H.E.L.L - Highly Entertaining Life in Limbo

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  1. @The Returner

    "Annabelle, we need to leave now, otherwise we'll be late." An annoyed voice sounded from the other side of a door. Annabelle fast pushed the x on the web browser and exited the site just as the door opened.

    "Calm down already, I'm coming." She said annoyed. "And didn't I tell you not to walk into my room without permission." She crossed her arms and glared at the older woman, not pleased with the behavior. Her mom just sighed and shook her head as she walked towards the window which was covered by the curtains.

    "Honey, you will destroy your eyes if you look at the screen in such a dark room." Her mother said, but the only answer she got was a roll of the nineteen year old's eyes. "Come on, we need to get going." The teen stood up and walked out of the room after her mother. "I don't understand why you don't want me to walk in anyways. Do you have something to hide? You're not watching porn are you?" Her mother eyed Annabelle curiously. Of course she expected her daughter to do that at some point, just like she expected that her son would eventually, though he was only ten at the moment, so hopefully that wasn't a problem yet.

    "Once again, I'm not watching porn." It was true, she didn't. She had slept with a couple of guys, and she liked sex, but watching others have sex was just weird. No, she hid something else. Around two years earlier, she happened to stumble upon a snuff film, and after that she had found a few communities that shared her macabre interest. She doubted her mom would be as understanding of that as she was of porn. Watching people get killed or kill themselves wasn't really normal.. Apparently. But then again, her collection of short stories about torture which she had written wasn't too normal that either. She had written the first one when she was twelve for her English class. Her teacher had called both her parents and the school psychologist. After that she had just shut up about her interests. They probably thought the psychologist had made a miracle and cured her from her weird thoughts or something.

    Soon she and her mother sat in the car on their way to the hospital. Her mother was extremely paranoid of sicknesses, and now when the swine flu seemed to be infecting pretty much everyone they knew, her mother had ordered all family members to take the vaccine. The others had done it a week before, but Annabelle had been sick at the time, thus wasn't allowed to take the shot, so now it was her turn.

    Her mother was talking on and on about what they should have for dinner. Non of her suggestions seemed too tasty, though if Annabelle came with tacos as a suggestion, it would be shot down immediately. Suddenly there was a loud screeching sound and Annabelle felt her head being thrown into the window as something smashed into their car. Whatever it was, she would never know as she blacked out immediately.

    Once Annabelle awoke she knew she wasn't in the hospital. She also knew that she weren't hurt, because she didn't feel any pain. Odd. Wasn't there an accident? Or had that been a dream? In that case she must still be dreaming, because the ceiling was definitely too high to be her house, and the brick walls only confirmed her suspicions. "Good afternoon, I see you've awoken." A man's voice sounded from behind the bed.

    She sat up and looked behind her. There stood quite a beautiful man with long wavy raven-black hair, olive toned skin and dark green eyes. "Yes I have... Where exactly am I?" She asked nervously. Where was her mom? She had been with her just moments earlier... Well, that was if the accident had truly happened. Maybe that had been a dream.

    "You are exactly there." The man said and pointed at her feet. Not the answer she had expected, but he seemed to be serious. She couldn't find any hint of him joking around at all.

    "No no no. What is the name if this place?" She corrected herself. The man's mouth became a circle as he seemed to figure out what she meant.

    "I guess most people would call this place hell. Some have named it limbo or the underworld or the demon realm or hades or... Well, you probably get the point. This place has many names." He informed her. She stared at him for a long time, but just as she was about to open her mouth to ask about it, he stopped her. "Yes, this is that hell, this is the afterlife and you are dead." He seemed extremely matter of factly about it. "I will let you collect your thoughts for a bit. You will get new company soon, and do not be afraid, you are not to be harmed while you stay here. That I can assure you." The man left the room before Annabelle had a chance to reply.

    "Wait." She shouted as she rushed forward to the door, but of course it wouldn't open. She was locked up in an unknown place. Hell? No way, this were some weirdos that either wanted to play her a prank or wanted to hurt her. If she was truly dead, then she shouldn't feel so... Alive. Maybe she was dreaming. She pinched herself... Odd.. Why didn't it hurt? She did it again... Nothing. Maybe it was a dream.

    (Picture source)
    #1 redblood, Aug 30, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
  2. Welcome to H.E.L.L.

    It swirled all around him. The darkness, the shadows, the souls and sounds of torture inside his head. Music so melodious to his ears, he could listen to it day in and day out. Levitating, turning in the air, waltzing even, it was one of those moments when the demon overlord enjoyed himself. A moment when no one was allowed to enter unless they wanted to suffer a death of their own. Not because he would end their life out of anger. It did not anger the overlord to be disturbed, but because every individual, dead or demon, could take only so much fear before it was chased into oblivion out of sheer madness.
    When darkness falls,
    pain is all.
    When darkness falls,
    we are reborn.

    It was a silent whisper on the tendrils of nothingness so deep that he could only embrace it as he chuckled, feeling the truth and the power in those words. Thankfully, he never surrounded himself with stupid underlings and even more so when his right hand, Crumuru, took everything so literally. It was then, he did not have to worry about disobedience after saying 'Always knock, never barge in.' And the man hasn't barged in even aeons ago when they were under attack from heaven. Though back then, the overlord would have sworn he'd have Crumuru's head on a plate for being so 'incompetent'. Yet right now was one of the moments when the loud knock was indeed needed and heard.

    Bringing himself down from the heights onto the floor, the man in charge transformed into his usual, more pleasing-to-look-at aliases. "Come in!" Only then did the handsome man enter the private chamber to be met with a young woman, dressed in black, flowing dress made of lace that hugged her figure perfectly, yet not provocatively and still redeemed the middle aged fashion style to it. Crumuru was used by now to the constant changes in his master's looks, but there were times he could still be fooled. Either way, this one was his personal favourite, or so the overlord thought from the way Crumuru always tended to look at the feminine curves a little longer.

    "Master, the girl has woken up," said Crumuru with a small bow and the woman took a few steps towards him, swaying her hips almost seductively. For an overlord with responsibilities, he was in a supremely good mood today, playful even. "Marvelous! Well, I shall go and talk to her then, no?" Stepping around Crumuru with a wink, despite all the teasing, there was no flirting undertone. It was just a play. A way for the overlord to get into his role as a woman so by the time he arrived at the .door of the girl's room, pure femininity and harmlessness was almost oozing out of his...erhm, her pores.

    Stepping inside cautiously as if she didn't want to disturb the soul, her eyes immediately landed on the guest. The girl seemed...different up close and personal then when she was being scried on. Almost seeming innocent so for a second the overlord doubted Annabelle could ever come up with some of the most gruesome torture techniques there were. Yet, the doubts and surprise was skilfully masked under a pleasant smile. "Hello there, spoke the overlord softly. "I hope I didn't keep you waiting for too long. My name is Leilah and I will be your companion for now."
  3. Annabelle's head was completely blank. Hell? No, it must be a trick. She couldn't be dead. It must be a dream, which totally explained the absence of pain. It didn't feel like a dream though. Usually a dream changed drastically and took extremely unrealistic turns all the time and you never even realized that you were dreaming. If you against all odds did notice that you were dreaming, you should be able to control that dream in some way. So that was what she did.

    She tried to fly, but nothing happened. She tried to close her eyes and imagine that she were in her room, but once she opened her eyes again, everything looked the same. If it was a dream, she should be able to change things, but nothing changed. Maybe it was reality after all. She didn't believe that she was dead of course, but maybe she was drugged. If there were drugs in her system, then maybe they dulled the feeling of pain. If that was so, she should probably not try to jump out the window to see if she could wake up by hitting the ground.

    Suddenly the door opened and a beautiful woman walked in. Annabelle eyed the woman suspiciously. Was she being sold into prostitution or something? Was this the highest rank prostitute that was going to tell her the rules and threaten her so she wouldn't run away? Leilah might talk with a sweet tone, but something was fishy.

    "Companion?" Annabelle asked while unconsciously taking a step back. "Look, I'm not going to tell the cops about your prostitution or organ selling business or whatever it is if you just show me the way out of here." She tried to sound brave, but there was definitely a bit of shaking in her voice. A piece of hair fell in front of her eyes, and instead of the raven black hair she had the day before, it was now brownish red. But... She had colored it just a week earlier. Why had they made such an effort to wash out the hair dye?
    #3 redblood, Aug 30, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  4. Welcome to H.E.L.L.

    Prostitution? For a moment, real surprise and hint of confusion trickled into her gaze before her chin dropped slightly into a mild 'o' of understanding. "Oh. No! No, no. This is not a prostitution, drug or organ cartel. No. All those people are not around here but beyond the bridge. You're here as a guest of ours. I am sure Crumuru already told you that, unfortunately, you have passed on." Sounding as compassionate as she was appearing, Leilah took those extra necessary steps to come closer to Annabelle, to lay a gentle hand on her shoulder. Or at least try to. "I know it must be hard for you to understand, or come to terms with it but that's why I am here for you, to help you through this." The overlord had a whole back story for Leilah ready and has it had so since creating this eye candy. There was a reason why she was chosen to welcome the girl into this world.

    Motioning towards the only chair in the room for Annabelle to find comfort in, Leilah was trying to ease the child's unrest. "I was once in your position too. Long time ago. Back then, I did not appear here,though, but down in the town with no one to help me understand. I know you must be asking where you are and Hell clearly isn't sufficient enough of an answer." Walking over to the dead fireplace, Leila started to set it up for some flames, thinking that maybe the warmth or the crackling of the wood would help with the calming atmosphere. "Right now, you are in limbo, in a palace on borders with the Land of the Tortured. Our overlord Belzhar resides in here and he is the reason why you have appeared in one of his guest rooms instead of on the cold, wet ground of the castletown."
    #4 The Returner, Aug 30, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  5. Across the bridge? So there were people like that close by? That information made her tense up even more. Though if she truly were dead as everyone seemed to want her to believe, that wouldn't matter much. After all, how do you hurt someone who's already dead?

    This was ridiculous. She wasn't dead. She was standing there, she was breathing... Breathing? Had she really been breathing? Annabelle hadn't thought of it at first, but now she realized that she hadn't taken a single breath since that guy had left the room. Just the thought of not breathing made her take a deep breath, but it didn't feel the same as it usually does. She didn't feel the air entering her lungs. She expected to hear her heart beat rapidly in that moment, but there was nothing but silence from her body.

    The hand on her shoulder made her jump a bit, but she didn't back away from it. Annabelle just listened to the woman's story and tried to understand. As Leilah motioned her towards the chair, she followed the directions. There wasn't much room in her brain to think of what actions to take anymore, so follow was probably the only thing she was capable of until she could stop herself from freaking out over the whole situation.

    For every word Leilah said, hundreds of questions seemed to arise in the dead girl's mind. The first thing she wanted to ask about was the land of the tortured, but that was probably not the question she needed answer on first as two people already had tried to assure her that no harm would come to her and she wasn't in that kind of place. "Who's Belzhar?" As the question left her mouth, Annabelle realized that that wasn't the question she needed the answer to the most either. She fast changed it.

    "No wait, you said that I have passed on, that I'm... I'm dead." The word was so hard to get out, it only became a whisper. "And I'm currently in hell, or limbo, correct? But, isn't this too... Nice to be that place. Isn't heaven supposed to treat you nicely and hell is supposed to be this dark place where you must be tortured for an eternity? Or if we go with limbo, shouldn't I walk aimlessly like a lost soul without any understanding of what I am?" Everything she knew of hell definitely came from mainstream media.
    #5 redblood, Aug 30, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  6. Welcome to H.E.L.L.

    Leilah never started a fire with flint and steel, never had to. Majority of demons had an inborn fire powers. Suppose that's where the burning image of hell came from if anyone ever could talk about it on Earth. So as the wood was lined inside the hearth neatly, the woman crouching down by it just smoothly waved the back of her hand over the pile and small flames started to lick at their dinner with apparent appetite, the beginning of crackling softly filling the room. Standing back up, she walked over to the table by the chair, moving few things out of the way so she could lightly lean against it without toppling anything over, Leilah looked at the guest with the same understanding eyes. So far, it all seemed to be going quite well and truth be told, a spark of pride came to life inside her as she heard the first question. Oh did it feel nice to be on someone's lips so soon. Yet, in a way Leilah was glad the topic of Belzhar would be left alone for a little longer. After all, there was a certain mystery reputation to maintain and what good would it do to start spilling the beans to a newcomer?

    "Ah, I see. Well, sit tight and open your ears wider, dear. You're in for a treat." And Leilah meant it. The workings of hell weren't simple, but for anyone with wits about them, it was not overly complicated either. She spoke of the various overlords in Hell, each with their own castle town and Land of the Tortured domain. She spoke of the way criminals were confined to those torture lands to 'serve their time' and after having done so, they'd join the regular sinners in the castle town. "The reason why you have not appeared in the castle town or beyond the bridge is because Belzhar has taken interest in you. Apparently, you have a rather...alluring imagination." There was no need to go into the gory details of pain that Annabelle could paint with her words so skilfully that the overlord was always itching to put them to practice. And truth be told, some of those ideas were truly remarkable!
    #6 The Returner, Aug 30, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  7. Annabelle stared into the fire as she listened. Hell seemed so complicated and yet so simple. Maybe it was because she still felt confused over her sudden death that it was hard to take everything in immediately. No one would be tortured forever, which was quite a relief as she didn't really approve of the practice. She might think about it a lot, but that was all in her mind, that couldn't hurt any real living people... Well, if she was going to be technical, no living people were hurt down there either.

    The last couple of sentences made Annabelle turn her head towards Leilah and for the first time, she looked into the other woman's eyes. Now her attention was truly grabbed. "Wait, what?" She said, wondering if she had misheard it. How could anyone know what was going on inside her head? It was her imagination, it was her private place. No one knew what awful things she thought about at times. For a moment she wondered if they would punish her, torture her, because of her imagination, but she fast realized that it wasn't the case. There was no evidence of that in the other woman's tone or phrasing and everything they had said up until now pointed towards the opposite.

    "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just like everybody else. Sure I write some fanfics at times, but they aren't that special." Even now she continued to hide it, because that was what she always had to do. People thought it was weird, people thought it was wrong. Even though she never would think about making her fantasies into reality, people would still look at her as a freak if they knew. Annabelle brushed her hair in quite an anxious manner and her eyes had turned to gaze at the floor instead. "Maybe he mistook me for somebody else."
    #7 redblood, Aug 30, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  8. Welcome to H.E.L.L.

    Well, it wasn't like she could pull out the pages upon pages of scenes that got the overlord's blood (if he had any) racing. First of all, it would be rather strange for both of them. For Annabelle to find out she actually had a fan inside hell. For Leilah to admit to it. Second of all, Leilah was not supposed to act as Belzhar and for Annabelle's sanity's sake the girl would hopefully never get to meet the overlord face to face. "Oh dear, you have no idea. Venturers, the demons who sometimes go to Earth to cause some mischief, found your writing and a word came to Belzhar about it. He kept his eye on your since so that when your time would come, you would not end up in someone else's domain but his." Now this was some thin ice that Leilah was starting to skate on. Technically, Annabelle wasn't dead yet but in coma. Though, the longer she believed it, the better. At this point, the woman was basing her luck on her effect on the girl which so far seemed to be good.

    "I know it must sound rather strange and uncomfortable. But those with talents such as yours. Souls like you are valued in Hell. Trust me. Belzhar rarely, if ever, makes a mistake." There was certainty in her words, that sort which denied doubt to its very core and beyond.
    #8 The Returner, Aug 30, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  9. Leilah was right about one thing, it did sound strange and uncomfortable. Someone had been reading the things she wrote? Her twelve year old self had been bad enough to warrant her half a year with a psychologist, if anyone had read her recent writings they might just have thought of locking her up immediately to make sure she wouldn't start acting on them. In life, people would have hated her little hobby even though all she did was writing it down and watching it whenever she got the chance.

    Of course when it came to watching, she only watched work of fiction. She wouldn't be able to stomach seeing a human being tortured while knowing it was real. Sure she would be fascinated, but knowing that there was a real human being harmed like that would even make her sad. Snuff films in which people died fast though, that was a different thing. Once you were dead, you were already gone and wouldn't feel anything anymore, or at least that was what she had believed until now, so watching those didn't feel like such a crime. They were usually short, someone just filming something on the street when suddenly they hear a gunshot, turn the camera and sees a few people falling down dead. They didn't even have time to realize that they died. It could also be suicide videos in which someone either took a pill or shot themselves. That was their own decisions, so for them she really didn't feel much sympathy.

    "Talent? All I do is write crappy fictional stories about mental and physical torture, I don't even know if the bullshit psychological reasoning behind the victims reactions I throw into the stories are real or not since half of the shit I write hasn't been tested. It's just a bunch of stories, half of which probably have zero ground in reality as I took it far beyond what a normal human should be able to survive before I killed them off completely." That wasn't things she noticed while she wrote them as she was in the zone during the writing sessions. It was more an afterthought once she had calmed down. Once she re-read them she usually noticed that the victims should have died halfway through or a certain explanation she for some reason threw into the story didn't really have any grounds in human psychology.

    "I'm really glad I didn't wake up outside on the ground but.. I don't see how my hobby can be so valued. All I do is write stories." If she had been a serial killer with the same interest in those types of stories, then she would have understood it slightly as she actually made sure to test her theories, but as it was now, all she did was think about it, and thinking about it wouldn't really affect reality.
    #9 redblood, Aug 30, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  10. Welcome to H.E.L.L.

    The girl really had no idea, did she? Annabelle meant new methods of extracting power to run hell. A new way for the souls to suffer for what they've done. The kind smile on Leilah's lips transformed into something distant, yet still soft and gentle. Something that suggested on thoughts only private to the woman would cause such a change. "If I told you that your stories, the crappy fiction as you say, has indeed worked here. That in a way, you have allowed hell to become more stable? Would you believe me then?" The harmless, nostalgic shadow that passed on Leilah's face was soon out of Annabelle's sight as the demon pushed herself of the table and walked over to the window. It overlooked the bridge that led into the world of the tortured and Leilah didn't doubt that Annabelle would hear them scream and moan from time to time. Yet, there wasn't much to be seen from that vantage point, only the distant gate and the red glow that illuminated the sky and even the air it would seem. Red, the colour of passion and pain mixed with shadows and darkness. Truly a sight to behold. The brighter it shone, the more power was extracted, the more stable the region was. Leilah started to contemplate whether to take the girl to the true hell, the Land of the Tortured. Could the girl stomach it? Would it sway her the right way or make her run? There were too many unknowns, however, that even Leilah didn't want to take her chances on.

    "But!" Brightening up before the dim could settle inside the room, Leilah turned away from the window and walked over to one of the trunks where dresses were stored. No, time was not right yet to present Annabelle with some of her creations. "I know it's not something as fancy as you are probably used to, but this is the only style of clothes we wear here," explained Leilah as she placed one of the garments from the storage onto the bed. It was simple but somewhat charming. "Since you are only dressed in the undergarments it might be better if you put this on before I take you to the most important rooms of the castle. We wouldn't want you to get lost in here or feel alienated either. If you want I can stay to help you put this on, or I can leave." Giving Annabelle a choice, Leilah would behave accordingly to it, either staying to help, or leaving to wait by the door until Annabelle would be ready to join her outside.
    #10 The Returner, Aug 31, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  11. Somehow the other woman seemed to become slightly distant for a few moments. Had she said something too odd? Leilah soon spoke with her usual kind words, words that seemed too hard to believe but at the same time sounded too true to be false. Would this woman lie? For some reason, Annabelle didn't think she would. There was something in her tone that made the girl comfortable, like she could believe anything she said. At least now when she started to calm down a bit.

    How exactly had her stories helped hell? Even though it shouldn't be that hard to figure out, somehow Annabelle was able to stay in her state of denial. Real actual torture was not something she wanted to be apart of. People didn't deserve such a treatment.... Well, most people didn't deserve such a treatment. Even she could probably come up with certain exceptions if she truly wanted to.

    While still debating if she dared to ask the question or not, the topic was changed by Leilah. That was probably for the best. These were things she would need time to stomach. Annabelle's eyes laid on quite a nice looking dress, probably from medieval times. She had never worn anything like it. Actually she hadn't even worn a dress since the school ball when she was fifteen. "Uhm.." She looked it over, wondering if she even could put it on by herself. It was fairly different from what they had at home. "I could probably need some help. I'm not really used to this type of clothing." Annabelle confessed as she rose from the chair and walked up to the bed to take a closer look at the dress. It was okay, Leilah was just another girl after all, so it wasn't that big of a deal to ask for help.

    As she stroke with one hand over the dress to feel the material, a thought suddenly hit her. "My mother." Annabelle suddenly exclaimed almost panicked. "I died in a car accident, didn't I? What happened to my mother? Is she somewhere here too?" Why hadn't she thought of that possibility before? Please, don't let her be dead, Annabelle thought to herself. How would her little brother handle both loosing his sister and his mother? And her father. He was already battling depression. He wouldn't be able to take care of his son alone and on top of that himself. That was begging for disaster.
  12. Shall we get started?
    Things have been seeming to go smoothly so far. Annabelle seemed to have started calming down, even showing glimpses of trust which pleased Leilah greatly. Not having Heaven's on their doorstep yet was also a good sign. Even more so when Annabelle requested Leilah's help. Now the overlord couldn't be blamed for finding that fact not only heart=warming, but well...rather entertaining and exciting, especially due to the deception and Annabelle's involuntary ignorance. In a way, however, the overlord hoped that the girl would never have to solve this little puzzle. There were too many things he'd have to keep away from her in order not to have her running away and so with that offer and choosing to follow on it, the overlord confided himself to a further web of intricacies.

    "Oh that's absolutely fine, dear. I'll help you. Once you see how it's put on, you'll be fine to do it yourself." Walking back around Annabelle to the other side, Leilah picked up the dress, the belt staying on the bed as that would be the last part to put on to tie it all properly together. Drawing in a breath to instruct the girl to bring her arms up to the sides so she could put the garment over her head and tie it around her hips, Annabelle asked that one question that Leilah was hoping to avoid. Slowing down in her moves for a moment, it was enough of a sign of contemplation but not enough to discourage anyone from anything. Tapping on Annabelle's arms lightly to signal what Leilah wanted her to do, there was only one reply she could give the girl and save her a heartbreak.

    "Your mother is alive." As Leilah stood behind Annabelle, the girl couldn't see the still kind smile on the woman's face. That soft curve on her lips that was out of place with the glint in her eyes. A look of second guessing, plotting, weaving. Annabelle's mother did indeed survive, but she was in serious condition in the hospital, battling death just as much as Annabelle was, but the mother's soul was not the point of Belzhar's interest. He couldn't care less where she would end up, whether heaven or another territory in hell as he was sure to banish the woman from his domain if her soul appeared here. Finishing dressing the girl in silence, allowing her to sort through her thoughts, digest as much as she could, Leilah finally patted the girl's hips lightly after tying the belt at the back. "There. You're done. And it suits you beautifully!" The truthfulness was genuine in Leilah's voice as well as overlord's mind. It wasn't as provocative is Leilah's dress could have been translated into, but it did hug Annabelle's figure nicely. Walking over to the door, the woman opened it up for the guest. "So, shall we get started?"

    Waiting for Annabelle to join her outside, Leilah started down to the left. "I will first show you to the room where you'll be writing. It's a nice cosy study room, just two doors down from here." And so it was as she said, opening the door for Annabelle to have a sneak peek inside, even walk further in if she wanted to
    (No 'Maxon' writing on the red fabric hung on the wall)
    It was designed to inspire with various aspects scattered around the room if one was to look for them, the window past the desk even overlooked the great divide, the bridge and 'Gate to Hell' which was from this high vantage point just a small entrance just like to a rabbit hole. If Annabelle was ever to look out of this window, or the one in her room, in the evening at the right time, she might see a lone cloaked figure walking down the path, looking even more miniature than the doors that separated the limbo from the Land of the Tortured. Of course, now it was too early for the overlord to make the journey down there. "It has almost anything you might need and either me or Crumuru will be around if you ever need any help with anything." Assuming that was enough time to inspect this room, there was one more place that Annabelle needed to know how to get to and where it was. Walking for a little longer, the castle was actually somewhat warm. It was not that spooky empty halls with cobwebs in the corners. It was lively with a maid sometimes walking down past them, bowing in respect. Who knew whether it was to the guest or Leilah.

    "Next and in fact the last place you will need to know about is the private dining hall where you'd be taking your meals with the closest to Belzhar. We want to keep you safe and welcome like I said. Also, you are indeed a special guest, so you should be treated as such." With a smile flashed Annabelle's ways and a gentle tap on the girl's hand as they walked, they soon arrived in the said room.
    There were only two unusual things about it. The great stone angel on the wall and the lamps to its side. There could not have been any electricity in the castle or anywhere in the land for that matter. Yet the light still shone bright and clear. Magic maybe? Well, demons knew the trick behind it and souls never came inside these places to wonder and question. In a way, Annabelle was becoming even more special than she could probably ever know or understand. "I know there are thirteen places by the table, but they are rarely all full, unless Belzhar requests it. Usually, we all eat at various times. Sometimes, you might be eating with me, or Belzhar's right hand, or even Niazon. A very...peculiar character indeed. No one really knows why Belzhar keeps him, but he must be good for something." The shrug of her shoulders, tip of her tongue sticking out from between her teeth in jest put across the message that Leilah herself was not entirely sure whether it was a necessity to keep Niazon around as if he was more a slacker than anything. Just someone who hung around for the sake of being seen.

    "Either way!" Leilah said enthusiastically as she stepped inside the room, turning around to face Annabelle and making her skirt flare out slightly, adding to the nonchalant atmosphere, she showed Annabelle a row of white teeth through a wider smile. "That's it! That's all the rooms you really need to know about. The rest is just rooms for the maids and butler and kitchen workers, or storage rooms. Nothing exciting really. Oh! You might be curious about your bath! If you noticed the large tub at the end of your room, that's basically it. You can tell me or Crumuru when you want a bath and one of the maids would bring up hot water for you to fill it with." And just like that the tour was done and over with.
  13. Her mother was alive? Annabelle visibly sighed in relief. The thought didn't even occur to her that her mother might be in a bad shape, she just accepted it as good news. Any more bad news would crush her, thus she would cling on to any good news she could get without questioning them.

    Annabelle wasn't sure what she thought of the dress once it was on her. The dress on its own wasn't too bad, but it looked odd on her. It was probably just that she wasn't used to the style though, maybe she would feel differently about it in a few days. "Thank you." She replied to Leilah. It wasn't so much a thanks for having been called beautiful, but more for the help and the reassurance that her mother was fine. It was quite the peculiar situation, but Annabelle actually thought she might have found a friend in hell. The afterlife was certainly not what she had expected it to be.

    Once Annabelle had taken a few glances at herself and her new appearance, she turned around and followed Leilah out of the room. A tour of the castle could have been a frightening event, but for some reason it wasn't. The castle wasn't like the horror movie she might have depicted it as. Who could blame her for doing that? She was in hell after all. But instead of an old run-down castle, it was fresh, not too dark and warm. It was quite amazing.

    The first room they entered was a study room, her study room apparently. She would have even have her own room to write in? Wow, someone was spoiling her quite a bit. She was used to just writing her stories while lying in bed. Annabelle entered the room and motioned the word wow with her lips, but no sound came out. "This.. I don't know what to say." She confessed, not sure how to take everything in. She was dead, which was bad, but she was now in the care of someone whom appreciated her writings to the extent that he gave her a bedroom, a study room and at least one dress to use as she pleased. It felt slightly uncomfortable accepting anything from someone she hadn't even met yet though. Who was that Belzhar?

    They left the room soon enough to continue the tour, meanwhile Annabelle was thinking about how to request a meeting with that man named Belzhar. Though before that, something else bugged her slightly. Meals? But.. They were dead. Why did they need to eat? Sure, it would feel normal for her to eat like she normally did while still alive, but was it necessary anymore? Logically speaking it shouldn't be.

    There were more questions arising in her mind as they actually entered the dining hall. Why did hell have angel statues standing around? Were they on good terms with heaven? The lights that shouldn't exist never came up as a question in her head though. So far she had no idea that electricity wasn't a thing, even though she probably should have suspected it considering they were dead and didn't need electricity anymore. "Okay, I think I can remember three rooms." Annabelle said while staring at the statue of the angel. So many questions, and for once there was all the time in the world to get them answered.

    "When will I get the chance to meet this Belzhar?" She finally asked, putting the angel question aside for now. Leilah hadn't mentioned that she might get the chance to eat with him."If he's as interested in my work as you say he is, wouldn't he wish to meet me sooner rather than later?" Well, that might be a very humane way of thinking, considering humans don't have very much time in their life, so sooner rather than later makes sense, but in the after life, there was nothing but time. Though that was not a fact she could fully comprehend yet. So far she did trust Leilah, but she did have a hard time trusting a man she hadn't even met yet.

    "And... Would it be possible to get a tour of the town? Not immediately of course, but eventually." She did remember that Leilah had mentioned the town for regular sinners that didn't need punishment or were done with their punishment. Annabelle wanted to go there as soon as possible, get to know people and maybe try to not be too dependent on Belzhar and his friends. Once she knew how the town worked, maybe she could join in there and then occasionally visit Leilah. If that man still wanted her writings, she could just leave some when visiting as a gift for him trying to help her when she got there. "I mean, I can't stay inside forever and the best inspiration comes from interacting with people."
  14. Maybe not yet

    Leilah was satisfied to hear that the tour was straightforward and easy to remember, but just by the look on Annabelle's face, she could assume there were some questions to follow. Waiting patiently with hands held and joint in front of her, Annabelle unknowingly forced Leilah into more web weaving. Her lips shifted into an apologetic expression, walking towards the chair that was at the head of the table - Belzhar's chair. "Trust me Annabelle, he would be delighted to meet you as soon as possible. But we didn't know when you would appear and hell is not as...peaceful as it might seem from within these four walls. Belzhar had to leave the castle to deal with some turmoil, negotiate with other overlords. Hence why I am here as your companion. So for now I am afraid, you won't be able to meet him until he returns, which I am not sure when that will be." If the girl only knew that the grey-green hues that were looking into hers where those of the man she was after and she would not know for as long as possible. However, it wasn't much later and the girl dropped another inquiry that truly befuddled Leilah.

    The surprise reflected on her face, clearly stemming from lack of creative writing on her part. Interaction with people helped writing? Well...weren't there enough people in the castle? Not only was it confusing to Leilah, it also rang with bells of caution. If Annabelle was going to be given that much freedom, who knew how far away she'd go? When angels would find out what Belzhar has done and she would be out there roaming, she'd be much more easily discovered. That simple fact could even spark another war. Leilah walked calmly back to Annabelle, landing a sympathetic hand on her upper arm. "Hell is a big, bad mess right now. Horrid plans of...total dominance from every side just so someone replaces Satan. It's not safe now. Souls are restless, unpredictable. It would be better for you to stay in the castle as long as possible. But, I will try to take you out once things start to calm down." And as if the souls heard her unspoken command a distant howl of pain, so high like shrieking filled with fright and suffering, was carried into the room on the breeze of the dusking day. For now Annabelle couldn't have known it was from the Land of the Tortured and Leilah gladly kept the girl in that kind of ignorance.
  15. Okay, he was busy, fair enough, though it did feel quite weird to live under someone else's roof without even knowing how they looked like.This was quite an odd experience indeed.

    It didn't get better by the fact that they didn't want her to go outside for a while. Though one could see it as quite ironic. Her mother had always told her to get out more and now when she wanted out, she couldn't. Apparently the world of the dead was also the world of opposites. A howling sound was heard from afar, but while it did startled the girl for a second, she simply assumed that it was some kind of animal. Did animals even go to hell and heaven? They had to go somewhere right? They were also living beings.

    "I understand." Annabelle nodded with a clear disappointment in her voice. It wasn't as if she didn't like Leilah, she definitely enjoyed the company, but Leilah was the only one she knew right now, and she didn't know if she would get along with the other people in the castle. Plus, she wanted to see how every day people lived and if she could learn to get into the normal afterlife society. Oh well, it was just to wait... Wait until she could sneak out and go for a night walk into town. Did night and day exist down there?

    "Sooo, what's the deal with food and baths?" She then asked just to change the topic. "I mean, there shouldn't be a physical body here, so you wouldn't need it to keep clean or stay alive." It could be because people wished to feel humane even after death, even she didn't want to part from food even now, though she doubted she would get her hands on a McDonald's hamburger ever again. Did they have tacos? Her questions had started to become quite silly and small by now, and it would definitely take a long time before she got answers to all of them.
  16. Mind trickery
    The disappointment was unmistakeable in Annabelle's voice and whilst it didn't concern the overlord in the way that he would have the need to console the girl, it unsettled him nonetheless. He never had to deal with a soul up close and personal to keep it around, never had to worry that if his web of lies was debunked he'd lose the only means to keeping his region afloat. Never was any soul that...crucial to his survival, so he could not quite explain what it was that flashed through his body there and then. Yet, none of that showed on Leilah's face anyway, not even as she looked at Annabelle in understanding, just like she seemed to have in her character to do so. Yet, as a woman, she had to be sensitive and soothe what might have been bubbling underneath. "But don't worry, dear. There are a lot of people in the castle that you will be able to talk to. Really. It's not as bad as it seems." Another wide smile was offered to the guest to reassure her and hope it might have worked a miracle, despite no one ever truly believing in those in hell.

    "You're almost correct, Annabelle. Your current body doesn't need the bare necessities like food and water now, but it can still feel pain. Why else do you think hell would be here for if souls can't feel pain? A short chuckle rang in the room. It was good natured and not mean or malicious and Leilah topped it with a light sigh just to calm herself down. " Though some souls just choose to hold onto their human lives through the illusions of eating and taking care of their body like they used to and I thought it might be nice for you to have the same transition period if you needed it." Clearly, Leilah was not aware of all the pinching that was going on before, but now she was ready. Anything Annabelle would do to hurt herself now would indeed evoke pain in her mind. Even if Annabelle doubted Leilah's statement, the woman would encourage the girl to pinch herself again just to prove her point.

  17. That did make sense. Hell, as a place of torture, wouldn't function is pain wasn't available, but why had she not felt any pain before? When she woke up she had tried to pinch herself as hard as humanly possible without results. A slight doubt appeared in the girl's expression. She hadn't felt pain before, but now Leilah was telling her that there indeed was pain in hell. Something was wrong. There must be something she wasn't being told.

    "But... When I woke up, I tried to pinch myself to force myself awake because I thought I was dreaming. I didn't feel any pain at all." Annabelle explained her concerns. She doubted the other woman now, because there was a hole in her story. Maybe there were a few more reasons to try and visit the town as fast as possible. Asking others, who didn't live in the castle, about the truth of this place would be important for her to trust anything. She might be dead, but her brain was still fully functional. "How come I couldn't feel pain if pain is crucial for this place?" At some point her arms had crossed over her chest, she was obviously starting to close herself up mentally to this person whom might be lying to her. "You wouldn't lie to me, would you?"
  18. Mind trickery
    Well, that was a surprise that was dumped on Leilah's head, but it wouldn't be the first time something like this would have happened. Many souls doubted the principles if they were not caught in time and Annabelle didn't seem to be that far away without a hope to be reeled back in. Leilah walked closer to the girl just like she did before. No threat, nothing unnatural. "Of course, you tried and that's absolutely fine. Everybody does that. But after a soul wakes up in this place, it takes a while for it to adjust properly and start feeling. It happens to everyone, and just like you every soul then starts having doubts. But trust me. I don't have a reason to lie to you, do I? Go ahead. Try and pinch yourself again. You'll see that I am speaking the truth and you will feel pain." If anyone was ever to win the liar's contest it would be the overlord in any shape and form he'd take. There was just no way his attitude would hint on lying. Leilah wasn't staring at Annabelle, or stressing any particular part of any sentence. As far as an observer was concerned, she was indeed saying the truth. Of course, there was room for doubt for the confused and distrusting, but hardly anyone could flat out say that Leilah was lying. She just stood there, the seed already planted in Annabelle's brain.

    With souls it was easy to control their minds. As Leilah said 'you will feel pain', that emotion was planted in her mind to be activated every time an incentive happened. Not that many things could be too complicated in hell if it was ever to work properly and with pain and suffering and its related emotions, it had to be made as simple as possible. Hence, why only a few words from someone with the right power would assure that the said feeling would occur at any right time even if the caster wasn't around.
  19. Why was it so hard to distrust this woman? All the sincerity that seemingly poured out of her made Annabelle skeptical, but at the same time she felt bad for doubting Leilah. As far as she knew, Leilah could be completely innocent, and here she stood accusing her of lying.

    Unsure, Annabelle looked down on her left arm. Would she truly feel something? The thought scared her slightly, because what would happen if she couldn't feel it? Her mother had always said that we know that we're alive for as long as we can feel pain. Sure, she was technically dead now, but she didn't feel dead. She still felt alive. And maybe she wasn't ready to let go of her life just yet. If she didn't feel anything, she wouldn't even be able to pretend to live.

    Her right hand had slowly started to move towards the left arm. Hesitantly she put two fingers on a piece of skin. 3... 2... 1... She pinched the piece of skin as hard as she could. Her (non-existing) body automatically reacted to the pain and she fast let go. Pain. It was there. Just like Leilah had said. Was she becoming too paranoid?

    "I.. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have accused you like that." Annabelle apologized quite ashamed of her actions, but her eyes had yet to leave her arm. It all felt so unreal, and it was hard to deal with it all. Her emotions seemed to be on a rollercoaster ride at the moment. One moment she was confused, the next she became worried, then curious and happy and eventually paranoid. What a mess. "Though you might be used to it, if you've been here for a while." She finally looked up at the other woman. "How long have you been here anyways?" She asked, rather curious. She hoped it wasn't as taboo as asking someone's age in life.
  20. Maybe not yet
    Observing Annabelle as she thought about the encouragement that Leilah just extended to her, the atmosphere in the room grew thicker by the moment. It wasn't unpleasant, but it was heavy with uncertainty. Some pulsated from Annabelle, her doubtful thoughts written all over her face that the woman standing in front of her didn't even have to be a telepath to take a good guess at what was going through the girl's mind. The other party that felt unsure in that moment was Leilah. She knew her words would take effect and saw no reason why anything would go wrong at that point, but one never knew. Once again, the overlord, in any form or shape, never had to make sure that a soul would stay where it was meant to stay. It was as an unknown territory to him as it was to Annabelle coming to hell.

    The moment that realization settled in the girl's features, Leilah placed her hand on Annabelle's arm where she pinched it, rubbing against the spot gently as if she tried to soothe the pain, shaking her head. "No need to apologize, Annabelle," said the woman calmly and kindly. Moments after, she hooked her arm at Annabelle's elbow and began leading her away from the private dining hall, smile and a spark of an idea settling on the woman's face. Asking someone how long they have been dead for was no taboo. Majority of souls did not give a toss and if they were asked they usually replied without a problem. The fresh ones, of course, would break down and cry if they still haven't come to terms with their predicament. For Leilah, however, it was different. She was no soul, after all. "Honestly? I don't know. I stopped counting at one point because, why would I want to know how long ago have I died? I guess it's another step in the process. When you simply stop caring about the fact that your dead and quite ironically, carry on living here. But if it helps..." In a matter of seconds, without raising any suspicions, she had to come up with something from a period that would be familiar to Annabelle. She was not sure whether it would help or not, but it was a hole she dug for herself, and intended to fill. "...I died not long after king Arthur did." Offering Annabelle a quick smile, it was obvious the woman had no idea how long ago that was and it most likely should have been attributed to the fact that she supposedly stopped counting, where in truth, she really had no idea when and if that ever happened. True, she knew the man was a legend, but weren't all legends based on bits of truth?
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