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Hell’s Game

The Psychology of Human Postmortem Ambition

An in-depth analysis of why we seek salvation in immortality


(A Purge’s View: the Ultimate Perspective)

That day, I decided how to finish my book, or rather, it was decided for me. I could easily claim all of the credit for this inspiration myself, but some pervasive and detestable sense of integrity forbids me from doing so. Nevertheless, I could have done it. Since, the man who gave me the inspiration for the book probably cared not how I used his words or where I gave credit. It made no difference to him. After all, he was my muse, and I, on the undeniable downside of this strange bargain, was forever doomed to be his tool. A scalpel perhaps, or maybe a mirror, but most likely a broken shard of glass.

That was his name: Since. At least, it is what he preferred to be called. It didn’t matter what language or dialect he was being addressed in, he was always called by the word that meant “for the reason that.” He was the effect, with no declaration of cause. It amused him to think that, in the English language, “since” also meant “before the present time”, or “from a time in the past.” He said that, to him it meant almost the same thing. I guess it depends upon one’s perspective of time.

But, Since had other names. More specifically: other purposes that have been granted names. He didn’t identify which, but assured me that I was familiar with them. “I have many names to cover my many purposes,” he said. “But I prefer ‘Since’ because it covers them all.” He was certainly a strange being, but that came as no surprise once I learned what some of his purposes were. And I learned of those when I met Since in the Café just down the street from my apartment building.

I had never gone into the café before, and I wouldn’t have that day if it weren’t for the sudden inexplicable urge to have coffee. He was waiting for me there and he invited me to sit down and drink my cup with him. When I first saw the man, I must admit that I was frightened. He was tall and gaunt, his skin the color of polished bone. He sat perched up against a wall in one of those little atrium chairs like some long-legged bug hiding in a corner. His long-tailed suit coat only seemed to exasperate his image of bunched up lengths. His face was that of a handsome gargoyle. It was long, pale, and sculpted with pointed ears that folded back into a state of predatory awareness. His entire stature suggested that he was ready to unfurl himself at anytime and attack with long claws and multiple arms. His attempt to seem relaxed was feeble at best.

I had helplessly displayed my reluctance to join him when he invited me and when he smiled, it only made things worse. My nerves began to rattle my cup against the saucer when he revealed those rows of pointed teeth to me. Every reasonable part of my brain told me to drop the cup and run as fast as I could. However, the same urge that had forced me to come into the café, soon forced me into the chair across the table from this strange man. Once I was seated, he spoke.

His voice wasn’t what I was expecting. It was smooth and clean. Each word flowed out in a gentle and succinct manner, yet they struck me and grabbed a hold of me like an orchestra reaching a finely tuned chord. It was almost mesmerizing, but not quite. I don’t know how his tongue managed to dance around so nimbly in that mouth full of teeth.

What he said was my inspiration. Our meeting began with some small conversation, but soon fell into the story he told me. I cannot hope to describe the manner in which he told me this story, or the gestures that he used. However, each word he spoke seemed to etch itself in my soul so that I may, at the very least, reproduce them here for you.

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