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Oh! Oh! Hey! Hey, there! Uh, wait, I mean.


…No, nevermind. It’s weird to do the demon-voice after you heard me talking normal. Anyway, welcome to Hell, I guess. I’m Grathazzulgar, demon-guard of this Circle of Hell. Do you remember what exactly you did to get here? Because… I’m going to be honest. It’s been literally almost an eternity since anyone wound up in my circle, and I don’t really remember what people had to do to get sent here.

I know we used to have people down here, but it was never really a lot, you know? And then they all got transferred to other circles of Hell, for stuff like lust and greed and wrath. You know, the usual.

Whatever you did must have been super weird to get you sent down to this Circle of Hell!

Ha ha, not to mention horribly insulting to the Almighty God himself! You must be like, the only one in modern human history to do whatever you did! I wouldn’t worry about it. What’s done is done! Do try to put some thought into it, though—I can’t very well devise an ironic torture for you without knowing what that terrible thing that literally only you have done!

Like, what was it? Did you do something gross to a cat? To a nun? Did you force someone at gunpoint to let a cat become a nun, and then do something gross to it? Oh, come on—don’t be that way! I’m just spitballing here. There’s no bad ideas in brainstorming. Were you a total jerk at every brainstorming meeting you were ever at? Judging by how you’re acting, that could totally be it.

Honestly, I’ll probably go pretty easy on you if you don’t go raising a stink with management—I guess nobody’s noticed that little old Grathazzulgar’s basically got zero workload, so they’ve just left me to slack off for millennia down here. It’s great! Paid some imps to smuggle me in some gear from Best Buy, so I’ve got a pretty sick home theater stashed away behind that never-ending cascade of lava. We can try it out, if we ever get some free time between all the torture. Unless whatever you did involved home theaters! In which case, you know, do your thing, buddy, just don’t lump me into it! We don’t want two creatures to do whatever you did, ha ha!

Really, like—we’ve got a Circle of Hell for gluttony, lust, greed, pride, envy, wrath, sloth, and even some weird ones, like violence, fraud, and treachery. I’ll be honest—I don’t really know how we’re formally structured anymore, I think I missed a couple emails or scrolls or whispers in the night. It’s been so long since I’ve received a communique that I’m not even sure which system we’re using these days.

You do anything weird with emails? No? Well, don’t rule it out. Maybe whatever you did seemed normal to you, but trust me, friend—you might be the grossest, weirdest person who’s ever lived. And now Grathazzulgar’s gonna make you regret it!

Do you think they have Spheres of Heaven like this?

You know, just like, abandoned paradises designed for some noble act that no one’s ever accomplished? Whatever angel got stationed there must be crazy depressed about that. You should have devoted your life to that, instead of whatever disgusting and bizarre thing you wound up devoting it to. You could have made an angel happy! Instead of cutting into my home theater time.

You know, the devil was down here once on his first tour. They told him what this circle was for, and he made this absolutely disgusted face, and said, “What?! They do that?!” Then they took Satan down before and froze him, immobile, in that icy lake for all of time as his punishment for defying God. A pretty terrible punishment! But judging by that face he made, I bet he’s just glad he’s not the kind of person who did whatever you did.

Like, seriously, dude—Hell’s sorted with the worst people closer to the bottom, and we’ve got baby murderers a few floors up from here. I doubt anyone’s going to join you, unless you’re some kind of celebrity who’s going to have their darkest secrets blared all over news and copycatted by impressionable youth. No? Yeah, didn’t think so.

On the plus side though—maybe they’ll make a movie about you and all your weird terrible misdeeds! I’m excited to watch it behind the lava flow, on an 8-foot projector screen. Try and keep the screams down, if you can? Surround sound only does so much.

Elijah Sloan

Writer of societal manifestos, ransom notes, bomb-making manuals, secession declarations, new constitutions, and children's picture books.

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