As I’ve been working on editing TLOB (and another project that I’ll reveal to you all in a few days), I’ve also managed to strike down another short story! The latest horrifying tale is called “Hell Factory,” and is mostly a conceptual piece, with no real “plot.” It was a decent piece of work, I think, though it might be hard for some to swallow or appreciate But… I like it. So there. An excerpt below:
The cherub of sleep fell up and away from me as the burning pain jolted me awake. I opened my bleeding eyes and slowly sat up. My few moments of rest had been blissfully divine, which made my awakening all the more painful. The metal cot – if indeed it could be called even that – I had been lying upon quickly heated to the temperature of an erupting volcano, and I yelped as I rolled off of it onto the rough, sharp obsidian of the floor.
I grimaced as the black stone of midnight scraped against my raw, smoking flesh, but did not make another sound. My yelp alone was enough to bring them down upon me.
Three piercing points of pure agony manifested themselves on my back, and I collapsed as the waves of torment shuddered through my body, speeding along my back and stopping to linger at my heart and my eyes. My vision went red and then black as a wave of blistering heat cracked my dehydrated eyeballs open. I could feel what little moisture remained in them pouring down my face like tears of pure pain.
“Grzlt mbrkl!” came the voice from behind me, with a voice like the devil’s claws slowly screeching their way across a chalkboard. By now I understood the command, but my memory failed me, as it always did. In this place nothing could be relied on except pain.
The three points of pain came again in the same place. My body was not inured to the pain; no matter how much punishment it endured, every stroke of the lash or stab of the trident was worse than the one before. I collapsed onto the jagged obsidian and let my mind go, screaming and thrashing in a vain attempt to relieve myself of the pain. But my mind was clear; that was the real horror. There were no defenses to hide behind, no way to block out the torment; there was nothing between myself and the pain.
With my convulsions there came no release, and then the hellwhips descended, their flaming lengths arcing across my body, delicately wrapping themselves around me and then roughly twisting away, tearing off hunks of burning flesh as they did so.
They eventually stopped, and with it stopped much of the pain. One cannot appreciate torture fully if one is constantly in anguish; brief moments of reprieve make the return of torment all the more terrible.
As I lay sprawled in a pool of my own burning blood on the obsidian floor of Hell, my wounds began to heal and my eyes reformed in their sockets, and soon I was whole again, covered with a new layer of tender and raw skin.
Wishing to avoid more pain, I scrambled to my feet, cutting open my hands, knees, and feet in the process. “Chzrt rkltq!” I obeyed, turning about and walking away from my white-hot metal sleeping bench, past the grotesquely obese black imp that had been tormenting me. Its glowing red pitchfork was lowered menacingly, and its impish eyes flimmered evilly. A flicker of red in its hideously elongated mouth, lined with razor sharp, glimmering white fangs, told of the serpentine tongues that lurked within.
My speed earned me a jab in the shin with the pitchfork, and I nearly collapsed again with the pain. I remained upright, though, and the imp giggled and jabbed me again. The second stab was enough to send me down to the floor again, and the punishing hellwhips descended again as the imp laughed, snorted, and giggled madly at my pain.
Now that that’s done, I only have another two or three stories left in Dark Aeons! “Afflatus Divine” is about halfway done, and it’s my next short story project. Following that, I’ll be working on “Forest of Blood,” loosely based on a Call of Cthulhu scenario I ran with limited success. There may also be another very short piece entitled “Ascenscion” thrown in there as well! However, my primary focus over the next week will be on TLOB. Let’s hope I finish editing it soon!