Aqueous Sins

With an irrational calm I gazed at my surroundings. Red was everywhere. Red seemed to define everything and nearly choked out all else. Where was I, you may ask?

Why, I was thigh deep in a lake of crimson blood surrounded by dead bodies.

How did I get there, you may also inquire?

I died and was tossed into there like useless trash.

They told me that I was there because I had been a bad, bad person in my mortal life. I couldn't remember a damned thing, in all honesty, so what did it really matter? If this is supposed to be my punishment, shouldn't I at least have had the satisfaction of my memories of all the material things I seemed to have indulged myself in that had put myself in that ruby colored setting?

I heard a splash and immediately went on full alert. My body tensed. I had thought that all the bodies in the lake were dead, so what could have disturbed the bloody liquid? I had the feeling that when the waters were disturbed, that was when things would really become unspeakably horrible.

I was not disappointed.

My calm instantly turned to horror as a body floated seemingly harmlessly past myself. The letters G-R-E-E-D were carved into the body's forehead.

I backed away in horrified disgust and bumped into another body. I glanced behind me and saw the letters L-U-S-T carved into this next body.

My eyes widened when I realized something that terrified me. I frantically looked around at the other bodies, not yet fully aware that they seemed to be closing in on me.

Each and every body could not be defined as male or female. In fact, each body seemed to be more like a mannequin, only with soft, spongy, blue-tinted flesh and dead, vacant eyes of white. And, of course, all the bodies had names of sins carved into their foreheads.

I carefully stepped away from GREED and LUST. I turned and tried to run as best as I could through the thick blood, but ENVY, RUTHLESSNESS, IMMORALITY, and VANITY blocked my way.

I tried to hold in the contents of my stomach at the gruesome site, and ironically wondered if I even had a physical body still, or if I was only imagining everything I was seeing.

The mind can play dirty tricks on its masters, as They must know.

I desperately looked around myself on all sides. The lake stretched on for eternity, as did the countless personified Sins.

A mangled hand grabbed my thigh.

I shrieked and twisted around, trying to escape its grasp.

GLUTTONY laughed viciously and tried to drag me under with its death grip.

I tugged my leg away even harder and, thankfully, was released from the pig's hold. However, in the blink of an eye all the Sins nearest me grabbed on any part of my body that was exposed and mercilessly dragged me into the foul depths below.

Somehow the blood-water was deeper than my thigh.

I screamed as I was being unwillingly hauled under and my lungs filled with the burning tasted of metallic blood. The blood itself warmed my skin but made my own blood run ice cold.

I coughed and spewed to relieve my lungs of the awful life substance, but my lungs were only filled again with more vigor. It seemed as though even the currents were against me.

As I was being maliciously sucked downward, the dead bodies around me followed my opposing lead. They became translucent and passed through mine, each bringing with it a horrid memory that I no longer desired to know.

I began screaming and clawing at my own body, trying frantically to escape the agony and pain the memories brought with them. No longer were my mortal deeds "fun" or "cool." No longer did the dark desires I had longed and strived for seem anywhere close to worthwhile. No longer did anything associated with my mortal life seem at all pleasing.

My situation was steadily growing even more torturous and hopeless as more and more Sins were coming back to me. Even the small, seemingly insignificant Sins were making me feel as though my insides were being callously hacked to pieces.

The agony I was feeling seemed to be my own, but also that of someone else's.

I began weeping uncontrollably.

Regret and sadness, so great, no words could possibly describe them, seeped into my every pore.

I knew this was the end. Only more sorrow filled me in the knowledge that I was getting what I deserved. On some inhuman level I was aware that I was only being given a glimpse of the agony that I had rained upon the other One who bore the terrible burden of pain for humankind for so long.

I looked up. I was so far away from the red surface. The dead, translucent Sins kept on barreling through me, but I was hardly aware of them.

I suppose the need to survive, the need to see something that I should not be able to see after all I had done was what made me do what I did next.

My arms moved of their own accord in an upward stroke.

I barely moved an inch through the thick crimson tide, but I kept on moving. I didn't want to think of what would happen if I stopped.

Inch after heart wrenching inch I moved, gladly bearing the full force of the Sins that tried to weigh me down, and the unimaginable pain and sorrow that butchered my heart, or what was left of it, at least.

After a lamentable duration that lasted longer than Eternity, I reached the top of the lake of blood and surfaced. The Sins had stopped running through me a few yards below the surface. Once again the water appeared to be only thigh deep.

Immediately, my lungs spasmed and I coughed up the blood of the retched lake. The blood heaved from my stomach and lungs, the blood that dripped from my cells was a deep black.

I felt sick and overwhelmed, but I was partially free.

That wasn't good enough for me, however. I wanted to be completely free, but I was at a loss as to what I could possibly do to achieve that ultimate goal.

Terrifying moans and screams ripped though the blank surface.

I looked down, my eyes wide with astonished trepidation.

The bodies were massing together, their faces had become hideous masks of hatred, and their once blank eyes were now black with a hidden fire burning beneath their surfaces.

I was terrified.

The fire in their eyes spread outward. In seconds the entire lake, save for a few yards around myself, was engulfed in a raging inferno. It was so unbearably hot and suffocating.

I screamed. I screamed for salvation, redemption, and hope that I didn't deserve.

In mortal life I had idolized the material things of this world, now in death I was paying for it. I instantaneously remembered every single sin, no matter how "great" or "small" they might have been and they brought on more torture to my battered soul.

I didn't know how long I could endure this.

The Sins kept screaming at me and reminding me of my terrible deeds.

I would have wept had my body not become like that of a burning, dry husk.

I thought of my life. In the end it had been anything but productive. Had I not done anything that would make me worth saving?

I thought hard. It was so difficult to think of anything but the horrible crimes I had committed. What had I thought of in life? What had I believed?

Hadn't I believed that this fate would never be mine?

For a second there was pure silence.

All was still.

Then Light exploded around me and pure, unadulterated water swept me up in gentle currents that soothed my troubled soul.

My body was discarded and left in the lake of fire. I never remembered to wonder what Sin would be carved into its forehead. In fact, I never remembered what any of my Sins were, or what the Sins had screamed and accused me of.

The gentle currents carried me for a far distance that lasted another eternity, though, this time, I didn't mind at all.

After a time my hand unconsciously reached out to some invisible beacon, and my hand was gently gripped by another hand.

I was weeping again, but this time, I was weeping with unsurpassable joy.


A/N: And I think anyone with half a brain could figure out what I was talking about. For all of those who enjoyed this story, even despite my underlying themes, I encourage you to read my other dark story, "Define Hell to Me." It's quite good, so my friends tell me.