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My Last Meal

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Hell is worse than you think, trust me. I know this sounds odd, I mean, the idea of an eternal hell being ripped apart over and over by demons sounds horrific, but that image is just stereotypical. Believe me, it can be a lot worse than simply dealing with a whole load of pain. Don’t get me wrong, that version of hell is horrific… but I’d gladly swap that eternity with mine. You see, hell is personalised to you, hell delves into your thoughts and unlocks your deepest and darkest fears, your flaws, and your nightmares. It turns these into reality, the most horrific and twisted kind of reality you could imagine. You relive this reality over and over and over. I’m going to describe my own version of hell to you, seen as though I cannot know for sure what others have experienced.

Throughout my life I was a criminal, I have robbed many banks in my time. I have even murdered a few people in the process, not that I wanted to – they simply got in the way. There was something about stealing that gave me a burst of adrenaline, this adrenaline felt good, it made me feel alive, unstoppable almost. Even as a child I have vague memories of stealing sweets from my local convenience store, pocketing them and quietly sneaking out, smiling to myself. Back then I was never detected, in my adulthood as well I managed to slip away from the police many times.

My luck ran out at the age of forty-five. I was caught and arrested, imprisoned for twenty years, not only for robbing banks, but for the murders as well. I was just glad it wasn't a life sentence, twenty years is bad but… at this point I had known something was going to catch me eventually. The stealing was an addiction, even with the knowledge that I would be caught sooner or later, I simply couldn't bring myself to stop. It was as if I had already accepted the fact that I had used up my life in this way, there was nothing I could do now to change it.

Prison was a horrible experience, I aged into an old man. My outlook on the world seemed to change as I watched the sun set every day through those dull grey bars. Stealing slowly became pointless to me, the idea of robbing now didn't appeal to me at all. Even though I had now, in a way, changed as a person – the damage had already been done. A lifetime of stealing and killing could not go unnoticed, somewhere down south a special someone had made a note of my name, had smiled an evil smile and doomed me to an eternity of torture.

Back in real life however the thought of ‘hell’ was never on my mind. The principle reason for this of course would be that I was an atheist, why would I have been afraid of something I didn't believe in? That was ludicrous. Anyway, the story continues when I was finally released from prison. I had never attained a wife during my life, I had had a couple of girlfriends as a young man but… I suppose a criminal lifestyle didn't appeal to many women. I died as an old man in a rocking chair, alone by the fire.

So that was my life, my quick, pointless life. After being here for an eternity any life becomes meaningless eventually, I've been here so long I’m surprised I can still remember it, perhaps I am being forced to recall it every day, an extra little torment on top of the torture, knowing that I am now powerless to change my mistakes. Now however my life has become almost non-existent, a brief flash in my memories. I’ll always feel the regret through, the overwhelming feeling of regret that consumes my mind, wishing, wishing with all my being that I could have been a better man… but there’s no going back now…

Something I haven’t mentioned yet is I am a vegetarian. A vegetarian, it sounds odd, doesn't it? When you think about it. This hard, murdering back robber disliked eating meat, disliked hurting animals. This is what my personalized hell endorsed, this is the weakness that it plucked out of my head when I entered hell. It used my vegetarian nature as my personal torture device, something to torment me with for an eternity. So… I will now describe exactly what happened when I closed my eyes for that final time, exactly what happened when I lay back in my rocking chair by the fire and as a used up old man closed my eyes forever…

I awoke. Opened my eyes, breathed in the air. The first thing I noticed was that I felt healthier than I had been in years. I felt like a young man again, with new vigour and energy. Sure enough, as I had looked down and examined my hands I noticed that my wrinkles, arthritis, everything… had simply gone. At first I had been overjoyed, yelping with happiness, punching the air. I believed that I was in heaven, I’d felt better than I had in years, overwhelmed with a feeling of happiness.

This temporary feeling subsided slightly when I realised where I was standing. I was in a room, a dark room with bluish walls. The floor and ceiling bore the same characteristics, dark cracked brick which lacked windows, doors, anything. There weren't any lights either, which caught me as odd seen as though I could see quite easily, despite being confined in such a sheltered room.

‘Hello?’ I asked out loud. It was then that I noticed the deafening silence, a concrete quiet that made my ears ring. After a while I began to feel ill, started contemplating all the possible places I could be. Was this heaven? Was this a temporary holding place? Was this… hell? I tried to keep myself occupied by feeling along the walls, looking for any sign of a way out, doing nothing in an empty room would have soon driven to me to insanity.

"Meal one." A voice rang out, making me jump. It was a low, monotonous voice of a man, it echoed around the empty room.

"Hello?" I said in response, hoping that perhaps someone had come to collect me. Hoping that someone had perhaps arrived to take me away from this claustrophobic place. I was wrong however, for no one appeared, a door didn't open, no angel came in with a smile to greet me. Instead, a metal platter appeared in the middle of the room – on it, a piece of cooked meat.

A sickness settled in my stomach as I crept over to the plate, it looked like lamb. It was at this point that I hoped I was dreaming, I hoped that I was still an old man in my rocking chair. That I had perhaps simply drifted off to sleep by the fire and was having some sort of vivid nightmare. A very, very vivid nightmare…

"I don’t eat meat." I whimpered. I was a vegetarian, after all. The idea of eating meat was disgusting. Not only the fact that it came from an animal, but… also the taste. There was something about it that had just never appealed to me. Something about the idea that an animal was killed to provide me with the meal, that I was chewing on its insides, its muscle. Muscle that was perhaps used by the animal several weeks earlier to potter around a field chewing on grass.

Without warning I suddenly fell to my hands and knees in front of the plate, this shocked me, it felt like I had lost all control of my body, as if something was driving me. So, unable to stop, my hands reached forwards and plucked the lamb off the plate. I tried desperately to resist but my hands stuffed the meat into my mouth, my mouth then started chewing as if by itself. I choked several times, reeling from the taste I had always been disgusted by. My throat swallowed the dry lamb and I coughed several times, choking on its dry texture. After it was one my body was released from control and I fell backwards onto the cold ground. The platter that had held the meat seemed to melt away into the deep cracks of the floor, trickling away like water.

"What is this?" I shouted. My protest was met with two words from the deep-voiced man.

"Meal two."

I watched the ground in front of me with hushed trepidation… what would appear there? More meat? No, it was worse. After several moments a small bird appeared, a small Robin with closer inspection. It flapped it wings but remained standing, looking at me with its black beady eyes.

"No!" I screamed. I stood up and ran to one wall, pressing my back against it, "No! This can’t be happening!" The small Robin simply stared at me, making no effort to fly away, for a fleeting moment the little bird seemed to look malicious – evil almost. As if the bird was in on all of this, this nightmare, knowing what was happening to me. It took me a while to realise that my body was moving on its own again, I had pulled myself away from the wall and was now taking footsteps towards the bird. I squinted my eyes shut, hoping to somehow wake up, hoping that this was indeed just a horrifically vivid dream. My eyes however were suddenly wrenched open again by some invisible force, I had no control, and I couldn't do anything to stop what happened next.

My hand reached forward and picked the Robin up, it struggled in my hand, flapped its wings frantically. Unable to stop, my hand slowly moved towards my mouth. The head of the Robin slid between my teeth, I could feel its beak tapping against them, pecking my gums. Without warning my jaw clenched shut with supernatural force and the little bird was killed instantly – its neck broken. The blood from its neck oozed into my mouth, the copper taste covering my tongue. I gagged several times and then my hand proceeded to force the rest of the bird into my mouth, causing me to choke. I began chewing, the bird crunched as I did. Blood oozed from my lips and trickled down my chin, soaking into the top of my shirt. Chewing through the feathers was tough, they became stuck between my teeth. When my throat had swallowed the Robin the control was released from me yet again, I collapsed to the ground moaning.

It was at this point that I began crying, sobbing loudly, a grown man reduced to tears. I retched a couple of times and vomited on the ground, coughed, choked. I was a mess… and it was only meal two.

"Meal three." The man’s voice rang out once again.

"SHUT UP!" I screamed at the top of my voice, "SHUT UP!" I knew it was pointless yelling, but did so anyway. I refused to look at what had appeared in the middle of the room, I closed my eyes. By now I realised I was in hell, or something similar. At this point I didn't want to be conscious, I didn't want to be here, I desired to simply cease to exist. An eternity of nothingness was heaven in comparison to this. Desperate, I covered my eyes with my hands and adopted a foetal position… hoping that somehow I’d be taken away from here, hoping that I’d simply lose consciousness.

It was then that I heard it. A bleating noise, I knew without looking that there was a lamb standing in the middle of the room. I screamed, I screamed wordlessly, mindlessly, crazily. I had been in this place for what… ten minutes? I was already bordering on delirium… but there was something… there was something inside me that kept me awake. Kept me from feeling tired, passing out, dying, going insane. This was the same force that was now making me walk towards the lamb, it was keeping me grounded in the room, and it didn't want me to escape, physically or mentally.

I dropped to my knees in front of the animal, my hands slowly reached out and grabbed it around the middle. I brought it up to my face and my teeth plunged into its neck, I must have severed an artery because blood began pumping into my mouth. The lamb bleated frantically, kicking its legs. My arms kept it in place however, and I drank its blood like a carnivore, being forced to guzzle it. I kept wanting to lose myself to insanity, to get away from this, but something kept bringing me back, bring me back again and again. Every time I teetered on the brink of fainting something suddenly snapped me back to my sense, back into the room where I was forced to experience the torture. My teeth began chewing through its neck, the lamb quietened down, it was dead. My body forced me to eat the lamb whole, crunching through its bones. My teeth were chipped and splintered in the process, my gums began bleeding. Throughout all of this I kept throwing up, vomiting all over the half eaten lamb. I was still unable to stop however, I simply began eating the vomit drenched carcass, and this in turn made me vomit even more. Throughout this ordeal I had been crying the entire time, sobbing.

By the time I was finished and released from the control, I slumped backwards onto the floor, moaning like an animal. Moaning in pain, in pure misery. I was covered in blood, and bits of bone. Some entrails covered the ground, the stench was horrible, making me gag. I dragged myself away from the pool of blood to one side of the room and leaned my back against a wall.

"I’m sorry." I cried, "I’m sorry." I hoped that somehow my sins would be forgiven due to my sudden apology, that somehow whatever was holding me would become compassionate and free me from this nightmare. In all my time here however nothing I have ever uttered has ever been met with any sort of sympathy, the response to my pleas always consists of two words… two words that have now consumed my life, my thoughts, my existence.

"Meal four." The voice sounded once again. I moved my eyes over to the centre of the room reluctantly. By now I was a mess, a mess of blood, vomit, tears, and saliva. My teeth were broken and cracked, my gums were torn apart and bleeding. I glanced at what now occupied the centre of the room, what I saw made me burst into sobs, into misery filled sobs. Then I started screaming again, screaming insanely, for what now occupied the centre of the room was a human being – an adult man, but not any adult man, it was an exact copy of myself, grinning evilly in my direction.

And as I pulled myself up from the wall and slowly approached him for my next meal. As my teeth plunged into his shoulder, the man let out a deep, long laugh.

Hell is worse than you think, trust me.

Credit To – Meek

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