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.

No comments: