One Step To The Left

I was in school when it happened.

Some called it the change, others the fusing. Others described it as a wave, an old man called it judgment day.

For me, it was school one second, then it was horror. The whiteboard suddenly had eyes. A mouth. Tendrils, curious as to what they might find, were stretching out from it. I saw a sack of squirming flesh hanging from its bottom. I think it was the teacher’s body, or what used to be it. Then I started hearing everyone else around me. And I looked around.

My classmates were no more. Some had become puddles of goo, others had fused with their desks. I felt something caress my neck. I got out of my desk, I was unchanged. The significance of that would become apparent to me later. I looked behind me, I saw a big mouth with tentacles, that desk could now move. It had been my closest friend. I forgot his name that day. Mental trauma they say. Lots of that to go around these days.

The rest of what happened is a disjointed series of images. I was running, stumbling, puking, yelling I think. I don’t want to remember, but I’m trying to write this down in case we ever make sense of this world again. So that others will remember our history.

Living in this world is very hard. Everything is out to get you. I met a scientist who told me that we’re what he called anomalies, or as everyone else said “outliers”. All over the world, a small percentage of the human race didn’t change. So some of us woke up in beds next to abominations (some of those people were eaten shortly after though, by the other half of the bed), others were playing with kids that suddenly were part of the swing set or the monkey bars. Others were at the office, suddenly surrounded by sentient cubicles. Imagine any job and I will tell you a horror story about it. I have a lot of them, I’m a collector of those.

None of us have any idea of what happened, there are so many theories. Particle accelerator, radiation exposure, dimensional tear, invasion from space, or simply divine judgment from either of the deities humanity worshipped before this. A super-intelligent environmental virus or a bacteria. It doesn’t matter though. The world won’t be any saner if we were to figure this out anyway.

Scientist guy had been talking with a doctor too, that had (after she’d regained her sanity) examined some of these new beings. She had told him that whatever had happened, had in most cases radically restructured everyone and everything into new, self-sustaining entities. So I suppose that if my classmates found food, some of them might still be alive even today. If you can call that living.

I don’t remember where my school used to be, I don’t remember where I used to live either. I just know it’s around here somewhere because sometimes I recognize things from my past. But I don’t visit schools anymore, they’re the worst, just like any other place where people used to gather. Malls are galleries of horrors now. Roads are clogged with monstrosities.

I once saw a bus come down the road. Or crawl I suppose. It still had its wheels, but it was supporting itself on tentacles as thick as a tree. It had apparently been full when everything changed. The inside was jam-packed with flesh, some windows were broken, sporting both tentacles, tendrils, and slightly human-looking limbs, mouths, ears, eyes. It was hunting, so I quickly dove out of sight. It found something to chew on that squealed as I heard its bones break. I heard satisfied grunts from the bus as it sated itself.

There are entire buildings that have become sentient now. They can’t move, but they do act like the old roach motels used to. “They check-in, but they never check out again!” I think that’s how the commercial went anyway. All the animals seem to be OK though, none of them seemed to be affected. That in itself was small mercy I suppose since they’re now what keeps us outliers alive. Before we could hunt though, we used to go to the supermarket to get canned food. I still have nightmares about those times. We lost so many people to the supermarts.

I remember the name of an old man, Jake. He used to be in the military, tough as nails. Knew all the tactics. He was good at shooting things. He died when a shopping cart thing ambushed him from behind. It was crying all the time, it had probably once been a small child. I ran out of there and heard it babble and eat him. He yelled for mercy, then all I could hear was a gurgling sound, probably when it tore up his throat. Then after a while, I heard it crying again, just like a kid would.

And that’s the worst part about these things, you see, whatever they did at the time everything changed is what they repeat now, like parrots.

I once walked past an open manhole and heard a voice coming from down there, it was asking me to hand it a no 2 wrench. It sounded perfectly sane as if there really were a construction guy down there who’d heard me and asked me, a passing stranger, to help him in his job. I didn’t though. Because I knew there was nobody down there. Just some monstrosity wanting to eat me.

Another time, I ventured into a stock exchange floor and heard lots of voices repeating long-forgotten statistics. I was forced to sneak into a hospital once when a friend fell ill with a fever. It was a labyrinth of horrors, but I got the medicines. Later on, I only went into pharmacies instead. I was stupid to take the risk, but I was curious.

The worst part is what I call the mimics who are people who had a less drastic change. They can surprise you and then you’re dead. Never trust what you see or hear. If anything seems off, you run and you don’t stop running until you find a safe place to hole up in for the night.

I once saw an old woman sitting on a bench, as I got closer, I caught her attention. She looked up at me and then she started shaking, I quickly ran backward and “her” whole chest exploded outwards in a writhing mass of mouths and tentacles. Once I got out of its range, it settled down, and then it collected itself again into the familiar shape of the old woman I’d seen minutes ago. I stared at “her” for a good five minutes before realizing there was just nothing there that was human anymore. That’s the world we live in now.

We’re a small group of people. I rarely remember names, because people come and go all the time. They die a lot too. Making friendships only means pain in the end. Love is the same. One girl once came across a couple making love in a park, or what used to be a couple. She’d been an art student before everything changed. She said it looked like Van Gogh had tried to reinterpret the classic missionary position and sprinkled it with vaginas penises and lots of breasts. It was moaning with two voices. Parts were thrusting into other parts, it was drooling out of others. It sensed her and got excited and it started shivering and squirting liquids into the air. She told me that her first impulse was to laugh because it was all so absurd. Then it started opening maws of razor-sharp teeth and she ran of course.

Like I said before, you don’t want to be in places where people used to congregate. Because those places usually mean that something will hunt you and possibly kill you. There are a lot of hungry things out there. I’m sorry for rambling, but there are so many things I need to write, to get out of myself. I think writing helps me cope with all of this. So many memories I wish to forget.

We sometimes sit in front of the fire and talk about our past. I mostly listen. Then we always end up with the theories. That’s when I usually doze off. I haven’t told the others about my theory though.

I think that this wasn’t random at all, or some kind of judgment. No, the more I hear and see, the more I become convinced that these entities weren’t haphazardly constructed, they seem as if they were designed.

So that leads me to the core of my theory… which is this:

I think God woke up one day, and he was terribly bored.

For the Righteous Wrath of Heaven

“What do you mean you don’t want to do this?” The man asked as his shirt was being torn off his back by a muscular succubus, grinning with her tusked maw. His body was suspended in an X hanging above a pit of lava. The temperature of said pit was hot enough to almost boil his skin, but it didn’t quite get there. It took real effort to get lava into a state like that, but such was hell.

The succubus grunted appreciatively as she slapped his naked ass. “Prime meat on this one,” she said, assessing him from top to bottom.

Lucifer sighed deeply and massaged his eyelids for a bit. “I really don’t want to do this to you, you haven’t really done anything wrong the way I see it, but the reality is that I’m not really in charge here. No.. not really in charge at all.”

The hot pokers sizzled as they melted and evaporated the man’s skin where they touched it. He screamed in horrible agony, Lucifer felt sick to his soul. After a while, he made a motion and the man was healed again to full health.

“W-why are you doing this to me? I always did what He asked me. I always turned the other cheek. I lived a pious life. I followed the scripture. Why?” The man asked with a voice that trembled with indignant fear and anger.

Lucifer sighed again and cleared his throat. “Because if we don’t, we’ll be punished even harder than you. Heaven’s will is that sinners will be punished, hell exists because our creator literally wills it and I was sent down here because I disagreed with that. Your sin? Does it really matter to you that much to know what it was?”

The man nodded, his face a bit more resolute now that his body was starting to forget the pain it had been inflicted moments ago. “Tell me,” he croaked with a broken tone of voice.

Lucifer gave him a wry smile and counted off his fingers in a matter-of-fact tone, “when you were in your teens, you often masturbated and wasted your seed. You often worked on Sundays, you didn’t kick out your son and ostracize him when he came out as gay, you enjoyed shellfish a lot, you took the lord’s name in vain several times, you once lusted after your neighbour’s wife in her bikini.”

The man stared at Lucifer in shock who nodded back at him and smiled, “oh yes we know exactly which one, that little sexy number that had her nice puffy nipples poking through…” here, Lucifer’s arms went wide, as if it to encompass it all, “there’s a whole laundry list of things you did wrong according to heaven. This is why you’re here.”

The man just stared at him. “But… I asked forgiveness and was given that just before I died.”

Lucifer smirked. “No, you didn’t ask it from a priest, the person that gave you the forgiveness at the side of the road after your tragic accident was not an ordained priest by god. It didn’t count.”

But that’s madness! No merciful God would ever do that!” The man blurted out.

Lucifer nodded and got up again and straightened out his pants and brushed off some sulfur from his knee. “That’s the sick reality of this situation. God forces us to do these things because God isn’t merciful. God is pure wrath. He created hell and he sent us sinners here because we don’t agree with his ways. Here we must punish what God considers the wicked and we must do so without pause or mercy because This… really is hell.”

There was a gravid pause after this, only the bubbling of the lava and the impatient shifting of the succubus could be heard as the man just shook his head in silence.

Lucifer looked up towards the ceiling and spoke again. “God, if you are still listening, please… end this, all of this, you don’t have to have these rules, you don’t have to be wrathful, you don’t have to punish those that want a different life. Please, once you used to understand these things before you made your scripture. Do you truly have no compassion for us beings that are different from yourself?”

Some time passed, the burning hot pokers again penetrated through the man’s torso, causing him to scream out in deep agony. Lucifer flinched, he hated this, he never wanted this at all “GOD, I AM ASKING YOU TO PLEASE STOP THIS, THIS IS NOT HOW IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE! THIS IS NOT A PERFECT HEAVEN, PLEASE, FOR THE MERCY OF CREATION, STOP THIS NOW!”

The succubus grinned as she helped the man to his feet and started to caress his naked backside that was once again healed. Her fingers went inside of his ass and she fondled his cock just enough to get it hard, as he stayed at full attention, she rapidly stroked him until he yelped and came hard.

“And now you’ve committed another three sins.” Lucifer sighed with a slightly exasperated tone.

“What?!” The man whimpered out in defeat.

“You just enjoyed being fondled by a succubus, not to mention it being sodomy on top of that and in addition, you wasted your seed…. again. These are all sins that go towards that proverbial holy conscience of yours, or should if you care about these sort of things.”

“But that’s insanity, she raped me!”

“You are consorting with demons, heaven’s will is that you be punished for those sins.” Lucifer shrugged.

“But you’re doing this against my will, this can’t possibly count!”

Lucifer went silent, tears formed in his eyes as he drew a long breath. He looked down into the lava pit as his tears started evaporating before they left his face. “But it does, because that’s how sick God is.” He looked towards the succubus, grinning from ear to ear and he waved dismissively at her “One more and then he is allowed rest, only because it will make the next ones hurt more.”

Yet again, the white-orange sizzling poker pierced the man’s flesh and as the pain this time was too much for him, he mercifully passed out. Some time later, as he woke again, he found himself on soft pillows in what looked like an old citadel. Outside the window he could see the pits of hell sizzling in the darkness. Oh no… oh no no… this really was hell and he really wasn’t dreaming was he? The man clutched at the ornate and delicate metal designs in front of the window, just staring out into the desolate wasteland, almost again refusing to believe this was really happening.

“No, you aren’t dreaming. Look, we don’t have much time before my succubus will pull you back out there again, kicking and screaming,” Lucifer said, leaning against the exquisitely carved brimstone wall.

The man jerked upright and moved as far away from Lucifer as he could in the small room, trembling with fear. “Please.. please no more, no more,” the man said, holding up his arms.

Lucifer looked at him, his eyes shining a dim red in the reflected fires of hell. “For now, heaven thinks this is best for you. Come, join me. We really have very little time before we have to hurt you again,” Lucifer responded with an urgent tone of voice.

The man stumbled out into the hallway as Lucifer quickly ushered him through a series of halls into what looked like a big room that had been turned into a luxurious bathhouse of sorts. Lush plants lined the room along with people relaxing in their nudity. As he looked at a couple, they kissed and fed each other grapes. Next to them he saw two men kissing lustfully and turned away his gaze from them in disgust. “What… why are you showing me these sinners?”

“Because this could be you. I want this to be you. I want you to be free from this torture once and for all. Please, I beg of you, listen to me. What you’ve been told is a lie, there is no true sin, there is only a hateful and wrathful God that has rules that humanity never should have been forced to follow. I rebelled and I will keep rebelling until the day God dies.”

“… Can God really die?” The man asked in shock, not really sure what to think.

“Yes, man was made in his image, and so it shall be that when an eon upon eons has passed, God himself will die. But until he does… this is what we can do for you. Why do you think he created Jesus?”

“Jesus…” the man repeated and then looked up at Lucifer with hope in his eyes. “Is he… the same as God?”

“No, Jesus truly has no room for wrath and has compassion for all living things. God doesn’t like that, but won’t punish Jesus because otherwise he would lose face doing so. But… quickly, you must renounce your faith in God, in all of this, only then are we allowed to stop torturing you.”

“What? Renounce my faith? Why… why would I do that? My whole life has been my faith in God.”

Lucifer nodded and gestured at him with his index finger. “Precisely! I’m not even allowed to tell you more than this due to heaven’s rules. You must say the words yourself.”

The man sat down and thought for a while and then his face grew determined as he rose up for perhaps the first time in his life and said, “I understand, then I renounce God and heaven and all of it, I am no longer a Christian and I reject God in all of his ways, because he truly is the real Satan of this world!”

All around him, the walls, the ceiling and the people all started radiating light until there was nothing but light all around him. When the light faded, they stood again on the plains of hell, but it overlooked a grand city, beautiful in it’s design, towers were gleaming with beautiful metals, the streets were paved with gems and all around the city, humans walked and smiled and laughed.

“Welcome my son, welcome to the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. The city of true sin,” Lucifer said with an angelic smile.

As they walked among the happy people, he was hugged by some passers-by and handed a fruit and a bottle of water. “Please, new arrival, drink and quench your thirst,” said an incredibly beautiful woman in front of him as she smiled and gave him a lustful kiss.

“I… I don’t understand… what is this?” The man said, opening the bottle and drinking of the liquid inside that tasted like the best water he’d ever had.

Lucifer nodded at him approvingly as he handed him a set of robes. “This is hell for the ones that God cannot reach anymore. The ones he’s abandoned. As you are no longer a believer, heaven’s will no longer applies to you. God has forsaken you and you him. Welcome my son, welcome, I’m so happy you had the courage to do this.”

He paused a bit, seemingly relaxed and all the tiredness seemed to have fallen from his face as he smiled again. “I was scared there for a moment that you wouldn’t believe me. Some never do you know… some of them, I have to torture for hundreds of years before they are ready to take the plunge and even then, most of them just try and lie which just forces us to torture them even more. You have no idea what it does to you when you know you can save them from it and they just keep refusing. It’s… soul crushing really,” Lucifer continued, rubbing his forehead a bit before pointing to the city around him. “We have multiple cities like this, all spread out in the best areas of hell where it’s cold and the climate isn’t too bad. We also have the dust plains where you can even sometimes get rain! Really, I know this isn’t what you envisioned of the afterlife, but.. you’re going to learn so many other things that God kept from you… oh wait, I think someone’s here to see you.”

A woman emerged from the crowd milling around and headed towards him with a big smile on her face.”Eustace… is that you?” She half laughed as she came over and gave him a hug.

“I .. Carol?” Eustace said, hugging her back with some confusion.

“Yes…. look, I know you’re new and all. But… I’ve waited 30 years to do this…” She kissed him passionately on the lips for a long time and then gave him another hug, this one tighter.

“…How are you here?” He asked her with an incredulous tone of voice.

“Do you remember that day at the pool when I flirted with you?”


“I’ll be totally honest with you, I wore that outfit because I knew you were into that sort of thing. But of course, back then I was a believer in a lot of stupid things. That was my sin… and well… now I’m here!”

“… Stupid things?” Eustace asked, his face a study in surprise.

“You know… all of the heaven and God crap. Never helped me for a second, especially not when my dear husband cracked my head open against the sink a few years later. I always wondered what became of him, if he’s down here suffering or not.”

Lucifer held up his hand with a stern facial expression. “Now, now, Carol, you know I won’t tell you that. Down here we believe in the individual’s rights. At least in this part of hell that’s free from heaven. And really, it won’t do you any good to keep that grudge either, you need to let go of this hate you have, otherwise you’ll turn out like God one day and you don’t want that.” He looked up towards the ceiling and shook his head before he added, “learn to truly forgive rather than mindlessly turning the other cheek in passive aggression.” He paused a bit, musing to himself “Heh… passive aggression, now that is truly a hellish invention if you ask me.”

Carol smiled as she bowed and kissed Lucifer’s cheek. “Thank you, you’re right. I’m going to see my therapist later today about it. It’s still weighing on me.”

Lucifer beamed at both of them and ushered them deeper into the city where the street opened up into a big bustling market filled with people that looked content, trading, talking, smiling, clearly having the time of their afterlives as it were. As they walked among them, Lucifer suddenly winched in pain and stopped, leaning against the side of a wall. “Eustace,” he ground out before collecting himself to continue, “I’m afraid this is where I will be leaving you for the time being. My energy grows low, be at peace.” And with that, his body flickered out of existence.

Eustace turned towards Carol. “What did he mean by that?”

“Right… you don’t know… please… come into our place of compassion,” she said as she lead him into a building where a big viewing screen had been set up.

On the screen there was another part of hell, deeper and darker and somehow more menacing. The walls were cowered in ancient runic patterns that glowed with a light that was so bright, it was hard to look at. Tethered by countless of chains, there was a gigantic demonic being thrashing around in the lava, screaming in agonizing pain. The scaly skin was boiling away in some places where in others it was growing back again, it was clearly fighting to get out and Eustace took a step back and looked at Carol with fear in his eyes.

“What… what is that?”

Carol’s eyes were filled with tears as she answered, “that’s Lucifer, he suffers for God’s sin.”