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I have seen hell, heaven and earth but I have never belonged to one place or another, I’m a part of each. I was born on earth and died on earth before I could do anything wrong yet I didn’t do anything good either. I don’t deserve punishment yet I don’t deserve salvation. My home, like the homes of others like me, is in Limbo, the in between.
We grow and age same as other children and when we turn fifteen we are allowed a choice, to go to earth and live a normal human life or remain in Limbo for all eternity. But we are warned; once we leave Limbo there is no turning back. We have to carve our own fates and end eventually in Heaven or Hell.
This is what happened my last day being fourteen. It’s up to you to decide if I made the right choice.
I begin, like every morning in Limbo. Technically there is no morning here; there is no night and no sleep. We don’t need them, we’re dead. I was roaming the huge, seven walled castle with endless rooms. Outside there are endless rolling green fields. Light shines from some invisible sun but there are shadows, many, many shadows. Suddenly some internal clock told me that in exactly twenty-four hours I would be fifteen.
I grabbed a random door and walked outside. That was the way the castle worked, if you wanted to wander each door was a mystery but if you wanted out any door would lead you.
Quickly I ran across the fields, careful to avoid the dark patches. After a while the sky became darker and the wind stronger. The second level, the circle of lust. Looking up I see people floating up there, being tossed round and round in the wind. I do not belong in this place, which is why I stay on the ground. Reaching out my hand I wish for someone to come down. Immediately a gorgeous young woman alights next to me. Her golden hair was tossed wildly about her head and her beautiful eyes darted from side to side.
“What’s your name?” I thought, I had a feeling we didn’t speak the same language.
“Helen.” She thought. “I have been here for a long, long time. The place I come from, Troy, must be long gone by now.” Immediately images of a beautiful green country surrounded by sea flood into my mind. There was a war, men in armor, a king, and ships. I break free of the memory and stare at the woman. She caused that war.
“Good luck.” I say and with a sad smile on her face Helen is caught up again in the wind.
Running on it starts to rain the weather gets colder. I feel mud under my feet. Looking down I see people lying in the filth. Level three, the circle of gluttons. I stop at the feet of a huge man. He stares up at me from the mud.
“You speak English yes?” He asked? I nodded. He sighed. “My name isn’t important. There must be hundreds like me. I loved to eat. It’s what killed me you know. It was a heart attack. And you are from Limbo.” I nodded again.
“Listen to me.” He said. “Don’t end up here. Don’t make my mistakes.”
“I won’t.” He nodded and closed his eyes. I took a deep breath and moved on.
The weather doesn’t change much but the people do. I see people rolling weights against each other. A wolf like demon sits atop a huge pile of riches and cackles at the people below. These are the riches they stockpiled over the years, useless to them now. The fourth level, the circle of greed.
I wandered between the dammed. Their faces are pinched and angry. I did not like them. Finally I stopped beside an old woman with a look of anger and determination on her wrinkled face. She looked over at me.
“Yes?” she snapped at me. She spoke English.
“ I’m from Limbo.” I said “And-.”
“ Yes, yes I know.” She interrupted. “My name is Henrietta Robinson Green. I was fabulously rich. Fabulously! Was I wrong to not waste my money? Was I?”
“I don’t know.” I said. ‘I’ve never had any.” She waved her hand.
“Oh yes of course. And was I wrong to try and fix my son’s leg when it broke? It wasn’t my fault they had to amputate. Doctors bills cost money you know.” I didn’t point out that no, I didn’t know, I had never been sick.
“Anyway he’s fine now.” She continued. “Spends my money freely enough. Yes I’m sure he’s just fine.” I had the feeling that this woman wasn’t listening to me anymore so I quickly pressed on.
In level five there was a river. I had a very bad feeling about this level and decided to move quickly out of it. I still saw the dammed lashed together or gurgling in horrible black mud. They were biting and tearing at each other with their teeth. The circle of anger. I didn’t think it was a good idea to talk to anyone here. I shut my eyes and ran on. When I opened them I looked up at a burning city. The city of Dis.
Tombs were on fire, the land was on fire. All around me were people screaming and running through the flames.
“ I am a god!” Came a voice behind me. I turned quickly to see a man, or what used to be a man. Now all that remained was a skeleton burning still. A crown at on the top of its skull.
“I am Zeus and mercury and every other type of god!” he cried. “I am almighty!” With that he let out a horrible laugh and fire burned from his mouth. “I’m am the almighty Caesar!”
“He’s crazy!” I thought. “Completely crazy.” And I could tell that he had once been a king.
“I am not!” The skeleton cried!” You’ll die for that! I’ll have you executed!” I couldn’t help grinning. I’d like to see him try. Turning my back on the screaming king I headed of.
I horrible smell hits my nose and I looked around at the horrible river of fire. This is the seventh level, the circle of violence. I slowly step into the fiery water. It doesn’t burn me. I walk across.
Suddenly I feel something cold and sharp against me neck. A man laughs somewhere behind me. Turning my head I see a man whose face is covered by a mask.
“Don’t move.” He whispers. “Or I’ll kill you.” I smirk and tear the knife from his hand. Holding out my palm I draw the blade across it. There is no cut, no blood, not even a scratch. I hand the man his knife back.
“Oh you’re from Limbo.” He said, tucking his precious knife back into his coat.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“The Whitechaple murderer, Leather apron.” He grinned. “Jack the Ripper?” I see foggy streets, blood, and woman.
“You killed people.” I said. He smiled from behind the mask.
‘Yes, many many.” He traced the shape of his knife. “Such a rush. But you’ve never killed have you?” I shook my head. “We’ll when you do you’ll know what I mean.”
“What if I never kill anyone?” I asked. He grinned.
“Then you’ve lived a boring life indeed.” Shuddering I turned from him and headed into level eight, the Malebolge.
It is an amphitheater shaped pit. Varied people end up here. I look around and see some whipped by demons, the hypocrites trying to walk in lead lined cloaks, and various other people suffering other horrible fates. It is a horrible, horrible place and the worst is still to come. I pause at the entrance to Cocytus, the deepest level of hell. I had never been there before, to the other levels yes but not here.
I reminded myself that I might end up here one day and should know what I was in for. I took a step forward. Icy, icy wind hits me. I would have frozen then and there but being from Limbo I manage to survive. Glancing around I see the three faces of Satan, chewing on the three traitors, Judas, Brutus and Cassius. This is where the traitors go. All around me was a frozen wasteland. If it was possible it looked like frozen fire and felt boiling hot yet freezing cold at the same time. I swore then and there that I would never, never end up here. I closed my eyes to the bitter wind and wished to be back home in Limbo. Immediately I was there.
Looking up I saw a beautiful kingdom on top of a mountain. As I climbed higher a feeling of peace overwhelmed me. At last I stopped at a set of huge gates. A man stood in front of me. There was kindness in his eyes.
“Last day in Limbo eh?” he asked. I nodded.
“Well I’m afraid I can’t let you in here.” He said, gesturing at the gates. “Not yet, but why don’t you look through the gate?” Slowly I pressed my face to the metal and gazed in. Warmth filled me. I saw children with their parents, lovers separated in life together again. In one section there was rain, in another snow. Some sat in the sun, some swam in huge oceans filled with giant fish. A sun rolls quickly across the sky. People danced to music in their heads and in one corner there was a small hole in the ground. It was a window I relized. I window to earth.
Is it possible?” I asked the man. He nodded.
“ Hell is not forever.” He said to me. “Only until people really and truly regret what they did. And I’m afraid that there are some who will never be sorry.”
“I have to chose soon.” I said.
“And?” I stared through the gates.
“I don’t know. Will I remember all this?”
“We will give you a new memory.” The man said. “You wouldn’t be able to function with out one but you will have this one too. You’ll always remember who you are.” I nodded and, with one-hour left, headed back to Limbo.
I looked up at the ghostly castle and the green fields, my home for so long. It was not a truly unhappy place but there was a slight sadness in the air.
“ Sad place isn’t it?” said a voice behind me. I turned and saw a girl a little older then me gazing up at the castle.
“You decided to stay.” I said. The girl nodded.
“After I saw all the horrible places I could have ended up.” She shook her head. “I just couldn’t risk it. It’s a big gamble.”
“Do you ever wish you took it?” I asked.
“Of course.” She said, gazing up the mountain. “But it’s too late now. My time is up.” I nodded and stared out at the whole of Heaven and Hell, the only world I knew and made up my mind.
“I want to go to earth.” I said and in an instant I was there. My last memory was of the girl, waving goodbye to me with a sad smile on her face.
The first thing that struck me was the noise. I opened my eyes and realized I was in a crowed city, nothing at all like Dis.
My name was Angel DiAria and somehow I knew that was the name my parents had given me long ago. I smiled and headed off into the real world, the human world.
I don’t know where I’ll end up when the time comes. And don’t think I’ve forgotten Limbo. It’s still there in the back of my mind and in the pictures I draw, which I hear are quiet good, otherwise they wouldn’t be selling. And I still hear the screams of those people who will never be sorry for what they did. And when I think that I might end with them I scream too.