Who does not enjoy the butterflies that came from the sharp turns and sudden drops of the hills of Pennsylvania? It was like a free rollercoaster with the bumps, and sudden jerks, dipping to the right then the left then up only to drop again. Ever since I was a kid, I looked forward to the family trips through the Amish country. Not only were the roads fun, but the views were breathtaking. The land was a quilt of crops and trees, ever-changing with the seasons. Autumn brought brilliant gold, reds, and browns, and the winter capped the higher hills with snow, the abundance of evergreens keeping color in the world. Spring and summer brought back the wild flowers and luscious crops that made the landscape glow.
It was because of the fresh air and magnificent view I looked forward to my long trips home. This time, however was different in more ways than even I realized. It was rare that I ignored the world flying by my window, even on such a warm, sunny afternoon when the few clouds that existed added their own element to the scene by casting shadows over the hills. I was not even interested in the dips and dives that would have called my attention if I had not had butterflies already. My sister was pregnant and could go into labor at any day and I did not want to miss it. A sudden vibration at my side started me. Constantly checking my phone throughout my drive, I knew this was the call and I was still about 45 minutes away. I quickly flipped it open and as I did, the signal dropped. I must have just slipped beyond a tower’s reach and not quite found my way into another’s. Now my attention was torn between the phone and the road. Few cars were ever met on these winding back roads. Most tourists stuck to main roads and few people lived in such close proximity that it many people did not need to be on certain roads. One arm on the wheel and the other stretched towards the roof of my car, I watched as the bars on my phone increased then dropped to a little receiver with a line through it. For some reason, I knew this phone call was urgent. If she was at the hospital, I would have to reroute to meet them. If she had not gone yet, then I would not miss it. I promised myself I would stop as soon as I had signal, and as four bars darkened on my cell phone, I slammed on the breaks.
I was lucky the area had a grassy shoulder to stop and not just a ditch like many of the small roads did. I redialed the number and as I sent it, my service was gone again. Frustrated and knowing I had a signal in this area, I jumped out of my car and began dancing around for a signal. I finally had one and as I was waiting for my call to connect, I noticed something odd by the side of the road. At first it looked like a thick tree limb, but flesh colored and as I approached it, I noticed the tree limb had toes. The sudden, high pitched beeping startled me. I recognized it as the sound of disconnect. Slowly lowering the phone as I closed it, I approached the leg. It appeared to have been broken or ripped off, not severed, just above the knee. The flesh was torn and blood oozed out of the top and what appeared to be bite marks. In fact, whole chunks were missing as if some animal had attacked it. Even though my eyes were fixed, my body instinctively carried me back to my car. A near trip by misplaced footing made me aware of my surroundings and as panic replaced what were butterflies I frantically began searching for a signal. Not for my family, this time, no. Somewhere, a body was missing a leg, and it was most likely that the life was gone from that body. I stopped in the middle of the road when a positive tone of connection came out of my phone. Shaking uncontrollably, I brought the phone to my ear, praying the phone would not cut out. As I stood, afraid to move, I noticed another sound, not coming from the phone, but from a small group of bushes in front of me. My entire body went numb as a wild, older woman, turned her head to face me. Her cheeks were bloated with what I could only fear was a human chunk, and as she chewed, blood was forced out and ran down her face with little specks of flesh mixed in. Wide, blood-shot, yellow eyes watched me patiently as I stood, paralyzed.
“Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?”
The voice brought feeling back into my body, and with it returned the panic. The wild, blood soaked woman’s jaw suddenly stopped. She could hear the other voice and I knew I was in trouble. Without swallowing; without crouching like a normal hunter stalking its prey, she sprang out of the bushes. Her limbs bent in an unnatural way as she raced toward me. I dropped the phone. I had to get to my car where I thought I would be safe. Now, I know it would have been pointless, but then, I was smothered with human fear. Even though the event plays slow in my memory, I had barely touched the ground with the first step when the monster grabbed me and dragged me back to her bushes. Screaming, calling for help that might be near or coming down the road. Right now, my only hope was the little electronic, laying in the middle of the road which let out those dreaded beeps of disconnection.
My cries turned to croaks as her bony hand clutched my throat, her sharp, cracked nails digging their way into my neck, breaking skin and veins. I knew this was the end. The question of the existence of Heaven and Hell was about to be answered. Though, no angels came to relieve me of the blinding pain. All that came was my death. Feeling disappeared as my senses dulled until I could feel nothing, like a dream when you can touch and be touched, but do not feel. Slowly I drifted away from my body, not up but down. As I fell, the creature whispered into my ear—no—my soul, “You belong to us now.”
What ever that meant, I did not care at the time, but as I stand here now, surrounded by anguish and hate, I wished it was all a dream and that I would wake up in my warm bed and start the day over. However, the longer I stand here, the more the truth sinks in. I am dead, murdered, and no one will ever know. What is worse, is that I am a slave. This is not Heaven, but I am not quite sure it is Hell either. Flames do not erupt out of bottomless puts and naked little people with bat wings and tridents were not dancing around, laughing demonically. This is more like a pocket between Earth and Hell. There is no way out from here, I could feel it. A hollow cry issues ahead of me and I look up to just in time to see a fellow soul dissipate into nothing. As the cause of his disintegration arcs high and comes down on another poor, disembodied soul, I realize it is an arrow being shot from a bow that belongs to a dark, human-like figure with great, white wings. After a while, I conclude that these targets are not random, but selected. Why, I do not know, though part of me wishes I did so I could avoid it.
“Dark Angels,” a voice breathes behind me. Even though it sounds hollow, it seems to be a soul that kept its bright personality. I turn to find a young, adolescent girl, her ghostly face smiling at me. Amazing how souls can still smile, and how a young girl could do it in such a terrible place. She was pointing at the winged creatures perched on towers of stone. She floats around to be in front of me, her attempt to keep my attention from them. My face must show fear and ignorance because she could tell I was new to this world.
“Why are they shooting at us with those arrows?” I ask, she was clearly waiting for that question. Her eyes drop after a quick glance over her shoulder. Her hollow voice lowered, “They are punishing those who the Demoness asks.”
With another quick glance, she adds, “She sends demons to the mortal world to collect souls and bring them to her. She makes them her slaves and tortures us. She is working on building an army, she wants to challenge the master Satan for he thrown as ruler of Hell.”
Sudden shouts send a mob of souls to push the girl and me past the Dark Angels and towards arched passageways. Standing at attention on either side in ghostly robes, I suspect are some of the soldiers. The girl’s quick nod confirmed this. As we stand, waiting for our turn to pass through the threshold to whatever work awaits us, she leans in again and whispers, “They get special privileges; they are immune to the arrows and they are allowed to walk in the mortal world. In order to do that, you must swear allegiance. You also have to convince her not to destroy you instead.”
Of course, there had to be a catch. As we pass through the arches, I realize that the slaved souls were collected to help build her fortress and serve her. All I can do is shake my own ghostly head at everything that was going on. This is my eternity and I do not deserve this. I was murdered, my soul was stolen. Then a through slowly crosses my mind; I was not the only innocent victim. Without knowing why, I soon found myself marching toward the Demoness, who sat high on her thrown. I approach, and to reduce some of the disrespect I have obviously just given, I drop to my knees and bow.
“What do you want?” her voice echoed through the room, causing the other slaves to stop and look. If I fail to choose my words correctly, this would be the end of my existence.
Keeping my head bowed I reply, “I wish to join your army.”
“What makes you think you are worthy enough to be in my army?” she sneers in return.
“I—I feel as though I will be wasted simply doing what you already have enough to do.”
There is a pause and even though I am not sure if I should stop, I continue, “Besides, you can keep a better eye on me if I work even closer. If I make a mistake, I will gladly give up my powers.” As I listen to my own voice, I realize that I have no even convinced myself, but her response startles me.
“Maybe I will take a chance with you. Very few ever want to join my army, and very few offer to return their powers at failure or my displeasure.”
She stands and moves toward me, a sly look upon her demonic face, “You are the one who witnessed my demon pet dining on another. No one was supposed to be there, but you stopped.”
Her eyes widen and then narrow, “Yes, I will have you. I need to keep a close watch on this one.” She had directed the last part to a figure next to her. He nods obediently. Her arms spread apart and in a strange language she utters evil phrases and when she finishes, I look down upon my self to find a black cloak similar to the other soldiers. She steps closer to me and looks deep into my eyes. “You will go,” she hisses, “and send a message to my rival. Let him lay eyes on you and tell him, you belong to me.”
Confusion had set it. I did not understand why my presence intrigued her or why she feels she needs to boast about me to her rival, who, according to the girl, had to be the King of the Underworld, Lucifer. To be honest, I was not intending to meet him so soon, but something tells me, I have less to fear of him, than I do of her.
'All That Came Was My Death' statistics: (click to read)