There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked (Isaiah 57:21).
* * * * *
The broken car blazed at the bottom of Furnace Canyon, cremating the four bodies inside.
Sandra felt herself being lifted from the inferno by a pair of arms.
The face above her was unlike any she had seen at school. It was pure;
it was sweet. An intense radiance surrounded the glorious being who carried her
away from the blackened shell of the car.
“You...you’re an angel,” Sandra cried. “I can’t go with you. Not
after how I treated Betty.”
“Have no fear, my child,” the angel said. “There is room in the Father’s House for all who have been washed in the
Blood of the Lamb. You shall see Betty soon.
For truly heaven is a place whose inhabitants have known the love and mercy of our God, and where these precious Kingdom
blessings are freely extended to others. Behold, He makes all things new.”
From a distance Melanie could see the angel flying heavenward, bearing Sandra in his arms. Surely I can go up there too, she thought. Haven’t I
always heard God is too nice to exclude anybody from heaven?
She attempted to propel her ethereal form into the air to follow them, but she could not. She would be earthbound, until her time came to be escorted elsewhere by the emissaries of darkness.
* * * * *
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God (Psalms 9:17).
* * * * *
There is sometimes a brief interlude before lost souls are carried away to their final abode; a pause
where souls who rejected God’s mercy in life linger in dread of His judgment after death. The souls of Hank, Melanie, and Andy had not yet been removed from Furnace Canyon.
The sun was setting, casting its dying rays upon the charred remains of Andy’s luxury car.
The two combatants had finally ceased their battle for dominance, at least temporarily. Frightened by their predicament, Andy had run off somewhere, searching for a place to hide from the well-deserved
wrath of his Creator, and from the horrible presence of Hank, his bloodthirsty murderer.
There, amid the sharp volcanic rocks and cactus clusters of the deep ravine, Hank and Melanie wandered
aimlessly. Dusk was gathering around them, and the shadows lengthened in the tortured landscape. Vainly they
searched for their companion. “Where is he?” Melanie cried.
“I dunno,” Hank mumbled, his eyes glazed with
“You murdered him, Hank!” Melanie accused. “What a world this would be if it weren’t for men starting wars!”
Hank swiveled around to face her and shook his fist in her face.
“Shut up, you! You and Sandra killed Bigfoot! Women are murderers too!”
Well, at least Andy was human! He’s hiding, Hank...from
“No, kid! He’s hidin’ from God, and if
we had any sense, we’d go crawl in a hole and hide too.”
“Yeah, sure!” Melanie huffed. “As if God’s so blind He can’t flush Andy out of his cozy little snake hole!”
“And we know where Sandra’s at,” Hank said.
“She lucked out. She won a first-class ticket to pie-in-the-sky
to play harps with Bigfoot.”
Even in death Melanie’s unredeemed soul retained all its deeply ingrained viciousness. “So much for the good Lord’s taste in people! UGH! Now
He’s got to fumigate heaven! Poor Sandra.
Good riddance! I always was
too nice to tell her, but I always hated her thrift shop rags and fuzzy hair!”
Like a maniac, she rattled on. “Hey, Hank! Didn’t Mr. Boggs always tell us that natural selection would weed out all mutant life forms? We did old Bigfoot a favor by putting her out of her misery. Now she can’t propagate her own kind!”
Frankly, Hank was getting a bit bored with it all. Why
bother to badmouth Betty if their vicious remarks could no longer hurt her? Hank
was finding the onset of Bully Withdrawal Syndrome quite intolerable. Betty Bigelow
was safely out of his reach. Sandra had just joined her, and Andy was in hiding. The dominant bully needed a new victim_fast!
No one was there but Melanie. So he turned on her.
An evil leer spread across his chiseled face. “In
your present condition, kid, you won’t increase the surplus population either.
But look on the bright side. At least you don’t need birth control
pills no more!”
“You MONSTER!” Melanie shrieked. “How can you be so mean! This is a nightmare! I’ve gotta wake up! This can’t be real!”
“I hate to burst your bubble, kid,” Hank drawled,
“but we really are dead!”
“I can still have babies!” Melanie wailed.
“I’ll be reincarnated! Mom said so!
Her spiritual advisor said so!”
“Reincarnated?” Hank mocked. “As a bat? As a cat?
As a gnat? As a rat?”
Wildly Melanie swung her tiny fists at Hank, enraged by the cartwheels he turned at every taunt. Whenever
she did manage to hit him, her fists went right through his hazy physique, and he laughed all the harder.
The bully was having a ball. “Ook! Ook! All hail the new Betty Bigfoot!”
“Shut up, you louse!”
“A new lizard will soon be hatched in Furnace Canyon!”
Hank announced with mock solemnity.
Melanie stooped to pick up a sharp rock to hurl at Hank,
who was still flipping silly somersaults and rolling clever insults off his evil tongue. But her translucent hands only shot
through the rock like a ray of light penetrates a window pane. She realized that
only the dirtiest insults could hurt Hank, who now had no bones to break.
“You’ll come back as a cockroach in the coach’s outdoor john!”
“I wish I could KILL you for that, but hell, you’re already dead! Well, let me burst your bubble again, dogface! There is no
reincarnation. Sandra went to heaven, so guess where we’re goin’?”
“No! No! You’re
wrong!” Melanie shrieked, desperately trying to convince herself.
“Mom’s minister said there is no hell, except the hell people make
for themselves on earth! God isn’t mean enough to send anybody there! I’ll fly to Sandra. I just didn’t
try hard enough, that’s all!”
“You’re wastin’ your time, kid,” Hank
Frantically Melanie clambered up a low rock shelf which jutted above the wreckage. Her immediate goal was to at least reach the top of that rock. Her
feet felt like lead, but she willed her weightless form to persist until she got there.
What a relief, to stand atop the ledge, high atop the scrub brush.
She’d made progress. She stared down at Hank, who dared her to go any higher.
“Listen, everybody!” Melanie cackled, spreading out her arms like wings. “Look at me! I finally got the figure to die for! I’m weightless! What’s
to stop me from taking off like a silver bullet?”
She heard a wailing wind sweeping up toward her, through the craggy rock formations of Furnace Canyon. She knew the strong air current was there, though she could no longer feel the refreshing
coolness of breezes. Gracefully she leaped from her precipice, longing to ride
the surging updraft and go up to where Sandra was. She was lighter than a dust
particle, but the heavy burden of unforgiven sin caused her to plummet like lead and land in a clump of prickly pear cactus. She felt no pain from the thorny landing, only
crushing disappointment. “Oh, hell!” she spat.
“You said it. I didn’t,” Hank shrugged.
Melanie glared fiercely at the dusky sky. She shook her
fist in impotent rage. She railed against her impending fate, her demon-driven tongue spinning new obscenities. Her last outburst was her mildest: “I
HATE You, God!” Her eyes spat fire.
“You can KEEP Your heaven if Bigfoot’s up there stinking it up!”
“Hey, shut up already!” Hank cautioned. “After that sermon, we’re dead meat for sure!”
“Maybe God’ll just let us roam the earth as disembodied beings,” Melanie whimpered. “Maybe there IS no hell! Please
say there’s no hell, Hank!”
“Don’t bank on it, kid. Once my Aunt Susan
pointed out lots of stuff in the Bible about hell. It’s pretty scary, so
I’ll spare you the details. Damn!
Why didn’t I listen to that woman? She said, ‘Hank, Jesus
died for you on the Cross so you wouldn’t have to pay for your own sins. Why
won’t you pray with me now?’
“But all I ever did was ride her about bein’ a sky pilot.
When I told Mom about her crazy sister, she hit the roof. Said that woman
had mental problems and was just tryin’ to saddle me with a guilt complex. After
that, I wasn’t allowed to go see Aunt Susan and her kids anymore.”
Melanie looked crushed. “So Aunt Susan was right
and Mom’s spiritual guide was all wrong. And it’s your mom’s
fault you’re sitting on death row!”
“Yeah!” Hank growled. “Damn! I hate that woman!”
Melanie saw Hank from a different perspective now. A selfish,
cold-hearted monster who thrived on hatred. “You knew all along there was
a hell!” she wailed. “Yet you made me so mean God locked me
out of heaven!”
“So sue me,” Hank shrugged, turning away.
In the swirling mist of gloom Melanie held out her hands to Hank’s receding, shadowy form. Her pale face was etched with fright. “Hank!”
she choked. “I’m scared! I
need you! I’ve got nobody else! I
can’t love God. I can’t tell Him I’m sorry because that would
be a lie. But if I’ve got to go to hell, please say you’ll
spend eternity with me! Please say you’ll
love me forever, Hank, or I won’t be able to stand it!”
His vicous words shattered her last vestige of hope. “I lied. I never loved you! You
were just a notch on my belt; just a cheap trick I picked up along the way. There’s
all sorts of cute chicks where I’m goin’, and I’m gonna have
the biggest harem in hell! Man, I’m gonna have a blast! Let’s see...I can hit on some of those babes from the
Bible Aunt Susan told me about. Delilah got taken out by Samson when she was still young, and I’m better lookin’ than he was.
And then Aunt Susan told me about all the swingers of Sodom who got nuked by God for partyin’ too hard.”
“Those guys were gay!” Melanie sneered. “Or
at least that’s what I read somewhere.”
“Yeah, but lots of straight swingers go downstairs too. Let’s see, maybe I can look up Salome, the belly dancer, and show her some new moves. But then there was Lori,
that ninth grader who O.D.'d on speed last year and ended up dead. But oh, heck, I just thought of somebody prettier who's
waitin’ for me down there...”
“I hate to disappoint you,” Melanie drawled, “but Bigfoot can’t satisfy you
anymore. She’s up in heaven.”
Hank was stung. “You spasticated slut!” he
exploded,. He reared back to hit
Now the tables were turned. Melanie laughed at Hank’s thrusting fists. They hit empty air. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but I don’t have any!”
“Oh, but I can still hurt you,” Hank let her know.
“When we’re in hell I’ll spread the word about what an easy con job you were. Now that I don’t need your money no more, I can afford to dump you.”
“You grotty creep!” Melanie ranted. “I let you borrow my Jag! You looted my dad’s
liquor cabinet! You used my charge cards!
I starved myself sick for you! I put out for you!”
Hank chuckled. “Yeah, babe. Life was cool while it lasted. Like one great big party. You
should feel flattered, though. I don’t hang out with losers. Bigfoot was a big fat skank. She had nothin’ I wanted. But she kept me laughin’. And so
“You aren’t worth spitting on, you sewer rat!” Melanie shrieked. “Someone will love me! Not everybody is like you!”
Hank grinned evilly. “Wanna bet? Let me clue you
in on somethin’, kid. What goes around comes around. All you ever did was
spread hate and meanness around like horse manure. So guess what’s comin’
Melanie recoiled from a look that had always been aimed at others, now her. A menacing, savage glare more fiendish than it had ever been during Hank’s short-lived career as a bully. His cavernous eyes burned like coals from the pit of hell.
“You little fool!” he hissed. “You’ve
always hated people who aren’t just like you. If a day went by that you
didn’t make somebody cry, you felt like that day was wasted. If everybody
in hell is just like you, who in hell’s gonna love you?”
She opened her mouth to cry, but no tears would come. There
is a release in tears of repentance which is never found in hell. For that matter,
hell has no water of any kind which can grant relief to its tormented captives---not so much as a drop.
Her tearless anguish turned to terror. In the distance
she could see her captors coming. There were six
of them marching along in formation, bearing heavy chains. Wicked, leering, grotesque monsters were dragging a struggling
form behind them. Melanie had never seen such hideous faces as theirs, not even
in horror films. Weakly their prisoner called out for help, but in vain.
“It’s Andy!” Melanie cried. “Let him go!”
“He is bound by the chains of his own wickedness, which he forged in life,” replied the
horrible creature who held his chain. “He rejected the only One Who could
have set him free.”
Hank tried to run away, but his own fear paralyzed him.
“Well done, my boy!” the evil entity chuckled. “Like father, like son! You have
served our infernal majesty well. Now it’s time to go get your reward.”
“NO! NO!” Hank screamed. “Go ‘way!”
The serpentine monster only laughed all the harder. “You’re
rejecting my commendation? I really am stung by that...YELLOW JACKET!”
All three lost souls were tied together into a tight bundle, ready to be thrown into that fire which
will never be quenched. A shroud of dense blackness swallowed them up as they merged into the rocks of the volcanic mountain
to begin their swift descent into the nether abode of the wicked. There that
same darkness they had loved in life would forever separate them from the love of God.