Part of Chicago Fell On Bob.

"You're getting better at this," I heard, though, and that stopped me. When you hear a voice you recognize in Hell, you stop. It's just natural to do so.

Plus, this voice was the only friendly voice I’d ever heard in Hell. There were only two people in Hell who were ever nice to me – I’m using “people” loosely—and this was one of them.

I turned around and saw him. It was Bob.

That’s what I call him, anyway. “Bob.” “Bob The Revenant,” if you want to be exact. I call him “Bob” because when I met him long long long ago, he told me that if he’d ever had a name, he didn’t any longer because he couldn’t remember it.

I was lucky that Bob found me, back then. He found me, in fact, after I had crawled to the top of the crevice, my first memory in Hell; I don’t know how long after I had made it to the top he found me, because I spent a long time sitting just below the edge of the rocks, peeking up occasionally and crying, sobbing, really, all the time.

I knew, somehow, back then, that I was in Hell. But I didn’t know how I had ended up there, or anything else about me or what was going on. I just knew that I was in Hell. I knew that because there’s just no mistaking it. Even without memories, even without a history, even without a name, some instinctive part of me, some part of my soul, knew that I was in Hell. And I knew, too, that I didn’t want to be there.

I don’t know why nobody first noticed that I was there before Bob. Eventually the crawling people and the demons torturing them on petered out. I always thought that a given torment was forever, in Hell; but this was not. It went on for maybe days, maybe weeks, while I huddled near the edge of that chasm, but it did start to peter out.

And when they were gone, when the plain was clear, I crept up over the edge of the rocks and looked around. The entire windswept plain seemed empty, but I couldn’t be sure that I wasn’t being watched. It felt like I was being watched. I felt eyes upon me, presences near me, and I didn’t know if it was my imagination.

Over the time I’d huddled there I’d tried to process what had happened. I’d decided that I was in Hell. I decided that meant I’d died, but I didn’t know for sure, because I felt solid and real and whole and alive. So then I’d decided that maybe I was alive and had somehow been cast into Hell, but I wondered if a soul wouldn’t feel solid and real to itself, and I wondered if I was alive, why wasn’t I getting hungrier or thirstier or tired and why I hadn’t slept.

So I tabled all of that and spent my time worrying instead that someone would see me and I’d begin that slow painful crawl all the other people were doing.

I’d been standing there, on the edge of the rock, slowly looking around and trying to see who was looking at me or presence-ing at me, when I heard Bob’s voice the first time.

“Hello,” he said then, which seemed a natural enough way to begin a conversation.

“Hello,” I said to him now, standing in the pieces of Chicago that had come with me and Reverend Tommy when we’d appeared here. I knew what he was talking about, my getting better at stuff. I’d brought out Mr. Damned Soul, and I’d brought in Reverend Tommy and part of Chicago. So maybe I was getting better at this.

“Why is this here?” asked Bob.

I always wondered what Bob’s deal was. He seemed so friendly—but how could a revenant be friendly? How could he go on living in Hell and be friendly? Why didn’t he leave?

Bob always brushed off those questions.

“I don’t know,” I told him. “It was an accident.”

“It’s going to attract attention,” he said.

“I figured,” I responded. “That’s why I was trying to leave. Do you have your boat with you?”

“I have neither my boat nor a river. I was walking and your city appeared and crushed my body and I had to crawl out from underneath those steps and then wait for my body to become more three-dimensional. I was flattened almost into two dimensions, you know.”

What are the odds that a part of Chicago would fall on Bob?

“Like the Wicked Witch of the West,” he said.

“Who?” I asked. Were there witches in Hell, too?

“Never you mind,” he said. “What’s the story about that other person you brought?”

“He’s trying to kill me. Or something,” I said.

“So you brought him here? That seems too cruel for you.”

“I didn’t try to bring him here. He was going to kill me or whatever and I blacked out and we came here.” I paused. “So it serves him right.”

“You still cannot control it?”


“You should work on that.”

“He,” I pointed to the Reverend Tommy, “Thinks I can.”

“He’s right. You can.”

“Tell me how.”

Bob didn’t answer me. “You should get moving,” he said. “Someone besides me will notice this. You don’t want to be noticed. And you don’t want to be here when they notice that more has been added to Hell.”

I nodded, and turned around to begin walking away, then I realized I was blowing off the only help I had. I turned back to Bob. “Which way?” I asked.

He scanned the horizon, his face drawn and pinched and his lips pursed. His eye sockets were really sunken in. He pointed to his right. “That way,” he said, indicating a direction that would have been directly across the street from the entrance of the Art Institute if we had still been in Chicago, but in this case was a rocky-looking terrain that sat at the steps of the portion of the museum that now rested in Hell. “And bring the Reverend with you,” said Bob.

I considered. “Why? Can he help me?”

“No,” said Bob. “I doubt he can. I doubt that he can draw on any Almighty help down here. But if he is captured, he can tell whoever finds him about you. And he will.” He looked around. “He will certainly tell.”


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