Processing was a simple as having some Goraus assign me a number, Prisoner 12121990, then continue the line. It turned out the blue guy is one of cellmates in a room of three beds. The third was a muscular humanoid demon with grey skin and shark-like teeth. He didn’t even look at us when we entered, but made a rule right off the bat.
“Stay out of my way and I won’t bite your head off.” He turned his attention back to a magazine.
“Fair enough,” I said, not intimated by this muscular fuck one bit. I turned to the blue man and offered a hand. “Epex of the human realm. In here because of a mistake. Got my ass handed to me by some really powerful heavenly-beings.”
The blue man accepted the handshake.
“Mackarth. From Ivory Realm. Was betrayed by my sister a long time ago. She cast a spell that not only killed me, but sent me here, instead of the Land of Peace.”
“I take it that’s your Realm’s version of the land of the dead or something?” I said.
“Something like that,” he said. “If anything, at least this horrible place forces us all to speak the common tongue to communicate.”
I nodded, realizing that for the first time. Language wasn’t normally a problem for heavenly-beings as we can communicate with pretty much any living thing. But demons or monsters, well, I wasn’t entirely sure.
I sat on my bed.
“I didn’t think unconsciousness was possible in death.”
The blue man sat on his adjacent to mine. There were no bunkbeds, probably because they couldn’t account for heavy-weight beings.
“There isn’t,” Mackarth said. “Your captor probably placed you in a suspension spell, which mimics the real thing.”
A clang on the cell bars interrupted the conversation. We turned our attention to the Goraus, more specifically, Accent, standing there with his goons. I differentiated him by his hunched over posture in comparison to the other guards who stood up straight.
“Tell Zem duh rules,” Accent said to the guard on his left. The Goraus nodded then addressed us.
“Listen up, prisoners,” he said, “because I won’t repeat myself. You will do as you’re told, else risk upsetting the warden. And trust me, you do not want to upset him. Each day will consist of mining for birthstone. Reach a quota of at least ten. If you don’t, well, you’ll be tortured. Sometimes the warden likes to hold events where he’ll thrown two of you in a ring to kill each other for his enjoyment. Impress him or die. Also, don’t touch any female prisoner. The warden likes his pleasure slaves.”
I glared at the guard in disgust. He continued. “You get two hours of free time at the end of each workday. Don’t make us work harder than we need to.” He took a step back. Accent looked right at me.
“If you try to ezz scape again, you will be see dah warden.” He probably had some smug smile beneath the helmet. “Thaz all fa now.” The Goraus marched left. I noticed that many other guards seemed to be in charge of explaining the same rules to everyone else. Why didn’t the idiots just make once large announcement? Were they afraid to disturb their precious warden or something. I decided not to dwell on the thought and turned back to Mackarth. He shook his head.
“Pleasure slaves,” he said. “I can see why there were very few females in line. Most of them were probably taken straight to the pig in charge.”
“I have no doubts on that,” I said then sat down. “Fuck, mining birthstone. Any idea what they are?”
“I think the warden sells them to some companies in Ghost’s city for profit,” he answered then folded his arms. Mackarth and I froze when we noticed our muscled cellmate stand up.
“One of you will be my pleasure slave for the day,” he said. “Who will it be, to bend over and take my gift.”
“Oh, fuck no,” I said, charging force, preparing to fight to the death. “Sorry buddy, but I don’t swing that way.”
“I don’t think so,” Mackarth said. “It would be in your best interest not to test us. I have no interest in grotesque affairs.” Blue aura sparked into existence around his hands and swirled like a miniature tornado. I wanted to ask him about it, but now wasn’t the time. We’d have to inflict an important principle to Big Mike over there. He stared us down with a grin on his face and then broke into a laugh.
“Relax, small fry, I’m only interested in the female prisoners,” he said then dangled onto the prison bars. His bulky arms couldn’t fit through. “If I’m going to be stuck in this wretched place, the least I can do is have me so fun. Damn that warden, taking them all for himself.” He turned to look at us. “I said you can relax your guard, I don’t swing that way either, dipshits. It’s a joke from the human world. I couldn’t help but put their poor taste of humor to use, especially for you, half-breed.” He shot a brief glare at me.
We waited for a few more seconds then relaxed our guard, sort of. I’d be watching the musclebound freak closely just in case. I was sure Mackarth wouldn’t have a problem dispatching whatever power he had…I froze. He had a chain…but could use his power. I turned to him.
“Dude, how are you able to use your powers?” I asked.
“Good question, but I’m afraid I can’t tell you that unless you want to reveal to everyone why you don’t have a chain bounding you,” he replied.
I left it at that. Fair enough. Either his kind was immune to Hell’s effects, a possibility of realm anatomy, or the blue effects was merely a show. I doubted the latter—I felt the heat that animated from his display. He wouldn’t hesitate to defend himself if need be. I just hoped that when I launched my plan, he’d jump in too. I won’t be able to help him with the chain but at least the blue man would be free from this holding cell.
Well, no point in waiting—it was time to start drawing the deity-trapper. Of course, there will be modifications and whatnot. That’s a must. I doubted it would bust me out of the depths but if I could give it a good jolt, it could get me out of this infinite trap. And for lack of choice, I’ll be using blood—we still bled in this shitty place and I had no marker. So yeah, time to make use with what I had or stay stuck.
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Alvin Atwater is a man of humor, a starving author. With a unique writing style that can outshine even Jim Butcher, Patria Briggs, or Kevin Hearne, he is a character-driven lovable lump of mass. Born in Florida, he's on a mission to defeat his arch nemesis, Florida Man, once and for all.
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Author of the Blood for Soul series and a secret coming-of-the-age epic fantasy. Lover of anime and manga: so yeah, weeb shit? Fun. Sue me haha.
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