The Aftermath Chapter 5

Entrance To Hell

By Cait

It was dark. He couldn’t see anything except a strange world of pure black. There was nothing, not a single sign of light. Everything was engulfed in darkness. How long it had been like this, he didn’t know. It seemed like an eternity. The view wasn’t boring but instead scary. It would have made him shiver if he could move at all but he couldn’t. His muscles wouldn’t respond to anything that he told them to do.

So, he was scared. He could never remember being so scared of anything before. He’d seen a painting in his childhood entitled “The Entrance to Hell.” His memory of it was vague, but he still could recall seeing a huge doorway. Beyond the doorway was nothing but blackness. Was this the entrance to Hell that was depicted in the painting? It set the fear off inside of him and made him want to scream but he couldn’t. Nothing, no sound at all would come forth from his throat and that brought on only more fear.

Minutes felt like hours and hours felt like an eternity. Yet, no matter how long he drifted through the blackness, it never ended. There was no change in color, or movement or anything along those lines. He thought that he probably had some destination but wherever it was, he had yet to reach it and doubted that if his ‘travel’ kept up like this, he wouldn’t reach it anytime soon.

“Camus…” The voice was booming and sounded as if it came from everywhere. The sudden noise startled him and he turned his head around in every which direction to see if he could find the source of the voice. Before he discovered the source, he realized something else: he had moved his head. Maybe he could move the rest of his body as well.

He tried to call back but his voice only came out as a small whisper. His voice was raspy and his throat was very dry and sore but that didn’t stop him from trying more. “Miklotov… I am awake! I’m just … Where are you!?” He tried to bring more volume into his voice but his calling only grew weaker as he continued to speak.

“Face it, Miklotov.” Viktor’s voice was the next to shatter the silence of the blackened surroundings. “Pretty boy’s taking in a large dose of beauty sleep right now. I don’t know how much beauty will come out of this rest but one can only hope.” Despair, almost some guilt, hung on the words that only made Camus confused.

“Viktor! What are you talking about!? What…”

The world around him suddenly exploded in color and shapes. He stood in his room, in front of his mirror. His comb was in hand and he was using it to fix his chesnut locks. His room looked like it did on any other day and he was doing just as he normally did each morning. It felt strange to him, to be combing out his hair, especially when he just spent a long amount of time drifting through nothing but darkness. After a moment, he realized that he had no control over the body’s movements, however it looked like him and moved like him. He was seeing everything that it was doing, as if he was sitting inside the head and watching as someone else controlled his body.

“Camus!” The body turned and he saw Miklotov bursting into his room. “There’s been a stabbing up in the main hallway. Come on. They want us both up there, now.”

A stabbing? Before Camus could think of anything else, the body was out the door and jogging down the hall with Miklotov only a few feet ahead. It was a short trip through a number of halls and finally down a flight of stairs. Surrounding the entrance to the main hallway, were dozens of people who were all wondering what was going on. Camus recognized some soldiers from his platoon but they all ignored him as he and Miklotov pushed them out of the way. They were far too busy chattering with one another to see if someone else knew something about the incident that they didn’t. It was a chaotic situation.

The chaos was worse inside the hallway. Camus saw Flik, Viktor, and Shu together, their faces holding grim expressions. They were speaking but Camus was unable to hear them above all the other noise that was in the room. Soldiers held back a small crowd of people that was surrounding Dr. Huan as he leaned over a man’s body. “What happened?” Miklotov leaned over to ask a nearby soldier. “Who was stabbed and who did it?”

“We don’t know who did it but the victim was Sir Camus. A cleaning maid found him lying there. Lord Ethan confirms that he has probably been there since before sun rise. Lost a lot of blood…” Miklotov’s own grim expression took over his facial features upon hearing the news.

Camus was no longer paying attention. He was the one who had been stabbed? “But I’m here!” He shouted, his voice echoing over the rest of those within the room. No one heard him. His voice just dispersed into nothing.

More fear began to settle in as the body slowly moved towards Dr. Huan. Brilliant red blood covered the doctor’s hands as he worked with the one who laid below him. He peered over Huan’s shoulder and gasped at what he saw there. The red liquid that covered the doctor’s hands was ... his ... blood.

His eyes widened and his mouth was agape. Below him, as he stared out of the eyes that he thought were his but apparently weren’t. He was unsure of who’s body he was staring out of right now because lying on the ground was him. Camus. Blood had stopped flowing from an apparent wound on his face and back but it only seemed that they stopped because Huan had taken care of them all ready.

Just as quickly as it came, the scene disappeared and the darkness returned. He could no longer move any body part as he drifted slowly through what he now knew was the entrance to Hell.


Nina stumbled weakly through what she believed was a forest. The strip of cloth that covered her eyes kept her from seeing much of anything as she was led through the rough terrian. A wad of cloth was also shoved into her mouth, in order to keep her from screaming or making any other noise at all. Her hands had been tied behind her, which made walking much more difficult.

Her captors weren’t exactly the nicest folk. When she stumbled over a tree root jutting out of the ground or simply collasped due to exhaustion, they grabbed her by her matted blond locks and pulled her to her feet. They shoved her, Walter, Yoshino and Freed along the rugged landscape mercilessly and they only stopped when darkness fell. That was the only time that they removed the blindfold and the gag but they tied her feet tightly, so she wouldn’t run off while they were asleep.

Nina would have screamed but she was too tired to muster up any form of noise that would be loud enough to be heard by anyone else. Also, she knew that, if she could scream and someone heard, the men would be moving or perhaps even kill her, before anyone helpful could arrive. The others kept quiet as well, which Nina thought meant that they had all ready thought of the exact same thing.

The men, whose names Nina gathered as being Jayson and Finn, gave them sips of water whenever they stopped or became too weak to travel during the trip. Food, on the other hand, was shared between the two captors and only them. Nina’s stomach grumbled endlessly due to it being empty for a total of three days and she knew that most of her weakness was from lack of eating.

She was scared. Tears would form in her eyes only when they were supposed to be sleeping but sleep would never come. Yoshino and Walter were able to sleep and Nina was glad that they could find some peace, even during the time of terror. Freed, however, was more disheveled and depressed than Nina was, and wished not to sleep.

“What happened?” She whispered to Freed one evening while the others slept.

“You mean in Rockaxe? Before the men came to Greenhill and overthrew everything there?” Nina nodded and Freed continued. “Things were going all right, at least I thought. We were coming up with ideas on how we could improve the area. In fact, I was in the middle of working on a letter to Lord Ethan, to see if he would assist since the Valiance has been stable for some time.” Slowly and as best as he could with bound wrists, he reached into his pocket and withdrew a piece of folded paper that was crinkled and torn in many areas. “It’s fairly worthless now, though.” He made a good effort to toss the piece into the nearby fire however it fell short. The failure at such a simple task brought out a sigh.

“Are you all right?” But Nina knew the answer.

“No, I’m not, Nina and I’m amazed that you can even pretend to be, since you know what I’m going through.” He brought his bound hands up to his face, trying to situate them so that they would cover it. “Rockaxe was my responsibility…but I was blind to see what was really going on. How unhappy my people were. I guess I was just so proud of myself to have been chosen by Ethan to bring Rockaxe back to a state of stability, that I didn’t see how much fixing was really needed.

“If only I would have seen this happening sooner… I would have started repairing Rockaxe instead of putting most of my time, effort, supplies, and men into the Valiance and its reparations, none of this would have been happening. I apologize for all of this, Miss. Nina. The entire situation was my fault.” He hung his head, allowing his hands to fall into his lap.

“Stop that!” Nina’s whisper was harsh. “That’s like… not true at all. You were doing what you thought was right and even the greatest of leaders make mistakes. We’re gonna get through all of this and you’ll be given the chance to change your ways. Don’t worry, everything will work out in the end.” She didn’t believe her words, however she prayed that Freed would. She felt awful, knowing what he was going through and since he had to be going through the same thing that she was made her feel even worse. What added onto that was the fact that Teresa knew nothing about what was going on. Hopefully she would find out before attempting to return to Greenhill…

Her thoughts were broken by Freed’s weak whispers. “But Nina … it seems to obvious. All the problems, the unhappiness, everything. I can’t believe I didn’t see any of this earlier.”

“Freed…” But she fell silent, not knowing what else she could possibly say to make him feel any different. She knew that there wasn’t anything. “You better get some sleep. They’ll get us up and moving as soon as the sun is up and I hate to see them treating you roughly.”

When Freed only nodded, Nina sighed and brought her legs up to her chest so she could put her chin upon them. She kept her eyes on him until he situated himself in half-lying position, his back to her. Then, her eyes flickered shut and she attempted to sleep. However, sleep never came to her and she knew that Freed wasn’t able to rest much either, if he could at all.

Once the sun rose, and Jayson and Finn arose, they were back on the move again. They were blindfolded, gagged, and their hands were tied. They were shoved mercilessly through the forest, grabbed by their hair if they stumbled and yanked back to their feet. Nina realized something that day, when she stumbled just about every ten feet: the physical pain from her hair just about being ripped from her scalp did not bother her anymore. That pain, she knew, would eventually go away. However the emotional scars would always be there. She knew that and she hated the fact that she would have to live with it for as long as the rest of her life. So, right now, the beginning, was only the entrance to it all. The entrance to her own Hell.

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