I stood as the priest read part of the fragments. I was astounded by what I had heard so far; obviously the three brother had gotten farther than me, but what I couldn't figure was why their packs were above in the pit; they had to go through the huge hole in the floor, in order to advance.
The priest read:
We did not go through the hole in the floor, for it was too far of a drop and we were tired from the battle with the eye-monsters; so, after getting ready and salvaging what apparel we could from the eye-monsters, for some of them wore cloaks, we headed for a cave we saw on the far wall of the pit. Since light was coming from the hole in the floor, and I don't mean red like flames, but white light like the sun, we really would have liked to explore that place, but we decided we would return to it on our way to the surface.
We walked across the pit to the cave and for hours followed it, which was nothing more than like walking in a tunnel, for it had no hard turns or any branches that split off from it, and it took us farther and farther from the pit. I tried to keep track of how far we had gone, but it was impossible, we only had one light aglow because we were conserving our candles and everything was so dark.
Then, we heard something!!
It was a human voice. Then, it was both men and woman, who seemed to be crying out or screaming. My heart leaped in my chest and my nerves became bright as a star at midnight and I could hear them very well. I could even make out what they were saying. I turned to my brothers, but I needed not tell them, for they had heard the voices as well and were looking at each other. I think for a moment they wanted to turn and flee, but we could not, I told them, we had no where to go but home and that would not solve anything because now that we have heard these people we would have to try and do something; we have to help them. So, with caution, we walked toward the screams, and finally we could see light at the mouth of the cave. This light was red and flickering.
As we came to the end of the cave we saw people hanging from the ceiling and hooded men walking below them with swords. There were pools below them, black and boiling, which looked to be blood; quickly, even from a distance, they brought tears to my eyes, for a foul mist rose from them and they reeked of human waste and could have been such, for all I knew; as for the people, they were hung over the pools like rag dolls, some were pierced with hooks and others ran through with spears of all sizes, surprisingly they were all full of life and writhing in pain. The first hanging foremost, who I could see with great detail, was a woman. She was hanging from the rocky roof by wire which had cut her arms to the bone. She wore a wooden Crucifix and was dressed in a nun's habit. I couldn't help but think of what could have caused this judgment to be passed on her. I didn't get to ponder her condition long before my younger brother forcefully grabbed my shoulder and pulled me back into the cave. He turned me towards two hooded men, who were pointing at us, obviously showing others of our presence, and pulling their swords from their sheaths; being swords of great length, maybe ten feet in length, fear suddenly grasped my throat.
The two men were talking and I could hear their voices, which was of no language I had ever heard, and I wondered if it was the language of Babel. I don't know why I thought this, but it caused me to wondered if these men had lived since the beginning of time. Had they known God, were they the guardians of this place, had they been appointed this duty by God Himself? All these questions were twisting in my mind, one after another, causing me to doubt what I was seeing; and if that wasn't enough, I couldn't help but think, if they were part of Satan's angels that rebelled against God; and if not, were they God's death angels put here in this dark place to torture sinners and those who refused the Salvation of Christ. Since I had never seen an angel, except in pictures back at the church, or a devil for that matter, I didn't know the answer to these questions; and if that wasn't enough for me to question, I kept thinking of the huge swords which they carried and where they came from, for everything, even the supernatural items of heaven and hell had to come from somewhere.
The woman, who I could see in vivid life, was begging one of the the hooded men to let her go, was saying that she had learned her lesson, that she would repent if only given the chance, but the hooded man gave her no attention; and bringing his sword closer to her face, caused her cries to grew louder and more pronounced, which mixed with the cries of the other prisoners creating the worst sound I have ever heard. And then I saw her tears which, reflecting the fires light, glowed red, looking the same as blood, falling into the thick, black pool below her; and then, even as she pleaded with the hooded man, he took his gigantic sword and jabbed it into her stomach. He said, then, some words to another hooded guardian, which was standing near him, and pointed to the woman and to the blood which poured from her wound, as if he was asking for approval. Then, the woman, being stabbed and hanging by the wire, did not faint like many women would have nor did she lose strength. The gaping wound only caused her pain and brought louder screams from her lips adding to the black noise that this place was shrouded in.
My eyes quickly turned from that woman; being too much for me take, I could not bear to look at her any longer; as the blood and internal organs pouring from her, adding to the thickness of the pool below her, I couldn't help but wonder what kept her alive.
I could not stand to hear her screams nor could I stand to smell this place any more. I told my older brother that I was wrong and that we should leave, that I had to get from this place and, if possible, climb into the chamber below us, but he shook his head saying, "We came here to know of this and of this we shall know. It is our duty."
"But these people, what shall we do? We can't save them!!"
"True, we can do nothing, for his is what they chose in life."
I knew he was right. I knew these people had every chance to do good and to be servants of God, but they chose not to obey the words of our Lord. They did not find Christ in their life and now they would spend their deaths wishing they only had one more chance.
As I kept my eyes from the woman, I caught a glimpse of a man who was hanging by his feet with his head in the pool of blackness. In regular intervals the chain, which held the man by his feet, raised and lowered, dipping him forever into the muck below him. When the man was raised he would scream and when lowered I heard the screams turn to bubbling gags. This became to much for me bear and I turned again to my brother.
"Have you seen enough?" I asked, but he did not answer. He only pointed to a high hill, which men and women were being thrown from. At the bottom of this hill there was another hooded man who whipped the ones who had been thrown off with chains. The rips on there backs and legs poured with blood. No where in this place did I see anyone who looked to be without life. All were moving and living. In this place there was no death, only pain and suffering.
Is this what Christ saved us from, I thought. Is this what our sin earned us and what God created for sinners? I could not imagine God being so cruel, but I knew that God was not this cruel because He sent Jesus to save us from this hellish place.
For a moment I looked around and took in the agony; somehow, for a moment I found the courage to try and conceive the hatred of the hooded men. I could not imagine such torture, for it was just not in me to believe. Then, I heard a voice.
"This is not your fate," the voice boomed. "What is your business here?" It was a hooded man and somehow he had gotten close to us without us seeing.
I was completely caught off guard by the question and couldn't answer for a moment. Fear caught in my throat and I started to choke. "What is this place," I asked.
The hooded man did not answer me, instead he held up his sword, which was a full ten feet in length and as wide as my hand. I had never felt fear like I was feeling it then. "Why are you here?"
"We are in search of Satan," I answered, honestly, finding a speck of courage in knowing that I was sent by the church on a mission from God. "We have come to search out his lair and to slay Satan along with all sin."
"You are not a slave to sin. Why do you search for a master you do not know?" Then the sword fell and again I heard the screams that would always haunt me.
I looked past the hooded man and was a man cut in half by one of the huge swords. Immediately I knew the man's sin. He had made himself as a woman in life and lusted after other men. The man screamed and although he was cut in half at the waist, both his parts lived; his upper half screaming and flailing and his lower half kicking.
At some point I passed out. I don't know how I got from that place, but when I woke I was still under the earth with my brothers, who were sitting next to me praying. I asked them if what I had saw was real or a dream and they both told me it was very real and that the guardians had sent us from that place warning us never to return. I felt very relieved that I never had to see that place again and started crying. My eldest brother helped me to my feel and handed me my bag.
If only, I thought to myself, if only I could report this to the church and make it known to the world that our deeds will be rewarded, both evil and good, and that a place exists were the dead never die and the pain never ceases. If I could only do this, I would count my life as a blessing.
After finishing with the fragment, which I knew held more words, the priest had read enough for that day and dismissed the congregation. I was relieved that I never had to see that place, for Jesus had saved me from hell and the punishments of sin.