Count Your Blessings

It was on us with a heart-rending roar. The waterspout suddenly leaned over and dove at us, I swear it dove at us, and Ivanka and the horse reared back. I saw the waterspout's mouth open up and there were waterspout teeth that looked both solid and liquid, I guess the ordinary rules of things don't matter in Hell, and they came at us. As the horse reared back and tried to avoid it, it almost flew straight up in the air and I slipped off.

I was holding onto Ivanka's waist, luckily, and had my arms wrapped pretty tightly around her. So the horse was going straight up and Ivanka was riding it like a pro and I was hanving from her as it flew up and the waterspout came at us and swallowed us.

It was engulfing and terrifying. The teeth clamped around us and I clung to Ivanka as we were instantly soaked. I could feel small things pelting me and the water was both icy cold and boiling hot and it burned my skin something fierce. A big thing slammed into me as I closed my eyes and I saw just a glimpse of a tortured soul being flung past us and it was shrieking. You think when you're alive that you've heard shrieking but you haven't heard shrieking until you get to Hell.

When the soul slammed into me it jarred one arm a little and I felt my hands slipping. I tried to interlace my fingers but it wasn't working.

"Ivanka!" I screamed but even I couldn't hear my own voice. The water was howling around us and we were immersed in it. I could feel the horse straining. Another body slammed into me and my hands broke free and Ivanka turned her head to look.

I fell from the horse and from Ivanka. I fell and fell and fell and the waterspout was swirling me around just like any other damned soul...

... was I a damned soul?...

Ivanka and the horse tried to turn around. They were going to their left; I had been torn off to their right. Souls and debris and water were pummeling me now and I was getting bruised and broken. One poor person grabbed at me, got a hand on my neck and I started choking and they pulled me down. I looked over my shoulder and saw a man, his face half melted off. He scrabbled at me and he tore my hair out by the roots. I felt the water stinging it. I was screaming and didn't see Ivanka anymore but I was still falling and getting sucked down closer to the ocean' surface.

I saw the face of the waterspout appear; it had rotated around and was inside the spout now and was leering at me and it opened wide and the mouth reached out for me. One of the teeth was right above my face and was about to bite in and I couldn't breath because the dead guy was still holding onto my neck when suddenly a sword lashed out and cut off the tooth at the root.

Ivanka and the horse had worked their way around, going upstream, and the horse had broken out of the walls of the waterspout and was in the middle where there was only a bloody sort of misty haze. They floated there and Ivanka whirled her sword around and the water was about to carry me past but she leaned way over and with her left hand grabbed my foot and pulled me into the middle of the waterspout, too.

The face roared and the horse started up, Ivanka still carrying me by my foot. The dead guy clung to my throat and I gasped for air and saw the blood drip from my scalp onto his face as the horse climbed and climbed and climbed and finally we were at the top.

We broke free.

We broke free and got out into open air, as open as air can be in Hell. The waterspout kept stretching and reaching for us. The voices in the waterspout, the souls, were crying out. I saw them whirling by and reaching out arms for us. The dead man clung to me grimly, moaning. I couldn't get him off of me.

We kept flying higher and higher, putting distance between us and the waterspout. I wished we'd done that in the first place.

I wished, too, that I could get the dead guy to let go of me.

I wished, three, that Ivanka would pull me up instead of dangling me by a foot.

I tried to count my blessings, though.

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