Tell A Tale in 500 Words

In Search of A Fairer Afterlife By Simon Jones

Despite searing flames blazing all around her, Linda felt deathly cold as she stood naked and chained to a pillar whilst one of Hell's minions jabbed hard with its rusty spear. She writhed in agony against the rough pole as the sharp edge penetrated her skin and ground against exposed nerve. The foul creature inflicting her punishment took delight in her desperate cries of pain and concentrated on the areas that were causing most anguish. Linda tried her hardest to block it out but there was no use; no matter the length of time you were exposed, it didn't get any easier. Worse still, this was for eternity - unless she could do something about it.

If one was resourceful enough, there could be momentary respites from the endless torture in Hell. Linda had managed to sneak away from a mass punishment, narrowly avoiding being caught by one of the horrifying winged beasts that patrolled the air, searching for truants like herself. She found shelter in a small crevice in a jagged unforgiving hillside, where she had met her current companion.

"I don't deserve this" she told the man, "I lived a good and honest life. My only sin was a lack of faith. Does that really warrant an eternity of pain and suffering?".

The man shook his head. His dishevelled hair was matched by his long, untidy beard and his eyes were dark and sullen. "Nobody deserves this, not even those who committed the gravest of sins on Earth. A long spell of this nightmare, perhaps, but an eternity is unconscionable".

"I obeyed every rule of religion except that of worship. I never once attended religious gatherings or prayed, but is God so vain that the living must devote their lives to affirming how great he or she is. That is not someone who should be responsible for all existence. I wouldn't want to be part of a heaven they presided over".

"Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done"

Linda paused... "Perhaps".

When she first started spreading the word she had little success but now it spread quickly and for the first time in this forsaken place she had hope. That small glimmer did much to keep her sanity through the shocking, agonising and often degrading torture; many souls had not been so fortunate - though it could be argued that insanity was a benefit here.

At every opportunity she had with other doomed individuals, sometimes in the midst of terrible suffering, she passed on her message. Some were too lost to have any interest, yet in others she could see the slight twinkle of hope in their eyes.

Linda marched with her army of damned souls. They had driven the vile demons back and had them surrounded in the citadel of Hell, which they would soon purge. Afterwards their sights would be set on a different world and their target would be the Highest. She would succeed in her quest to create a fairer afterlife for all.

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