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[personal profile] kirsteena
Title: Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate Part Two
Author: Vivien/ [ profile] kirsteena
Artist: [ profile] reynardin
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 13,226 total (3,223 this chapter)
Warning/s It goes a little bit dark =)
Summary: Sam thinks he knows what Hell is like; that is, until Hell decides to pays him a visit
Disclaimer This is a work of fiction. Any events similar to real life are a coincidence and I don’t claim any ownership of characters portrayed.
Thanks to my wonderful betas [ profile] snowbunny22 and [ profile] verdantgt. Many thanks to everyone who has given me support in the time it's taken me to write this.

Always moving down. It was like this whole place was built to only let you go one way. Walking towards the next level, Sam was quiet, thinking over what Litton had said. “What if...” he started, but Alice cut him off.

“Sam. Here, there is no point in ‘what ifs’, or ‘might have beens’. There is only ‘here’ and ‘now’. Anything else isn't a good idea.”

Sam thought on this for a while, then nodded. “So, we have had Limbo, then lust and gluttony. What is next? I’m assuming we are following the seven deadly sins, right?”

Alice laughed lightly. “Sam, you did you even stay awake through that concert? You should know what comes next!”

Sam flushed slightly. “Ah, no. I didn’t. It got a bit tedious, and I might have daydreamed.” Well, daydreamed, and nearly fell asleep.

Alice giggled. “Okay then, this level is punishing those who have too much concern for material goods. Look.”

Below them, the scene had opened out a lush, green field. Sam could see two groups of people, each of them standing either side of the field. As he watched, huge stone boulders appeared in front of both of the groups, and they started to push these towards each other. People straining, moving them slowly, as the boulders moved together. When they reached the centre, there was an almighty crashing noise as stone met stone. Some of the boulders shattered, others were intact. Those pushing the ones that didn’t break now rolled them back to the starting point for the whole effort to begin again.

Sam swallowed. “What do the two sides represent?” he asked quietly, slightly awed by the powers involved to compel people to do this.

“One side is the avaricious, those who hoard possessions, the other the prodigal, who waste them. They are forced to clash together, time and time again. Each side hating the other. Oh look! That’s where we are going.” She pointed to a place in the distance, which was, of course Sam noted, in a direct path through the middle of the clash. “Let’s go.”

They walked down to the plain, the sweet smell of the grass filling their sense when they arrived there. What a difference to where they had just come from, Sam thought. He watched as the groups started moving the boulders towards each other once more, his mind wandering as he tried to work out who would be on this level.

"Remember what Freud said, Tyler?" a strained voice came from somewhere to Sam's left. "It was you who made it come true." Sam spun to see the face of Superintendent Harry Woolf, ruddy with exertion, as he pushed his boulder towards the centre.

"Woolf. I might have known," Sam said, a sneer crossing his face.

Woolf stopped and looked at Sam for a moment. "How long before the pattern continues, Tyler? The son must kill the father. Maybe not literally, but you will betray him. Maybe not now, but one day." Woolf cried out as he reacted to an invisible reprimand, and continued pushing his boulder onwards.

Sam just stood, rooted to the spot, remembering Annie's screams, Chris' cries for help, watching Gene as he was gunned down...

"...Sam!" Alice was looking up at him, an exasperated expression on her face.

"What?" he said, coming out of his reverie with a start.

"Are you done here?" she said.

"What?" was his response, staring at her.

"What's done is done, Sam. You can't change it."

Sam continued looking at her for a moment, then stalked across the field, taking no notice as the denizens once again began their toil.

The first clue Sam had about the nature of the next level was a waft of something unpleasant, which hit them about half way down the slope. He wrinkled his nose, and absently noticed that Alice had done the same. It was dank and unpleasant.

"A swamp?" he said, as the next level appeared in front of them.

Alice's expression hadn't changed. "It looks like it," she said. "I don't like it either, but we need to go there," she said, pointing off into the distance.

"Of course," Sam said with a roll of his eyes. "Just going straight down would be too easy, wouldn't it?"

The grin that Alice answered with could only be described as wicked. "You'd never see any of the sights that way, Sam," she said, skipping ahead of him. "Over here. We don't have to walk it, anyway."

Sam looked at where she had indicated. There was a ramshackle boat with a figure sitting in it, obviously waiting for them. Alice ran towards it as if she was greeting an old friend - which for all Sam knew, she might have been.

"So what's here?" Sam asked as he caught up with the little girl.

"The wrathful, the sullen and the slothful," Alice recited, ticking them off on her fingers as she said them. "Nothing too bad, hopefully." She flashed a huge grin at Sam.

"I'm sure you've said that before," Sam muttered stepping into the boat, then lifting Alice in as well. In it there was a man watching them silently, a pole in his hand.

"But this time I mean it," Alice grinned at him, then she turned to the man. "Take us. Minos has given permission."

"Not to me," the man said.

Alice looked up at him expectantly. The stranger stared at Alice for a moment, then looked at Sam, finally nodding and turning quickly, putting the pole in the water and pushing off.

Sam looked around him, trying to figure out what he was expected to see here. Given the speed they were travelling across the swamp, he worked out that he was unlikely to be talking to anyone, but that didn't mean that the impact would be lessened, as he'd found out. Alice stood beside him, silently, a small smile on her face. He saw two men fighting each other on a small islet of the swamp, and looked at Alice with a raised eyebrow.

"Wrathful," she explained, then pointed downwards. There were faces below the surface, struggling to escape. Although those brought here couldn't breathe, that didn't mean that instinct didn't try to escape being surrounded by water. Sam watched as the faces went past as what had started out as the far side of the swamp came ever closer. He sat down, taking the opportunity, watching the water, but suddenly stood up as he recognised one of the faces.

"Phyllis?" he said, staring at the face. The man pushing the boat slowed it down, allowing Sam the chance to take a closer look. "What the hell?"

Phyllis struggled to sit upwards, her face suddenly breaking through the surface of the swamp. "Boss!" she gasped out, before being pulled back down. She fought her way back up through the liquid again. "What the bloody hell is this?"

Sam couldn't help it. He laughed. Whether it was all the stress finally finding an outlet, or just a reaction to the hilarity of the situation he would never know. Phyllis glared at him as she was pulled back under the surface of the swamp. He sat there, in the bottom of the boat, struggling to stop his laughing, which abruptly turned into a sob. Alice suddenly turned at looked at him. Sam was fighting for control. He didn't make a sound for while, and the only thing that could be heard was the lapping of water against the sides of the boat, the sound of the pole as their unknown guide moved them ever forwards, and the occasional cry from the souls trapped in this level. This continued until they abruptly stopped, the boat touching solid land once again. Sam picked up Alice and walked off of the boat in a daze. He nodded at the man, who pushed off, heading back as soon as the two were safely on solid ground. Sam stared into space for a moment.

“Where now?” He was still trying to assimilate all he had seen.

“Next level of course.”

“Level, erm, six? Four more to go then I can wake up?” Sam tried hard to keep the pleading tone out of his voice, but he didn’t quite succeed.

“Something like that. Come on.”

They walked forward slowly, turning a corner. Another flight of stairs, Sam thought. At least he was getting exercise. As they reached the bottom, they were faced with a large wall, with one small gap letting them through the area beyond. Suddenly, five figures, all robed and cowled in black, materialised in front of them and blocked their way.

“You cannot pass.” All five spoke in unison, their voices dull, but full of echoes.

Alice peered up at them. “You know why we are here. We have to get past you. This journey must end.”

“You cannot pass,” they repeated. “What is here is not for the living.”

“You are wrong. We will pass.”


“Yes, they will.” Another voice entered the conversation. Sam heard footsteps approaching, clipped, steady. A tall, white haired man appeared through the gap in the wall, gesturing at the cowled figures to move aside. After a moment they did, letting the stranger through to face Sam and Alice. They silently moved back to block the entrance once again.

“I apologise for my brethren. They are unused to visitors. Please, follow me. I shall lead you for this section of your journey.” He gestured to the silent figures, who waited for a moment, then moved to the side. The man bowed to Alice and Sam, motioning them to step through the entrance. They looked at each other, then Sam shrugged and stepped through.

“This way, please.” The man who was leading them was soft spoken, but his voice held a tone of authority that Sam found hard to resist. Alice, it appeared, was utterly charmed by him. She let go of Sam’s hand, and skipped forward to slip her tiny hand into the stranger’s. He smiled down at her.

“Ask what you wish, child. I suspect you will not be satisfied until you do,” he said quietly.

Alice grinned back at him. “Who are you, and who were those who were blocking our path? And didn’t they know we had to pass?”

“Those blocking your path were my kin once. They were lost to me long ago.” A brief expression of pain crossed the man’s face. “They have lost much of their power now, but still wish to torment others. I apologise for their behaviour.”

“Your family?” Sam asked, as curious as Alice was now.

“Yes. They... chose the path they now follow. And they paid for that choice with an eternity of damnation. Not something I would wish on them, but...” He sighed. “Still, we must live by our decisions. All of us.”

“Do you have a name, sir?” Sam asked. Authority figures normally had to do a lot to earn Sam’s respect, but there was something about this man that made it instinctive.

The man looked at Sam. “I have many, and not all of them complimentary.” A tiny smile flashed across his face. “But you may call me Paschar.”

Paschar stopped and looked at Sam. “Your journey has been difficult, I can tell, but it is also necessary. I’m sorry for what you will see and hear here, but once this expedition has been completed, you will understand why.”

Sam shuddered briefly, then nodded. Paschar motioned for the pair to follow him. “Normally, we do not let mortals this far in, hence the response of my brothers. But occasionally individuals make this far. You will be a curiosity to many, it has been too long. Oh, and mind the heat.” While they had been talking they had entered what appeared to be a graveyard.

Sam felt the heat hit him as if he had suddenly walked into a wall. Slowly, his eyes adjusted to what was in front of him. He could see the graveyard in more depth. There were thousands of tombs, it appeared, and most of them were occupied. Sam looked around. This level appeared to have no guards, which bemused Sam after the previous few levels. As they walked down the central path, the reason for the lack of guards became obvious. Coming out of each of the tombs was the source of the heat Sam had felt – eternal fire, locking the occupants in place.

“Who... what are these then?” Sam asked their guide. “I mean, why are they here?”

“These? These are the heretics. Mostly they are religious heretics, but there are many others who tried to impose their beliefs on others, all of whom made it here as well. In fact, I believe one of those is the reason we are here. Please, this way.” Paschar replied. He led them down a side corridor, ignoring the rantings and wailings that were coming from tombs to each side of them. However, As they walked along the path, there was one tirade which Sam couldn’t ignore.

“So, after all I did for you, this is where I end up. That’s gratitude for you. You imbecile.” Sam stopped, frozen by the voice. He turned round slowly, and ended up face to face with a bedraggled looking Frank Morgan. He gasped.

“Morgan? What the...” Sam couldn’t help the hysterical laughter that spilled out of him. Here he was, faced with the man who had dragged him kicking and screaming back to the current century. “All you did for me?”

“I saved you from them – from him! I brought you back home. Home. To those who love you, respect you, treat you as you ought to be treated. Not just as some would have you, a tool to get results! Isn’t your life better? All those modern conveniences. No more messing about with outdated policing methods, actually getting things done!”

“Saved me?” Sam couldn’t believe what he was hearing, and stared at Morgan.

“Listen to me, Tyler. You owe me. Get me out of your stupid fantasy...” Morgan started.

“No, you listen to me, Morgan.” Sam snarled. He was aware of Alice and Paschar watching the confrontation with interest. “I owe you nothing. Do you hear me? You invaded my subconscious, you screwed around with my brain. Hell, you even operated on it! Was it all just a game to you?”

The anger Sam had been holding back since seeing Annie and Maya came spilling out of him, all aimed at the man in front of him. “You fucked around with me.” Paschar flinched at this, and covered Alice’s ears gently. “You went out of your way to play me for a fool. You, and your honeyed words meant I left them all, probably to die. I would say to you ‘burn in Hell...’” Sam looked around him, and a tight grin crossed his face, “but it looks like I got my wish even before I asked for it. I like this level, it grants me wishes I didn’t even know I wanted.”

Morgan stared at Sam for a minute, then the flames that surrounded him suddenly increased in intensity. He screamed as the pain overtook him. Sam stood silently watching for a moment, then gathered himself and stalked off back to the main passageway. Paschar and Alice exchanged a glance, then the tall man picked the little girl up and strode to catch up with Sam.

“Sam...” Paschar started, but Sam rounded on him.

“You brought me here to see... that?” he yelled. “That man is responsible for so much pain and he stands there, blaming me...”

“He is a heretic, Sam, of course he does.” Sam’s anger deflated somewhat at the comment. “His words have power, but only if you let them.”

Sam stared at Paschar for a while, then abruptly turned and walked away, heading towards what he presumed was the exit.

“I fell for his words.” Sam said quietly after a while. “I believed what he said was true, and that doing what he wanted was the only way home. And in a way, it was. He played me for a fool.”

“Many have been so led, Sam.” Paschar had caught up with Sam, and was walking side by side with him. “You weren’t the first, and you certainly won’t be the last, or else why would we have unused tombs?”

“That’s supposed to make me feel better?” Sam replied. “So, where are we going now? I take it we are done with the heretics?”

“Indeed. I have one more level to show you, then I must leave you while you complete the rest of your journey alone – well, with this young lady here to guide you.” Paschar smiled down at the little girl still nestled in his arms. She looked content to just be there.

“One question,” Alice asked. Paschar lifted an eyebrow in response. “You’re an angel, aren’t you?”

He smiled, a full-wattage smile that made his face seem ageless. After a moment, he nodded once. “Yes, I was sent to ensure you obtained passage to the lower levels. We knew there would be trouble from my brethren.”

Alice looked up at Paschar, then suddenly grinned. “I wanna to see your wings!”

Paschar laughed. “Honestly, you believe all the stories and paintings you hear about us? I hate to burst your bubble, but they were all carefully planted, to make it easier for us.”

“Oh...” Alice pouted for a while. “No wings?” Paschar smiled and shook his head. He had guided them over towards yet another set of stairs leading downwards. Sam groaned at the sight of them.

“Is this more...” Sam groped for the word. “... active sin?”

“Indeed. Deeper the choice of sin, the further the descent. It was how it was designed. This level is a touch more – clear cut. Here is where the violent are housed.” Paschar put Alice down onto the ground as they turned a corner, but took her hand. In front of them was a great beast. A Minotaur. Sam swallowed as he looked up... and up.

Paschar walked forward. "Minos has given them permission to pass," he said, talking directly to the great beast. Sam got the impression of being studied by the Minotaur. After a moment, he stepped aside, letting the trio walk forward. Sam looked all around as they carried on with their journey, wondering what would greet him here. As they approached, he could see three concentric circles. He stopped and looked at them for a while. Paschar also stopped, and looked curiously at Sam.

"Circles?" Sam asked.

Paschar quirked a smile. "This is where things fit in with people's imaginings more," he said. "These are the more - ah - widely reported levels. Come on." He continued leading them forward to where the scenery began to change. "Here is where I must take my leave of you - the next steps you must take alone. You will be allowed to pass, do not fear."

Alice ran up to him, hugging him around his legs. Sam stood back, watching the pair. He felt oddly separated from the situation. There was a connection there he couldn't comprehend, nor was he sure he wanted to understand. When they separated, Peschar saluted Sam, then turned and vanished.


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February 2017


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