn around but she did it for me and I was looking at a large set of breasts as she held me by both shoulders.

Ivanka is about 6'10". That doesn't sound large but it is because she's not a slender 6'10", she's all muscles and power and cold. She's a Valkyrie. And she has a crush on me.

She proved that now by leaning down and putting her mouth on mine and kissing me, hard, forcing her tongue into my mouth by forcing my teeth apart, her tongue then wrestling mine into submission as she mashed me into her breasts. I felt one hand holding the middle of my back and the other slowly caressing its way down to my ass, where she grabbed my left cheek and squeezed.

I couldn't breathe but it wasn't a bad way to not breathe. But I didn't want to be kissing Ivanka, not even in Hell and not even if this was some sort of a dream. I love Brigitte and also I'm going to be a mom, I think, and that ran through my head but then Ivanka's hand slipped around to the front and I felt her caressing me between my legs, and I went sort of limp and she laid me back on a large slab of rock, which was hot but she was icy cold and the mixture sort of worked. Her mouth went to one of my own breasts and she was licking my nipple and I just went along with it. Her head kept moving down, kissing my stomach and then I felt her tongue between my legs and she was really working me, I started moaning but had to bite my lips because I didn't want to attract attention.

Ivanka spun around and I saw her giant legs on either side of me. I stopped biting my lip and started licking her. I couldn't help myself.

So much bad stuff happens in Hell that maybe I wanted something good to happen. But I guess I'm just also easy. I wondered if I could explain it to Brigitte.

Then I came, and Ivanka came, and she laid down next to me and put my head on her shoulder.

"Ivanka, I need your help," I said.

Her eyes were really beautiful.

Part Two: In Hell

Lesbian Zombies Are Taking Over The World!

Rachel The Lesbian Zombie suddenly realized one day that she didn't know how she got to her job as a waitress in New York City, how she got home, or indeed, what she was or where she was in the world -- and her body was not her own.

In Part One, At the Church of Our Savior of Living People Only, Rachel, with the help of her Octopus, she set off walking and met Brigitte, her lover. Just before Brigitte and Rachel could escape from the revenants in their dirigible, Rachel was knocked unconscious.

In Part Two, she wakes up In Hell.

Part Two:

1. Rachel's First Memory of Hell.

2. Meet Ivanka
3. Getting Out of Hell
4. The Waterspout Appears
5. Count Your Blessings

6. Meanwhile, Back In New York.

Rachel's First Memory Of Hell

I used to think that I only dreamed about Hell. After hearing Reverend Tommy talk about how lesbian zombies like me can move freely into the afterlife, I'm not so sure. Maybe Hell is real. That scares me a lot because I know too much about Hell and not enough about everything else.

Somehow, when I'm "awake," when I'm in the "real world," which is what I think the world where Brigitte is and where Doc is and where there's no demons, I only remember about two weeks back now, to that day when I realized that I was a waitress and didn't know why or how I was a waitress, to that day when I went home and realized that I didn't even know how I knew it was home. I have no memory before that moment: I was suddenly standing there, in a diner in New York City, holding two plates, and wondering what in the hell happened.

One plate was bacon and eggs and pancakes. The other was a hamburger and french fries. I remember that. Who orders a hamburger and french fries in the morning? But I didn't know which table they were going to, or who had what, or how I had gotten there or who I was, really. I knew this: I knew my name was Rachel. That was it. I don't know how I knew that, even.

But when I'm "asleep," when my body in the "real world" falls asleep and I end up here, in Hell, I remember a lot. A lot I don't want to remember. I remember a lifetime of years, maybe decades, probably not a century, and most of it boring. Time moves differently for me here in Hell. It's hard to predict. I'll go to sleep for a short nap and spend three weeks in Hell and then wake up and an hour has passed. Each night, when I sleep, I go to Hell and then hope to wake up before I spend much time here. But it's always a long time and I have a lot of memories of Hell that I wish I didn't.

Here's the first memory I have in Hell: I woke up sitting on a rock ledge halfway down in a crevice in the landscape. The crevice was maybe 8 feet wide -- just narrow enough that you think you could jump across it if you ran, and just wide enough that you knew you probably were wrong. The crevice was also about a million feet deep. It went down and down and down and down.

I woke up on the ledge, about halfway down. I say "halfway" down because it was a long way to the top; from where I sat, I was in the dark and the only thing I saw was a glowing red line. I didn't know what it was. But I looked down and saw only dark. I looked straight ahead and saw only dark. I looked up and saw a glowing red line, and headed for that.

My body knew what to do, I think. I didn't give it any conscious directions. I stood up and stretched my arms and legs and turned around on this little ledge that was only about 12 inches across, and I began climbing, in the dark, my hands reaching out and finding nooks and crannies and my feet propping me and sweat dripping into my eyes. It was godawful hot in that crevice.

Not surprising for Hell, I suppose.

I didn't think much of anything during that climb other than how hard it was. I felt my arms and legs and back get tired. The rock was hot on my skin. I didn't have any clothes on but that didn't seem unnatural to me for some reason. I climbed and climbed and climbed and didn't think and for a long time the red line didn't get any closer but eventually it grew a little wider and eventually a lot wider and eventually I pulled myself up out of that crevice and looked around and I started crying.

What would you do when you first saw Hell? I looked around as I got out of that crevice and started crying and ducked back down before anything saw me. I didn't know, then, that it was Hell. I just knew I didn't want to be there. Because once I pulled myself up over that crack, the first thing I saw were people, crawling. Herds and herds of people, crawling. Some were on their hands and knees. Some were on their bellies. Nobody was standing up, nobody was walking, they were all slowly crawling and dragging themselves across the landscape, which looked like it was made of broken glass and thorns. They were naked, too.

I said nobody was walking but that's not true. There were things walking: demons. They walked among the crawling people and kicked them and bit them and whipped them and stood on them and ground them into the cutting land.

I ducked back down and cried and wondered what to do and where I was.

Rachel Never Sleeps

I just stared at Rex, who was getting madder and madder, or something-er and something-er. He was growling and spit was rolling down and his eyes were almost all white.

He leaped at me, snarling. It sounded like something primal, the kind of sound that animals make to strike fear into your heart. How can animals do that? Is it a defense mechanism they came up with when humans started walking and using tools and guns? Did they need something to fight back with, so they came up with sounds that you don't hear so much as you feel them at the base of your neck? It was that kind of snarl.

I'm lucky, I guess, that he went for my left hand and not for my throat. I dodged right. I dove to my right, which was dumb I think because Doc darted forward and grabbed onto Rex's head, pulling him off course enough that he missed my hand and probably would have missed my hand, plus Doc was covering his eyes and trying to slap some tentacles around Rex's mouth to close it.

But I, meanwhile, in diving, had gone headfirst into the undercarriage of the dirigible that Brigitte had picked out. I dropped like a sack of potatoes, my head spinning and seeing stars. I fell flat on my back and heard a ringing in my ears. I looked up as my vision got blurry. I saw Brigitte's legs, all the way up, as she stood over me and began bending down. I saw her thong underwear. I heard her say, all blurry and woozy and far away:


But I passed out.

And I woke up immediately. The world around me was red and black and blue and pus-colored and HOT. Very hot. The ground was hurting my back. I sat up quick and then stood up because it was hot on my legs and butt plus the ground was all covered with super-sharp gravelly pebbles. I looked around and realized that I had blacked out or dropped unconscious.

All around me was Hell. I probably should have mentioned that I don't sleep, ever. When my body in the 'real' world goes to sleep, I wake up in Hell.

The Beginning: At the Church of The Savior of Living People Only.

Left hands are always evil, aren't they?

The dirigible -- dirigibles, I should say, because Brigitte's dad was pretty wealthy and had a couple of them -- were around back.

When I first saw a dirigible, on the walk from New York City down to here, I asked Doc what they were.

That is a dirigible, he told me. It is a lighter-than-air vehicle used for personal transportation over short distances. It is held in the air by helium and powered by solar power and personal effort.

I saw a lot more of them over the 7 day walk here. I wished I'd had one. Now I had four to choose from. Brigitte walked among them in the shed that was in back of her father's house. Rex paced her, whining and sniffling, and she spoke to him in low tones. "I'll call Daddy and tell him, Rex. You won't get in any trouble." Pause. Whimper. Growl. "I promise. It's not like when I was a kid. Daddy will understand." Pause, sniffle, look at me, whine. "She's my lover," Brigitte said. "And the mother of my baby." Pause, whimper. Growl. "She's good." Rex came walking over to me and Doc whispered in my ear

Hold out your hand. Dogs see that as a friendly gesture. Palm up. I did so, putting my right hand out. Rex sniffed my hand.

Brigitte was looking inside the cockpit of the red dirigible. It looked fast. It was already pumped up, tethered to the ground, with the seats hanging below it. It didn't have a canopy, but I was not in a position to be picky. It had four seats and three propellers on the back, plus two little engines along the side. Doc had explained those to me: The side engines are for the more wealthy. They store solar energy and can then use it to power jet engines to move the dirigible more quickly than pedal power can alone. When I'd asked if you have to pedal them constantly, he'd said No. The pedaling is done intermittently to recharge the batteries that keep the propellers going, and can be done to provide a power boost. The balloon portion absorbs solar energy to provide the basic power.

So they had three gears: standard, powered by the sun alone; medium, powered by the sun plus pedaling, and jet, which was only for short distances.

Dirigibles became popular when oil reserves were nationalized and stockpiled solely for military use, Doc told me. I didn't care about history.

Rex had finished sniffing my hand and licked it. He wurffled. That's a word I learned from Brigitte, later. Wurffling is a dog-type-of noise that means about what a friendly shrug means in people. I patted him on the head and stepped to the dirigible.

"Is it okay if we take this?" I asked. Rex moved alongside me and I absently lifted my left hand to scratch his head, as I'd seen Brigitte do.

Rex sniffed, then licked my hand, then began barking and backed away from me. He hunched and crouched and bared his fangs as Brigitte moved in between us.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"He says your left hand is evil," said Brigitte.

The octopus says so.

We walked in silence for a few minutes. I was absorbing what Brigitte had told me. Somehow, despite not knowing anything about me farther back than 2 weeks ago, and despite not knowing anything about the actual world I lived in farther back than 2 weeks ago, I knew that babies do not start kicking when they are only a few days old. That seemed wrong.

I looked at my mismatched hands.

A lot of things seem wrong.

After a while, I imagine I'm going to get sick of telling myself who am I to judge, I've only been alive a week or two.

"Doc," I said, finally. Brigitte was holding my hand. The street was quiet and wide and lined with those giant trees that loom over everything in the South.


"How is it possible for Brigitte to be pregnant? And for her baby to be kicking?"

Brigitte squeezed my hand. "Can he answer that?" she asked quietly. I heard clicks and mumbles from Doc as he floated near my shoulder. Brigitte tugged me to the right and we turned down a side street. Narrower, which made the trees seem bigger. Or maybe they were bigger, because they still loomed over the stately houses that lined each side of the street, but those houses were bigger and the fences were bigger. Everything but the road was bigger.

I cannot answer that, said Doc.

"Because you don't know?"

Whirrs. Clicks. A hum. Why would he have to think about whether he knows or doesn't know the answer to a question?

I have to trust Doc. I have to.

I cannot say that I do or do not know, said Doc.

"What does that mean? Either you know or you don't know."

I know of ways that I could answer your question but they involve an unacceptable degree of speculation.

"So you'd have to guess?"


"And you don't want to?"


Brigitte stopped. "We're here," she said. She pointed to a house on our right, 2/3 of the way down the street, which I saw was a cul de sac. It was surrounded by a giant metal fence that looked impressive and old and possibly dangerous.

"Is it dangerous?" I asked. Doc scooted over to it, but Brigitte stopped him.

"It's electrified," she said. "Don't touch it."

We went to the gate, and Brigitte held her hand up. She touched the bars as I said "Don't!" and Doc buzzed warningly, but she waved us off.

"The fence recognizes my DNA," she said. "It's smart enough." The fence, in fact, glowed bright blue for a second where she touched it, and then the gate slid to the right. A dog came running out from the front porch.

"Rexie!" said Brigitte, excitedly. I held back. Doc stayed over my shoulder. Rexie the dog came running up and barked once, twice.

"We're here to get the dirigible," Brigitte said. Rexie sat down. He barked and whimpered. "No, you can't tell Dad," Brigitte said.

"Is she really talking to him?" I asked Doc.

About 20 years ago, people finally gave up the idea of teaching dogs to talk human language, and instead learned their language. Dogs understand about 20,000 words in human, and have about 15,000 words in dog. He told me. Some humans can speak dog, but most who understand the language do not try because the accent is hard to speak correctly, making it harder for dogs to understand.

Rex growled a little. Brigitte lectured him: "I know you're supposed to guard it, but we really need to go. The octopus says so."

Brigitte And The Baby Are Coming With

"Follow me," Brigitte said. She began walking quickly around the side of the building where her apartment -- our apartment -- is.

Was, I suppose. I had to listen to Doc. He was the only one willing to tell me what to do.

Or Brigitte, I suppose, because she grabbed my wrist and pulled me away. The revenants were stirring, a little, as we rounded the corner and began walking up the main street of the little town.

I wasn't even sure, that day, what the town was called. "Maples," I learned later. "Maples, Georgia." That's how short of a time I was there. Here's what we walked past as we left her -- our-- apartment behind:

On our left:

The small building that had a beauty salon in the base and our apartment above it.

A convenience store that, for a change, did not have a hydrogen fuel charger associated with it.

Two empty buildings.

A used-and-new furniture store.

On our right:
A bar.

Another bar.

A restaurant, the one where Brigitte worked and where I met her.

Another bar.

Then we were into the residential section -- the downtown was not very big. At all. The first houses, as usual, were sort of crappy, little houses that eventually, if the city grew, would become offices for dentists or chiropractors or laser eye surgery or body-part cloning and if it didn't grow then their occupants would die in them. We walked a few more blocks. Brigitte was starting to breath more regularly now but less heavy. I didn't breath heavily at all. While I don't have any special skills that I've ever noticed, I also don't really get winded. Sometimes I think that I breathe only for appearances' sake. I should try, sometime, to stop breathing.

Or not.

"Where are we going?" I asked her.

"My dad's house," she said.

"What's there?"

"Weapons. And transportation." She looked at me. "You'll take me with you, won't you?"

I hesitated.

She licked her lips. Slowly.

"Yes," I said.

"Good," she said. "I was hopin' you wouldn't leave me and our baby."

"Brigitte," I said, "We've got to talk about that. I don't know very much about me or things in general, but I do know this: two women can't make a baby."

"We did." She said it simply. She wasn't trying to convince me.

"And how can you know you're pregnant already? Even if it were possible, how could you possibly know?"

"I felt it kick today."

I suppose that I should not say things are possible or not possible. When you've only been alive for a week, you're not really in a position to judge possible or not possible.