Summary: When Trent died, Skylar Lan was appointed as his spirit guide through purgatory. But Sky's too busy trying to conquer the immortal realm to help Trent reach salvation. Hell is other people, is it not? M/M
Shot to Hell
Trent groaned as obnoxiously bright, fluorescent light began assaulting his senses, despite his eyes being closed. His damn eyelids were doing nothing for him but giving the brightness a slightly pink tint.
His head was pounding fiercely. A throbbing in his skull that wouldn't go away.
Muttering, shuffling feet, ruffling papers. Shadows moving, blocking out the light streaming past his eyelids.
The noises did nothing for his head ache.
"Confirmed, he's all-"
"-transfer him to-"
"No, that's for- ims"
Trent couldn't make out the conversation happening on his left, but it didn't sound all that 'great' to him.
Things felt muffled. Sounded muffled, as if he was wrapped in layers of cellophane so thick it warped his surroundings.
Where am I? The Hospital? What time is it?
He reached a hand up to massage his temples.
And noticed that something was amiss.
No, not amiss so much as missing.
His right ear was gone.
Trent gasped for air as if it were his last opportunity to supply his lungs with oxygen, his eyes snapping open as he shot up from where he lay.
"Gah!" He shrunk backwards into the bed as a woman with curly red hair, cigar hanging from her lips, was the first thing to appear in his line of vision.
"Ah, good. You're entirely dead now." She spoke, voice deep and scratchy from tobacco.
"Wha-" Trent breathed, confused.
"Well, for about an hour you were not at all well, which was surprising, given the circumstances. Then for the past two days you just layed there being mostly dead. Would've been quite a lot of paper work if it remained that way. That put us behind schedule a bit, so Jack's at his other appointments, he'll be back soon."
Trent remained silent, not in shock from the lady's words, but in horror at what he realized he was seeing.
With each puff at her cigar, the smoke she exhaled was not coming out of her mouth or her nose, but from her chest, where there were three gaping holes.
What. The. Fuck.
The woman noticed his frozen, wide-eyed stare.
"I died a while ago, you see. Procedures have gotten much better over the years and Jack's a veritable genius when it comes to these things. Pristine work he did patching you up, kid. Still, shame about the ear."
"Uh." Trent didn't know how to respond, but it didn't seem to matter, as the woman had continued to prattle on, her eyes becoming unfocused, lost in memories.
"When I died, it was February- always hated that dreary month- of 1911. My husband discovered I'd been having an affair the entire time we were married. For twenty years I'd been sleeping with his younger sister. When he found us in bed together, he shot me in the chest, no hesitation. Just, Bam! Bam! Bam! Real quick like. Last thing I saw were his hands wrapping 'round Sophie's neck…"
Trent remained silent. What could he say? 'Sorry' seemed empty and worthless, but should he say it anyway?
The woman had been dead for a hundred years, Trent realized.
How long do people stay dead for?
Stupid, it's obviously forever. You don't just stop being dead.
But… the whole reason I wanted to-
Trent's thoughts were interrupted as the door was flung open by a man with dreadlocks wearing a long white coat over, ironically, a hospital gown.
"What's up, man?" He spoke casually, the syllables drawn out in a lazy fasion.
"Hello, Jack." The woman called.
The man ignored her protest in a way that seemed fairly routine. He pulled up a chair to Trent's bed, straddling it, "I'm Doctor Payne. Seems like you've had a successful death."
Trent rolled his eyes.
Dr. Payne? Seriously?
"Dude, I fixed you up as best I could. Sorry 'bout the ear, but when you came in." The man made an exploding sound, hands shooting outwards, palms open, giving action to the noise. "Bits of brain and skull everywhere. I'm sure not all of it showed up with you, but don't worry, you won't really be needing it."
Trent coughed after sucking spit down his wind-pipe in shock at the words.
Bits of my brain are gone? What does he mean bits of my brain are gone? How can I not be needing that?
But the Doctor was already standing up, lab coat twirling around him as he headed back out the door. "Peace, got the chopped up bits of a girl to piece back together."
"Alright, guess that means you're clear, let's go."
Lizzie started towards the door, and Trent realized that she wasn't wearing a dress, as he first thought, but a slip with long, old-fashioned undergarments peeking out below the hem.
Trent looked down. He was wearing baggy black bondage pants and a torn black shirt. He figured, with less surprise than he expected to feel, that the darker spots on his clothes- some large patches, some small splatters- were blood stains.
Sucks for those who die butt-naked.
"Are you coming or not?"
Trent shook his head to clear his thoughts, realized that it probably looked like he was protesting, and so he spoke.
His voice came out surprisingly clear and smooth, without the usual discomfort that comes from dehydration or lack of use.
Sliding out of bed onto bare feet, he trailed Lizzie out the door and into a long, bare concrete hallway, completely empty of furniture and hospital supplies. Occasionally a person would enter the hall and then disappear through another doorway. The dirty, cream-colored walls, with an eggplant trim, gave a distinctly institutional feel, only eerier.
I thought heaven was supposed to be all golden yellows and pure whites.
Lizzie stopped in front of rusty metal gates to a rickety old elevator. It didn't look safe at all.
I wonder what happens if I plummet to my death when I'm already dead?
"Well, hop in. I'm running late as is."
"Right." Trent stepped into the elevator and the woman pressed a button for the basement.
"W-where are we going?"
"Like the river?"
"No, no. The subway. Acheron Industries drained the river years ago so they could build the subway is what I heard. I wasn't working here during the time. Although the president denies it. Says it happened naturally. Dunno how it could. Nothing but the supernatural here. But the subway system's quicker and carries more passengers, so I'm not complaining. Makes my job easier."
"What's your job?"
"I handle the problem cases; make sure the transfer happens smoothly."
"What kind of cases?"
"Purgatory, Hell, Hauntings, Eternal Damnation, those sorts of things. D.R.A.T. subleases me to Acheron for the proper shepherding of souls."
"Ah," Trent nodded as if he understood.
And then several problematic words finally registered in his mind.
"Oh, I probably shouldn't have told you that."
"Hell? E-eternal damnation? What the fuck! I don't deserve that!"
"Nah, you're probably gonna be transferred to either the purgatory or hauntings department. The head of hauntings is a real nice fellow."
"No. No fucking way."
Death is supposed to end my suffering not make it worse!
"I mean, fifty years ago, you'd probably be-" Lizzie made a slashing motion across her throat, "-dead meat, excuse the expression. But with all the reformations going on, sentences have been lightening. Some groups are even pushing for the end of corporal punishment. Don't see the higher-ups approving that one though."
The elevator pings as it finally came to a stop, opening up to what looked remarkably similar to-
"Yep. Jack says they tried to get Charles Yerkes on the job. Unfortunately he was held up with reliving the Great Chicago Fire on loop- a harsh punishment for his crimes that is, some underhanded dealings went on, most like- and Acheron couldn't get approval for a suspension of his sentence. So they hired Alfred Beach to design the subway system instead."
Lizzie strode out onto the platform, "Well, come on then."
Trent remained standing rigidly in the elevator, arms crossed in defiance.
"I don't want to. I don't want to be punished. I didn't do anything."
"Well, maybe there was a mix-up. They sometimes make mistakes. If you're clean, then when you fill out the papers at Acheron, I'm sure they'll transfer you to Good H.A.N.D.s"
"No. No. I can't go." Trent protested, shaking his hands in front of him, panic creeping up from the pit of his stomach.
"Why can't they ever go easily?" Lizzie sighed to herself, hiking up her slip and pulling out a small handgun strapped to her hip. There was the glint of something else metal- a blade maybe- still attached to her side as her slip fell back around her thighs hiding it from view.
She aimed the gun steadily at Trent.
Automatically, Trent jumped back, raising his hands above his head.
You jack ass, you're already dead, what's a bullet gonna do, kill you again?
"What's the point in shooting me?" Trent tried to make his voice sound confident, cool. He was not about to piss his only pair of pants.
How does one do laundry in the afterlife?
Do I even need to use the restroom anymore? And what about breathing, could I stop if I wanted?
"Besides putting you through unbearable pain?" Lizzie asked sarcastically.
"Y-yeah, besides that."
The woman pulled out a cigar from behind her back with a twist of her hand.
It's like it materialized out of thin air! How did she do that?
She waggled the cigar at his surprised expression. "Job perks."
She didn't explain further, just lit the cigar and inhaled the heavy smoke.
" 'Nways," She spoke around the cigar while cocking the semi-automatic. "These bullets were 'specially developed by the brainiacs over at the Naraka Institute. They're laced with a special serum. If one of these bad boys breaks through your skin, poof! Reincarnation as a cockroach."
"Better than going to hell!"
"You gonna keep being reincarnated as a cockroach for the rest of eternity? Next time you show up here, your sentence ain't gonna be as nice, trust me. At least you have a chance to get out of this mess first time around."
"Out of this mess! Out of this mess! And go where exactly? I don't want this! I want to be dead, not live forever!"
"You're not alive. You're dead, dead forever, and you'll soon find out there's a distinct difference."
"No. No. No." Everything that had happened was starting to register with Trent, the uncertainty of his future exacerbating all the events leading to this. The fact that he couldn't ignore it any longer only made him deny the situation more fervently. This could only be a nightmare. It couldn't be real. He'd wake up, in a real hospital or in his own bed.
"You're dead. It'll be better for you if you just accept that," Lizzie spoke sternly, her voice tinged with slivers of empathy that were waning as the years passed.
"Then why can I still think? Why can I still feel?" His voice shook from unwanted emotions and poorly suppressed memories.
Cool steel pressed against his temple, adrenaline pumping through his veins, blood-shot eyes reflecting in the hotel mirror-
"I wanted nothing!" He shouted at her, at the throngs of people that had come for the subway, at whomever or whatever made him come here.
"Baby," Lizzie whipped her long red hair behind her, swinging her arms wide, outstretched- pistol in one hand, cigar in the other, smoke still curling out of the holes in her chest, "There ain't nothin' but nothing here."
This isn't going to be overly religious, except in the fact that it will incorporate different concepts of death and the afterlife. a major bit will be christian concepts, as that is what i am most familiar with (i was raised catholic, but im atheist- oh the arguments i had w/ my parents over that!). Just so people don't get turned away by all the heaven hell and damnation talk.
Haha, Lizzie started out as this old hag who smoked too much and then she just got more and more bad-ass.