“If there's a hell below, we're all gonna go.” - Curtis Mayfield.
And in the twinkling of an eye I realized that I was being transported in a rickety, old school bus from an era before the yellow ones, mired in mud and moving at a snail's pace. The bus to hell was fitting. The metal, cushion-less seats seemed to pierce the skin. The driver reeked of liquor and clearly was in no hurry. If that wasn't enough, there was enough exhaust in here to kill us all, but of course we were now immortal.
The bus sluggishly meandered down the long and winding, unpaved road as I started to take note of the passengers around me. I could hear the pale-looking nun immediately behind me, a redhead, singing 'Glory Glory Hallelujah' in a lilting falsetto. The young fireman next to her, hair singed, was still silent from his shocking death. He had just saved a 9-month old infant from a blaze that he didn't survive. Directly in front of me sat a plump, dark-hued woman humming negro spirituals while she rocked and swayed.
Upon entering the wide open and surprisingly prevailing gates of hell, the heat and darkness from the flames of judgment permeated the crippled but persistent little school bus. The only light I could see was from the eternally lit neon orange and hot white flames. It seemed to reach to the infinite heavens to our upward gaze. In the midst of the fiery furnace sat Mr. Satan with clutched fork, eagerly smug atop a rusty brown throne and sitting on his head was a true-blood red diadem. His wingspan was the widest I had seen yet, a dirty off-white but well-groomed. He flashed a crooked smile, painted gold, and a nervous grin. 'What could he be nervous about?' I thought.
My eyes could hardly adjust to the juxtaposition of darkness and the ferociously burning light. My lips had become chapped and parched from the lack of water on our long ride down and the heat and still no water. I had given up on the thought of water so I beseeched with His Most Evilness and a few of his angels for a slice of the rich, crunchy and hot Devil's Food cake that had been prepared for the vilest of mankind. Regrettably, I didn't quite meet the mark, but the overwhelming aroma was already filling up my senses and I could taste it, sweet on the tip of my unholy tongue.
The worst part, except from the living, breathing inferno and the immortal worms, was the fact that babies who were young enough to still have need of their mother's breast were also experiencing this "shame and everlasting disgrace". Their sin was to have been born. The most unfortunate of fates. As I lifted up mine eyes from the unquenchable fire, I paused to reflect on the love of God that he would leave his creation in this black "smoke of torment that ascends forever and ever". In the meantime, he and his saints were having a Holy Ghost party. Yea, looks like I'm not missing much after all.