Niches and Nooks – In the Dark 2

Another month of M’s writing prompts lies ahead.  I did them all in December but was less successful in January.  Let’s see how we do in February shall we.  These pieces tend to be excerpts and flashes of something that could be.  The exploration of an idea…

You can see the prompts here.


Julian Pribus was a good man.  Ask anyone and they would tell you quite the same.  He was kind and generous, he supported his local community whenever he could and were you to ask for donations for a raffle or a fund raiser then he would most certainly be there to support you.

Outside of church on a Sunday and Bible study on Tuesdays and Thursday he spent much of the rest of his time alone and lived a modest live, shying away from excess of any sort and attempting to become the best disciple of Christ he could be.

It came therefore as quite a shock when one rather overcast Sunday morning he failed to wake up), and instead of an eternity with his lord and saviour he found himself instead faced with the prospect of eternal damnation.

“Is there not someone I can speak to” he asked the creature at the check in desk.  Given its scaled skin, horns and eyes like fire he assumed it was a demon.

“I’m sorry sir” it informed him quite politely, “but all decisions are final and you are in fact exactly where you are meant to be.”

“No, no please” Julian raising his voice  “I assure you I have been a good person, you have it all wrong.”

The creature behind the desk was about to speak when a similarly looking large broad shouldered creature walked across.  “Everything okay Gemma?” it asked placing itself between Julian and the receptionist.

“Nothing I can’t handle Carl” she answered smiling.  Or at least as close to a smile as you are going to get from a demon who has been on her feet all day in shoes that quite frankly are most unsuitable.  “Mr Pribus here believes that there has been a mistake.  That he is in the wrong place.”

Carl placed an arm around Julian’s shoulder.  “Leave him with me” he said and turning, ushered him away from the reception.  Julian heard a “next” as he found himself ushered to a small waiting area to the side of the reception desks.

“Take a seat sir” Carl said stretching out a large scaled arm, long fingers tipped with what looked to be rather bloodied claws.

Julian took a seat.  He suddenly felt considerably less like complaining as he looked into the face of the creature in front of him.  It was everything he had ever been lead to believe he would expect he would encounter should he end up in hell, but he was a good person so he should most not be in hell.

“I am quite sure this comes as a but of a shock” Carl said squeezing his rather large self into a chair across a small table from Julian. “But there has been a change of policy you see and as of 1984 all deceased have been diverted to our offices pending a full review of bylaws and applications of all previously assumed understandings of intended passage from current to afterlife.”

“What?” said Julian rather confused.  “What does that mean.  A review?”

Carl looked a little uncomfortable. “It’s simply policy sir” he continued.  Until a review has been completed it has been decided that all deceased seeking onward passage will be held at our facilities until head office have conducted their review.”

Julian sat open mouthed.  “Are you saying everyone goes to hell?  Pending a review of some sort?”

“Exactly” said Carl getting to his feet.  “For those seeking onward passage at least.”

“Believers you mean?  Christians?”

Carl Smiled.  It was most disconcerting and he licked his lips in a way that made Julian rather uneasy.  “We only take those who desire eternity, regardless of creed.  Those who do not believe or seek to travel onward simply…” he paused,  “they simply expire.”

By now Julian had his head in his hands.  “But why the change in policy?  I’ve lived a good life, I followed the bible.”

“I do not doubt it sir” Carl said placing a hand on his shoulder “but given the general state of affairs of men management simply decided that they no longer be accepting any new applicants until they sorted the whole mess out.  Seems it had all become a bit of a mess.  Something to do with Madonna and Jimmy Swaggert.  Apparently that was the final straw. ”

Carl looked up from his hands.  “So what happens now?” he asked.

Carl offered a hand and Julian got up from the table.  “You have an 11 o’clock anal plundering with a colleague of mine, Derek.  Thoroughly unpleasant chap but great at his job.  Quite the artist.  Many think that anal work is easy stuff you know, but trust me it’s a real niche skill, highly marketable.”

Julian managed a “What the…” before Carl continued.

“After that it’s a spot of lunch then you will be watching School nativity plays for the afternoon and then a pre dinner flogging where you will get to meet some of your neighbours.”

This time Carl didn’t smile.

“Now come along Mr Pribus, we have a lot to cram in this afternoon.”