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[STORIES]

The Fallen

There was a kind of fire in the sky, discernable from a distance and yet interpreted differently by different people as they watched the phenomena streak through them, carrying dreams themselves into the dark universe.

The planet, looking at the planet, seeing it as a vast whole had become rather boring so, after awhile, they all reverted back to thinking of the nation, community, religion and other artifacts of the limited scope of experience and knowledge. Who or what could contain the feeling of immense reality contained in the ball of grasss and dirt and water known as the Earth? From a distnace it looked like a bald head, cleanly shaven like a penitent ready to confess his sins.

People knew, eventually, that the vision was not enough. There had to be some meaning, some substance running down on the surface otherwise simply looking at the damn thing meant nothing; was a kind of vanity, a trick offered up by the newer technologies although it was suspected that mystics and others had seen the vision long before. And they had lived in caves or underground fortresses near where the molten lava was, it was hard to say.

Hell, one finally concluded, was fifteen miles deep in the physical Earth but an eternal distance in the spirit; fine, poets existed even at this late date. Poets knew that the rhythm of life was dependent on the speed of life and its obstacles. A jet flying at 600 mph was, after all, resisted by the air but it flew anyway. Wild drivers tested obstacles at every moment. And, even, pedestrians were resisted by rotten voices calling out obscenely in the tree-shaded avenues or a stiff wind or, even, crowds of pedenstrians moving as one, against our own wishes, the other way, as though collectively they had thought it a good thing; had collected downtown and decided they would trip up the one pedestrian by walking opposite against him. Life, with too much time on its hands, is a dangerous animal.

They had fallen; well, it wasn't the first or last time but it was quite remarkable that, despite all the resources and warnings, they had fallen. Some, it is true, had struggled back to the surface after enormous exertion and had plenty of tales to tell. Some had been lifted up and out as in a pleasant dream and deposited somewhere they had never been before with only the clothes on their back and a few pieces of currency in their pockets. A few were actual agents assigned to come up and persuade as many as possible that the Earth contained multitudes, all with personalities and histories, and that the living was not too bad. And they were always instructed to say, after their speil, "after all, we all have to die."

If we knew where Hell was, then where was Purgatory and, indeed, Heaven itself? This was, after all, a kind of mission after all the necessities had been taken care of. At least for those who believed that the necessities need not be layered on each other, endlessly like some sedimentary rock that grows as the minerals are deposited. Ah, we will add another layer old man and stand back like an artist and decide that life, at this point, is a good thing. They had gone thorugh Hell but denied it and left it for the kids to figure out. No, the search for Purgatory and Heaven was left to a kind of idiot class who had not acquired things but kept walking up and down the street looking for pennies. Nuts, the kind hearted had said from their windows looking at the debacle of people walking up and down the street straining to find pennies along the curb perhaps or under a parking meter.

Terrible, wrathful story to tell!

The fallen, at first, were quite pleased by their fate. "Ah, we are where we should be and let us not wish for anything else." But, after awhile, it got old. And they decided that a fallen state was a bad one, a malifienct one that they really shouldn't have to suffer. "After all, we have done our falling, now it is someone elses turn at it."

The fallen are recognized by the empty tears they spill over something they don't understand. "Where is your ability to understand?" "Don't you know that knowlegde is power?" We want to shake them up so their brains start to operate but all that come are the empty tears.

The fallen had money and wicked smiles; those smiles that say, "the world has told me to be as greddy as I can, I have fulfilled the worlds directive, and now I am here, in a good place, a position I never thought I'd have."

And they had to have a beautufil woman by his side. The beautiful woman signaled, again, that the world had found a true son.

And we had always hoped they lived happily after all. That was one thing we discussed when the subject came up. After all, Hell is a laborious place, sheer boredom where the condemed people come and go wanting to buy and sell but with nothing to sell and no means to buy. They pace up and down along this ten thousand mile sidewalk pausing for a moment to speak to someone they knew in the life above. Two old business partners, for instance, will recognize each other by putting up their hands in suprise with hardly an expression on their faces. They don't touch. They speak in whispers and move on as though they are as restless in Hell as they were on Earth; as though both Hell and Earth are not adaquete for their energies.

Some, of course, are simply transported up to the surface and given a name, a superficial life and made to try and convince fellow humans that God is real, Hell is real and so forth. This is the first stage of redemption and results in people going crazy for no reason, conflicts in and out of family, religion getting a bad name and so on.

All who come to the Hellish regions are told, immediately, that something worse exists even further down. The dead are not adventuresome. If there is a rock out in the deep, lonely stretches of Hell new arrivals will find it and hide behind it. Popular media has it almost right. Their portrayals are, unfortuantely, usually literary and based on things like Dante's Inferno believing in themselves that if they are so literary their words will remain on the surface of the planet for a bit longer. The creators of these vanities are thrown down deep of course and kept there as zoo specimins for the grand parade of souls who venture down in Hell.

Those who had bounced back and forth between Earth and Hell were the worst of the bunch. They always thought they were entering paradise and had smiles on their faces in Hell and on the surface of the planet. It never dawned on them that paradise might be something way beyond what they were used to.

To the vast majority of moderns it was shocking that both Hell and Paradise actually existed. They never expected it. When they perished, at the last breath, they assumed that was it and hoped people they left behind had a good image of them and treated their memory well. But then they were whisked all around and given a glimmer of paradise if they had been ok in life but certainly spent time in Hell which was a kind of repository of all souls that were going to be sent out throughout the universe depending on criteria no one had figured out. So it was even more shocking when a religious type died and realized that he had no privlidge in this domain unless he had been utterly perfect which was never the case.

They were not transported in bussess or trains but by thought; thought would convert them to a seed of light and poof off they would go depending on he or her who directed the thought. The dead did not escape mystery! It lay behind some great, thick wall and was whispered about but never revealed. And besides, those who came down for the first time were busy orientating themselves since no one told them a damn thing. There were no classes. There was not a team of people to check them in. And on reflection it was stunning to figure out that there was more freedom, sheer freedom, in Hell than anywhere else. It created a bouonyant freeling in some, a sense of horrific dread in others.

More than a few would stand in the middle of Hell and stare at the top of it; the top of ragged boundaries that kept the surface of Earth from bursting down into the core of Hell itself.

When it started to sink in that Hell was a physical place, as real as the stadium filled with people or the car they were driving, they would get very depressed and start to blame all those influences that had tried to convince them that, no, Hell is merely an invention by men to keep people in line. Most in their circle had accepted the premise and lived as if nothing would happen to them. One of the first punishements of Hell was that all were equipted with the raptuous feeling that infinity moved in them but that the more they felt it, the smaller came the space they were alloted to live in and move around in during their long stay in Hell. More than a few lived by rocks, inside boxes no bigger than eyeballs and containing a squirming figure who was madly trying to reverse the image of infinittude. His mind was slowly sucked down into the impossiblity of living in a box as big as an eyeball and so the misfortunate one was robbed of the remenats of raptuous feelings of flying free through the empty universe, at the speed of light, dancing and zooming through clusters of galaxies and all the life they contained. That quite ended.

Most people up on the surface never understood their role in the scheme of things. Only when it was too late did they realize what a monstrous mistake their lives had been; event filled or empty it was a huge mistake that they now regretted, outfitted as they were for new digs in an unfriedly place where the condemened were forced to know each other.

There was a kind of air of suffocation in this spacious Hell. Occassionally one could hear the distnat cries of old popular music but then they would disappear. The walls were lit up with images from above that, one supposed, was to make the people suffer in the knowledge that others were having more fun or were just enjoying life as it was meant to be enjoyed. Scenes of common household fidelity, lovemaking between men and women who appeared to love each other, bright blue skies with a hint of winter moon in it, a crowd filled with cheering people, men standing in line to make expensive purchases and more were here.

What was noticeable after awhile and strange when one thought about it was the absense of animals of any sort. There was hardly an environment in existence that didn't have some animal besides the human one. Where was the faithful dog or the mysterious cat? Where was the powerful horse and funny monkey? Some of the inhabitants apparently saw this fact after some time and began to imitate the sounds of animals they missed. Thrown down tribemen from the Amazon were especially colorful as they sang out the songs of many tropical birds. Strangely though, rather than beautifying the place and giving it diginity, all it did was made it seem like a madhouse. In Hell and crazy too! That inevitably what a newcomer said.

(you need to put some dialog into this at approapriate places---let the narrative dictate that))

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David Eide
eide491@earthlink.net 
2007 David Eide. All rights reserved.