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Liskeard Writers Group Prompt ‘Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

LWG – 07/08/2018 – Prompt: “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” William Shakespeare, The Tempest A1Sc2

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Silence. An eerie blankness of silence, silence like you get when… well, never.

Never had there been a silence like this one. And in such a place.

A place where there was supposed to be so much noise, and so much heat…

but, the furnaces were cold, the pits were ashen, the treadmills slumbered wantonly, without a single murmur.

There was a note. Pinned to a door. The words written hurriedly in fiery red letters, were:

‘All the devils are temporarily absent; there is a performance of Will.I.Am’s version of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and we all have to be there for the Shipwreck Scene, as reported later in the performance by the aerie faerie Ariel. So sorry for the inconvenience. We’ll be right back after we have done our bit for the theatre.’

The note was signed ‘Baz, Head Devil.

I moved soundlessly amongst the mounds of earth, the sharp tools of encouragement, and the pits of oppressive oppression. It was my chance to observe up close how the other half live – after they die.

All in all, it was rather well organised. A place for everything cruel – and everything cruel in its place. Rows and columns of deep trenches and high ridges, ready for various strenuous tasks, spread out as far as the Divine eye could see; areas for communal activities; and spots for quiet contemplation. No, no, not the last one – except for today. Today, when there were plenty of points in my self-guided tour where I could perch and consider the normal workings of such a place as this; and, when I say self-guided, I could possibly have said ’mis-guided’.

Someone had left the door unlocked when they’d left – even though there was a large orange sign on the inside saying: ’Will the last devil or daemon to leave the office please ensure that the door is locked behind them. Thank you.’ It was signed ‘The Management’.

But, who reads signs these days? Nobody round here, obviously.

Anyway, back to the tour.

On a point of decor, it could have done with some flower beds to lighten the mood; and not just a garden of Red-Hot Pokers – of which there were many; but, not the flower type – which, pokers, incidentally, were cold to the touch just now –

Some Begonias, Chrysanthemums, or a Herb Garden would have been nice.

Nice, but a little incongruous, perhaps.

Maybe a stream running through. Well, one with water in it, anyway.

Here is probably as good a point as any, to explain to you who I am, and what I am doing in this most evil of places – not that it seems particularly bad at the moment – they obviously had a bit of a tidy up before they left.

My name is Ged. The Bible-writers were close; but, no cigars for them – for cigars were not to be invented for another millennium and a half, or so.

Anyway, Ged, with a capital G, is my name, and I am the Creator (with a capital C) of all that there is, or was, or will be. Which is quite funny when you look at how little I actually do on a day-to-day basis.

Well, believe all that hype if you want, I am just a simple man with simple tastes and have variable features depending on how people think I should look. Which is awkward for some when they do meet me and I look nothing like what they were expecting.

I should really stick to the long flowing, silvery-white hair and beard, but it’s so scratchy in the Summer, and it takes ages to wash and keep in good condition. My skin colour is also variable – and not through tanning.

It has been proposed that I do not exist at all – if some theories are to be believed I am a figment, as is my pigment – a little Ged joke there for you – you’re welcome.

But, that’s a discussion for a very rainy day.

“Why am I here?”

Well, I’m visiting the realm of Hades, also called Hell; but not Helvetia – which is another name for Switzerland – so, unless you are apt to be tormented by Toblerones or Cuckoo Clocks…

Unusually for Me, I had a few days available on My calendar, nobody was bugging me for a visit, the relatives were both off visiting Shangri-La-La Land, and so I looked at my Bucket List. Not that it’s a real ‘50-things-to-do-before-I-die’ sort of Bucket List – I’m immortal – but, with my quirky sense of humour I had written a few things upon a celestial bucket, and so…

… this visit was at the top.

Well, quite near the top.

And circumstances were… shall We say, opportune.

Back to the present.

I know that the staff here will be back sometime soon, and so I’ll make My tour of the lower realm a somewhat superficial one – it never pays to look too deeply into the ethical workings of such a place, or you may find a few ‘skeletons’ loitering dejectedly in their closets.

‘Take only pictures, leave only footprints’ they say – which phrase, I would have liked to have popped in as another commandment – as if that would have made a difference.

Well, seeing as I walk at a height of three inches above the ground and own neither camera nor a phone with a photographic capacity, I shall just record this visit in my expansive memory – which happens to be a curse, and a blessing – and send out a memo to the angelic fraternity when I get back, that Hell’s description on TripAdvisor is largely inaccurate and that they would be better off following Lonely Planet’s advice to ‘Steer well clear of this place if you can – much too hot for an intrepid, thrill-seeking traveller’s liking – average 1 star rating – no ATMs, poor laundry facilities’.

I must agree with the Angel Gabriel on some points about Hell or Hades – even though I’ve seen it on a ‘quiet’ day – and they are relating to it’s work ethos – they certainly incentivise the workforce (although the rewards system is somewhat lacking) and there is a very high percentage of attendance by those employed here.

It all seems a bit too dreamy in Heaven – and I have a deep and worrying feeling that harpists are becoming outnumbered by believers in the Eukarist as in players of the ‘Uke’ also known as the ukulele; and, if I hear ‘When I’m cleaning windows’ being played badly one more time…

… well, the wrath of Ged may soon be lowered upon the strummers of the four strings.

I may even have to reinstate the transference of bodies from Upstairs to Downstairs – or, their Ukuleles at the very least.

Oh, well, My time is up (for My visit here, anyway) and I must get back up top. I think there is a bingo tournament planned for this afternoon – and I wouldn’t want to miss that now, would I?

‘Top of the shop – Ged the Creator!’

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