My mother sold her firstborn to the devil. Thirty years later, I refuse to come quietly
When my mother was in her early 20’s, long before I was born, she fell down while on a hiking trip. She fell off a pretty sheer ledge and had broken several bones by the time she thumped to a stop many feet below. She couldn’t get up, could barely move at all, and could only cry for help, hoping someone from the deserted ‘trail’ above would hear her.
She had taken a remote path, and it seemed she was paying for it now. Someone would come by eventually, sure, but she was fading fast, and it was seeming unlikely that she’d be able to hold on until that happened.
But, I suppose, there’s someone out there paying close attention to the screams of the anguished. Someone who’s always willing to make a deal. And as far as he’s concerned, you always have something worth trading.
So, in a terrified, pain-filled haze, my mother sold my rights to life for her own. Bluntly, she sold me to Satan. The deal was that she’d live long enough to be discovered by some other hiker. But, when her hypothetical firstborn child reached her current age minus one year, (I suppose that year served to make this deal worth His while) the child would take the step my mother was too scared to take. The child would go to Hell.
I had always hated my parents. Not because my mother had sold me to Satan. I’d never known about that, and I can see why she wouldn’t tell me. They were just terrible parents for various other reasons. I was an only child, so I think it could have been that my parents never wanted to have a child. Maybe she only had one as an obligation, attempting to avoid whatever clause they had set to take effect should she break their deal.
Anyway, this filial loathing meant that we had long been out of each other’s lives by the time Hell broke open to collect on its side of the deal.
When it came for me, it came in a dream. Well, I wouldn’t call it a dream, exactly. Everything before me was horrifyingly real. But it came when I was asleep.
First, I suppose it gave me “background”. That’s when I saw my mother fall, make the deal, et cetera. I got to understand the terms of the agreement in painstaking clarity. One thing I’ll say in Hell’s favor, they won’t be accused of brevity when telling you why they own your soul.
Then I saw it. I got a glimpse of hell standing before me. The entrance, anyway. I felt myself being pulled away from my body, from the world here. I floated in the middle of darkness. Total darkness, unending in any direction. Unlike empty space, this in front of me felt like negative space. Emptier than empty could be.
In front of me, I saw nothing, but somewhere that way was hell. I felt oblivion in front of me. Acting like a vacuum. I felt myself being pulled that way, forward and down, accelerating, through the nothingness at an alarming speed. And I knew there was something there, something at the end of it that I was being pulled towards.
I stopped. I don’t know how, but I stopped. I stared the darkness in the face, and, like grabbing tight to a rope that’s slipping through your fingers, it took great pain, but I was able to slow down. Able to stop. And I stood in middle of the darkness that was pressing in, diving into my skin on all sides, and I resisted more. I said no.
And I woke up.
Even after I woke up, I knew it hadn’t been a dream. It couldn’t have been. I had felt that pit, and that was real. Further, I could still feel it. Here as I stood in the world, I still felt myself being pulled somewhere, being pulled towards Hell. I was hanging on, but barely, to the thinness of this little world, and the bigger abyss right outside it was relentless. The ground under my feet, I could feel, was about to let go and drop me back into the suffocating void.
Clearly, my life couldn’t go back to normal. In every shadow, I saw a darkness of magnitude and totality unimaginable. Each one now had the power to envelop me and suffocate me in darkness.
And, every night, it came again.
Throughout the night, I fell myself falling. More and more, faster and faster. I could resist it, still, sure, but I couldn’t stop it anymore. Every night I got closer, and every morning less and less of me made it back out. More and more of me was lost to the pit. And its pull kept getting stronger.
I tried not to sleep, but how could I avoid it now, now that I was so drawn to the darkness. So, every night, my fall continued. Then, eventually, I struck ground.
Now, instead of falling, in my waking hours, I feel half of my soul burning. And now that’s where I go every night. I fell through the pit, and made it to somewhere far worse. Now I sleep in Hell.
I don’t remember quite what happens in my nights now. I think it’s blocked due to trauma. I think it’s probably better that way. Still, I remember some.
Every time I fall asleep, I come to a place of fire. A place of pain. I’m packed in with endless rows of other screaming, contorted faces. “Like sardines” doesn’t begin to describe it. “Like a wall of flesh” would do a better job. We writhe, and we howl, and we beg, and we call for help but of course that’s not going to happen. Some of the faces I see around me have… Well, for lack of a better word, melted off. I can see bone, and blood, and flesh that’s been ripped apart, and I’m not as bad as most of those others but I will be, just give it time.
The other day I woke up to burn marks all over my body and scratches up and down my arm. I realized that things are following me back from down there, and it seems like the things down there are getting more power. The feeling of burning, even when I’m awake, even when I’m ‘on earth’ is getting stronger. And the feelings of everything here are getting more fake, more subdued. Every time I go, and every time I come back, I’m leaving more behind. Today, I melted a plastic cup in my apartment just by reaching for it.
I asked to work overtime today, and I’m at the office right now. Anything to keep away from my bed, to stay in the light. If I go home, the pull of the darkness becomes too strong. I wouldn’t be able to resist sleeping. And I think the next time I fall asleep might be the last. Might be the one from which I can’t come back.
My presence here is slipping. One more trip and I might lose my footing here altogether. For once, All of me would go into Hell at once, and even with what I’ve seen so far, I think that’s a suffering I can’t begin to imagine. So, here I am, slowly melting the keys on my keyboard, and feeling my eyes droop.
It’s… certainly getting dark in here. And it’s so compelling. I know that it’s there, waiting for me. The wailing, the wall of flesh, the pit, the fire, the nails, the howling. All the melting faces, the disembowelment, the blades, the eternal torture. It’s what I’m looking at if I let my eyes close one more time. I’m terrified to take that plunge again. This time, it might be for real. For eternity.
But I don’t know if I can resist.