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I woke up, falling. My brain racked itself trying to do something, to move a limb to reach for any object, but looking around all I could see was darkness, below and all around me. I screwed my eyes shut and waited to feel the ground, to feel my bones all shatter on impact. It took me a few minutes to realize I wasn’t falling anymore, and that when I felt around with feeling my hands, I noticed that I was laying on something soft and velvety. Groaning, I sat up. My mind was a muddled mess and I couldn’t remember anything before waking up. I slowly opened up my eyes and winced at the light. After a few moments of blinking, my eyes slowly adjusted to the dim light and I looked around the room. It was a fashionable place, with a twinkling chandelier hanging from the tiled ceiling. The wallpaper had a fancy deep grey floral pattern with swirls of silver here and there. The floor was covered with many different animal rugs, and there were priceless items adorning the shelves. Looking down to see what I was sitting on, I noticed I was on top of a deep red velvet couch in front of a fireplace that matched the old fashioned aura surrounding it. “Ah, you’re awake, good.” The deep voice was so sudden, I let out a small scream of surprise. Taking a small breath to calm my nerves, I turned towards the voice and noticed a tall aloof brown-haired figure leaning against a black poker table holding a clipboard, kicking the couch I was sitting on absent-mindedly. He stood and walked over to me while clicking his tongue. I felt a shiver go down my body as his eyes trailed down at my pathetic appearance, in my torn black shirt and navy blue Levi’s jeans that were torn at the knees. I relaxed as soon as he passed by and then tensed again as he stopped at the mantle of the fireplace in front of the couch and leaned against it and stared at me, smirking, like a predator that had caught his prey. “So…” He drawled off as he watched me rub my arm against my stuffy nose, I finished my act and he continued on with what he was saying, “What’s your name kid?” I crossed my legs and looked directly into his baby blue eyes and replied, “Why would you like to know?” Still smiling, the man, who looked around the same age as me, looked down at his clipboard then back up at me. “Jaxon Silas, 18 years old, a senior at Whickleberry High, Father is dead, and mother is a druggie…” He lifted an eyebrow, “Must I continue?” I silently shook my head, shocked. Thoughts rushed through my mind, trying to find a solution. Which is how I get by in the world; if I have a problem, there had to be a solution. That’s how the world worked for me. Anyway, bubbles of different ideas came to mind. Maybe I was kidnapped and this person was holding me for ransom, or maybe this man was here to protect me from some person. I fidgeted with my fingers as my anxiety kicked up, to put it at ease I tapped on my leg against the plush carpet in a rhythmic pattern. The man watched me with an amused expression. He was very expressive, I noted. “Your dead, Jaxon.” He said toying with a golden horse that had been on the mantel, emotionless, “And you’re in Hell.” I blinked, huh? Back the bus up. I stared at him as he continued to toy with the horse, “Wait, what?” I was deeply confused, tired, and scared. I was dead? How? I didn’t remember anything other than darkness that had surrounded me while falling. The man delicately placed the golden horse back onto the mantel with great care, then turned to look at me with a serious expression. “I said, ‘You are dead.’ Do I need to make it more clear?” I shook my head. “Now stand up, you look absolutely pathetic in those rags, which…” He muttered off as he flicked some invisible dirt or dust off his suit cuff, “is unacceptable here.” I watched quietly as he walked past, his shoes made no noise on the rugs. I stood up and followed him. I’m not going to lie, I was so confused. The solution I had come up with was that this was a weird and realistic dream, and the moment I woke up everything would be back to normal. Another man, this one older than the first, stood at the door waiting for us. The two men started a conversation, but I was too far away to hear, so I decided to take a closer look at the man who had spoken to me before. He wore a fashionable black tailcoat, while the other man wore a deep red one, maybe to display who was in a higher power? His spiky hair was a light brown color with the tips dipped in black, and he had soft baby blue eyes. He was very handsome, I can’t lie. With a strong jaw-line and rosy lips, he looked as if he could be a king. The two men ended their conversation and the Usher turned to me and gestured to his side and I slowly made my way over to him. The man in the black tailcoat suit turned to me. “Jaxson, you shall be guided to your room by my Usher, Dexter.” He turned to his Usher, Dexter, and muttered, “Do not take him through the hallway. I actually want someone in the right way of mind. I have disposed of too many.” The man gave me one more loose smile and then left the room, walking down a dark and dimly lit hallway. Dexter turned to me, his curly hair bouncing as he moved, “Follow me, young sir.” He stiffly motioned with a hand to leave the room. The bang of the heavy door thudded throughout the building, I shivered. We walked quietly throughout the dimly lit walkway. I thought about what the man had told me by the fireplace; He mentioned I was dead and worse, that I was in Hell, which couldn’t be possible. I didn’t believe in Heaven or Hell. It just was a bunch of stories parents told their children so they’d behave. You couldn’t go to a place that you didn’t believe in…could you? Before I realized it, we were standing in front of the room I was supposed to change in. Dexter unlocked the door, and I felt guilty for not engaging in conversation with him. He opened it and ushered me inside the darkroom. “Hey, I’m sorry for not talking to you. That was rude of me.” I said while fidgeting with my hands nervously. Dexter ignored me and walked through the door and made his way through the dark and to a closet and opened both the doors, revealing luxurious outfits. “Here are yer clothes, they al’ready have your size so don’t worry ‘bout it.” He then walked past me and out the door. “Once yer finished, come outside. I haft to show ye around.” He muttered dejectedly. The door shut with a muffled ‘thud’ and I was left alone in the dark, barely knowing where I was and who anybody was. I stumbled along the wall for a switch or something to activate the lights within the room if there were any. Suddenly as if on command, the lights flickered on. Surprised, I back peddled and landed onto my butt, “Oww…” I mumbled. I stood up slowly groaning and looked around the now lit room. It was styled in a Victorian-era style, with lavish red wallpaper and velvet cushions decorating the bed and couches. There was only one window, which I found was surprising. “God, this is such a strange dream.” I muttered for possibly the fourth time. I walked over to the expensive closet and looked at the clothes. Reaching out I felt the textures, which they all felt all too life like for a dream. I shook off the thought and made the solution that maybe I was experiencing a strange lucid dream or something. I grabbed a normal black tuxedo, one that wouldn’t give out much attention, and threw it on. I had never worn a tuxedo before. All relatives that could’ve died all died before my birth, so there wasn’t really a reason for me too. Tossed my worn clothes to the side and walked into the bathroom to work on my tie, to which I shortly discarded after a few rages. A few minutes passed and I stared at myself in the mirror. My hair was a mess, sticking up in random places. I had dyed my hair a month before and now it was fading so the tips of my original dark hair color were starting to show. My mother had always said that my honey-colored eyes matched well with my natural hair color, to which I disagreed and dyed it a different color after the other color had faded out. I had a circular face, which always made it hard to find a good hairstyle to use, but it fits. I traced a small scar located on my left cheek, shutting my eyes as the flashes of the memory flew into my mind one by one. My mother in one of her rages, chucking a glass beer bottle at me after I had burnt the chicken that was supposed to be our dinner. I remember running out of the house, crying, as my mother screamed at me to leave and never come back. I flinched as something scratched against the floor. “Having fun dreaming, pretty boy?” I whirled around, my turning breath quick and heavy. There, sitting on the plush couch with his feet propped up onto the wooden table, was the man in the black tailcoat who had talked to me before. He was smirking, again. My thoughts whirled, I would’ve and should’ve heard the door open if he had entered, and there were no other doors in the room, much worse, how long had he been watching me? The man answered as if he had read my thoughts, “I haven’t been here for long, don’t worry.” He pointed over to the couch across from him, “Join me.” I walked over, clearly on edge. I stared straight at him as I sat down, watching his every move. The man clearly not bothered by my behavior and took his feet off the table and leaned forward. “Do you know where you are?” He asked raising an eyebrow, his eyes trailing up and down my body again. I fidgeted nervously, I really wanted to wake up at this point. How long was this dream anyway? “Before you said I was in Hell and that I was dead. But what is truly going on is that I’m dreaming, because both of those two things are impossible.” The man stared at me, his face then broke into a grin and then after a few minutes of quiet, he doubled over laughing. I sat there, becoming slowly angry. I could feel it building up inside. What did I say that was so funny? What I had said was the truth. The man regained his composer and looked back up at me, but I could tell in his eyes that he was trying to not start laughing again. “Hellfire, I forgot how dense human souls can be after they die.” He took a deep breath, “look, kid, Face it. you’re dead, 6ft under, kicked the bucket. You were murdered, stabbed. Got it?” I just stared at him, my mouth opening and shutting as I tried to say something. “You first were sent to the middle ground and then She didn’t want you up there, “He pointed up towards the roof. “ and so she sent you down here, with me.” His eyes flickered with flames for a quick moment. He sat back and gave a shrug. “Sorry, kid.” My mind was aghast. “Im-possible.” I stuttered, “This has to a dream. Just a ******* long dream.” Before I could react the man picked up a sharp knife, that had been on the table, and thrust it into my chest. “Wha-” I cried out as I felt the sharp pain pierce my heart. My hands flew to my chest, but then I pulled them back and stared at them. Nothing, the knife left no mark or injury. If I was in a dream, I wouldn’t have felt anything, and if I had been alive I would be bleeding to death. I looked up at the man with a face of despair. He watched me with an amused expression, he dropped the bent knife onto the table and it clattered against the table. He cocked an eyebrow, “How?” He shrugged, “I really don’t know and I have been here longer than any Hellion. So far It’s been a mystery.” He stood up and pulled the blinds and pointed out the window, “It keeps the sufferers suffering though, so I don’t have to do anything.” The screams of a man drowning in flames rang through my ears, and you could see his melting flesh, it was like a movie with the scene repeating every minute, gagging, I looked away. “Why would anyone do this?” I asked in horror, my body wrenching in disgust. “Well lovely, I don’t know. Why would someone murder an innocent child by throwing them into a fire?” He stared right at me, his warm baby blue eyes were cold, and his voice was devoid of any emotion. I didn’t look at him when I answered, “I don’t know…” The man walked over and sat down and I stood up, “Dexter is waiting for me, I should go.” I wrung my hands and walked over to the door and opened it. Dexter looked up from the book he was reading, nodded and walked down the hall where he waited for me. Just as I walked out the door, the man called after me. “Jax, the names Luce by the way.” I flipped him the bird before running off after Dexter.
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