Smiling in the Face of Hell

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Chapter 2

She had fallen asleep easily even being terrified from her night visit of Lady Pers. She woke up the next morning feeling drained and dazed, just like any other day. She took a shower and put her hair up in a bun, she put on a light pair of skinny jeans with a black loose button up blouse. She put on her regular men style work boots. She practically inhaled two egg sandwiches that she made in a hurry and walked out to make a small trip to a convenience store for her hourly snacks. Her late-night visitor easily forgotten, for her sake, forgetting it and moving on is her only option, because being late for work is not an option.

When she opened the door to the inside of the church, she was welcomed by the unpleasant screeches of the souls that have gathered here through the night. They reached out for her, but their hands went through her, giving her unwanted chills. She walked through them to the Gate, then turned to smile as she set her lunch on the ground. Another perk of being Gatekeeper is she can only touch a spirit if she willed.

“Welcome! My name is Scout, I am here personally to show you the way to Hell, now if everyone will please quiet down and form a line nice and easy and we can get this over with quickly!” She shouted over all their pleas and begging.

They fell silent for a moment then went on a rampage, just like every other day, some tried to attack Scout only to miss and go straight through her, others ran for the door she just entered and threw themselves at it, trying to get out, bouncing backwards from the spirit ward that keeps the poor pitiful souls inside securely.

Then the gate cracked open from behind, the familiar feel of Hell’s heat licked her back as her normal Hell staff members began filing out, yelling and putting everyone in order the second they stepped out, simply their looks silenced many of them easily. Once they stepped in the whole room filled up with the feeling of fear, every spirit lined up, the demons watched them intently, a silent don’t-make-a-damn-noise-or-move stares.

Dirge stepped next to her and handed her the book list, the page was already opened for this day and she began her normal day. It never failed to amaze her how the souls lined up in the exact order from the book, but she did not question it.

The frightened spirits went in quietly, the afternoon was when it got the noisiest. It was always noon somewhere, but it seemed around the afternoon in New York that was the most hectic time for sinners to die and be checked into hell. Of course, not every single day was the same, but she found it was just somehow a time for souls to come trickling in waves of hundreds compared to other times.

Dirge stood close by, noticing that Scout had taken an extra step away from the gate after hearing she could be dragged down if she wasn’t careful.

She just had a tickling feeling at the base of her neck that she did not appreciate at all.

Halfway through the day, an echoing creaking sound came from inside the gate, making everyone, including Scout and the demons, whip around to look at the gate with wide eyes. Scout involuntarily stepped back, letting the book fall from her stiff arms, as the demons all pooled around the door, obviously something was not right.

The demons and spirits all saw something Scout did not, the spirits all screeched and ran away from the gate, the two other demons all charged to the gate, Dirge stayed with the spirits and Scout, but yelled after the others,” hurry and take it down!”

Apparently, her manufactured given gift of seeing spirits, ghost, and demons seemed to be limited to the surface, not anything actually from below that did not belong on the surface. How convenient.

A shaky hand reached out for Dirge’s large arm,” take what down? What’s going on Dirge?”

“I am not certain. It’s a demon, it seems like a demon is trying to escape, but through the gate, that has never happened before.” He told her, putting a protective arm in front of Scout, as if the thing could reach out and strike at them.

“What do you mean this has never happened before, a demon never tried to escape?”

Dirge shook his head,” no, it’s because there are many other easier ways for a demon to escape, trying the main gate is suicide, but,” he then suddenly started, shaking his head with a glare,” he’s not trying to escape, something is going to happen.” He then said, sounding very sure all of a sudden making Scout shiver in her skin from fear.

What on earth is going to happen then?!

“W-why can’t I see it?” She asked, wondering what she was supposed to be looking at that was so scary, all she saw was darkness through the gate, but all the spirits and Dirge were staring at it like a giant squid was wedged in the door and its tentacles where slashing out everywhere.

“Because you are alive, we dead ones can see it, you cannot unless it has completely made it through the gate and onto the surface, which luckily it hasn’t yet.” He breathed, she saw his eyes follow whatever it was, it made her even more uneasy watching him watch it. It was intriguing of Dirge to think that saying that would make her feel better, if it wasn’t all the way out, and watching the wide range Dirge’s eyes flickered, this thing was huge and not even all the way out yet. Was she supposed to feel grateful or happy about that, because she can openly admit that did not help at all?

Suddenly Dirge was standing right in front of Scout, giving off this deadly air. Scout backed away, scared, her pulse racing, she felt like she was going to be sick from anxiety. Dirge began struggling with something, then he was in the air. Scout screamed and ran back with the spirits, hoping they could act as some kind of guard for her.

The door was so far away, she turned to make a run for it, trying to follow where the thing was by the eyes of the souls who were just as scared, running for themselves.

However, her attempts to make it out of there did not work, they saw it, she did not, and when something reached out towards her behind all the spirits, they jumped out of the way quickly, leaving Scout to fend for herself, as it seemed she had zero chance at outrunning it, whatever it was.

Scout felt something grab her hard, more like multiple somethings grabbing onto her legs and arms and wrapping around her waist. Scout was jerked backward, lifted off the ground, then was pulled back towards the gate.

Scout struggled against what felt like hundreds of hands grabbing and gripping almost every inch of her with no mercy, but couldn’t get away, the grip was practically deadly. Over all the noise of grunting demons who fought and screaming she heard a hushed breath of a voice say one word, one word that made her sick to her stomach.

“Scout.”

Then all the hands began to let her go as she stopped right in front of the gate, and then came the hard shove, straight into the darkness of the gate, falling into what seemed like an endless void of black, putrid smells, and heat.

Scout opened her eyes, coughing, all she saw was rocks all around her. The ground under her was scorching hot making Scout shoot up immediately, standing, her back burned from the heat of the ground, her hands slightly sizzled as she touched it, making her wince.

When she finally stood she took a breath, looking around, it wasn’t going to be long before her boots melted. The air burned her lungs, making it extremely hard to breath. She was almost certain that within an hour in this heat, she was going to be wilted and withered like a raisin, or simply reduced to a flaming pile of ash.

She began to run a random direction, searching frantically for somewhere that would not burn her alive. The air was thick and still, no breeze existed in the area, making her feel like she was going to suffocate from it.

“Scout,” a light airy voice called.

Scout whipped around to the direction she thought she heard the voice, but there was nothing. It almost looked like she was in a rocky canyon, which made her think up of an idea, the heat clearly already getting to her.

She looked up the side of the rocks, there was a top. Maybe she won’t burn if she got to the top. Wishful thinking on her part, but she had no other ideas since this canyon was to long and winding to see any hope of an end, or maybe easier way out.

With no other options she ran to the wall of rocks, hoping she could make it, figuring it was going to be burning hot either way, she could only hope it was slightly less hot above.

Scout jumped at the steep wall of the canyon and began to climb, she bit back a scream as her hands burned at the touch of the rocks. She refused to let go, she had to get out of this canyon. She felt the heat through her boots, they were almost melted down to nothing and the melted material began to burn her feet.

She looked up, there was still about 50 more feet till the top, she hasn’t even made it 20 up from the bottom yet. She strained to pull herself up, her hands growing numb and nearly scorched to the bone, it was a losing battle.

What the hell was she doing, she was done for, her hands were almost completely melted off, her feet are boiling in the melted rubber of her shoes. She was probably already dead, now forever stuck in hell.

That thought seemed to give Scout’s body the ok to give up and fall back, releasing the wall of burning hot rocks. She was never a mountain climber anyways. Thankfully she blacked out before she could painfully hit the bottom.

When Scout opened her eyes, she was sure she was in some dream, all she saw was the underside of a canopy.

There was no way she could possibly imagine what would happen to her but for some reason, waking up was definitely not one of those things. In fact she was sure she wished she actually did not wake up.

She rolled on her side and found herself actually laying on a fluffy feeling bed, black silk sheets covered the surface and she was just laying on top of them. She sat up, looking down at herself, she was still in her scorched clothes. The back of her shirt was almost completely burned off, her bra strap actually survived. Her jeans seemed to still be somewhat in tacked, still covering her behind and what not, but the ends where seared off, revealing some of her leg. Her shoes were gone, and her feet, they were perfectly fine.

Scout sucked in a breath and looked at the palm of her hands, they were there, pink and healthy as if nothing happened.

Scout swallowed nervously, looking around. The rocky ground surrounded her, there were rocks jutting out in random spots, all different sizes. Scout’s eyes brushed over strange looking plants, they looked like dried out tall grass, that just hung limply next to some rocks.

Scout hung her feet off the side of the bed, letting them hover just above the ground. She felt the heat radiate and lick the bottoms of her feet, making her pull them back and curl her legs under her. She looked around, feeling panicked, what the hell was going on?

What was a bed doing out in what looked like a vast plateau of Hell? Why was she seemingly alive? Why was this bed not burning? Why was there a bed, fully made bed complete with pillows, fancy frame and canopy? This was just so out of place, as if it just randomly appeared out of nowhere. Was this really a bed or was she experiencing the whole hallucinations of an oasis and she was just really sitting on a rock or something?

“Ah, you are awake now?” A voice chimed behind her.

Scout whipped around, almost losing her balance and falling off the side of the bed, she gripped the sheets , that were very real, and looked at the person who spoke.

It was a man clearly, he seemed roughly two feet shorter than Dirge, putting him somewhere in the six foot range, his face was slim and had somewhat sharp features, pointed cheekbones, his chin was also slightly pointed and his eyes were black and sharp. His ears were long and pointed, they seemed to be the length of her whole hand from the wrist to the tip of her fingers, she could describe them as elfish kind of ears. Metal hung from them, and studs, he seemed to like piercings. His hair was pitch black and it was long, about down to the back of his knees.

He was dressed in a black turtleneck shirt, black pants that seemed like they were skin tight leather or spandex, he wore no shoes and he had on a black overcoat that was longer in the back than in the front with frayed edges.

He had the same feel as Lady Pers, beautiful yet scary dangerous, his power just surrounded him so much so that Scout could quite literally feel it.

“Who are you?” She mustered up to say, her voice small, helpless sounding.

“Me? The one who brought you down here, well not personally, but I had it arranged you can say,” he said with a deadly grin.

Scout’s mind shouted red alerts through her body, her first instinct was for her to get away from him. So she did the next best thing, and turned to threw herself off the bed, ignoring her bare feet that instantly burned on the scorching ground.

Suddenly the demon was in front of her, Scout stopped and backed away as he stepped towards her. With her feet burning and mind churning in fear and confusion, she turned and tried to run again but the demon grabbed her by the waist and pulled her back, picking her up off the ground. Scout kicked out, elbowed him, but he made no noise as he put her back on the bed. This was not good, not good at all. Nothing about any of this was ok.

Not only was a bed just wrong in so many ways, but why was there a bed in the middle of nowhere!? The worst possible and most disturbingly disgusting outcomes to all of this rolled ruthlessly through her mind, was this really how she was going to die?

She was thrown back on the bed, instantly she twisted and tried to crawl to the other side but something laid heavily on her back, making her collapse on her belly, breathless, the sting on her feet hardly noticeable as her veins pulsed in fear. She could have swore that despite his dominate, demanding approach, he was being mindfully gentle with her. However, his intentions are far from clear, who knows what he was planning.

The demon’s breath rolled over her ear,” you can not escape me, you are now mine,”

She was stuck, he would not let up as he reached over to caress her cheek

He then raked his nails over her cheek and he kept her pinned to him,” you are all mine now, no use in trying to leave, you are stuck down here. You died the second you fell through the gate. You are now my toy to play with,” He breathed in her ear, not giving her any space what so ever.

“Get off me, stop! Your lying! Let me go!” She screamed, tears falling from her eyes that she squeezed closed all from the fear of what was going to happen to her. It was just as Dirge said, she already fell, it was over.

“Let you go? Where will you go?” He asked amused, his mouth came down to her shoulder to bite her. She gasped in shock, but it did not really hurt or break skin, just a little nibble maybe? What the hell was he doing? Absolutely nothing in his actions or words were matching up at all, all this did was severely confuse Scout, was this supposed to be a trick, because she was thinking it was somehow working.

“I will find Dirge and he will take me back, or Lady Pers, now let go, I’m not yours,” Scout screamed again, trying to scratch his arms so he would let go, but her arms and fingers felt like jello, weak and flimsy, zero damage points for Scout.

Her jaw was clenched hard as he laughed in her ear, a low rumble sound,” Dirge? That brute that failed to keep you alive? After failing that, I doubt he is even going to be alive himself. And who is Lady Pers? She sounds like a bitch, I wonder if she is the new replacement up there.” He said thoughtfully, not fazed by her weak struggling at all.

Scout gritted her teeth, he was making fun of her. He suddenly moved his hand to her waist, tugging at the waistband of her jeans. Scout grabbed his hand and tried to peel it off of her, his touch was making her uncomfortable, she wasn’t 100% sure this demon didn’t have perverted intentions, but she won’t let him do that, she can’t.

After a very weak fight, he let go, only to flip Scout over like a fried egg, onto her back. He grabbed her wrists and pinned them over her head.

The longer they touched the more Scout got progressively confused. The intentions behind his touching seemed to scream danger, but his touch itself was somehow in all this a small comfort. She only got further confused trying to figure it out, unable to find an answer.

She thought she was fighting for her innocence, but did she really need to?

Why is everything getting so hard to figure out, it should be as clear as day what she should be doing, but something was very wrong, and it was making her stop and try and figure it out instead of fight him. She knew he could easily get what he wanted if he tried, but he was not trying at all. What was he really doing?

It was almost like a firm calming hand was snuffing out her fear and just making her question everything.

“Ah, your soul is so depressing, makes me want it more. Do you honestly think you are ever going to see the face of the Earth again? You’re dead already, even if they did find you, they cannot bring you back to life, you would just be stuck down here with them, they would most likely turn you into a demon, that would solve all of their problems,” he said with a shake of his head as she opened her mouth to fight it, but was quickly silenced as he cut her off and continued.

“Do you even know why you are the gatekeeper? They didn’t just choose any one, they had to find a perfect someone who was a loner, someone who was empty but strong enough to do this job. They needed someone who would do the job without question, without a fight, someone with no real future, someone who won’t be missed,” he said, giving her a pointed look as he continued,” That’s you. You see, before you there was an actual demon doing the gatekeeper’s job, you were the first ever to be a human Hell gate keeper. You don’t realize that even when you die, they were going to change you into a demon, drag you into Hell just to begin the gatekeepers job again. In a way you were a test subject, a little innocent mouse in a maze. Demons live up to thousands of years once they are made, or created. They were tired of having a gatekeeper who was already halfway through their long life, and they could not find a willing fresh demon who will follow the rules without trying to use them for their own good to attempt to break free from Hell. So they made you, created you and waited till you were of age to go ahead and get you started. They couldn’t put some kid up there or the souls wouldn’t have taken you seriously at all so they waited till you were twenty. They must have honestly thought you would have lived more than just a year with the reactions they had. It was a very fun show to watch.”

Scout stilled in the middle of his explaining to stare at him like he grew four heads and began drooling on her. She didn’t want to believe him, but she had nothing else that would make sense. She was born just to be a gatekeeper, an obedient little puppy who was to scared to step past her line and followed orders. Her childhood alone in an orphanage with no one to call family or friends only further added to the scheme of things.

Well shit.

Scout decided to believe this man and go with the flow until she can maybe get away from him and find Lady Pers and get some answers now that Scout was dead and probably has nothing to fear anymore.

“Who are you?” Scout asked calmly, gaining her composure quickly so she can try and figure things out.

The man smiled as if that was the right question and leaned in, propping his elbow and resting his head in his palm with his free hand, still firmly holding her hands over her head with his other hand,” well my dear, I am what the Hell’s council likes to call the ‘Bratty King’.”

Scout’s face fell flat, she couldn’t believe she was staring at the supposed King.

That would explain the suffocating power he oozed.

What is going on?

“I don’t get it.”

The King’s face twitched, but not in annoyance, but dare she say in amazement,” What do you not get, dear,” he asked, smirking.

She felt the shift in the air, his bad guy dominant manliness he showed right off the bat slowly left him. Scout was unsure on where it went or why it left, but she continued to speak to see what she could learn about all of this while she seemed to still have a chance, thinking that she was taking advantage of the new attitude she was now facing. She felt like she knew he had nothing to lie to her about considering she was a dead woman through and through.

Scout swallowed, clearing her throat,” what does the King want with me, the human gatekeeper. I mean as a King, I’m sure you understand the trouble you caused by taking away the gatekeeper in the middle of her job. I thought you wanted order down here, pulling the human gatekeeper down isn’t going to create order for all those souls who were scheduled to come down today.”

The King shook with a light laughter, he completely laid his body over Scout’s to keep her pinned down as he released her hands and propped that arm on the other side of her. Scout tried hard not to squirm in discomfort, he wasn’t heavy per say anymore, it was just the fact it was a man. Scout hasn’t been this close to a man like this ever in her life. Demon or not, he was still clearly a man. Not only that it was kind of scary to not know what he was possibly thinking, which only made things 10 times worst.

“Yes I understand that I did in fact cause a little trouble, however I’m not concerned about the gate, they already have a replacement up there, a back up, until they can figure out where you are. They don’t exactly know I was the one who sent that demon up there to retrieve you, and I’m not planning on changing that either.”

Scout crossed her arms,” Why not,” she asked boldly as he raised his head slightly to look over her crossed arms to her face that held a light glare. She had not the slightest clue where that courage came from but she rolled with it.

He laughed at her attempt to be angry and brave,” Because, if I do, they will try and take you away from me.”

Scout was taken aback by his answer, it was immediate and serious, not pervy and rude like in the beginning, it’s like he completely did a one eighty flip, he was completely different, as if he was genuinely just teasing her before. She hated that she only got more and more confused as time went by, nothing was being explained truly at the rate that questions kept arising.

“I’m sorry, I still don’t understand,” she pressed, wondering exactly why he wanted her down here and wanted to keep her like some toy.

‘Your my toy to play with.’

At this point, it was absolutely impossible to tell if he had meant that or was just part of his game of playing the mean guy, she had no idea, but she felt like she should not just forget either. However it was easy to do so when nothing further of the such was said again from his own mouth, it was like literally he tried playing the big bad guy but quickly dropped it before it was even truly discovered to be faking it. He just easily fell back into what seemed to be a much more natural part of himself.

Was she going to be tortured? Killed again, if possible? Somehow, it seemed she might not have actually been in that much danger. Or so that she was starting to believe despite her confusion, just something in her kept assuring her and it seemed the assurance was working. It was impossible to tell if that was a mistake or not just yet.

Her confusion made the King chuckle, a slightly dry, tired sound,” I’m still a young demon at the age of 2,310, but I have lived a lonely two thousand years. I want to ‘settle down’, as some humans describe it nowadays.”

Scout blinked, letting it all sink in as she spoke,” you want me to marry you,” she blurted, her head spinning as she uncrossed her arms to prop herself up to look him in the eyes, for some reason compelled with the need to see his face in full as he answered to measure his sincerity.

He stared at her with a longing expression, it was definitely not expected from him to say the least,” Yes.”

Scout felt uncomfortable, but she could not pull away from him, his face looked sad for a moment, she saw his loneliness, it was damn near blinding. As the King of the underworld, she wondered just how much real company he has, how many real friends he had. She couldn’t just say no, yet she couldn’t tell him yes either.

This situation was strange, weird, and unexpected, she did not know how to react, to anything. She was still trying to get over his mood change and trying to figure him out. Her fight or flight responses were long dulled by the constant string of confusing turns this conversation kept taking, at this point she simply just wanted answers instead of running or fighting.

He gave her a small smile, making her feel slightly relaxed to know she hasn’t upset him with her questions. She cleared her throat and looked away, did he want some kind of answer from her?

“Don’t worry, I won’t force anything else on you, I already pulled you down here for my own selfish reasons, took away your human life, I will not force you to do anything beyond this point that you do not like. I am giving you the option to leave, but give me a month at least to prove myself, to make you want to stay. I won’t stop you if you decide to leave but give me a chance.”

His begging sent her in circles, she felt as if she was suppose to hate him, fear him, yet he was showing her a soft and gentle attitude, showing her there was nothing to hate or fear. He was nice, but he was a demon. He was a demon, but he was sad and gentle. He was begging, but he was the King of Hell. Why was she believing this so easily?

In the end she kept just going back to the basic fact, he was the demon King of Hell, wasn’t agreeing to his terms making a deal with the devil?

Literally?

“Ok,” she then blurted, even coming to the conclusion he was not to be trusted and she shouldn’t agree, she was optimistic, she was seriously going to give him a chance, mostly because she had nowhere to go now, she was dead, she didn’t know anything about Hell, other than it was really, really hot.

Yup, she was definitely missing a few screws in her head, maybe a few more than she thought.

“But won’t I turn into a demon soon? Can I control what I turn into? Will I turn into a big one eyed cyclops? I don’t understand how that works, I’m obviously still human,” she stated weakly, wondering if she wanted to know the answer to that.

His face, that was all smiles like a little kid at her ‘ok’, grew pink as he suddenly burst out laughing, like really laughing, not anything held back or unsure since he now knows she isn’t spooked as easily as she made it look before.

“No, you do not get to choose what you change into,” he said, contradicting what she thought and was originally told,” However, you are pure and not a sinner, you will keep most of your human features. You change into a reflection of your soul. You will slowly gain new abilities that no one but yourself can figure out. Everyone is different, however, you originally weren’t supposed to be in hell, therefore you would most likely change into something similar to an angel.”

So perhaps that was what they meant when the Soul chose what it turned into, it was based on what they did, and how much they let their sin consume them, is what Scout gathered from that. They did not have full control of what they turned into, but their actions and state of mind did chose for them.

Scout blinked again, thinking for a moment before carefully speaking,” Which was why you chose me, I’m not a sinner so I will stay pretty enough during the change, you didn’t want some mass killer who might turn into some big ugly beast that could possibly eat you right?”

That earned herself another chuckle,” There is much more to all of this than just your looks and innocence, however I will admit, yes, you are beautiful, innocent, pure, and smart all together. I also admit that dragging you down here was a cruel thing to force on you, but I made a promise with myself since the first day you started work as gatekeeper that if I did successfully get you down here, I will not let you deal with everything yourself, that I will protect you and make sure you are not tainted by the things that live here.”

Including yourself, she wanted to ask, but she did not want to see his hurt expression, she knew that would hit him hard, considering he was trying for her. It sounded promising, which was why she needed to be careful. She knew she was being naive, but she really did not have many options at this point.

What was she going to do? Say no?

Scout just nodded slightly, laying back flat to stare at the canopy above her, she wanted to look at Hell’s sky.

After a few moments of silence, the King comfortably still laying atop of her like she was a cushion, she spoke again,” What is your name?”

The King did not seem angry by her questions, he looked actually happy that she was even curious,” Lionel.”

Scout brought her hand up in front of her,” Lionel,” she said slowly, testing his name on her tongue,” nice to meet you, my name is Scout.”

Lionel looked at her outstretched hand, then smiled, firmly grabbing her hand in his, his hand was easily two times bigger than hers,” I know,” he said, his eyes smiling along with his lips. He held on her hand firmly, making her realize that he might not understand the concept of a handshake.

Scout smiled, sincerely, finally for the first time in years,” Your not suppose to say that, it ruins the vibes of formally getting to know each other, stalker,” she joked.

His face fell slightly as he stared at her face, as if amazed that she was able to make such a look. If he had only been watching her since she got the gatekeeper job, then he had never seen her smile before. She hasn’t smiled or truly laughed since she was eight.

Scout’s small smile fell, worried she said something wrong,” It was a joke.”

He then showed confusion before shaking his head,” Oh, no, I’m not mad, I was just shocked to see you smile so soon.”

“You did not think I would ever smile,” she asked lightly, trying to loosen more of her own nerves than anything by talking as casually as she could.

He then smiled,” Well to say the least, no. I just could not see myself next to a dull person, if I couldn’t get you to smile I don’t know what I would do.”

Scout’s heart skipped a beat, it sounded as if he had tested his luck a lot with her, like a draw from a hat, she then wondered if this was the first time he tried something like this.

Probably not.

Jesus, Scout, make up your damn mind, do you trust him or not? What the hell is with these mixed reactions? One minute she is doubting if she should trust his words, the next her heart is fluttering like some starstruck middle school girl, ready to believe every single word that came from his mouth.

Scout brushed that thought off and shook her head lightly, a small smile on her lips,” What if I was dull,” she asked lightly, wandering once again if she really wanted to know the answer to that.

“Nothing, I would just work hard to change that,” he said in a convincing tone, making her think once again that he was a nice demon, especially for the King. The King of Hell.

“As a King, what do you do,” she then asked, wanting some answers Lady Pers most likely would not give. A shift in the topic was highly welcomed.

He watched her, as if curious himself about her, but he answered her question first,” I listen to confessions, decide whether or not the soul deserves to go to heaven,” just as she was told.

“Then shouldn’t you be working right now? That list was long this morning,” she asked lightly, wondering if the numbers of souls that actually confessed was as low as she had originally thought.

He shook his head,” only a few come, and they come on there own time, but if they wait too long and begin changing, then there is nothing I can do, they have to stay once they change, it’s their punishment for waiting so long to just confess. I mean,” he continued with a shrug, absolutely no sympathy in his words, which was understandable,” I don’t understand why they don’t just confess, it’s the easiest thing a soul has to do in Hell and it obviously has a better outcome in the long run, but they don’t because they are used to jail and horrible punishments. There is no punishment for confessing here, if you confess truly right away, they take the first train up to Heaven. There punishment is denying doing anything wrong and keeping their lips sealed. Acting as if it never happened. It hurts more literally to hold onto your sins here then to just confess.”

Scout shivered under Lionel, a little shocked at how easy it was, but how many choose to never admit it.

“What if they sincerely just don’t remember and aren’t able to confess because they don’t remember doing anything wrong.”

Lionel shook his head again,” Things considered sins down here aren’t things like little white lies or getting caught trying to steal some food to feed themselves every once and awhile. Down here are cold blooded murderers, molesters, manipulators, these people who know exactly what they did, know they ruin others lives on a daily basis, weather from one single act, or multiple acts of sin. Whether it is taking away a family member or stealing something precious that does not belong to them, something bigger than just a materialistic item. Every single soul here knows exactly what they are here for, whether it was a ‘small mistake’ made years ago, or whether they live and breath there sins, knowing that everything they were doing was wrong, but did it anyways. The gods know when something is a sin or not and they are the ones who split the souls between good and bad. The gods are good beings, understanding, they won’t send a beggar down here for knocking over a few trash bins when they are just looking for something that can help them. They’re not going to put a kid down here because he snagged a cookie from the cookie jar when he wasn’t supposed to. They have mercy, which is one reason that these people come down here, because they have caused too much damage to just let slide, they rightfully deserve to be here.”

Scout shivered again, great, I’m surrounded by murders and rapists, and people that are just cruel and insane. So which one was he?

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