"Our longest story yet!"
Darmstadt, Germany, April 4th, 2000. It was a particularly rainy day. The wind was overpowering the branches of the trees. The booming of thunder broke the silence. I was stuck at home, with no money on a rainy day. I couldn’t bear staying here anymore. I dearly wished to leave my house.
I went to the closet to grab my coat so I can try and walk out in the rain. My pet dog came along with me over to the closet. I opened the doors to the closet. There was a nice raincoat I had left inside; it was designed with black camo and a swishy fabric. I caressed the fabric as I pondered when the weather was going to end; beats me.
As I walked outside, I noticed the grey sky. I knew it was a miserable day due to the hue of the clouds. I couldn't help but to feel bad for myself. I couldn't partake in any activities due to the circumstances. The precipitation was the bane of me for the day.
The moment I stepped back to leave the outdoors, I slipped. I fell right on my back, it was painful as all hell. I got up and brushed my clothing off. But this was a particularly devastating fall. It was difficult to walk due to my great fall. I felt worse than Humpty Dumpty.
Back inside my house, I went to the restroom to wash up. I took pain medicine and went on with my day. Earlier I had decided to detangle the wires from behind my television. Well, I put my money where my mouth is and commenced forth on the chore.
As I was detangling the wires behind the television, a strange insect crawled across the shelf. I made a bad decision. I tried hitting the insect with all my might, resulting in one of the television cables coming loose and shocking me.
"Ow!" I yelled at the cable.
A blue light came out of the cable port that I hit the cable out of. It left a blue sheen on the wall in front of it. From that cable port, a genie was released. The genie appeared to be male, blue, and had a large frame with a goatee and a very thin mustache. "I must be hallucinating again", I thought. The genie then spoke to me.
"I will grant you one wish!" The genie said with glee.
"I wish for there to be no more rain today", I replied back.
"Your wish shall be granted, but... You must pass a trial first." Replied the genie.
"And what is that trial?" I questioned.
"You must traverse through the Hall of Tortured Souls." Said the genie.
"And what is the hall of tortured souls?" I replied.
"You'll see. Ciao baby, see you later. Your trial starts now." Said the genie.
My vision blacked out. I woke up with a queasy feeling in my stomach. It felt like I was knocked out cold for days. I looked around confused. Pictures with the surface of the moon painted littered the floor, the walls were made of black bricks. There was a silver gate on one side of the room. It lead to what seemed to be a downstairs room.
I opened the gate and traveled down the flight of stairs. Downstairs, there was a long corridor of doors. I opened each and every door. The people in the doors were partaking in seemingly random activities such as biking, watching television, cooking. I then reached the door at the end of the corridor.
I'm now in the next area. I looked around and the place appeared to be a subway train station, with the walls being the tiles you'd see on the side of a swimming pool. The ground was flooded with water. The flood was about a foot high. I trudged through the water, with it soaking my shoes and socks. I decided not to pay attention to it as I commenced forth.
After fifty minutes of traveling, I started feeling itchy at the feet. That's when I noticed the water was turning an orangish-red. Soon, I heard harps playing in my ears. There was a tunnel that appeared where a door was. The tunnel filled with light and asked me to come toward it. So I did.
At the end of the tunnel, I exited the subway through the door. I was now in what appeared to be a restaurant full of ghosts. I was hungry so I decided to sit down and order a meal.
"What would you like to order!" Said the waitress.
"I'd like a glass of water and some pretzel bites", I replied back.
"Coming right up!" Said cheerfully by the waitress.
The waitress then danced and skipped away. "What a nice person", I thought. I was ecstatic to receive my order. The restaurant smelled delightful. I had a pen in my back pocket. It blew up but there was still enough ink to write with it. On a napkin, I logged what I've seen and then put it in my back pocket.
After five minutes, which was a very short amount of time. The waitress came back with the pretzel bites I ordered.
"Enjoy!" Said the waitress.
"Oh, I will. Thank you very much." I replied back.
I tried a bite of the pretzel bites and my tongue cheered with great bliss. "This food is amazing", I thought. I had never tasted food this good. I asked the waitress what they put in the food to make it so delicious.
"We use the remains of a carnage." Said the waitress.
Suddenly, I spit my food out.
"You what?!?!?!?" I replied back.
"Yup, we wait for a war to strike. Then we collect the remains, extract the souls, then cook them. The souls scream at us but we cover the pot and laugh as we hear muffled screams." The waitress replied back.
"That's horrible, why would you even run a business on this torture", I said.
"It makes bank. Besides, they were already dead, we don't need them to know what the afterlife is like, they've already been through enough during the last moments of their life." The waitress replied.
"Well, I don't agree with your business model but, how much will I need to pay?" I asked.
"You don't have to pay a single penny. You're a special customer." Said the waitress.
"Why am I special?" I asked.
"You'll find out one day!" The waitress replied.
The waitress then smiled and walked away. I eventually looked around for an exit. I saw a door with a green exit sign over it. I walked over to the door. It appeared to have a lock on it, but the keys were still in the lock.
In the next room, there was a terminal. The terminal had a mouse and keyboard plugged into the central processing unit. I booted the terminal and the screen flooded with "You're on the genie's trial, right? (Y/N)". I then typed in "Y" and the terminal screen went red. "You picked the wrong option, shutting down..." then flooded the screen. The terminal's screen went black and the screen cracked. I was then sucked into the broken terminal screen and fell through a pit filled with binary code and people who looked just like me floating in the air. They appeared to be dead. After landing, there was another door.
I looked around, walls were sky blue with white pixel birds flying around. There was a four-sided projector in the middle of the room, it appeared to be what was casting the images to the walls. I was then greeted by an eager-looking lion.
"Hello, and welcome to the Hall of Tortured Souls!" Said the lion.
I didn't want to even dare enter the Hall of Tortured Souls after what I heard from the waitress in the restaurant. I had to though. Traversing through the Hall of Tortured Souls was my trial from the genie and it is my sole mission to complete it.
I asked the lion where I needed to go next.
"You are in the residence of the genie! You should already know where to go!" Replied the lion.
"I don't know though. How am I supposed to know, I just got here." I said.
"You will be punished, you will be punished." Said the lion.
Confused by the lion's statement, I felt my legs getting weak. I then saw myself sinking through the floor. I started falling from what appeared to be the sky. The ground below me was a teal-green.
Finally reaching the ground, I looked around. Empty soda bottles littered the ground, the clouds were a periwinkle color. I traveled the new land, looking for any sign of civilization. In the distance, I saw a giant mug. I set forth. It appeared to be a few miles away.
After an hour-long walk towards the mug, there was a hole on the side of it. I climbed through the hole and was met by a gnome.
"Hey you simpleton, are you traveling through the Hall of Tortured Souls?" Said the gnome.
I replied with yes. This was obviously a dumb question because most of the beings I've met were completely aware that they were in the Hall of Tortured Souls.
"You know, you haven't actually reached the Hall of Tortured Souls yet", said the gnome.
How did he read my mind? This gnome must possess extraordinary abilities. I then asked the gnome how he knew. He shrugged in confusion.
"Well, I'll send you there right now. Bye." Said the gnome.
Before I could ask more questions, a ball of light formed on the gnome's hands. The ball of light then was thrown and it hit me square in the head. My vision flashed.
There I was, the Hall of Tortured Souls. The walls were pitch red and the floor was pitch black. My eyes burned a bit from the brightness of the walls. I was met by what seemed to be invisible beings trying to speak to me. Their voices were muffled, I couldn't hear them so well. As I traveled further down the rooms, I could hear the voices more clearly.
"I couldn't bother living anymore...", "I died too young!", "It was a red light a moment ago!".
I was freaked out by what I was hearing. The beings were telling me about how and why they died. I tried running but I was pulled back to the walls of the room I was in. I saw hands protruding from the wall, reaching out for me.
"STOP!" I screamed. I wanted the voices to stop. They were hurting my feelings. They made me want to reset character.
I was afraid, confused, and sad. All of those voices telling me about their deaths put me in a depressed mood. I started losing energy quickly. I tried slapping the hands away but I eventually succumbed as my arms got tired.
My vision was pitch black except for a pile of coins. The coins then started speaking to me.
"You obsess over me. You love me. I love you. I obsess over you. Marry me!" The pile of coins said.
Arms protruded from the coin pile's sides and reached out for me. My face was licked with a tongue. It felt like sandpaper. The pile of coins then started licking to the point where my face started bleeding.
After another minute of licking, the pile of coins stopped. The pile of coins started moving its way towards my legs. I was powerless, I felt like I had no energy, I couldn't even move my body. I felt like I was being sucked into oblivion. The pile of coins put its mouth around my thigh and bit down. My legs shattered like a piece of glass would. Both of my legs got shattered.
"You're on your own now", said the pile of coins.
The coins floated and formed the shape of a rectangle and light took form inside the rectangle. I picked up my leg dust and crawled my way over to the light. I couldn't see for a while after entering the light.
My vision cleared up and I was in a casino lobby. There weren't any adults here, just adolescents. A group of adolescents walked over to me and asked for a pack of "smokes". I told them I didn't have any. They then checked my coat pockets and sighed after finding nothing. The adolescents grabbed a hammer and shattered my physical form. All that remained intact were my eyes. I was a pile of dust now.
A janitor came to sweep me up and I was thrown in the garbage. I felt like rubbish. That's no way to treat someone. The janitor didn't even see my eyes, they were obvious, they stood out from the pile of dust. I think the janitor ignored my eyes and threw me away so he could get a pay raise.
In the garbage, it smelled horrible. There was an eaten banana and expired mushroom next to me. The mushroom started whispering to me.
"Hey, I can get you out of here, just follow me to the bottom of the trash can!" Said the expired mushroom. I moved just perfectly so my form would sift to the bottom of the trash. When I was down at the bottom of the trash, the expired mushroom wasn't there. The expired mushroom lied to me. It saddened me to know that the entire world hates me.
I fell asleep. When I woke up, I was in a new pile of garbage in front of a camera. The cameraman had a white blanket over himself and screamed:
The room flashed as the camera took a picture. The cameraman dusted off the picture and showed it to me. It was a picture of my old form. I asked how he did that and he replied with:
The cameraman picked me up and swallowed my form. I was expecting to enter his gastric system but I was met by the genie instead.
"You passed the trial!!!" Exclaimed the genie.
"You traveled through the Hall of Tortured Souls. Thus, your wish has been granted!" Said the genie. The genie took my form and shaped me back into the person I was before I got shattered. My vision then blacked out again.
I was back home, nothing appeared to have changed except for the weather. It was now sunny. I couldn't care any less about the weather as I was traumatized by what I've heard from the Hall of Tortured Souls.
Published Nov. 8th, 2021