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It was hot, and the flowers that laid on the smooth black coffin had already begun to burn and wilt. Behind the preachers deep bored voice, were the sounds of summer. The mosquitoes pierced and moaned in fulfillment, and the butterflies among the flowers were drunken in their own beauty. And for what seemed like miles, even the graves were beautiful. The old withered tombstones were distinguished and respected, but they only hid the remains of the sinners, the repenters, the believers, the non believers, and even the ones to young to know. Now, among these remains, fresh, though just as dead, is my brother, Azrael Valero.
My brother and I grew up in the Catholic church where my mother had left us before she committed suicide; not long after I was born. Our biological parents where young and stupid, and didn’t want us. Our mother was 16 when she had my brother. I guess she didn’t learn the first time that our father would leave her after got pregnant again. At least I can thank her for not leaving us out in the street to die. And my father? Who knew. For all my brother and I could care, he could be rotting in a ditch somewhere rotting away with people much like himself, eating each other alive, living in purgatory.
My name is Osiris Valero. My brother and I never knew how our parents. As far as we knew, we were Hispanic and we were known as the average “poor abandoned souls“. And I guess judging by our characters, we sure acted like it.
My brother always had bruised and bloodied knuckles from the ruler that the Sisters would smack him with, either from not doing homework or reciting the Our Father and Hale Mary, “You will be sent to Hell if you don’t repent your sins Azreal! And Jesus will suffer for your sins!” that’s all I heard when they forced him into confession. I was the quiet one, the one who always did what I was told, even though I felt just as disruptive as my brother, I always thought I was worse since I am more of a two face than anything else. At least Azreal had the decency to act how he felt and never held back.
Things didn’t change much after we were able to leave the church when my brother turned 18. He behaved well enough to hold a job at Pic-n-Save during the day, but at night or on the weekends it was a different story. The drinking, the sex, and if not at his girlfriends house, it was ours unfortunately. And when he did bring her home, I made sure I wasn’t in the house. I would read outside on the roof or listen to my music really loud. Though my brother was the wild one, he always took care of me. Made sure there was food, water, something for me to do so I wouldn’t end up like him. He even took the liberty to enroll me into a local community college so I can study literature, writing, and music, he even got me a violin for cheap at a pawn shop. When I wasn’t practicing or writing, I would over to our neighbors house that befriended us when my brother and I moved in. Her name was Nettie; her family had money when she was a girl, and she would spend her allowance on books, now she practically has a library. I always went to her to borrow books and discuss them with her, like our own private book club. In return for my company, she would make me home made French fries; I always had to make sure she turned the stove off after.
Everything was great until I turned 18 when my brother was murdered in a violent bar fight one night. The rage and hatred I had against the world was of an old, wrinkled pit bull put in the fighting ring too many times and has the scars of every bite, scratch, and burn of every fight, and owner with a branding iron. And I would to travel to the depths of Hell itself to find the man that murdered my brother.
How did I pass through the gates if hell, unscaved and undead, I could not tell you. For I, do not know myself. What was important is that I was there and I had started my journey to find my brothers murderer. Why I set out in this journey? It is only simple. I wanted to make sure myself that that damned of a human being was getting what he deserved, and felt the suffering he had given me.
I headed on weary and weak from the first six circles. The uneven and broken path down going deeper into Hell had left my legs sore and cut. The heat and smell of dead flesh and hot blood had left my mind in a haze and my eyes droopy and watery. But nothing was compared to the horrid sights that left me sick to my stomach and my guts running down the jagged rocks before me. But I moved on. My brother was the only thing on my mind, the only figure that gave me strength to make sure his murderer was at the sight of no mercy.
I wiped the stinging sweat from my eyes and sweared to myself as I vomited at the sudden wif of hot boiling blood and flesh. I stumbled down the fallen rock wall, making down to the seventh circle, and there I found the river of blood. I crouched down behind a small rock to hide from the Centaurs who watched over the sinners who where in different depths of the boiling blood. My instinct told me that these were the murderers. Something in my senses tingled so that I knew I found what I was searching for. And like an eagle my eyes focused on each sinner, raping past the dried blood and sweat on their faces. My nails dug so deep into the rock in front of me that I felt the tips of my fingers begin to bleed. I crouched up on my toes to see better, so stiffly and steady, my toes curled and cramped. I felt the tingle run up my legs and up my hands until I nearly bolted and jumped on the rock when I had finally found what I was looking for.
There up to his chin in boiling blood, stood that damned of a human, screaming in pain, yelling to the Lord for forgiveness as if he would ever waste his time on sinners who Satan had already taken and claimed as his children. For the first time, I watched the scene in such enjoyment. My felt my grin grow wider and wider, ear to ear. So wide my face felt stretched in such an awkward way I have ever felt before. I almost crackled at the scene until I caught myself and just chuckled softly to myself. It must have been hours that I had been watching him scream and whimper. My face grew numb and the rock I was leaning on had left indents on my skin so that when I moved to change positions, it where as if removing a sticky band aid that sent spikes down into my skin. I made my way down closer to the river to where the damned human stood, still in his pathetic tantrums. I tried to be as smooth and agile as I could down the jagged slope, but my legs had fallen asleep, and every step was like stepping on wet wires with bare feet.
I had managed to make my way down next to him without being seen and hid
behind a larder rock, three feet away from where he stood. There I whispered to him,
“How does it feel to be one of the suffering damned human?” Startled, he screamed and turned to me as white as the dried blood and sweat could allow and stared at me in disbelief. In this sight, I snickered and grinned and said more confidently, “Remember me?, I was the one you put to suffer, you took my brother! The only thing I had left in this world to keep me sane! And now you suffer as much and even more than I! You boil in your own guilt and conscience! And I have seen to it that you have!”
And at that. I grabbed a near rock and threw it at is head. His face still dumfounded, white and dreaded, cocked backwards and his bloodshot eyes closed as he submerged into the boiling blood. Minutes had passed, and I had stayed there, motionless, starting at the same place where he disappeared, as if waiting for him to emerge once again. Sure and confident, I knew he would come back only to feel more pain and even more suffering; I got up still grinning, satisfied, and even less hungry. I turned back to the broken path of Hell joyful and happier than ever before. I had gotten what I came for, and ironically, so did the damned human. (haha)I must say, I did get the better end of the stick on this one.
I took one last look at the river of blood, only to once again grin a the sight. Once again there he was, throwing his pathetic tantrums. I laughed, turned, and walked away.
Then, after a few spaces, I realized; I had gotten what I came for, now it was time to find a way back home. I looked about, and thought to myself: My journey is not over, it has only just begun.