I feel like I have to catalog what I do. I have a very specific job, and it is an important one.
Hell is a very real place, some in it get some bright ideas. They get too powerful, they decide that they are not needed in Hell, and proceed to try and trap their own souls as a means to make followers. That's where I come in. I think back all the time. Back to when I was so lonely I killed myself. I think about how I hung there whenever life finally drained from me. Like it was all over. Then He appeared. If you asked me to describe his face, I couldn't if I wanted to, and I don't think I want to. He asked me what caused me to do this. I told him I was completely alone, that I had no one else for me, that I would do anything for someone to help and to be my friend. He said he didn't quite think it was my time, and offered me to go back.
I declined quickly, saying nothing would change, but he stopped me. He said this time he would be with me. My heart pounded as I quickly accepted, being young and foolish as I was. I opened my eyes again and looked to where I had hung myself. The rope was gone. I was once again in my own home, only this time I was alive. I thought it might have been a dream, one that could simply be passed up, until I took a look in the mirror. My neck had been completely bruised from where the rope was. I touched my neck instinctively, it hurt. I put a shirt on, and even that caused me extreme pain. I continued my day as if nothing happened, as if things were simple. Until one day it happened.
I was in my room, reading, when I felt the life drain from me. It was like dying, all over again. People are often afraid of it, but the honest truth is without pain, it's relaxing. I awoke to my first assignment. This one would forever be ingrained in my memory. I was in a small town, a neighborhood to be specific. I heard his voice, it said to find what isn't like everything else, then I could go back home. I asked why, and he said that's what friends do, they help each other. I found my heart leaping, finally someone was asking me for a favor, finally someone was asking me to help. I didn't know what to do, so I knocked on the first door I found. A man answered, he was elderly and acted as if he had known me his entire life. He even asked how my best friend was doing.
I thought he was referring to The Man, until I heard someone shout for me and saw another boy, my age, running to me. Finally, I had a real friend to play with as well. Someone who wasn't just a figure I met when I died. This boy was like me. We walked down the street, talking. I found myself able to talk about anything and he would listen. Then, I couldn't take it any more. I asked him if there was something he thought was weird about the neighborhood. He shrugged, saying that all people were weird in their own way. I nodded, that made sense. Maybe it was the entire neighborhood that was different. Then, it finally hit me.
My heart sank as I fell to my knees. The reason why the old man was so familiar with me. The first thing we talked about. The thing that was out of place, and without the world around me made no sense. It was my friend. He asked if I was okay. I silently mouthed "It's him". His skin fell. It fell in chunks. As it fell it grew back though and continued falling, each flesh as it hit the ground with a dull thud began to crack. The sound itself was of frying. It was as if his skin was being drained of all of the moisture. His hands grew larger, calloused, and eventually they too began to splinter as they dried and cracked. He began frantically tearing at it. He pulled at a crack until it became a tear as he reached inside of his own body.
He was trying to get rid of his skin, but it kept growing back. He was trying to find relief as I heard him scream. His entire skin had now become cracked and I stared into his eyes. The eyes that not ten minutes before told me I wasn't alone. That's when the smell hit me. The smell of burning flesh, of a life being taken away. I looked around, the once nice neighborhood had since grown dark and ashen. The houses had burnt down, the green lawns, some mowed, some unmowed, were now ash. I looked towards my once friend, he had become a monster of cracked skin, of ash, even his eyes had now drained of all. I waited for blood but that instantly boiled and was gone. That's when I heard the voice of The Man tell me that I did wonderfully. I then started to fade until I was nothing. I then came back to my room. I felt my fingers, my face, I took a few deep breaths. I was alive again. For how long this time though, only time could tell.