Book of Hades
I often come across particularly evil individuals. They are mostly well-mannered and polite. They are good at hiding their true selves and making it difficult to spot them, but in the Underworld, they are seen for what they are, monsters.
It was a particularly busy day in the Underworld when a vicious and evil cockroach walked through my gates. I watched the souls enter, and he stood out from the crowd. He looked ordinary and was probably liked by the people he met. But I could see him for what he was, the darkness in his eyes. An animal like a lion or tiger about to pounce on its prey shared that look. It speaks of untamed violence. It is the visage of a killing machine. Countless murderers walked into my domain every day, but this man was no ordinary predator. This person was pure evil. It radiated from his soul like a blinding light, undeniable and unmistakable.
One of the minions, Bion—which meant life. Ironic, I know—was a trusted worker. He was keeping order as the dead entered and met the three judges, one-by-one. If I needed a job done on Earth, he was the one to make it happen, with or sometimes without his own underlings. He played a vital role in the day-to-day operations of my realm and was truly loyal to me.
“Bion!” I called out to him and waved him towards me. My voice boomed over the weeping and droning of the souls who coward at the noise.
“My king.” He approached quickly and bowed his head.
“That killer.” I pointed my Bident at the monster that stood silent and watchful, showing no sign of fear or even concern. “Move him to the front of the line for judgement, then bring the cretin to me,” I growled and glared at the filthy creature.
Bion looked over to him and nodded. “Yes, Lord.” In an understanding way and evaluating the man, he said, “He is a nasty one. Your personal chamber?” He looked at me skeptically. I didn’t blame him. It was rare that I took a soul to my personal torture chamber. In fact, it had been at least a thousand years. On the occasions that I did torture, it was mostly in Tartarus, adding to the pain. However, this cockroach deserved special treatment.
“Yes,” I answered him, “my chamber.” I could feel my blood boiling. It had been a long time since I had seen a human this rotten, and I had seen many evil people. I saw them every day.
“It shall be done, my king.” He nodded and walked over to the creature, grabbing hold of his hair and taking him to the front of the line. The mocking smile didn’t leave his face as Bion pushed him through the doors to stand before the judges. It must have been no more than ten seconds before he came out again. The judges saw what I did. They wouldn’t have even opened his file of sins. An eternity of torture to be carried out in Tartarus after I was finished with him.
I went to the torture chamber and waited for Bion to bring the soul to me. I will not go into details about what was in the chamber. It would make your toes curl and stomach turn at the thought. Safe to say, it’s rather unpleasant.
Two huge knocks on the chamber door vibrated all around me, bouncing off the black, slick walls. The damp fog gets everywhere.
“Come.” My Underworld torture voice is quite menacing. It was somewhere between a dozen rocks spinning in a tumble drier and the cracking of the sky when my brother Zeus was feeling rather playful with his lightning bolt. In short, scary.
The door opened, and my minion brought the man in, gagged and tied. I looked at Bion menacingly. He knew better than to stop the whimpering and begging by gagging him, or so I thought.
“Sorry, my king.” He looked worried. “He is a talker.” He gave me a look that said this man was showing no fear and more than likely calling Bion some unsavoury things. We get that every day, of course, but that’s mostly out of desperation. This was something else.
“You may leave,” my voice cracked the damp air like a whip. Bion left, and my work began.
I spent the next nine hours doing the most horrifying things imaginable, and some completely unimaginable things, but the man showed no emotion or pain. He was strong in every way. It made my anger explode into rage, but that just added to his stubbornness. That smile…that fucking smile…I cut it from his face. He looked ridiculous without any lips, but at least his arrogance was not shown by them. You could still hear it in the odd snort of laughter.
I had discovered over the many years doing this that everyone has a weakness, something to protect. Family, valuables, and secrets were the main players. Now I had learnt this cretin cared for nobody, and a formidable killer like this would not thrive on valuables, at least not the kind you could turn into wealth. It was his secrets. It was obvious this man was a serial killer. After asking the three judges for his file of sins and finding his victims in the Underworld, I knew those secrets. His valuables were his victims’ bodies. Only one was found, along with evidence of four more missing persons. In reality, he had murdered seventy-three. He was only thirty-one years old. The number would have been much higher had he not been stopped. In this case, karma took the form of a bus. He was on the run and ran into a number eleven double-decker. Moronic cockroach.
I returned to the chamber. The man was humming a happy tune, how with no lips I don’t know, and bobbing his head to the melody. I slowly circled him with my Bident in hand, smiling down at him. His eyes caught mine, and for a split moment, I could see fear. He knew that I knew something he didn’t want me to know. My face must have given me away.
“That’s right, my little cockroach.” I chuckled in my now normal voice. My other voice didn’t seem to work on him. “I know where your prizes are. They told me themselves.” I waited a moment for him to reply, but he once again snorted a slight laugh before continuing his tune.
“I suspect my minions are revealing their locations to the human authorities right now,” I spoke airily to him. I could see his face change. He was angry but tried his best to hide it. “You have lost the only thing that means something to your pathetic, wretched soul.” I laughed harder at that. Once they lose everything, they break. I knew he was in unimaginable pain. It wouldn’t be long before he gave into it, and the screams began.
“I have one more, and I will savour the last moments of her life.” It was his turn to chuckle. My eyes narrowed in thought, and then boom, it hit me. He had another victim somewhere still alive, and they would die. “She will suffer terribly.” His last word sounded pained, like he cared, but he was mocking me. Me!
“You will tell me where this person is, or I will rip the answer from you,” I growled at him. He chuckled back with glee at his victory. I was seething. I had no time left to break him myself. I needed to know where the kidnapped girl was. Normally, in all honesty, I would not bother with such things. There were too many victims in the world to save, and my job was to take care of the dead, not stop them from dying. But I would not give the cretin this satisfaction. He would not feel happiness at another death, not under my watch. I called in the Furies to rip the answer from him. It took them surprisingly longer than expected to break his mind, but break it, they did. I sent a minion to give a tip to the police, and the girl was rescued. The monster’s mind was fried in the process. His eternal punishment would not be as sweet as I would have liked. I’m losing my touch…damn it!