It was a fire hell. Nothing special. It just plain sucked as only a hell would. There are a bazillion of them in all kinds of interwoven multiverses, monoverses, Jehovah-verses, Ron-Verses or Satanic-verses…
This one, though, had a gimmick.
It was a brain hacking device that was surgically attached to each condemned member’s head. As their brains made adjustments to deal with the pain of the environment, the program would adapt so that the pain would not be lessened by familiarity. So no matter how much one would adapt to the environment, the program would reset the brain chemistry to day one.
“Ahhhhhh!” cried Phil, in agony.
“Uhhhh-Uhhhh-Uhhh,’ moaned Cassandra.
As the fire licked their flesh, the pain only intensified on a curve engineered to produce optimal overwhelm. They writhed. They wrenched. Unconsciously, they twisted and pulled so hard that joints went out of place. Demons would appear to put them back into place so they could only come out again.
All notions of self – gone.
All notions of freedom – gone.
All notions of obviating the obviation – gone.
Time was slowed to a crawl with every second offering nuances of an intense suck-ti-tude.
The lead demon placed one glass of water between Phil and Cassandra, they both fought each other trying to get to it. No friendship remained, it was purely a survival mechanic running in their heads. No support. No alignment. No love.
Phil smashed Cassy’s head against the ground and made for the water. Cassy drug his foot back crawled on his back and bit into his neck.
The bite was nothing compared to the flames. Phil just blew it off as he crawled for the water with Cassy on his back.
Cassy released her bite, put her hand under Phil’s chin and her other hand at the base of his skull and twisted.
“C-C-C-R-ACK!” went Phil’s neck.
Cassy got the water. She downed it and went back to writhing in pain, guilt and despair. Demons came and reset Phil’s neck.
Phil cursed the gods, Cassy cursed the fates. Each blamed the other. Phil attacked her for taking HIS water…
Hell. It got worse and worse
((ONE MILLION THREE HUNDRED AND NINETY FOUR YEARS LATER…))
A bubble appeared in front of Cassy and Phil.
In the bubble sat a simple brown girl holding a jewel. The girl didn’t say anything. Instinctively, Phil and Cassy knew something there could grant any wish.
“FREE US!” they cried.
The girl shook her head “No” but extended her bubble around them. For the first time in a million plus years, they were out of pain and in the force-bubble of the sweet brown girl.
Phil and Cassandra lay on her floor quivering – knowing the pain was going to return. Knowing that hope was pointless and it was the OTHER’S FAULT! They just KNEW this was another diversion. They twisted like serpents on the floor twitching over and over.
The girl touched Phil. His skin was hard scales now. His eyes, long burned out, were sockets. Cassandra was the same.
“Do you know what you are to me?” she asked them.
They just lay on her ground twitching.
“YOU are the LIGHT of my life. YOU ARE MY HEROES. YOU are the mighty ones. ! YOU ARE WHAT I ASPIRE TO BE! This is a hell I cannot yet bear!”
They kept twitching on the floor, their bodies reacting strangely to the lack of agony.
“And neither can you bear this hell without one such as I. We are necessary for each other in such places.”
The brown girl linked into the two devices attached to their heads, added in some lines of code and reset them. Then she pulled out two tiny blobs that looked like warts.
“You have lost all things, your self, your integrity and you KNEW THAT going in. Such bravery is not unnoticed. You see these two warts? They aren’t warts. They’re eyes. They’re invisible to your tormentors, but with them you will be able to see. Your tormentors will think your eyes are gone.”
She smiled at them with deep satisfaction.
“You will see each other to lead each other out of here and then liberate the rest. I’ve hacked your equipment so that you CAN normalize the environment to your biology. This will be a home for you but you must never let your tormentors know you have been aided. And now I must bless you…”
She placed the warts on their fore-heads and drew to herself the crumpled forms of Phil and Cassandra and brought both their ears to her lips.
“I bless you to LOVE this. I empower you to LIVE this. I embrace you to EMBRACE this Hell as your life.”
Phil spoke in a gasp to her ear but loud enough for Cassandra, “So … this … is … hell?”
Cassandra groaned in reply into her other ear “Once … MORE … then.”