Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator is traveling through Hell to rescue an abducted Private Hudson. Our hero already encountered the First, Second, and Third Level and is preparing to negotiate the Fourth.
I opened the door to the Fourth Circle and took a look. The souls inside were pushing rocks around, driving them into one another.
“This is the level were those who were only concerned for material goods are punished,” said Virgil as he appeared beside me. “These souls are forever cursed to push these boulders into one another for all eternity. Thus is the penalty for the squanderers, the hoarders, the prodigals…”
“Yeah, looks like it’s a real gas here,” I muttered. “So all I have to do is dodge a bunch of naked guys rolling rocks around here?”
(Rolling rocks? Man, I could go for a Rolling Rock right now.)
“’Twill not be that easy, my friend,” Virgil answered. “You must face Plutus as well.”
“Plutus? You mean like a duck-billed plutuspus or something?”
“No,” Virgil replied dryly. “Plutus is the god of wealth and money.”
“I gotta take on a god, eh?” I replied. “Well, let’s do it.”
I crept into the level, carefully picking my way past the tortured souls. I was halfway through and I thought that I’d just about make it when I heard a booming voice echo through the realm.
“Who dares cross my domain?” Plutus demanded.
“Uh, nobody,” I replied, trying to sound as meek as possible. “I’m uh… ungh.. just pushing this here boulder… yeah…”
“You cannot fool me,” Plutus roared from his cragged throne. “Come closer and be judged!”
I peered around a boulder and looked at the ruler of this Circle. He sat slouched over in a seat, the corpulent flesh of his soft belly poured out of his cloak. His eyes had a certain vacancy to them.
“Wow, you should spend a little time in Circle Three,” I jerked my thumb back towards the door that I entered through.
“How dare you!” the ancient god roared. “You will pay for your insolence, mortal!”
“He’s blind,” Virgil whispered in my ear. “Lame as well, though he is winged and may leave faster than he came.”
“That’s crazy,” I whispered back. “Who would make up something like that?”
“Don’t look at me,” Virgil murmured. “It was the ancient Greeks.”
“Aren’t you Greek?” I replied softly.
“No,” the dead poet hissed in a hushed tone. “I’m Roman.”
“Oh,” I said (whispering). “OK.”
“These hushed tones will not protect you from my wrath!” Plutus howled. “Say your name so that I may know who I destroy”
“I’m Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator!” I announced with my arms akimbo. “And don’t you forget it.”
The sightless spirit howled in rage as his wings unfurled from behind him. They flapped with a thunderous crash and he hurled himself thirty feet into the air, turned and dove straight at me.
I narrowly dodged the attack and rolled away as he crashed into the ground.
“Wow, you may be blind as a bat, Bluto,” I yelled at him. “But it looks like you’ve got their radar, too!”
Plutus wailed in rage once again and hurled himself at me. I dodged once again myself and unholstered one of my pistols. Running away from him once more, I shot a boulder. It exploded and the soul who was pushing it jumped up and cheered.
Plutus swooped towards me, I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, firing at the big rocks along the way. They exploded as well, the bearers cheered and the god howled. His anger rose as the events continued.
I ran towards the general direction of the exit, but in my haste to dodge the swollen celestial, I wasn’t running close enough to it. Even if I got to the door, I would still have to avoid his attack as I opened it. My options became more limited as I ran up to the barrier that the door is built into. As far as the eye could see, there was an unclimbable wall.
Plutus howled and aimed straight for me. I looked back up at him with my back to the wall, unable to move. Then, just as he bore down on me, I dove out of the way again.
He crashed into the palisades and slumped to the ground.
“Well, that was some nice echolocation you got there,” I said as I pulled the door open. “Hopefully you can echolocate yourself back to your chair.”