Sometimes, I would think about this moment. The moment where I finally gave up my soul. I expected a lot of things from the afterlife. I expected a lot of things from Heaven, and even more from hell.
Truthfully speaking, I knew that hell would by my tormentor, especially after the things I’ve done. In fact, to even see the gates of heaven would be but a dream for a sinner like me. Somewhere packed under all of the deep, sunken eyes and the alcohol-powered aggression, I knew that my actions would eventually take me to pits of fire.
I expected torment to be my future, but I didn’t expect hell to have warm, sandy beaches, and gentle waves of snow-white foam.
My eyes slowly cracked open, and I picked up my head. My vision was blurred and my head throbbed, but I felt a sense of peace. Peace I knew I shouldn’t be feeling, peace I didn’t deserve to feel.
Suddenly, I no longer felt the searing pain of my open wounds. I raised myself from the sand, and stood upright.
As it turns out, my mind wasn’t messing with me, and when I looked down…there was not a drop of blood on me. Not a wrinkle in a shirt that had been torn to shreds. There was not a single cut, wound, or scar on my body.
Then, another wave came in, but it wasn’t big and aggressive. It wasn’t a rolling wave that dragged you back into the deep. It was a gentle wave accented with sea foam. It gently caressed my feet, and it slid silently back into the ocean. It was a kiss, a peck, like walking on clouds.
If this was Hell, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad at all. I looked up, and saw a large sandy plain, and beyond that, the beginning to what looked to be a lush, green forest. If this was Hell, then there’s a chance I could begin to like it here.
I lifted my foot out of the moist sand it was partially buried in, and quite reluctantly, I left the comfort of the ocean’s embrace to explore deeper into the island.
As I neared the forest, I nearly entirely missed a massive sign etched into the sand just before the trees began. One part of the gargantuan sign was written in a strange, foreign tongue, but the other half was written in English.
Ominous, I thought at first glance. The Beneath? I’ve never heard of an island called… My thoughts trailed off as I continued to inspect the image.
Just saying its name made me feel strange and uncomfortable in my own skin. Then, a strange wind blew through the trees, and the atmosphere turned suddenly stale, but just for a moment. Almost as if saying the island’s name brought suffering to the land that bore it.
I shook off this strange feeling and trudged deeper into the forest.
Something felt off about the two inscriptions in the sand. The inscription that read; The Beneath, seemed to be solid and written by a steady hand. However, the other inscription seemed sloppy, as if someone had scrawled the message. The sign that read; The Beneath, looked sure and confident, a message that would never fade. The other inscription looked like it was written in fear, by trembling, human hands.
The deeper I went into the forest, the greater the air of danger I felt.
As I plowed through the jungle, I came across what looked to be an abandoned campsite, complete with a pile of charcoal where the fire was lit and several supplies scattered across the jungle floor. From the vines suspended above the jungle hung what looked to be the remains of an old parachute, now shredded and hanging from the branches.
There were an array of supplies I found, including rusting cans filled with mold, some broken flashlights, and a large dagger that was nearly bronze in color from the layer of rust on it that had set in over the years.
To my left, a thicket of vines so dense that this rusting dagger couldn’t dream of penetrating it, and to my left, an overgrown path. It was still thick with vegetation, but the patch seemed almost worn.
I went up to the path, and knelt to inspect the soil. It was dry and showed signs of being used and trampled upon. I looked closer, and saw streaks of red and yellow across the dirt. It was a strange, liquid substance that had spilled and stained the ground. Somehow, over the many years that this place had been abandoned, the stains still remained, raising the question; Was this site as old as it seemed, or had someone been here recently?
Using the dagger I bushwhacked further into the jungle, cutting through the vegetation like a bobcat.
As I went deeper, the jungle seemed to grow darker, angrier. This land looked ancient and pained, as if something had happened here, something that even the jungle wished to cover up.
Then, the smell. Oh! A putrid stench that wafted up from somewhere along the path. Pinching my nose with one hand, and cutting through the forest with the other, I pushed through and reached a series of ruins.
A series of stone walls and gateways that were now partially rubble, had been painted brightly with graffiti that seemed to be written…in blood!
The nauseating source of the miasma became clearer as I navigated through the ruins. At the very center of the ancient remains lay a massive hangman constructed from vines, wooden planks, and thatch. To my horror, hanging on the end of the noose was a rotted corpse, so deteriorated that all that remained was blackened flesh, just barely sticking to the bone!
This story isn’t just a fun read for a rainy day! It’s an allegory, filled with symbolism and hidden meanings. As the story expands, the pieces will begin to come together and reveal the bigger picture, but make sure to keep this in mind as you read. Let’s see what theories you’ll come up with!