Hades

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Hades is hell. Actually, he’s the god of the Underworld, which is also known as Hades, but who’s keeping track? He’s an all around good guy, except for the fact that he’s king of the dead and named his kingdom after himself. How would I know? I’ve been there myself. I can finally say that I’ve been to hell and back. Sure, the Underworld may not be hell, since everyone goes there (unless you’re related to a god), but it sure seems like it. When you’re surrounded by blood-thirsty wraiths, the word ‘hell’ is one of the many words that you would use to describe the place.

Why would I even be Hades to start with? It was one of those “mind-out-of-body” scenarios. You know, when you’ve had a little too much to drink or a little over tired (do I even have to tell you which category I fall under?), and you pass out and find yourself staring at your own body. I wasn’t dead. I suppose some divine being decided it was time for me to have a little adventure. I didn’t even have a chance to overcome the weirdness of staring at my limp body before I was sucked down to every demon’s home sweet home.

After a quick tour by the king of the Underworld himself (besides from the obvious crown on his head, the fact that he could form coherent words was another giveaway), I found myself wandering the dark wasteland (might as well take in the sights while I was there). According to the ridiculously brief and frank conversation I had with Hades (along with his egotistic attitude, the guy was unbelievably blunt), I was supposed to learn three lessons before I was allowed to leave. I noticed a lot of familiar faces. Then again, when you’ve met one sextuplet, you’ve met them all.

Suddenly, a figure stepped in my way. Automatically, I started to look for any distinguishing figures that might trigger my horrible memory (already I had mistaken my kindergarten buddy for a girl. They really needed barbers down there). The short figure, long hair, and “Hey, dork” greeting instantly gave it away. It was my good friend Chloe, the ever violent addition to her school’s color guard team. I had always hoped that I would pass on before her. I assumed she threw a shoe at the wrong person for the final time. She quickly explained to me that she hadn’t died because she threw a shoe at someone (that was a surprise). It was because a rival color guard team got a little ticked that she totally showed them all up single-handed. Those giant flagpoles weren’t just for show. The lesson to be learned? “Never boast about your skills, either through bragging or your actions. It could be deadly,” she added with an ironic grin.

After a sad goodbye (she promised to haunt me every so often), I continued on my way. Lessons to be learned, people moaning and groaning, demons flying all over the place, the sick smell of sulfur, it was like school all over again.

Soon, I stumbled upon (or rather, into) a blast from the past: my social studies teacher, Mr. Mattingly. He was one of the few teachers that made my eighth grade year not so bad (if you had to dance in tights on stage, your eighth grade year would be pretty bad, too). Aside from teaching us the major events in history, he showed us the fun side of it. For example, who know World War II soldiers (or was it World War I?) had to pee on their feet to avoid a foot fungus disease? It added to my depression to see my old teacher in a place like this. After a few friendly banters (who was one of those awesome teachers that could take a joke), he explained to me that that he had passed on in the most desirable style: he died laughing. Perhaps the piece of pizza that got lodged in his throat had something to do with it, but we both decided to blame his death on excessive laughter. The lesson I learned from him was “Always have a sense of humor… just try not to show it when someone’s eating.”

After I bid Mr. Mattingly goodbye, I left him and started heading towards the towering exit gates of Hades. Hopefully my third lesson to be learned was near the exit. That way, I wouldn’t have to walk far after I learned my last tidbit from hell… I mean, Hades.

I made it as far as the giant wooden gates without meeting someone familiar. I groaned. I really didn’t want to walk all the way back into the center of it all to find someone to teach me something. Loud barking stopped me from turning around. A scrawny looking man was scrambling away from a three headed dog. I recognized the canine as the guard dog of Hades, Cerberus. The guy was a complete stranger to me. As soon as Cerberus had the guy pushed up against the wall, it backed off and returned to its station at the gate. Even though the dog was looking in a different direction, the guy made no effort to move. I called out to him, asking why he didn’t make a break for it. He explained that he abused animals in his life, and as punishment, was placed under the charge of the most fearsome creature in Hades. I had to give the guy props; Hades really knew how to give out the most ironic punishments. Using my awesome deduction skills, I quickly figured out my last lesson and my ticket out of here: “Don’t abuse animals.”

As soon as I figured that out, the giant wooden gates opened to me. It seemed more like a common sense thing than a lesson to be learned, but I wasn't going to complain. I was getting out of here! Cerberus stepped aside, panting happily and tail wagging. On the way out, I gave each of its heads a pat. If it weren’t for the three heads, giant fangs, humongous size, and excessive amounts of drool coming from its mouths, it could’ve passed off as a regular old Labrador puppy.

I woke up with a start. I patted myself and my surroundings, making sure everything was mundane and tangible. It was silent compared to wails of Hades. Flames weren’t erupting from the floor of my room. I breathed a sigh of relief. That was the last time I was going to eat five bowls of rice before bedtime.





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