The question lasts less than a second, because there’s something much more urgent inside me: primeval desperation.
I’m in hell, that’s for sure now. And the worst part is that it’s the hell I’ve always imagined. Not imagined, ’cause I thought it didn’t existed, but the way I saw represented in every work about the subject. If I had suffered in that place I don’t know where it was, how much will I suffer in a place where suffering and punishment are watchwords?
Desperate, I try to run away and, at first, I manage to leave the sign behind me. Hope grows inside me, I believe I’ll be able to get out of hell, I’m sure Lucifer doesn’t know I’m here, I’m sure that that fact will guarantee my escape.
I feel something pulling me, and just like a cartoon my feet leave the ground and I float high to the opposite direction I was running to. The flight is interrupted when my face hits the sign and the noise is identical to Saturday morning cartoons. The only thing that’s different between what I’m living now and my childhood fiction is my reaction. While the characters on the screen seemed immune to pain, I scream like never before. I feel the blood running though my ears and nose, I also feel my bones breaking, some pierce my organs, I know I’m bleeding internally. All I want to do is to pass out, but I know if I did I would stop feeling pain, and stop feeling pain is not allowed in hell.
I spend a lot of time laid beside the sign. The heat makes everything even more unbearable, I’m sure if it was cold this situation wouldn’t be so terrible. In the cold, everything is better, I spent my life believing in that.
After some time, the pain I feel begins to change, it doesn’t increase or diminishes, it’s just different. I felt my bones breaking, now I feel them being reconstructed. The pierced organs close, the blood I’d lost, a deadly amount, goes back to normal. After suffering a deadly accident, and comical to anyone who had seen it (and I hope no one was), I was whole again.
I could spend eternity suffering for being naive to the point of thinking I could escape hell, but that accident wasn’t the worst punishment waiting for me in hell. I was sure of that. After all, otherwise, I’d have never recovered. I get up and begin to walk again, and just like the welcome sign had appeared out of nowhere, a counter and a line begin to form.
The line is gigantic, but seems to move fast. I’m the last in line and in a blink of an eye I can’t see the end of it. I wait for my turn, is all I can do.