by Connor Zimmerman ’20
“Enter when Hope is a thing of the past.”
Shivering, Ron reads the sign posted on the door. The cold wind seeps through his skin and begins to settle within his body. Trying to work up the courage to go in, Ron takes one last look at his surroundings. The dilapidated and windowless buildings don’t hold a soul in sight, the only company seeming to be the rats fighting for the meager scraps of garbage on the streets. Ron takes a deep breath and opens the door, ready to enter the shack. What does he have to lose anyways.
Once inside, the door slams behind him and the doorknob strikes his spine. Ron stumbles forward and falls down the staircase directly in front of him. His knee strikes the first step, his arm breaks upon another step, and this goes on for what feels like an eternity. The darkness enfolds him, and he loses track of time. Falling further, and further down Ron stops feeling everything, even pain. His body hits the ground with a thud once he reaches the bottom. It is somehow colder down here than outside, the cold air begins to sting his nostrils, his lungs, and finally his heart. Ron struggles to lift his bruised and bloodied body up.
“Stay where you are mortal! You are at the final destination,” a voice booms. Ron tries to look around but can’t seem to move. The voice continues, “You have come in search of a loved one, is that right, Ron?”
“Yes,” he meekly calls out. Where was that voice coming from?
“She must have been special for you to travel down to the underworld.”
“What do you mean the underworld?”
“Do not play dumb mortal, I know you have talked with my minions.”
Ron struggles to get off the ground, but he cannot seem to move. He feels the weight of the world pressing down on him, his broken ribs feel as though they are getting closer to his lungs. He looks around and it looks like the shadows of the dark are closer than before. He whimpers, “What are you?”
“I have many names and titles, but I am the one who rules this domain. The one who is king of all souls.”
“Yes, you may call me the Devil.” The last word rings throughout the space, and it causes the whole domain to shake.
“If you know all, then you know why I am here.”
“Yes, but you cannot have her back, once I have a soul I do not give it up.”
A deafening silence envelops Ron. His vision first becomes blurry, his hearing begins to ring louder and louder, he can barely think anymore. The darkness begins to inch closer and closer to him. Tears begin to roll down his cheeks and freeze in mid-air. He cries not because of his bruises, broken bones, and pain, but because he knows what he must do.
“Okay, then I shall stay, I can’t live without her.”
“Bwahahaha!” The sinister laugh stings Ron’s ears. If he could move his hands he would cover them. The Devil continues on, “Fool, your life was mine once you came here. You could not move because your soul has been leaving your body all along.”
Ron cries out, “I don’t care as long as I am with Melissa!”
The Devil continues laughing. “You still think she is here, after all this time. No, she was up in Heaven all along, never here. Now you are doomed to be separated eternally.”