Hell Cop [MultiFormat]
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eBook by David C. Burton
eBook Category: Horror/Dark Fantasy EPIC eBook Award Finalist
eBook Description: When an innocent soul is accidentally sent to Hell, loved ones can hire a certain specialist to return the soul to Purgatory. These specialists are known as Hell Cops. Hell Cop Getter has begun another assignment: retrieve a ten-year-old girl. This time, however, a strange plot is brewing behind the normal dangers of Hell. Hell Cops are disappearing, including Getter's brother-in-law Dimitri, and an army is forming in secret. Teamed with an odd collection of Hell Cops and souls, Getter only wants to finish his mission, but whispers of prophecy have told of a war between Satan and Mephisto and named Getter as a man with a destiny.
eBook Publisher: Silver Lake Publishing, Published: 2004
Fictionwise Release Date: April 2004
44 Reader Ratings:
"Clever and twisted. The story is, by turns, frightening and funny, heartfelt, and sarcastic."--Brian Kaufman, Round Table Reviews
The way to Hell is not straight. It twists and turns, goes up and down, is infinite in length, but finite in time. Sometimes you step through a shimmer that blocks the tunnel and know you've taken a giant step toward the eternally expanding and contracting Netherworld.
I stepped through one of those shimmers and, seeing what lay ahead, crouched down right there and took a big breath. In front of me stretched a long straight section of tunnel with a bulge about two thirds of the way to the next turn. This section occurred at a different location each time I went to Hell, and I knew what it was. I pulled the hood of my fireproof jumpsuit over my head, made sure I sealed the suit tight, and walked carefully on.
The bulge glistened with continuously moving facets--Jump Bugs, thousands of them. They covered the wall and ceiling, forming a gauntlet ten feet long and barely two feet wide. Jump Bugs, each about an inch long, scoured sections of the tunnel, cleaning it of the constantly oozing slime so that the walls were pristine black rock.
They also ate anything that lived. So long as they weren't touched, they left you alone. Touch even one, it jumped on you, followed in seconds by the rest of the colony. Their tiny mandibles can strip a man to the bone in minutes. I saw it happen.
A couple years ago somebody managed to follow me into the tunnel. I had turned the far corner when I heard the scream. I ran back within ten seconds, but it was already too late. All I saw was a whirring, churning mass of black on the floor. A bug covered arm pushed out, but was immediately sucked back into the frenzy. Not a single Jump Bug remained on the wall. I got as close as I dared, aimed my gun where I thought the head should be, and fired. Maybe I spared the man, or woman, a few seconds of pain and horror. I hope so.
Just around the corner from the Jump Bugs are the Tongue Vines. If you're lucky enough, and fast enough, and aren't brought down by the sheer weight of the Bugs like an antelope by a lion, you might make it to the Vines. The Tongue Vines are whip fast vines with rough, flat pink leaves like cats' tongues. They love Jump Bugs. If Bugs are on you, you must stand still and let the Vines scour them off. But don't stand too long. The Vines will not stop when the Bugs are gone.
A few feet from the Bugs, I stopped and removed my small backpack. I breathed in slow and deep to get my chi flowing. Heart racing, I held the pack and my walking staff in front of me, turned my shoulders to make myself as thin as possible, and walked quickly through the gauntlet.
Ten feet on the other side I stopped and breathed again. One obstacle down, an infinite number to go. I continued on. A half mouth, spiky tooth, cat-sized creature darted crookedly at me. I call it Wylie E Coyote because it always returns no matter what I do to it. It has seven unevenly distributed legs, so it has a hard time moving in a straight line. I flicked it away with my staff, but Wylie was a tenacious little beast and kept nipping at my boots. No ten year old girl, my daughter or not, should spend any more time in Hell than necessary. I was in a hurry. I finally had to shoot Wylie and hope the concussion wouldn't alert any demon guards.
Ten minutes later, my time, the rosy glow of Hell proper appeared in the distance. Eager to be out of the tunnel, I nevertheless forced myself to slow down. A Sling Spider always lurked ahead, somewhere.
The cool damp of the tunnel turned warm. The slime dried into razor sharp flakes that rippled with a blood-red glow over the uneven surface. This moving pattern hid a deep indentation ahead where a Sling Spider waited. The way looked clear. The unwary might stride confidently forward, glad to be out of the stifling corridor. They would never make it to Hell by doing that. Not the way they intended, anyway.