When I died, I wasn’t surprised to be escorted in to the gate that read:
Death leaves one with the bitterness that can't be cured. No one recovers from the humiliation. Building heaven for the dead is like building a machine that snatches the eye balls out of a man and gives him tickets to a silent movie in return. The “Where Else” made a lot of sense. Everyone goes to hell; because wherever one goes, there is hell.
But there is order in hell. Hell is divided into many large halls. (You don’t see any fire or demons; the memories of your death are torture enough.) Which hall you go to, depends on the way you died.
A hellboy appeared.
“This way, Sir.”
He looked exactly like me.
“We’ll have to pass through a few of the halls before we reach your deathbed.”
“So, I get a bed, eh?” I was lame when it came to small-talk, even in death.
In the first hall, some beings were standing, some were sitting and some were lying on their beds. Those who were lying on beds cried the loudest.
“Sir, if you sit on your bed, you can never stand again, but you may lie down. And once you lie down, you can neither stand nor sit.”
They all kept repeating how they died in between their sobs. This hall belonged to those who died a natural death of old age.
We entered the next hall. This hall had lesser lethargy but more gloom than the previous one. It belonged to those who fell victims to fatal diseases before they could grow old. I looked for my dog.
“Sir, the animals are immediately recycled back to earth.” Hellboy knew it all.
The third hall belonged to those who were quashed in accidents and natural disasters. The tone of weeping had stronger sense of wrongdoing and uneasiness about it.
“Sir, please brace yourself. We are about to enter the most hostile hall in hell.”
We stepped in to the next hall. Men were bawling violently. They were trying to talk, but midway through the sentences they would turn away and begun wailing and stomping their limbs.
“What kind of deaths did they suffer?” I asked apprehensively.
“Sir, they all died in ridiculous fashions, and for little fault of anyone.”
“Shouldn’t they be in the Accident Hall then?”
“Sir, there is a difference between being run over by a car and being asphyxiated to death beneath a fat whore.”
“You see that man, sir? He died of shock because he mistook his kid’s belt lying on the floor for a snake. And that man died of a bullet fired up in the sky by one of his wedding party reveler. These men are so embarrassed of their ways of death that they can’t speak about it and so the sorrow lingers on and becomes more and more severe.”
In one corner of the hall, I saw a room with its door locked. Hellboy was leading me to it. I could hear horror filled yells from within the room.
“Sir, the man in this room had his balls eaten of by his lover’s dog. The dog had never seen a naked man before. This man has been the most severe case of embarrassment we have had in recent times.”
Hellboy proceeded to open the door of the room. The man inside ran to me and held me tight and opened his mouth to say something, but voice escaped him. He was asked to go to a nearby bed.
“Sir, may I request you to please proceed into this room.”
“What! Did I die such a sorry death?”
Hellboy stayed mum.
“Am I the dog that choked on his balls? But I would have been recycled then!”
Hellboy continued staring at the floor.
“Won’t you please tell me how I died? I don’t seem to remember it.”
“Sir, we don’t tell anyone how they died. They all know it on their own.”
Saying so, he shut the door on me.