Phobias

I have to admit, my first few hours in Hell weren’t too bad.

First came the clowns, but they really don’t bother me.  The big shoes just make them easier to trip, and after a while it’s easy to see the fear behind the painted smiles.  They’re just ridiculous, really.

After the clowns failed, they sent in spiders and bugs.  Come on, I’m a scientist!  I had to be quick on my feet to squash the poisonous ones, but they certainly didn’t scare me.  In fact, I managed to befriend one of the big African Camel Spiders by tossing it some of the bugs I crushed.  I was considering naming him “George,” but I guess at that point the devils decided that the arachnids weren’t working.

Darkness resulted in a few stubbed toes and some minor cursing, but nothing major.  I actually find small spaces rather comforting, so I enjoyed the chance to meditate on how my life had turned out.  I’m cautious about heights, but they don’t really freak me out – besides, once I realized that I couldn’t actually fall, I had fun jumping from high ledge to ledge.  What’s the worst that could happen?  I’m already dead!

I’ve always been a bit of a showboat, so public speaking didn’t bother me in the slightest.  I may have been in my underwear in high school, but I’m pretty sure that the cheerleaders actually paid me more interest than I had garnered in real life.  I was charming one of them, laughing as she blushed, when that nightmare faded away.  Dentists?  My uncle was a dentist, and he wasn’t scary at all, except maybe his breath.

The pit of snakes just gave me a chance to gleefully shout Indiana Jones quotes.  Dogs are just irrepressibly cute.  Needles are sharp, but much less scary than a dagger or something with an actual blade.  Lightning and thunder make me sleepy.  Blood can be unnerving, but when the devils tried throwing me in a swimming pool full of the stuff, it really loses its edge.  I think they gave up on that idea when I started doing the backstroke.

Eventually, I guess I was tossed back to the default punishment, where everything seemed to be on fire and there were spikes everywhere.  Here’s a tip: once you’re dead, you only feel pain if you believe that you are in pain.  Accept that you don’t have a body any more, and the pain goes away.  I noticed that I was in a giant cavern and so, ignoring the jeering imps scattered around the cave, I started climbing spikes.

I have no idea how long I climbed.  Could have been days, could have been years.  It turns out that an internal clock is one of the first things to go.  Eventually, though, I reached the top.  Man, you won’t believe what I found there.

Author’s note: Part Two is coming in two days!  Stay tuned!  It can be found here!

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