The Salesman

by Eygló

I am looking out the window, from my apartment in Dis, down towards The Darkest Sin, where the highest of the low live. I see that the light is on in one of his majesty’s suites and I stand and wonder what he does in there. 

And that’s when I realise it. It just hits me.

I am happy here.

It’s the uncensored, bloody truth and it hits me like an avalanche of hot, sulphur-stinking lava. Sure, it has its downsides being here, but have you ever been anywhere that the description didn't fit? 

I don’t know exactly what it was that landed me here, but I don’t resent the fact that this is where I ended up. I guess I deserved it too. 

I don’t know much about the place. I don’t know if it was designed to just bring like-minded souls together or if it was actually meant to punish those who did wrong in their lives. That's what we believe hell is for, right? 

The fire pits, the flaying and the torture is no picnic, obviously, but we all go home at the end of a long day, just like we used to — and to be honest, this is easier. All you have to do is show up for work. The demons handle the rest and there is room for advancement. You get Tuesdays off and if you endure the punishment that’s been picked out for you personally, you get to be the one dealing out the blows in the future. There is also administration, bureaucracy, not to mention the entertainment industry or marketing. And if you’re talented you might get the chance to excel, to design and built a house like The Darkest Sin, or paint something to decorate the walls of his majesty’s suites. There are opportunities here, and shrinks for those who can’t handle the pressure.

Of course, it isn’t all hunky-dory. I won’t lie to you. If you’re still up there, enjoying the sun and somehow reading this, then I won’t claim it’s all good. This place isn’t for everybody, but neither is Iceland, New York, Sydney or Bora Bora for that matter. You do what you have to, you endure, not always happily — but life still happens. 

Even down here, it does, and this time you come back again and again, like Odin’s einherjar on the field of Valhalla, who all woke up from the dead, ate a giant meal and drank beer after the battle was won or lost. What a life! Or death, whichever you prefer.  

When I opened my eyes for the first time down here and saw a demon wearing two horns, a tail and a rather pathetic-looking snout welcoming me to hell in a hoarse voice, I really thought that I would be miserable. I must admit I was a bit surprised too, it’s not something you expect even when you’ve done the things I did.

I guess you could compare it to being sent to prison. I was fucked. I was sentenced for shifts in the fire pits but later I got promoted into the river of boiling blood. We call it River Sanguinem, or Seq for short. I spend my days there. An average working day is about ten to twelve hours. Afterwards I go to the local pub and take a drink, both souls and demons alike do that. After hours we’re all equal, more or less. 

Dis is a dark city. Above there is nothing but darkness, and the lights emanating from the houses and the streets seem somehow to get gulped up by it. As I stand watching it buzz with life, I revel in the drunkenness I feel from the beers I drank earlier and I revel in the love I have for this city. Especially though, I revel in the love I have for the harpy who feeds upon the rooted souls. Her name is Elá and she gets mad if you pronounce her name wrong. The rooted souls are stuck in the sand all day long, and they are fed upon by the harpies. Elá has a beautiful dark hair, glaring eyes and a bosom so big on her dark, feathered body. That was the first thing that struck me about her. She folds her wings when she enters the bar and she only spreads them out when I ask her very nicely. I long to become one of rooted souls. 

I felt the passion towards her right away. What I didn’t expect was that I would find a soulmate in the midst of the fires of hell, deep in the city of Dis, where the sun never shines and all you can see in the sky is the occasional demon on his way home from work. 

I watch The Darkest Sin and I hope one day to be a resident there. I do. I hope that my talents will come to use, that I will be recognised and offered a place there, among the masters, maybe I’ll even meet the mayor himself one day. 

I never expected to be happy in hell. At first I wallowed in the sickness that comes from the stench of the pits and the agony that daily life brings, but the realisation has made me a new man, a happy man. 

I have hope, and even in hell hope is an ally.  

Spark by Michael Marshall Smith

Spark by Michael Marshall Smith

Eygló was born and bred in Kópavogur, Iceland. She studied literary theory at the University of Iceland before moving to the south of Sweden where she is playing house, taking pictures, writing, reading, running and living, when there is time. She never grew up enough to start drinking coffee, but she does know how to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull and how to do a fishtail braid. Instagram and Site.

The Salesman is copyright © Eygló 2015