Three Way Stoplight
By: The Vampire Sweets
A woman wails and curses inconsolably for days on end in a small, dark room. In her long bouts of rage she exclaims, “This can’t be hell! I don’t belong here! Oh, God, what have I done! And what is this waiting! Was my suffering, misery, and guilt on Earth not enough for you? Why do you hate me? Have you always hated me?” She would cry, and wheeze hysterically in her exhaustion for, in hell, one is never allowed sleep or silent thought. Suddenly there came the sound of a door cracking open, and it was deafening. “Hello?” came the frightened cry of a man as he stumbled in as if he had been pushed violently through the door. “Oh my God, this is a dream Jacob! Try to wake up! Don’t believe this…or it will just continue…it’s only a cruel nightmare!” The woman’s laughter came with both malice and despair. “Who are you?” she inquired. “ Jacob, my name is Jacob Sanders, and you?” She rises, and speaks pretentiously, “Kaya Phoenix Malloy”, and she turns ignoring his outstretched hand. In a ghostly, hollow tone she continues…"I can smell the blood on you Mr. Jacob Sanders; what have you done to reap this fate for yourself?” He sinks to the ground as if he were to confess to a priest and begins to speak with a quiver in his throat. “I guess I was wrong. I thought I was doing God’s bidding, but apparently I was wrong. So, many are dead because they were stupid enough to believe me and follow without questions. All but one, one man who tried to sit and reason with me, and I turned him away. Why didn’t I listen to him?” He begins to laugh, and as he laughs tortured tears streak down his cheeks. He can’t control or conceal this evil sweep of mocking laughter that possesses him. In the pangs of his remorse he yells, “ I don’t believe they were stupid! They were merely too loyal!” His laughter continues, and intensifies, and he screams, “Oh God this laughter isn’t me! I’m not glad for what I did, or the lives I destroyed!"
“I believe you.” came Kaya’s cynical, unsympathetic voice. “I know you, much like my sweet, dead husband never meant all of the detestable, perverse things after you did them, it was that exhilarating, dizzying powerful feeling it gave you while you were doing them that actually fueled you half the time. Am I wrong? How did you feel when you thought all of God’s power was living inside you? How did it feel to see the entire universe as your own, and to feel that God chose YOU of all people to give it to? My husband felt that god had given me to him to do with me what he so pleased. I proved him wrong, but I am here because I was wrong too. I should have let him live with what he had done You, this divine prophet, ordained by God, speaking of God and salvation with such natural, abundant waves of wisdom and authority, having thousands upon thousands at your feet, much like my husband, the tyrannical, coward who wanted nothing more than a family and a domesticated slave. I was a slave to his desire, and a release for all of his suppressed anger, and frustration. I killed him in self- defense. I wouldn’t let him rape me again. I killed him and the bastard child he forced upon me. God! Just when I thought I was free, I began to feel just as dirty and tormented as when he was alive. I didn’t think I could live with myself. I had no peace with these ghosts screaming like banshees in my head. I thought I could end it, and still found myself here, still a prisoner of my past when I could have been happy. This isn’t fair! He wanted to destroy me, and I when I tried to stop him it finished me anyway. He took so much into his hands! So very much like you! It may as well be his presence here I am condemned to endure for eternity!” Jacob moves away from her; “You could have just left. You know you didn’t have to kill him, but the same thing you accuse me of was your disease then too. We both tried to play God, and define justice or right, and you can’t, because none of it exists. God is a myth, so is justice and right. You can’t be something that doesn’t exist. People don’t go to hell because they are necessarily bad. They go to hell because they believe they are something more powerful than what they really are. They go to hell because they think they can live and be as they please and never come to grips with any of it. They think they can escape whatever they choose not to face, and the truth is, you can’t. None of us can. But you know this now don’t you Kaya, because you are the same as me, your shoes became too big even for you to fill huh?”
Suddenly another door opened from above, and in fell another man, and with the thunderous clang of the slamming door came a very bright, hot light and this unbearable glare. Everyone shuttered, and covered their eyes for it was as if the sun of noon in mid July hung in the room.
“Who are you, and what is this fury you have brought with you?”, exclaimed Jacob.
“Emile…Kemper, and what fury is it you speak of?” Jacob replies, this damnable light, and the heat! What is this?” Kaya explains scornfully to Emile, “It was dark, and cool before you came, this is the first we see of one another. I was beginning to think that Jacob was just another voice in my mind.”
Jacob, and Kaya turn to face Emile, and he moves awkwardly towards a corner. “What? Hey guys! Welcome to hell! This is not my fault. Apparently we all deserve exactly what we are getting. I didn’t bring this just for you.” No one spoke for a long while, and then Jacob with arms folded said, “ “Pretend we’re sitting around a nice, cozy campfire, and engage us in your chronicled version of The Consequences of Life.” He turns and stares quizzically at Jacob. “Well?” Jacob presses him, “Why are you here?”
Emile looks up and says, “Well, I actually had to have that explained to me before I was sent here. I still am not sure I have enough wrongs accumulated for this degree of punishment, but it doesn’t matter now because the only ones who will listen are those who want to judge you and make themselves feel better. Apparently, what I did was, I was too nice to people, and someone decided that I was just out for personal gain, and was never really sincere about anything. So, I happened to have some great friends- smart people at school, good connections for what I wanted in the way of entertainment, or recreational substances, people who were brought up in wealthy homes, even elders whom I could rely on for sympathy, credibility and prestige, because let’s face it, if they believed me, and their word was good anywhere I was set. Kaya cuts in ferociously, “So, you used people…” Emile, now irritated replies, “Look lady, don’t ask me how I know this, but you were used all too often in your life, and for a long time you actually liked it, and you were happy with it because some sick part of you wanted so much to be needed. Once it got violent or abusive you no longer felt in control of what you had to offer, but I never hurt anyone. People did things for me because it made them feel good. I wasn’t selfish all on my own. I would just provide an outlet for that strange need people have to give and help. If they ever compromised anything it was because they wanted to. “So, what’s up man, and who are you to judge? “ Silence filled the room as if it were escaping from some cemetery buried somewhere deep in the heart of this black eternity.
“It’s dark again…”, sang Emile as a sudden flash came and dissolved the burning light for a moment, before it came back with even more strength. The trio melted to the ground and cursed one another.
“You were a lying, deceitful, manipulative hypocrite, and your one-sided way of telling this story makes it so clear to see that you feel you did much wrong, and still need to hide from it. You are still playing the victim when you, for so long, victimized others.” Jacob spoke fervently, and angrily…”You had so many crutches-but how could you think for a moment that they wouldn’t eventually all run out?” He reached out with tears in his eyes and offered to pray for Emile. “Get away from me, you self-righteous, monster!” He was clearly enflamed beyond himself, for his face was transformed and he now screamed from his very core, and it was piercing: “There’s no God to hear you now anyway, you dope! You had your time of glorious delusion when you were convinced that God wanted to be you for a day, and get himself inside you! Like God just TOLD you to do what you did! Sure, if there is a God, he may have wanted them all dead, but not like that. He just wanted to see if you were stupid enough to believe that he would choose you, of all people, to determine the fate of so many. You believed him because you were arrogant, and you were to high up on your pedestal to look down and see the reality. Quote me a bible verse for that you crazy pistol!”
“Such a smart little weasel you are! That’s why you’re here!” Jacob prodded, “Tell me son, how many people did you have to use before someone used you just the same way? You probably didn’t even realize that you were being used did you? So many things you must have missed because you thought you were so smart and you thought no one would see or really catch on to anything that mattered, but people did, didn’t they? That’s why you so often felt judged when no one was looking in your direction, and you still do. You were spending all of you time sizing people up for your benefit. When you had a free moment from all of your deceit you were too afraid to enjoy your harvest because you were afraid that you would feel someone else’s knife in your back huh? It’s a shame, all of that work, all of the faked identities you had, and no time or air to really enjoy any of it. You didn’t laugh once did you? It never even occurred to you that it could all come back to you.” Jacob fumed now, and he turned to Kaya whose laughter had been tormenting them both for the entire length of the discussion. Emile trembled with the words seething inside him,” And you, no less of a loathsome witch! All used up and broken because you were too stupid to see the reality of that monster! You loved him for as long as you did because you too are a monster in your own rite! Nothing ever changed, and you were never happy because guess what? You never knew yourself well enough to know what could make you truly happy! You thought you had found it because to feel like a woman you needed a man! Well, you sure had one didn’t you? A lowlife who took you for all that you were worth! Even now though, you are not here because of him! You are here because of you, but you blamed him too didn’t you? This long vicious cycle, you too pined for the role of the victim didn’t you? Well, guess what? There are no victims in hell, only sharks, like you, like me, like Jacob. We are no longer small enough to be victims, for we got the evil power we so desired, it just brought us to a different place and time.” He smiled now as he continued. His words drove so deep into Kaya and Jacob both they huddled together and screamed but they could not block out the sound of his voice. This young gladiator, so dead set on using his youth, energy, and malice to ward them out of their haughty shells. He continued, “We are all here together now, and we were brought together for a reason. We were all taught one another’s secrets, so that we could be one another’s gods, and demons. See, we each knew what the others had done, and even why, but we chose to have it told to us anyway because it’s all part of the torment, and humiliation. I am your savior now Jacob, I am all you have in the way of a priest, I will listen to you. And for you Kaya, I can be that man you so desperately wanted, and sacrificed everything for because you were too weak to be your own fullness in life.” Jacob lunged at him in sheer fury, and said, “and I can be that father you never had! You arrogant, worthless little orphan! I can be all of those things you wanted and could never have! Just think, you are here because you wanted so many things that just weren’t meant for you to have, so you just took them dishonestly. That was wrong son, and now you know it backward and forward don’t you? Kaya and I can be those parents for you, and just think, we will know where you are always, and what you are doing, and you will never escape us. No more fun, no more freedom, and no more friends to help you in and out of every adventurous little hole you fall into. There is no need for a friend here for we are all there is, and nothing passes between us. And Kaya, has double her dose of wicked men. Just think Kaya! You can sit and condemn us for the rest of eternity, you can try to kill us, or change us, or befriend us, and it will always be the same cruel joke it was when you were on Earth. Nothing is better, only now we won’t tell you that you are beautiful or apologize for our cruelty it is yours to enjoy in its purest form. Be here now with us now, and know that this was YOUR choice, and yours alone.”
The three sat, and wept, and screamed, and clamored and laughed with no control whatsoever. They would beat at one another with fists, and words, and gnaw at one another’s hearts and bodies for being the very things they detested. They tried to find faults in each other worse than their own, but never succeeded, and each had a quality that was loathsome to the others on Earth. Emile, who despised the concept of God, and organized religion now faced Jacob. Jacob was condemned to face Kaya, and know that she was exactly what he was, and that she knew well what he felt, and what would weaken him, and gnaw at him. Kaya was faced with the obvious, her two crosses, reminders of everything she never wanted, and everything she wanted and never got.
Every man’s perception of hell is completely different. We all have different fears, and different demons we encounter day to day. We will all one day come to an intersection, and we will have to stop where we are, and face them all. No one really knows what merits an eternity in hell, but we all know one thing for sure; if there is a hell, and one reaches it, there is no turning back, you are frozen in this place where it is like living the end, and reliving your death, your pain, your torment and your waiting every moment, with every breath. Nothing changes and there is no remedy. There is only what makes everything worse. There is the anger, the heat, the remembrance of things long passed, and all that could have been avoided, all that could have been done better.