This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Hades is known by many different names - Hades, the devil, Lord of the underworld and Satan. I have met the real devil, and no I am not dead, nor did I sell my soul to him. No, I know him by a different name: Dad. My name is Scarlett Hades and I am the daughter of Hades.
Lying on my back on the bed, my legs bent, I stare up at the high ceiling above me. I blow the air out through my lips, resting my hands flat on my stomach. I listen to the sounds of the house, the guards patrolling, the servants going about their different duties, and Tybalt, my pet hound, padding around the house trying to find something to eat. I ponder what to do. It’s late in the ‘day’ and I’ve run out of ideas. I turn my head to look at the half finished book, one of the many my dad got me, on the bedside table. I have been meaning to finish that for a while so I sit up, pushing my long hair out of the way, and reach for the book. I only get to open the book, however, as the silence is shattered by a deep, booming voice causing me to nearly drop the book. I hear this often, but it still gets me every time.
“SCARLETT OLIVIA HADES, COME TO THE ENTRANCE RIGHT NOW!” The vibrations from the angry voice will be felt, and heard, throughout the whole of Hell. I guess my dad decided for me then. I return the book to the bedside table, before swinging my legs over the side of the bed, and strolling out of my room. I pass servants and guards as I make my way towards the big staircase leading down to the entrance hall. Every servant, all of them being souls, bows their head as I pass. The guards continue with whatever they were doing. I don’t get the privilege of having everyone bow their heads until I take over from my dad.
I step off the last step of the grand staircase to find Tybalt meandering down one of the hallways leading into the entrance hall. When he catches sight of me, his big, black head lifts up. An instant later the big, black mass is bounding towards me. I crouch down to welcome him as he skids to a halt in front of me, his strong build looming over me. I scratch him behind his ear in his favourite spot, running my fingers through his thick fur. He’s been in my life since both he and I were newborns, and I can’t imagine my life without him. I know, cliché, but it’s true. I straighten up, his big red eyes following me, silently asking me what he should do, but also pleading with me to play with him. I put my hands on my hips as I look down at him. Watching him now, you would never know how vicious he can be.
“I guess we could have one game.” I tell him. I clutch my hands together into one big fist, pointing my index fingers and thumbs out, forming a makeshift gun. I point my index fingers down at Tybalt, his tail wagging side to side in excitement, making me glad that there is nothing valuable in range, and a sound like a gunshot.
"POW!” At my sound Tybalt ‘falls’ to the floor, lying on his side, his red eyes watching me to see if he did well. I loved teaching him this trick when I was younger. I chuckle bending down to give him another scratch, before walking to the front. With my hand on the handle, I glance back at Tybalt who is now up on all fours looking at me expectedly.
“Tybalt. Stay.” I command. He lies down his head falling down onto his big paws, his red eyes trained on me.
“Good boy.” I say with a smile. I pull open the heavy door, and am immediately hit by the heat that didn’t make its way into the house. I’ve lived here for 18 years and it hasn’t changed a bit. I love the feeling of opening the door and being hit by the heat and breathing in the sulphur smoke, I love the glow and colour of the fire pits, and even though it sounds weird I also love the sounds. As expected, with it being Hell, the main sound is the souls’ screaming, but that’s what I’m used to and what home sounds like to me. Any different and I would find it strange.
As soon as I step out onto the hard floor, a servant is by my side asking if there is anything he could do for me, offering to retrieve whatever I want. I think for a moment if I do want anything from him, maybe go and see my dad for me, but dismiss him when I decide to go for a ride. I walk past the mixture of demons and souls as I walk towards the stables.
When I arrive at the stables, I nod my head in greeting at the guard posted that is posted outside the big doors leading into the stable, today. I step inside, the hay crunching under my boots. At the sound another servant comes scurrying to my side.
“How may I help you ma’am?” She inquires. I love hearing the different voices of all the souls, as they come from all over Earth, but in the end they all sound similar when they are screaming. The soul before me sounds like she comes from the south of America.
“I would like my horse, don’t bother saddling him, I’ll do that.” I tell her, walking to the wall holding the silver bridle and black saddle for Drake. I lift them off, feeling glad for my extra strength, and turn back to the middle of the stable. I see the soul leading, with difficulty, Drake from one of the many stalls. I watch as Drake pulls his head up violently away from the soul. The strength, and the height of him which is already causing the soul to struggle, nearly pulls her off her feet. I watch with amusement as the soul tries to lead an uncooperative Drake towards me. Eventually the soul manages to pull Drake in my direction. I take him from the soul, dismissing her afterwards. As the soul rushes away Drake tries for the last time, to cause damage to the soul by kicking out his back leg. His massive hoof misses her by inches. I pull him down to look at me.
“Behave.” I admonish as I rub my hand down his black nose in greeting. He blows out through his nose, a lot calmer now. I place the saddle on his back, securing it around his stomach, before flipping the stirrups up onto his back as I make sure they are at the right length and are secure. Once I am satisfied, I ten move to the bridle, securing the straps and pushing the bit between his teeth. I give him a pat on the neck as I lead him towards our exit. I halt him, allowing me to get on. Holding the reins, I lift my foot up into the stirrup, swinging myself up onto his back. I secure my other foot, and place my hands correctly on the reins, before kicking him with my heels which causes him to start up at a brisk walk.
“SCARLETT OLIVIA HADES, IF YOYU ARE NOT HERE IN ONE MINUTE THERE WILL BE TROUBLE!” my dad’s voice rumbles through Hell once again. I roll my eyes and respond in like.
“I’M COMING, NO NEED TO GO ALL DEVIL ON ME!” I shout back. I don’t get a reply so I kick Drake again, and again, and we are cantering towards the entrance to Hell, the hot air blowing my hair around my face.
Halfway across Hell, I spot a demon advancing on a young boy. I pull the reins of Drake towards me, and then to the right so we can turn back around and walk back to them. I usually try and stop the demons from attacking the young children. It’s very rare to get young children here, so when the demons find one, they have a field day. The souls don’t age, whatever age they die, they stay for the rest of eternity. Anyone who is born here will become a demon and age extremely slowly after the age of 18. Even souls can have children but it’s really rare to be done willingly.
The boy in front of me is a soul. Drake comes to a stop as I call out to them.
“Hey! You there, yeah you with the ugly face I’m talking to you. Leave the boy alone, find someone else to torment.” The demon turns its transformed, monstrous face to me and narrows his red, beady eyes. The main appearance of a demon is the same as a human, however when they attach their face transforms, their eyes turn red, and they grow fangs. The same happens to me, but I get a pair of horns added on top, like a tiara.
After the demon has stopped glaring at me, it turns back to the boy in front of him taking another step forwards. I sigh - I guess he feels like I won’t do anything. I’ll just have to prove him wrong. I jump off Drake and stride up to the demon. I tap him on the shoulder with a whistle.
“Yoo-hoo, I know you heard me, it’s rude to ignore people. Go and find someone else, there are plenty more!” I state. When he brushes me off without listening, I shake my head and push him into the fire pit behind him. The fire swallows his body up, but doesn’t swallow his screams of pain. I roll my eyes; he’ll be fine, he’s just overreacting. The fire won’t kill him it will just hurt him (less that with the souls however), otherwise half of the demons in Hell would be dead as we’ve all fallen in at least once. I, however, am immune to the effects of fire. To me it’s like sitting in a warm bath. I actually use it to tan on some days. Like on Earth humans use a fireball in the sky, I use the fire in the ground.
Turning my back on the demon in the fire, I look at the boy, cocking my head to one side as I wonder what he did to get him here at this age.
“Thanks you.” He says looking down.
“Be careful.” I warn, walking back around him and to Drake. I pull myself back into the saddle, and kick him to get him going again.
As we draw nearer to the entrance, and my dad, I slow Drake to a trot needing to be able to control him better. I steer Drake through the demons that are waiting for the new souls, and to the winding path leading up to the entrance. Drake and I both climb the steep incline, before emerging onto the flat piece of land at the top. I stop Drake so I can admire the view of Hell from up here, it’s one of my favourite places to sit and watch the movements of Hell, my dad’s study being the other. You can see almost all the way back to the house from up here, Hell’s a big place as it needs to be able to hold everyone. The demons and souls all look the same from up here, small antlike beings. With a smile on my face I turn Drake and start off at a walking pace towards where my dad is standing in a cave like tunnel. On the other side of this cave is where the boat docks to drop off the souls from just being sorted, the demons use this as their way to get to the other side of the lake, and onwards to Earth. I stop Drake outside of the cave, and tie his reins to a post, put there by me, off to the side. I give him one last stroke as I amble towards where I expected my dad to be. When he hears me coming closer, he turns his angry blue eyes onto me, his strong arms crossed. Before you imagine him, as being the universal image of the devil: all red, horns, and a tail, holding a pitchfork, he doesn’t look anything like that. Yes, like me, he grows horns and fangs if he’s very angry or attacking (which is rare. Not the former, he likes to blame me for all his anger), but his normal everyday appearance is a tall, strong human. His hair is pitch black, which he likes to liken to his soul. His piercing blue eyes, which are trained on me at the moment, are one of the features I inherited from him. My brown hair is inherited from my mother, but I don’t remember her to know whether that is true. I also apparently got my height from my mother, as I am an average height, unlike my father, at about 5′7". He looks to be very young, but is of course is the total opposite at a couple of millenniums old. Overall, if anyone was to see him walking down a dark alley, they would most likely turn and run the other way. I shove my hands into my pants as I stop beside my dad, looking at the subject of his anger towards me at this moment.
“What’s up?” I ask cheerily. He gives me an un-amused look and then points at the wall we are standing in front of. There’s not a lot for me to do down here, so I make my own fun to amuse myself, meaning earlier today I painted in blood on the wall in front of us:
’WELCOME TO HELL! I HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR STAY HERE! IF YOU DON’T TOUGH LUCK, BECAUSE YOU AIN’T LEAVING.”
“Explain.” He commands.
“I thought they needed a welcome, they are sorted onto boats at the lake which take them to either Olympus (Heaven, not the mountain in Greece) or Hell, and in all that time they never get a welcome.” I explain with a shrug.
“If you want to give them a welcome, why don’t you go to where the boats get them from, and throw a party saying ‘Hell’s not that bad, we have cake’?” I chuckle at his remark; you would never think that he’s the god of the underworld and the dead with the way he acts. “Hell is meant to scare the souls that come here and if they get a welcome, we are sending the wrong message that Hell isn’t such a scary place. I want you to clean this up.” He continues producing a bucket and sponge out of nowhere, and handing it to me. Unfortunately, I don’t have this power yet.
“What if I don’t want to?” I ask raising my eyebrow as I put my hand on my hip.
“Well, that’s an entirely different story.” He says sarcastically.
“Okay, then I don’t want to.” I tell him. The caring face of my father is gone in an instant, and is replaced by the gnarled, monstrous face of a demon, his eyes red, his horns visible, and his fangs descended.
“Are you being serious? It might scare the souls and demons into doing what you want, but it doesn’t work on me.” I let him know. His face changes back to his normal one, realising that I was right.
“Just do it!” He grumbles, before walking past Drake who he strokes, and down the winding path.
“Great!” I mutter under my breath before picking up the sponge, thrusting it into the soapy water and starting to scrub at the wall.
I have been scrubbing away for five minutes, when I hear the boat pull up. I grin to myself as I continue. Great, a new set of souls. When I’ve heard them all disembark and the boat make its way back to the other side of the lake, I spin around to greet them. I look to see if there were any children in this group, and when I see none I decide to scare them, like my dad said we should. I allow my horns, and fangs to grow, and my eyes to change color.
“Hello, and welcome to Hell. My name is Scarlett, and I will be your tour guide for this lovely evening. You’re a lucky bunch, because in fact I’m actually the big guy’s, Satan’s, the Devil’s, whatever you want to call him’s daughter. So, are we all ready?” I start, before continuing without waiting for an answer. “This is the entrance, and this is where all the souls arrive, and the demons exit. We are currently in a state of redecoration, as you can see behind, but that should be over soon. Now, we will be heading towards the big fire pits, so choose a buddy and stick by them. Try not to fall in, but if such a thing should happen ignore the screams and we will continue on. Any questions before we move on?” I ask, looking at each of their petrified faces.
“No? Okay, if we move on now, we can finish before it’s feeding time.” I let them know. I start to walk towards the winding path, passing Drake who stares at the group of souls wearingly, a snort coming out of his nostrils. I see out of the corner of my eye one of the souls extend their hand to stroke Drake. I wait a second, allowing them to get close enough, before intervening.
“Ah, I wouldn’t do-” I am cut off from continuing by the screams of the soul, whose hand is now in Drakes mouth. I would leave them like that to teach them a lesson, but I don’t want to drag them with me when I ride back. I let out an audible exasperated sigh as I walk past the souls who were following me, and back to Drake. I pry his teeth apart, allowing the soul to take their hand out.
“Learnt your lesson? Don’t touch things down here.” I tell them before walking back to the head of the pack. I continue to walk down the winding path, and we eventually get to the bottom where the demons are waiting eagerly for the new arrivals.
“Here is your first look at demons - you will be seeing a lot of them while you are here. Unfortunately you will not be seeing what they are capable of yet, but I’m sure you will later. Try to keep up.” I call back at the souls. “Back off you can have the next batch.” I aim at the demons, they look like they want to argue, but most of them keep their mouth shut. The ones that do argue don’t act on their complaints. As we walk through the group of demons I can sense the souls starting to get scared, I would be too if I was in their situation. The demons are looking at them like they’re food, which they are for them but they also are looking at them like they can do whatever they want to do with them, whether it’s willingly or not.
A short walk later we are at where the souls live near the biggest fire pits of the many in Hell. Again, I am glad that I’m not in their situation, as they have to live with five others in small mud huts. The demons live closer to the mansion, in much nicer accommodation. I turn to address the group again.
“This is where you will be staying for the rest of eternity.” I push open the door to the closest hut, and show them the inside, which was empty apart from the souls staring up at us with scared looks on their faces - the things that are needed on earth to survive are not needed here, they survive off nothing, after all they are dead. “If you have any problems, feel free to suffer. Do you have any questions?” I ask the group. A man raises his hand, obviously more confident.
“Two things, who are you, and what the hell is feeding time? Do we get food?”
“One, I told you earlier I am the devil’s daughter.” I start counting the points off on my fingers. “And two, feeding time is my favourite time of day when the demons feed on the souls; it’s kind of like a big hunt that we all take part in. That doesn’t mean you’re safe for the other parts of the days though, demons can feed whenever they want, it’s just a fun thing for us all to do together. Also, I don’t appreciate you using my home’s name in that way.” I continue ending with a sweet smile.
“Oh.” The man says losing his confidence.
“Is everything clear? Are there any other questions?” I ask looking around at their faces individually.
“Yes. I have one, what do you think you’re doing?” My dad’s low voice asks from behind me. I scream and jump around to face him.
“Shit!” I exclaim.
“Missy, watch your language! If I don’t see you back by the writing, cleaning it off in 10 seconds, there will be consequences.” He advises before disappearing. When I don’t move straight away, his voice sounds all around us as he uses his ‘devil voice’ as I like to call it.
“FIVE SECONDS!” I groan.
“OKAY! KEEP YOUR HAIR ON, I’M GOING!” I shout back in the same way. “Sorry about that, it looks like our little tour has been cut short. I hope you enjoy your stay here, or preferably don’t.” I return to the group of souls in my normal pitch and voice, with an apologetic smile. A thunderstorm’s rumble echoes around Hell, before a flash of lightning sparks through the air. My dad has the flair for the theatrics. Zeus, dad’s brother and my uncle, gave the gift to my dad for one of his birthdays many years ago, and then when I was born, I was also gifted this power.
“Here we go again.” I mutter. I turn to my dad, who suddenly appeared beside me, with an innocent smile gracing my face.
“What did I say?” He asks in a fed up tone.
“A lot of things, you’ll have be a bit clearer.” I respond lifting up my hand to show him the small gap between my thumb and index finger. When his nostril flare, accompanied by a look in his eyes that says ’don’t play with me, I quickly amend my statement.
“Sorry Sir!” I shout with a salute. “I was just trying to have fun with the new souls. They were going to be my dinner.” I whine with a pout. Like the demons, my dad and I have to drink blood to survive. My dad tried to explain it to me when I was younger, but I never really got it. It’s something to do with us not technically being alive. Along with the blood, we can also eat what is considered ‘normal’ food on Earth. The souls have an endless supply of blood in their ‘bodies’ (they wouldn’t be any use if they didn’t), however fresh blood from a living human tastes much better.
“Get back to work, Scar.” My dad sighs.
“Fine.” I groan. After waving at the souls watching us curiously, I run back up the winding path, past Drake, and to where the half cleaned wall is. I pick the soaking sponge back up, and press it against the wall. I watch as the water falls down it, turning red from the blood as it goes.
With one last scrub over the wall, to make sure, I step back to admire my hard work. Dad will probably get me to clean everywhere else now, to make it all match I think to myself as I drop the sponge into the bucket. Wiping my hands on my pants, I walk to where Drake is patiently waiting for me. He makes a sound when he sees me moving towards me, obviously glad to be getting away from all the souls walking past. I detach his reins from the post, putting them in my left hand as I lift myself back up onto the saddle on Drake’s back. He takes a couple of steps forward, eager for us to move.
“Come on then, let’s go home.” I tell Drake as I kick him in the sides. I steer him down the steep path at a slow pace, kicking him again when we get to the bottom, starting home at a fast speed. I close my eyes, listening to the rhythmic pounding of Drake’s hooves on the hard ground, trying to get the courage to ask my dad again. I love living down here, and would never change it, but I’ve always been curious about Earth. Lately, I’ve been trying to persuade my dad to let me go and live up there for a year, so I can see what it’s all about. It’s not like I’ve never been up before, my dad’s taken me along countless times when he’s had to go up, but it’s never been long enough for me. I’ve never experienced it fully. My dad however was good enough to teach me how to drive when I asked, and also makes sure that I have all the things I need to keep up to date with the current events and lingo (in most languages) up there so I don’t sound out of place. It’s always either books or newspapers he finds on his visits. So far, all I have received from my dad in response to my constant questions is the different variations of the word ‘no’. I was determined tonight, for him to change his mind.
I open my eyes, and find the stables almost right in front of us. I pull back on the reins, slowing Drake down in a walk before stopping outside the doors. The shifts of guards have changed, meaning I meet a new guard standing outside the doors.
“Nice ride?” She asks. I smile moving my head from shoulder to shoulder.
“Yeah, what met me at the destination wasn’t so nice though.” I tell her, she’s bound to have heard what happened. She chuckles, not engaging in any more small talk. As we walk past the wall holding all the equipment I pause Drake, removing his gear, before picking up one of the many brushes. I run it down his back, smoothing out his hairs. The same servant, from earlier, scurries up to me, curtsying slightly at the end. As I place the loose straps over Drake’s head, I look the soul over. Her face slightly red, tears pooling in her green eyes, she tries to give me a smile, but it comes out more of a grimace. Her light blond, messy hair is made darker by the blood matting it to the side of her face. I look her clothes over, and see that her clothes are dirty, and in a tattered, crumpled mess.
“You alright?” I ask moving my attention back to Drake, clipping a rope to the now attached loose harness.
“Yes ma’am.” She says quietly looking down, extending her hand to take the rope from me. I purse my lips slightly as I look back at her.
“You know that demon earlier, from outside, did he by any chance have anything to do with this?” I ask, still holding the rope attached to Drake.
“I don’t know if I should say ma’am, after all I am in Hell and I deserve it after what I did.” She mumbles, giving me my answer. Her young face stares at me, waiting for her command. She looks fragile, and innocent, making me feel slightly sorry for her. I am always told that I get my compassionate side from my mother, as she was once human before my dad changed her.
“How old are?” I ask.
“Um, I died when I was 17, but that was in 1965.” She lets me know. What did she do? She must have noticed my eyes widening, because she continued. “I killed four people, and was shot dead by the police in a high speed chase.” Suddenly, I don’t feel so sorry for her now, I thought she was going to say something totally different.
“Where were you from?” I inquire.
“Miami, Florida.” She lets me know. “Ma’am I’ll take your horse now.” She continues bowing her head. Happier now that she is rightly suffering, I pass over the rope to her, leaving her to battle with Drake.
I step in through the front doors to find Tybalt exactly where I left him. At me entering, his big head lifts up from his paws.
“Come here boy.” I tell him. He jumps up and comes careering towards me. At the sound of Tybalt’s paws hitting the tiled floor, my dad pokes his head out of the door of his study. When he confirms that it’s me, he exits and walks into the entrance hall to meet me. He smiles at the ecstatic Tybalt whose whole body is moving along with his tail.
“He wouldn’t move, even when I told him to.” My dad lets me know.
“You know who your master is, don’t you?” I coo down at Tybalt holding his face in my hands. I look back up at my dad, whose smile has faded from his face, only leaving a reminiscence of one, his strong arms crossed.
“Why did you feel the need to act out?” My dad inquires.
“I was trying to have some fun, until someone came and spoiled it. I was going eat out tonight, with them being my dinner. The new souls are my one source of fun down here, there is really nothing else that I can do which isn’t working. I keep asking if I can get out of here for a year, before I start helping around more down here to run Hell, but you saying no. So, I’m going to ask again, and this time, remember what I just did, and how you felt about it. Ready? Can I have a year on Earth?” I whine, pleading with him, a pout on my face. As I always, he rolls his eyes, this time shaking his head, going from words to actions. I’m breaking him.
“Alright, I didn’t want to do this, but you leave me now choice.” I warn him. I make my pout bigger, but this time I throw in my guilty puppy dog eyes. His eyes quickly avert from mine, letting me know that he’s cracking even more.
“What about a year in Olympus with your aunts and uncles, I can sort that out, they’d love to have you!” My dad tries to compromise. I put my hand on my hip, cocking my head to side with an eyebrow raised.
“Dad.” I start with a smile. “I love them and all, but can you imagine me in Olympus for a year? I would drive them, you, and the souls there, mad. I need a break from this life.” I see his teeth grind together. I internally jump up and down throwing my hands around, I’ve got him. He only gives me that look if he knows I’m right. He exhales, opening his mouth.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but alright, you can go.” He finally breaks fully, relenting. I shriek in delight, letting my excitement finally show. “Someone else can deal with all the trouble you cause.” He mutters.
“Yay!” I exclaim, running to hug him, Tybalt following my moves not exactly sure what is going on. Before I can make contact, my dad puts his hand up, making me skid to a halt.
“There are conditions.” He tells me.
“One, you will come home every other month for a week as a visit. And two, you will go for exactly a year from the date you arrive, no longer.”
“Whatever. Thank you!” I skip the rest of the way to my dad and he pulls me into one of his big hugs that I love.
“Alright, decide when you want to go, and I’ll sort everything out. I need to deal with something now, but I’ll see you for breakfast tomorrow.” He lets me know as he pulls back. I nod at him, before he walks around me and out of the way I came in. I bend down to hug Tybalt as well, knowing I won’t be able to take him.
“I’m finally going!” I squeal.
Feeling upbeat, I straighten up and make my way to the kitchen, dancing as I go to a tune in my head. The only times I am able to listen to music, is when I go up to Earth with my dad, and now that I’m going up for a year, I can’t wait to know more about it. I enter the modern stainless steel kitchen and walk to the big fridge. I love to cook, so my dad makes sure that it’s stocked with everything that I may need, keeping it up to date with everything on Earth, including appliances. I pull open the heavy door, retrieving a bag of blood, which has been retrieved from one of the many souls, for now and dance back out of the kitchen and up to my room, looking forward to what’s to come.
Alex Rushmer: Chapter One: Not much is happening in this chapter, but I was absolutely fascinated by the depth of your character development. I love how you just sat there with the reader and explored Eddward. Usually, that sort of thing gets boring very fast, but this was actually really cool! He's so unique ...
Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!
Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.
annie08c: I really like this story, I can relate to it a lot and with how she feels, the boyfriend and the events that happened but I'm a little bit younger. It was really good plot, really liked how you stuck to the topic and you had a new title for every chapter making me guess what's going to happen. Ma...
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