Hell was nothing like I expected. Everyone always tells you about it though, like they’ve been there before. ‘It’s a lake of magma, eternal damnation, fire and brimstone, agony,’ so on and so forth; well, for the most part they’re wrong. First off: no fire, well, not much anyway … and before you ask- yes, I’m sure.
Perhaps I should start at the beginning, or rather, near the end … my end. It all started with my wife cheating on me, and … well it’s been so long I can hardly remember it now. I was working to pay for our home, she spent my money, never gave me sex, fought with me constantly, and finally ended up fucking the guy who would eventually kill me.
That sounds pretty sad when I read it back, but life isn’t fair, and as it turns out, neither is death. Sometime after I discovered her affairs I … well I wasn’t eager to break them up. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted too, but doing so would mean the complete collapse of everything in my life, my house, my finances, all of it. I figured if I gave it some time, and tired to work on it, maybe I could salvage my marriage.
Then her boyfriend beat my head in with a metal pipe.
I might not recall every detail of it, but shortly after my skull collapsed, and the grey matter of my brain had been thoroughly smashed, I experienced the end. Even with my head flat, my brainstem, connected near the base of my skull still attempted to receive electrical signals, giving me flashes of light, despite my eyes no longer being connected.
It didn’t last long, a minute, maybe two, but afterward the lights simply went out, along with any consciousness I had left. I can’t describe how it felt, because there was simply nothing to feel, no time to gauge, no awareness of what had happened.
I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point I started feeling cold … very cold. I couldn’t process it at first, mainly because I was waking up, and the last thing I could remember was a large metal pipe and a loud ringing in my ears.
Sound came back first, and as the room seemed to spin, everything seems to fall into place. I was in the back of a cave, I could hear the rough dry dirt around me being moved, and somewhere near the opposite end of the cave burned a fire, a small one.
Everything seemed black at first, but then my eyes adjusted, and I could see I was one of a group. Around me were other men, naked, like I was, and they too were awake. Some had sit up, while others barely moved. We were all quiet, listening to the crackle of that far away fire when someone spoke to us.
“Rise and shine,” it said, the voice sounding like bones clacking together.
Hearing it gave us a location to look toward, and there, near the opposite end of the cave, blocking the tunnel out, was a hunched over half rag covered … creature. The darkness made it hard to see, but it looked no taller than waist high.
Myself and the group were starting to piece together where we were, and it felt like a collective fear struck us all at once. Backing up, we all stumbled away from the creature, pressing ourselves against the back of the cave. This caused the being to laugh, which was far more unsettling than when it spoke.
Let me say that before I died, I was a man of science, of logic and reason, never one for spirits or religion. The irony isn’t lost on me, but after taking a second to rationalize the situation, I figured I must be dreaming. Sure, I could feel the dirt between my toes, the cold air on my skin, and it might have felt real, but I knew what lucid dreams were, and I figured if anything was a dream, this was.
Being the man I am, I took a breath, looked around at the cowering men, and started walking toward whatever was watching us. The closer I came to it, the better I could see it, and the better I could see it, the slower I walked. It looked … wrong, like a cow’s skull had been sat atop a bundle of lumpy rags. Surely I was dreaming, even as I approached the skull didn’t move, and neither did the rags, it was like a pile of trash some kids might stack. I felt stupid, silly even to be scared by such a sight.
And then … well, it stood up.
I could hear a few of the men behind me starting to cry as it happened. The baphomet Styx, I would later learn his name, arched his back as he towered over me, reaching his incredible full height seemingly just to intimidate us. It worked. I had never felt such fear before in existence, to see such a being, something from a nightmare standing above you, cocking its head as if to examine you, and laughing when you shudder and tremble in horror. It was beyond description.
Styx’s body was that of half human, half goat, his head a solid skull, no eyes, chipped white teeth, sinew and muscle connecting to the skull’s back half. His legs bent at sickening angles like that of a horse, his body covered in fur and muscle, his hands thin, with long boney fingers and wickedly sharp fingernails.
What happened next made me shut my eyes, and finally give into the madness of my situation. Looking down on me, he began lowering himself, causing me to stumble and fall below him. On my back, nearly under his center of mass, his crouched again, the large skull looming over me, tilting oddly as he stared me down.
My body shook in convulsions, and had anything been in my stomach, I’m sure I would have thrown up from just the fear. Then, in what almost seemed like a cheery voice he addressed me.