They sell hell is something you carry around with you. That it is not a place. There are many people who think that they have been to hell, or are in hell. This is, perhaps, true. Though it is only, really, a pale version of hell. An idea that is part of the genius of the Devil. Part of the way in which his mind works is to convince people that he does not exist; that his role in the world is something other. The beneficent opposer, the one who has been sent by God to tempt the world, or the one who, for the want of one mistake, lost everything that he had been given. The true origins of the devil are not as simple as that. He is everything that people think he is. He has lived many lives, and has betrayed each and everyone of them. He does not do it out of a sense of fun. He does not do it simply because he has had this role thrust upon him by an unforgiving God, he does it because he enjoys it. He does it because he is the very epitome of the simplest drive. He is after power. The final, and unquenchable act that will allow him to have that which he has always wanted. Ultimate, and uncontested power. He does not simply want to be a God, or the God. He wants to be the only one with any power. Even the power to object. The power to hope. These are things that he has no interest in letting people have. So slowly, piece by piece, he removes them. He stalks around God’s enlightenment and manipulates the work. Energy becomes mass destruction. Revolution becomes oppression. Each step seeking to gain him, and only him, ultimate power.
Hell has become for many people a concept. The feeling of having lost everything. The feeling of having lost a loved one, been spurned, or even being trapped inside their own head, plagued by fluttering demons of their own imagination. These things are terrible. They are things that remove the very inner self of people. They are things that cannot be fought by conventional means, and require gentle specialisms. The specialisms of a gentle hand, an offered heart, a simple piece of connection that offers a way out of the darkness. It has, for however dark it is, for however terrible place it is, the climpse, the chance of hope.
Not so hell.
Hell is not the boiling pit of sulphur that people imagine it to be. Would that it was. It was, at one time, the worst thing that someone could imagine, searing vociferous heat and constant, continual death. Yet even in that suggestion, there is hope. The nerve endings will cease their pain as they get seared off, and the final, cold, empty nothingness of a death with no afterlife will bring a relief to the pain. Until the resurrection, and the pain begins again, but there is still that hope, slim, and brief, but there.
Yet hell does not offer this respite. It does not offer the respite of a cold death. It does not offer the knowledge of existence that comes through pain. Hell is a place. It is a place like no other. It is a place that stalks you. It is a place that knows where you are, and it calls you. It calls you in your darkest moments. In the moments when you try to look away, to convince yourself that you are not affected by it. That you can walk however you please and avoid the darkness because it could not possibly call you. You are good. You are righteous. Or those words do not apply because your metaphysical beliefs do not require them. You will not be called by the darkness. And yet, there, at the edge of belief, at the edge of sleep, somewhere between awake and sleep you can hear them, those that call. Those dark, shapeless things that move just on the edge of seeing, in the shadows. The trick of the light that causes your spine to tingle. Hell cannot be a place, if it stalks you. Places do not stalk you, haunt your dreams, find you in your weakest moments and leave you crushed, and broken in the darkness, stifling your tears so that the world will never know your pain. You can be strong, you can survive. You do not need anyone to survive hell because for you, it does not exist. You have nothing to fear, but that which lives inside your own head.
The worst of this is that you think that is the worst that there could possibly be. The terrors that you imagine, those that you half see, that you know deep down are real are but glimpses. They are but simple suggestions of what hell will be.
Laugh. Go on.
Laugh because this is ridiculous. Laugh because it means noting to you.
Laugh because it cannot be that bad. That these words are just ramblings. Go on. Laugh. Let the hollow sound echo around you. Let people hear that you are not afraid of those things that come in the night. Let them hear that you are not afraid. That you do not believe, and therefore it does not matter.
See if it matters. See if the darkness cares.
Hell is a place. It knows you. It stalks you.
Do not look into the darkness. Do not turn out the light. Least your world of imagined enlightened self-truth turns out to be all in your imagination.