“The Harrowing of Hell” / A Memorable Fancy #304

 When all the breathers of this world are dead …” [Shakespeare, Sonnet LXXXI]

      Satan sat on his burning throne, face hard with flame and eyes gleaming white, last-born of the dead and everlasting Force! The forked tongue writhing from his mouth pierced the damned like awls: admonishing, rebuking, transfixing them with Responsible Comment.

     Jesus stood before Satan. “Come, follow me,” said Satan, “and I will show you the damned.”

     He went with Satan and beheld a pit exceedingly deep, and in them many souls together. And Satan said, “All of these dead, they envy the ‘breathers’ as they call the ones above. They say, ‘I have a right to breathe just as any of them.’

     “They say, ‘I have been here six years’ (or six hundred, or six thousand –) ‘and I have earned the right to breathe again.’

     “They say, ‘Those breathers are no better than I am.’

     “They say ‘They have it so easy, those breathers, you know I used to be a breather once myself and so I know.’

     “And then they say, ‘If I will be no breather I will have no breathers there above,’ and they plot to rise from the pit and suck the life from the living upon their beds in sleep, when breathing comes from the Spirit out and in, to catch their breath and swallow it down hard, and lead the breather down to Hell, no breath ever more for him.

     “They say all these things and more. But not one of them says, ‘O Lord I loved it when I was a breather; and now that I breathe no more I cry out for the air of breath upon my lips!’

     “O no,” said Satan, “they say anything else, everything else. And so they are here.” He swung his arms around in a broad gesture. “And these are the ones you came to save?”

<END> … If quoting or reprinting, please credit http://www.terencekuch.com.

See www.terencekuch.net for a profile of the author, publications, reviews, etc. His speculative fiction novels * may be purchased in paperback or Kindle formats via his Amazon author page, www.amazon.com/author/terencekuch

Review copies are available from the author at terencekuch /a/t/ ymail.com for:

    *The Seventh Effect: a thriller from Melange Publications about a new kind of bioterrorist plot against the USA.

    *See/Saw: a literary adventure from Ink Smith Publications about buying and selling memories – mostly of sex.

 00 SeeSaw front cover small image

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