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The Runner

By Scott Rinehart All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Fantasy

The Chance

He didn't remember his name in life, he'd been sentenced here so long, here in Hell for what sins he committed he didn't know either. As a rule there was seldom even a glimpse of hope to ever be found here. But just the other day, or was it a month, or a decade or two that an innocent soul was kidnapped to Hell, and Azazel the demon private investigator retrieved that soul and returned it to Earth. But that is another story.

Finally a tiny sliver of hope, a miniscule amount of faith that he might be able to escape his torment in Hell, but how to do it was the question. Over a glass of urine at El Diablo's he consulted Dante himself, the man who told in painstaking detail of the very landscape of Hell. Dante told him that he had been visiting before, just as he had with Heaven. It was his sins later in life that landed him in Hell, and that he didn't know how to escape. Dante did tell him that if he were to try Mount Purgatory, he might make it.

It took some persuading his girlfriend, but he managed to get himself put on a road crew, and what seemed like a millennia later was on the bus the day it left Pandemonium for the roads outside of the city. Once they arrived at the outer gates, he worked alongside the rest of the crew until he found his opportunity. Around the end of the day his opportunity came. He dropped over as if he had died, and just laid there. A buzzard swooped down and started ripping through his shirt and his skin to get at his intestines. The road foreman glanced over, then looked at his watch before ordering the crew back on the bus. Away they went, leaving him there.

By the time the bus had pulled away the buzzard had a good six feet of his intestines pulled out of him. He grabbed the bird by its neck and spun until he heard the pop. Pushing his guts back in him he started walking towards the massive figure of Mt. Purgatory.

Surely if he could make it to the very top he might emerge in The Garden of Eden. There where a bite from the Tree of Life could resurrect him and even grant him immortality. He walked for maybe two weeks, maybe just an hour. His stomach wound had healed or at least the skin had closed back over his entrails. He was on his way to being free. He was going to be the first to ever escape from Hell, or so he thought. You've heard the saying, "Get out of Hell before the Devil knows you're gone." Well the Devil already knew.

Enter Count Andromalius, holding his pet anaconda when he received the call about the escape. Andromalius is a mighty Great Earl of Hell, seventy second in the hierarchy. He immediately called upon his thirty-six legions of demons to respond to Mt. Purgatory, and surround it. It is his mission to hunt down and punish all wicked people who try to escape from Hell. Had anyone ever escaped Hell before? Of course, until Andromalius caught up to them.

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