Day 3: Fire

Hell was always warm. It was a fact. Just the way things were done. Demons compared it to human sayings like, ‘The sky is blue.’ or ‘Water is wet.’ One of those things that everyone notices but no one comments on. They only strange thing about Hell being warm was that there was no visible sign of how the heat was generated; no radiators or fires, no electricity or some kind of friction. In fact considering the damp stone walls that made up every room, and the deep cavernous depths that housed the condemned souls Hell should have been positively arctic (another human saying meaning very cold).

The only fire in the entirety of Hell was in Lucifer’s throne room. And boy, was it big. The fireplace itself took up the entirety of the wall on the right, there were two mantle pieces. The first one was at just the right height for Lucifer to rest his arm on it. In reality it was nothing more than a decorative shelf spanning the front of the fireplace, but no one pointed that out. He had placed a large clock in the centre and had put pictures of Persephone, his late wife, on one side and Methalis, his son on the other. Ceris, his daughter, was very carefully missing from every photo. During the festive season he decorated it with glittered twigs and stolen angel feathers.

The real mantle piece stood some 12 feet higher, only a little taller than the flames could reach. it was cared from a black marble with red veins, and had faces twisted in agony carved into it, matched with writhing bodies and demons with sharp implements and realistic flames. Lucifer liked to brag that this father had carved it himself, making it a family heirloom to passed through the generations of the rulers of Hell. However Ceris had found a receipt from a marble carver in Greece. The poor human had then checked himself into a hospital for the mentally ill and Ceris had decided it was best not to tell Lucifer, lest he get it into his head to visit the poor man.

Anyway, humans had once theorised that Hell was so warm because each level brought you closer to the centre of the Earth. They thought that the heat from the molten core rose straight through Hell, burning the souls of the damned as it passed. This was a very good theory, and indeed it was wonderfully dramatic. Methalis was very sure that should his father ever hear of this the next time he visited Hell would be lit by an eerie red light, have towering pillars of steam and random bursts of fire, all topped off with the smell of singed hair. It was, then, very understandable why Methalis and Ceris had gone to great lengths to ensure that Lucifer never even heard of the human called Dante, never mind had the opportunity to read his works.

The truth was that while Hell was very warm, it just so happened that it could get chilly too, especially when it’s half 3 in the morning and you get out of bed to go to the toilet. Simply because it is a universal rule that everywhere is cold at half 3 in the morning as┬áby then the heating has turned off, as it does in every house. For while Hell was in it’s own special dimension and it served as a rather unique purpose to very naughty humans and their eternal souls, it was nothing more than a house. it just so happened to have a very large fireplace and a bad reputation.

Day 3: Fire

Day 4: Discovery

Discovering a new land had been an integral part of Earth’s history for centuries. It had started wars and changed lives. Many years ago, England had been known for it’s famous travellers and how it had conquered ‘new’lands (much to the dismay of the locals). In fact, it was even fabled that the USA had been created because of England, though this was widely disputed by historians.

 Jaquob had often dreamed of being one of these explorers. When he was young he used to pretend that he was captain of his ship, the S.S.Bed, and it was travelling to new unexplored regions. He used to imagime how the stars would stream by, nothing but shining glimpses as his ship sped through space, new planets awaiting. He used to dream this, but his sister lived it. 

Sureyva had loved telling him all about the lands she had visited, they were his bedtime stories when she was home for shore leave. Her ship was the S.S.Bridgeminer. It was brand new and she was it’s first captain. After several years as first leutenant under General Ruemania she had finally been promoted. He was the most renowned explorer ever, discovering over 50 new territories. Sureyva was following in his footsteps, marked to be one of the famous names in his history books. 

Then, one day his mother recieved a knock at the door. It was General Ruemania, come out of retirement with his hat in his hands. He had sat Jaquob’s mother down and told her that Sureyva’s ship had gone missing. They had lost contact with it near a dwarf star, and with no other information they could only assume the worst. The ship had crashed. At first Jaquob didn’t understand, but he quickly learnt to stop saying he would become a captain like his sister, for it always sent his mother into tears

Several years later he was in his final year of training to be a police officer. Secretly, he was investigating the dissaperance of his sister’s ship. He knew,  deep down, that she was still alive, and that if the situation was reversed she would be looking for him. 

He was pouring over the mapsof the squadron, looking for a hint of anything. There were tons of small planets around the dwarf star. The big ones, he knew, had all been searched for signs of life. Every time he asked he was rebuked. They all thought it was time he gave up.

Jaquob stared at the map, watching the planets spin, until one in particular caught his eye. Excited he checked and double checked until he was sure. Then he ran straight to General Ruemania, and he too checked and double checked. Together they ran to the new General, Almonstia, who granted them permission. They jumped on a ship and few straight to the dwarf star. To a planet that only entered its orbit onceevery seven years. 

There they discovered a small farm, the remaning crew of the Bridgeminer, and Jaquob’s sister, Sureyva. 

Day 4: Discovery

Day 2: Resolution

She had been working on it for weeks; planning, rewriting, reshaping until finally it was ready. A single piece of paper, plain white, no lines or marks except from the neat black of her pen. it was her secret wish.

With an almost reverent manner, she folded it carefully until it was a small square. then she tucked it into her money box. It was the first thing she had ever put in it. Soon, there would be a collection of notes and noisy coins. But for now, it was just the lonely square of paper.

By this time next year it would be full. this time next year she would be realising her dreams. then there would be no one to stop her, and nothing to get in her way. This was the promise she was making to herself.

That tiny piece of paper held her fondest dream. Every day she added something to the money box. Every day until one day when she didn’t come home at all.

Weeks later her mother found the money box, and she took it to the living room, and added to it every day. She thought nothing about it, had no idea about the little square of paper sitting at the bottom. To her it was nothing more than a precious reminder. Soon the money box was full, and her mother had to open it. Out fell coins, notes and a single square of white paper.

Her fondest dream, never realised.

Day 2: Resolution