Introducing our second place winner.
Christopher Galvin is an Irish author. He has self-published two books so far, ‘Strings’, a fantasy novel about puppets, and ‘Bit Grim, Isn’t It?’ a short story collection about death (which to be honest can be very grim). Both are available on Amazon.
You can find more from him at his website.
TAKING A STROLL THROUGH HELL
Hell. A wasteland kissed by fire. The skies full of screaming and lightning. It is a place of pain, torture and blood. There is no forgiveness here. There is only horror, blasphemy and unmitigated cruelty. Souls are ripped asunder then patched back together only to be torn apart again.
The dread demons, Azthoth and Baalb, are among the most sadistic of Hell’s domain. And they were having a chat.
“I hate them. I hate them. I hate them,” Baalb’s eyes burnt with the flame of a thousand doomed souls.
Azthoth raised up his flesh rendering claws. “I didn’t know, did I?”
“We’ve been friends for eons, Az, eons! How could you not have known?” Baalb’s voice sounded like nails scraping down a chalk board.
“Well… I mean… It’s a very… odd fear. I haven’t heard of it before. Then I discovered that some of our residents were terrified of them, so I just had to get some in. How was I supposed to know you were afraid of ducks too?” Azthoth plucked the bones of a skeleton and picked his fanged teeth with them.
“I’ll have you know anatidaephobia is a genuine fear, and I will not be mocked for it!” Baalb’s spiked tail snapped and crackled.
“I would wonder how a dread lord demon of Hell is afraid of anything, let alone ducks!” Azthoth mocked. Somewhere close by, a demonic crow plucked out someone’s eyeball.
“Don’t you question my qualifications! I was tempting and torturing people long before you arrived on the scene.”
A severed hand fell from the sky.
“I’m not, I’m not. It’s just… I’ve a cage full of ducks and now I can’t use them in case you get scared.” Azthoth poured hot molten lava into a pit filled with lost souls.
“I’m sorry. I was embarrassed. I should have told you but…” he shrugged shoulders that had ivory knifes sticking out of them.
And then, above the blood red clouds, a bright shining light broke through, and fell upon the two demons.
“Oh no. Not her again,” Baalb said, picking up a lesser demon and hurling it into the flames. “I hate when she does that. Summoning us for this and that. Asking us for favours. We already have her soul, what else could that old witch offer us!”
Azthoth spat fire out of his mouth. “I’m getting sick of these summoning’s to be honest. All anyone does is ask, ask, ask. They are always trying to figure out a way to con us.”
“To be fair, we are always out to con them,” Baalb replied, a hooved foot kicking up bone dust. “So who goes this time?”
“I think she was asking for you?” Azthoth said irritably as the light threatened to take them both.
“Really? Are you…” and then Baalb heard it, the faintest chants of a summoning spell from the witch, the widow Gangrene, calling upon the demon lord Baalb to help her in her hour of need.
“Fine,” Baalb snapped, then he pointed a hideous blood crusted finger at Azthoth. “But you have to get rid of those ducks while I’m gone!”
Azthoth lay back on a throne made out of human knees. “Agreed,” he said.
Baalb moved to the centre of the light. “Bet that she has a circle of salt protecting her?”
Azthoth said “Bring some back if you can.”
The stench of brimstone filled the air.
As Baalb was lifted into the sky, Azthoth called out “Say hi to her for me!”
Baalb gave him a look that would wipe out an army. Then he was gone.
While Baalb was gone, Azthoth rested on his throne of knees and watched Heaven and Hell war against each other. He was also in the mood for some duck.