Monday, September 8, 2014

9/11 Anniversaries And The Existence Of Hell

Hell is real. You don't have to believe in anything to know it exists. That's one of its properties. There's no fire, clamor, chains, or stinking pitch. No monsters here. Hell is almost completely quiet.

It's always the blue hour, just before dark. A suburban street near a strip mall maybe, or an office park. A small cement plaza in a bedroom community. Perhaps the entrance to a subdivision with a brick gate and tasteful shrubs. It looks nearly like the place you live. Of course it could be any location. And the development stretches into the distance, so it's hard to know where you are.

You can't see the stars. You don't recognize people who walk past on the sidewalk or zip by in cars. This world is lit mostly by screens. They all seem to have one. Drivers glance at phones and bus bench commuters study their tablets. Massive televisions peek out from picture windows as they silence whole families sitting together. Constellations of them flicker in the dusk and illuminate the way for you. Each with a bit of text and a thumbnail, or a video feed. A different story happening in a different place. In the half-dark you hear everyone around you whisper about what they're seeing.

Terrible, they whisper. Such a terrible accident.

Numberless screens and countless atrocities. And a thousand, thousand excuses. All the people murmuring around you have different ways of saying the same thing.

It's tragic, but I guess it's just what happens in war.
Nobody meant for it... unpredictable...
Been happening for forever...

Awful but necessary...
Nobody on our side wants to do that to civilians...
These things happen sometimes. women...

We have to do something. It's not like we want to inflict that... children...
We try. We try our best. We're not bad.

You can hear their voices low and soft on every corner, and in every parking lot. In each gated village and in all the glass-walled lobbies. You can hear them even now, can't you? Because you don't come to this place after you die. No, you blink in and out of it many times each day. You say these things to yourself, and for a moment you are of this kingdom. For a moment it seems more real than home. The other day you took someone's child. You did that. Yes. And you pretend you didn't. You have so many ways of pretending you didn't.

A man firing a gun into a crowd isn't innocent, is he? What about a man firing a gun into many crowds for many years? For more than a decade? What about the people who hire an army of such men and set them loose in crowds and in cities and small villages around the world? The results were predictable. They were. You knew it would happen.

And now I will tell you the secret of hell. What you whisper transforms into something else. It echoes in the dark, and the dark comprehends it and answers you.

Look at that package, it says. Just sitting there. That doesn't look right.

It's not my fault. I didn't know.

What's he doing over there? What's he up to?

It's not my fault. I didn't know.

Why are they sitting on the plane together like that? What's going on?

It's not my fault. I didn't know.

Every excuse is an unattended bag. Every evasion about every death is a man standing in the line next to you. And you get used to it, don't you? You really do get used to it. It seems so normal now.

Your eyes adjust to the dark.

Eventually you won't believe you belong anywhere else. And that too, is one of the properties of this place.

Stay safe.

Be seeing you.


The Black Book Of Children's Bible Stories is my upcoming novel of supernatural horror. If you want a free copy follow its Facebook page - I will be announcing promotional giveaways.

"Once there was a haunted house hidden so well you might be living in it still."


  1. Welcome back - you've been missed

    1. Thanks! It's really really nice to know you guys are out there reading.


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