One night I went to sleep and I woke up in Hell.
Yeah. You read that right.
I opened my eyes and I was lying on the floor of a giant, dark cell. The heat was out of this world so my body was dripping with sweat and the air was filled with the smell of burning flesh. And when I moved my hands, I heard rattling. My wrists were chained to each other and so were my ankles. This wasn’t exactly the most welcoming situation to wake up to.
I sat up and heard metal clanging somewhere outside the cell and screaming and wailing. What was going on out there? No, what was going on in here? How had I gotten here? What was happening?
But before I could get any answers, I heard growling in the shadows. I looked over and saw a pair of glowing green eyes floating towards me out of the darkness. I gasped and crab walked away until I bumped into the metal gate.
“Help!” I screamed. “Somebody help me!”
But I guess it was just like in the movies: in Hell, no one can hear you scream.
The green eyes came closer and I watched as the creature stepped into the dim light. It was a gray, human-shaped creature with scaly lizard skin and a muscular body. Its chest was as wide as two of mine and from the looks of it, it looked it was at least a foot taller than I was.
I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. It wasn’t just that I was scared—I was so hot from the heat that my mouth was dried up.
The demon looked straight at me and roared. The sound was bad enough and it shook my bones. But the smell was something else. It was like rotten eggs, poop, and dried blood all blended into one potent cologne from Hell—literally. I covered my nose and felt myself about to vomit. But I didn’t have time.
The demon swung its claws at me and I ducked just in time to dodge. I crawled around the cell, the chains clinging behind me as I went.
This was bad. My first day in Hell and I was about to be a demon lunchable.
The demon jumped after me, breathing its poop and eggs breath at me, and I ran deeper into the cell—deeper into the darkness.
Great idea, Daniel. Go into the dark. I could already hear the demon taunting me, “You think darkness is your ally?”
But when I was in the dark, I found out that it hadn’t been such a stupid idea. Because on the ground, a few feet away from me, was a glowing blue sword. I picked it up and it gleamed, lighting up the cell like a light saber.
This was really cool. But there was one problem—I didn’t know how to use a sword.
I heard the demon roar and felt the hot breath on the back of my neck. I turned and threw the blade up and the demon’s claws smashed onto it. I expected the sword to go flying out of my hand, but it didn’t. I expected myself to be holding the blade awkwardly too, but I wasn’t. In fact, I was holding the hilt at a perfect angle above my head and my knees were bent with one leg slightly in front of the other, giving me even more balance than I’d thought about.
When had this kicked in?
Then, like some forgotten instinct I had never learned, I slipped the sword out from under the demon’s claws, then stabbed its chest—all in perfect form. I was stunned by how fluidly I’d done that. But I was also stunned by the fact that the stab didn’t even penetrate the demon’s skin.
It just grunted then looked down at me, as if it was saying, “That’s all you got?”
And it swung its claws, ready to slice my head off. I dodged it and we danced around the cell, me ducking his claws, rolling under its legs, then sneaking in slashes when I could. It was hard to see with all the sweat waterfalling down my eyes, not to mention how hard it was to move around in these chains. But I managed to hold my own and eventually my slashes cut through the demon’s skin and I finally chopped its head off.
I stood there and stared at its dead body on the dungeon floor, confused, exhausted, but excited. But most of all, uncomfortable. My heart was thumping in my chest, my throat felt like I’d swallowed a baby cactus, and my eyes were stinging from the rivers of sweat on my face.
I dropped down to my knees to catch my breath and figure out what in the heck was going on here. And apparently I was more tired than I’d realized because I slowly slipped onto my side and shut my eyes. And then, despite how uncomfortable this was, and despite the screaming and wailing outside the cell, I eventually fell asleep.
And the next morning I woke up back in my room.