Fellow Fresno Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writer member Roh Morgon is hosting a blogfest at her site, a fun exercise that gets writers writing and connecting with other writers. The theme is *Snowfest* to coincide with the season, and because Roh loves snow!

Here is my entry, clocking in at about 1,187 words:

Ninth Circle

A Forsaken Stars Tale
written by Rob Lopez

Vampires don’t dream. Their sleep is an empty black void. They’re dead, of course, so they possess the memories of their vessel—and most vampires believe they are that person that once lived—though the body is inhabited by the spirit of a demon. That demon barely recalls what it was like in hell, though they carry the pain of hell’s existence in every fiber of their being, and they are certain they don’t want to go back. The Vampire Azzi knows that he not only does not want to go back, but wants to escape the eventual inevitable non-existence of hell by seeking redemption. An impossible road for a vampire, to be sure, and he is not the first that has walked this path, but something in his dark heart of hearts tells him if he is repentant, if he fasts and sacrifices, if he shows others the way, then maybe, just maybe, he has a snowball’s chance in hell. Like his kindred, Azzi does not dream, but unlike most of his kindred, occasionally, in the dawn of the night, Azzi remembers what it was like in hell. And what brings a fangy smile to his space faring face is that the deepest parts of hell are not fire and brimstone. Dante had it right. Hell’s throne room is quite cold. Devoid of any heat whatsoever. A snowball would do pretty well there.

“He wants to see you.”

“Hmm? What?” _________ said, preoccupied with his task of watching over his brethren, frozen in the ice below his feet. He too was frozen, and every movement was agony, as the light-cells in his body cracked and broke with each twist or turn. He stood above them, his duty to patrol the ice lake. Nothing had happened for millennia; and if it had, he could not recall it, for he could only see the future and it mostly included this.

“Lucifer, King of Dis,” a small, European-sounding goblin said, and waved him towards the gates. They seemed so far away. Two giants stood at each side, hunched over with the pull of gravity on their monumental, frost-covered bodies. They held the shafts of warhammers in their hands, and he wondered if they could actually lift the great stone hammer heads over their helms, and if he were ever to become the source of their fury, if they could lift them faster than he could act.

Hell—this hell, at least—seemed a very slow place.

After a time he reached the gates (he made no gesture or raised his eyes to the giant guardsmen), and passed through into the House of Satan. If it was possible, it was colder within than atop the lake of ice. He descended into a large antechamber. The walls were jagged, and though there were no windows, crystal outcroppings seemed to take their place and offered garish reflections. No, there was no light to speak of, but somehow he could make out the immense chamber. Another goblin appeared and escorted him down a long arcade, but before he was halfway through, the goblin froze and first his arms fell off and then his legs, until finally he collapsed in a heap of solid chunks of flesh of pale pink and green. ________ continued alone.

At the end of the hall were two iron doors covered in chains. He drew his sword, thick, gleaming and nearly his length, from its scabbard and struck at the chains, but after two blows, his sword shattered. “How did the goblin get out to tell me that I was wanted?” He wondered, and rattled the chains. Nothing.

Sometime later, he returned to the entrance of the house and looked out at the two guards. “Your mothers were demonfuckers. You know this, right?”

The guards looked at each other and turned on him in anger.

________ gave them a toothy grin and ran back into the house.

Running was a laborious chore. His long-cold innards were on fire from the action, and for a brief moment, he felt alive again. He was, to his delight, much faster than the guards and had to wait at the iron doors of Lucifer’s private chamber for an eternity before they appeared. They raised their hammers at him. He crouched and braced his black wings against the doors. When the hammers fell he leaped and pushed off the doors at the same time, twisting in the air, scraping between the giants’ shoulders. Lancing pain arced through his wings as many of the feathers were ripped from their moorings, having stuck to the icy iron surfaces. He fell against the ground and felt much of his frostbitten skin crack, break and bleed against the solid marble floor. A clang rang out throughout the House of Satan as the hammers fell against the iron doors. The hammerheads split against the chains. Ice covering much of the walls and ceiling cracked and fell to the ground like snowflakes. Statues tipped and dropped, shattering.

The iron doors creaked open.

________ noticed a dull red glow from within and saw his chance. As the guards turned he rose and ran at them. They raised their broken hammers again and waited, this time closing their ranks. He leaped at them again, this time in a dive, and he slid between their legs to the other side, through the doors. The hammers fell, missing him again. He kicked the doors closed behind him and searched for something to bar them.

Then his eyes froze in place.

So cold…

It wasn’t just that it was colder than the vacuum of space here; it was that it was heavier, as if they were inside the core of a planet or the event horizon of a black hole. He could hardly move.

He knew then that the Giants would not follow him.

Only an angel could resist the crushing gravity of the Throne Room.

But he wasn’t an angel anymore. He was one of the Fallen, stripped of his vast powers and much of his supernatural strength and endurance. Strange, how he had forgotten that until now. Perhaps it had to do with association.

For he was near an old friend.

He looked up—it took some effort, and he was exhausted for it—and saw the Satan, Lord of the Underworld, sitting atop a throne of stone, swords and chains, his six black, leathery wings pinned to it. He held a cup in his hands, the liquid bubbling and steaming, and even from where he knelt, it smelled most foul. Lucifer had three faces, the central fair and beautiful, but whose eyes had become black as obsidian; the left shriveled and aged, rotting away; the right crimson-skinned with two great heavy black horns protruding from its forehead and one jutting out from its chin.

The horned one spoke, “It has been too long, my friend.”

Breathing was difficult, speaking nigh impossible, “Aye, Luci.”


Azzi would wake then, in his casket, blinking his black, almond shaped eyes and try to forget.


* * *

Here are the Snowfest/Blogfest details from Roh’s blog:

1) What: Write a scene that takes place in the snow. It can be snowing or not, just as long as snow is part of the setting. And for those of you who like an extra challenge, write a scene in which snow is the main focus of the characters, whether they’re building a snowman or fighting for their lives in a snowstorm.

2) Word count: 1,200 words or so (I can never keep my own entries in any blogfest under 1,000!)

3) Blogfest date: February 2, 2012

BONUS: Watcher Giveaway!

One entry will be selected at random to win a free copy of Watcher: Book I of The Chosen.

Click on the banner below to enter!

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