What the Hell?

“Hell’s a Hell of a place.” That’s a quote from my novel Hell Cop. Or it should be. I might have left it on the editing room floor.  The point is Hell is a bad place to be, therefore it’s a good place to write about. Just ask Dante. He’s been milking it for years.

Everybody is familiar with the Christian version of Hell — fire and brimstone, demons and the Devil’s minions doing unspeakable things to the deserving. Of course there are some who would like to have some of those unspeakable things done to them, but that’s a subject for another time. Hell is for the people who do unspeakable things up here on our level. It’s meant to scare humans into being God fearing ( shouldn’t it be Devil fearing?) citizens so they won’t do bad things. The thing is, the people who do those things don’t give a damn about God or the Devil. Well, okay, there’s the religious fanatics who give too much of a damn about one or the other.

Not every religion has a Hell to it.  For some it’s just a black void, some have a sort of town dump area, some have a Purgatory type place where you can eventually work your way out, some reincarnate you as a living being either up or down the scale.  That could be a special kind of Hell for some, like maybe a hot shot Wall St. trader who drops dead after living too large on other people’s money (whether they know it or not) and comes back as a fly on the wall where he hears all the cool, secret insider info and can’t do anything with it!! Now that’s Hell, baby.

There’s lots of different kinds of Hell, it’s not all underworld fun and games. There’s plenty of Hell on earth. Just ask the people in Haiti, or Chile, the starving and poor in India, Africa or here in the USA, or people dealing with tsunamis, or volcanos or hurricanes. And don’t forget the more interior Hells: Jealousy, greed, guilt, love, hate, depression, addiction, despair, marriage, divorce, grief, poverty or pain. All these Hells are bubbling brimstone for writers. The stories aren’t only in the coping with your particular Hell, but the descent into and, with luck and fortitude, the ascent from your torment.  A writer could, and probably has, made a career from this last paragraph.  


What if a stalker attacks you but you end up killing him instead? A few years later you die and while your waiting in line in Purgatory, the stalker kidnaps you and holds you captive in his own private little spot of Hell. And you escape. That would be an interesting pursuit. Would you finally end up safe in Heaven? Who would help you? Other souls? Are all demons evil and nasty,  or are some workaday demons who don’t want to get involved and will give you directions to the way out? What if you couldn’t, didn’t, or chose not to make it out. What would you do with Free will and eternity in Hell?  —– I wasn’t going to give out any ideas I might be considering for myself,  but I couldn’t resist. Do I go to Heaven or Hell for that?

What if you were kidnapped, conned or forced into slavery, whether sexual or otherwise. What sort of strength or courage might it take to break free from that kind of Hell? Would you save others, either right then or later when you were safe? Would you go back to rescue others, or be too afraid? Or would you save yourself and leave the others? What if you were so dead inside that you couldn’t tell anybody else and later you heard that the others all died. Would guilt be your new Hell? Would another person’s love help you conquer that guilt and allow you to attempt to make amends? Or would your guilt be so strong that you would turn that person away as a self imposed punishment?

What if Satan lead all the demons in Hell into space and they settled on a planet, and years later a colony ship of humans landed on the planet? What would they find?

What if Satan lead all the demons in Hell into space and they settled on a planet. What would Earth be like without them? Would psychopaths take over the tormenting duties? How would God fair without his counterpart to play the bad guy to His Saviour?

What if some future leader eliminated the Hells on earth of poverty, famine, abuse, etc.? How long do you think that would last? Do humans need a Hell to blame?

If you are a believer in Hell, what do you think it’s really like?

To read about what I think, check out Hell Cop and Hell II  – The Golden Palace at www.smashwords.com/profile/view/davidburton.


Author: davidburtonwriting

David Burton is an American writer living in sunny Southern California. He traveled by motorcycle through Mexico, US, Canada and Alaska. From motorcycles he turned to the ocean, building and sailing his own boats to Mexico, Tahiti, Hawaii, and through the Panama Canal to Florida. He spent a lot of time reading while on the water, so he decided to write books he would have wanted to read at sea. Having swallowed the anchor he now mops floors and collects trash for money, writes for a living, and has become a (temporarily?) unrequited sailor.

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