Begun 10.16.02
Completed 10.21.02

Title: This is Hell
Author: Juushika
Category: Agonizing Anguish, Shadows of Dread, Lost Souls
Type: Original
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: none
Warnings: Hell aspect, religious overtones, overwhelming sense of hopelessness and loss
Disclaimer: (Or, rather, a “claimer”) This is a completely original work, therefore everything contained within belongs to me.
Summary: In “the darkness,” a place where sinners find solace, one person relates the story of another’s battle between right and wrong.

This is Hell

The years were creeping by, and still she had not learned her lesson. How long has it been now? A thousand years. A thousand moments in and out of love. A thousand friendships. A thousand wounds of broken trust, some so sore, still, that they made her skin ache.
     The last one had been perfect. He had loved her in a way that none other had — so sweetly. He had been her light in the darkness, and he had pried open her reluctant heart to crawl in and hide here: fetal, perfect, and hers.
     But he had left her, like all the others before: the parents, the friends, the loved ones. It tore her heart in two — the pain of ripping out, the pain of running away, the pain of his leaving her that seemed to hurt her more than any other had before.
     She loved him still — there was no denying that.
     He had been gone for months now. Months spent crying, months spent mourning, months spent hating the very concept of existence. Every day she had vowed countless times: she would never love again.
     The vows fell weakly to the ground when the child approached her.
     For what harm could a child be walking along so lost, so forgotten? Others came here so rarely; surely he had lost his way. She wanted nothing more than to bundle him into her arms, to coo into his seashell ear, and to tell him that this too shall pass.
     But it will never pass.
     It was the well-worn, self-same, tired trap. A different kind of love, a different attack, but the goal was the same. The game never changed. She always lost.
     This boy found his way into her heart and mind so slowly. She reminded herself in every moment that she had loved a heart-parasite and he had destroyed her. She kept his perfect image in her mind — bright blue eyes, ruffled thick hair, sweet smile. But: innocent child, so sweetly, asking her questions, following her as she paced this small little room. Who could help but love him? Only a monster could not cherish him.
     History repeats itself.
     His name was Matt. He was — fingers raised — three years old. He had no memory, it seemed, of parents, and he needed her for that — for care, for love, for mothering. She liked to hold him at her hip and walk. She didn’t mind his temper tantrums — they passed so quickly.
     He was her son, or something like it.
     Only when he had wormed his way into her shredded heart, only when he had taken over her mind so completely, only then did the temper tantrums get worse and he hated to be picked up and he didn’t love her any more. He told her so. To her face. And when he ran off into the mist that surrounded this small place she hated him, she hated it — no, she hated herself.
     She saw it coming every time. She felt it. She knew it. The threat was there, the warning in the thousand of them that had abandoned her. Yet every time there was a reason to love — friendship, care, trust, protection, romance, there was always a reason — and always she was stupid, she was wrong. She didn’t know how to refuse. She didn’t know how to pull out.
     For this was hell, no doubt about it. No matter how wary she became, not matter how badly scarred her heart was, this place had eternity to trap her, to tangle her, to destroy her. It was so perfectly crafted, made for her, her own delicate hates and fears, her own weakness. Here she was surrounded not by small irrational fears, not by flames, but instead by betrayal and broken trust. That was the secret to her own personal fortune.
     What was it that she had done in life to bring her here? She did not know. She had forgotten her mortal life a long time ago. Her memory now was only of betrayal and tears.
     An eternity more and still her lesson would be unlearned. Nothing hurts the human more than humanity and broken trust — yet still and forever she could not learn to not love.