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Joyce Carol Oates goes to hell

January 6th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

The most notable feature here is the dismality. Flames lick the walls as the lost souls howl. In spite of the fiery surroundings, one’s breath is visible and foggy with every exhalation. Satan truly has a palate for the macabre.

We are led through a vast hall with no apparent ending, the wails echoing outward from the chambers on our left and right along our journey. Our motley collection trudges forward, weary and paranoid, eyes furtively skittering about us. Dead. The experience of necrosis is a stark vicissitude from our long-seasoned hopes for this inevitable cessation.

The perspiring demon motions our group into a smoldering cave on our left, which emanates the reek of sulfur, piercing our sinuses and causing some to choke. The demon’s posture sags as we shuffle past, withered as if hanging from a meat hook. He stabs at us with his talons and we are bloodlet once again. My skin is paler than ever, an amazing feat, even in death.

Our shared quarters are cramped and chilled yet humid. The odor of rotting flesh assaults our senses and a man collapses in heaving sobs. His body wracks into itself as blood floods from his open wounds. If only he could die once more, he cries, somehow escape this eternal torture. To live again or sleep forever, our opprobrious circumstances render anything else as preferable. Feeble chances with fresh beginnings, handcuffed paths yet supplementary lifelines. Hair aflame but a new book deal?

Categories: satan
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