The Halo Breed…
THE HALO BREED
HELL IN HADES
Sena found himself in a tunnel that was illuminated by a strange blue light.
He could hear voices on either side of him, soft voices that played with his mind, sending erotic images that were hard to dispel, but he forced himself to move on.
Stopping would be lethal, he knew, as the soft moaning voices continued to ply on his mind. He could see a door handle in front of him and knew this could lead to the exit. It was just four paces away, but even though he walked fast and even broke into a run, the handle remained four paces away all the time.
It was as if he was just walking at one place, and he became very perplexed. He even tried lunging, and although he jumped high into the air and landed out of breath, the exit door remained just where it was; a few paces away.
It was not possible to go back because when he turned he found himself facing a wall of burning fire four paces away, and the same fire was burning furiously on the roof above him.
The corridor was narrow, and the blue walls on each side of him were hard and solid. He felt along them, seeking for weak spots to break it down, but there was none.
Going forward yielded no results, and the walls were unbreakable. Fire behind him, fire above him, and there was nowhere else to go. It seemed that he was hemmed in solidly. There was no help from the floor either. He dropped to his knee and examined the floor inch by inch, but it was impenetrable and without any weak spots.
There was no way out of the corridor, and it would be futile to expend his energy on trying to do otherwise. For a minute, he was assailed by a strong sense of distress, and felt like attacking the walls and running at the door again. He knew these would be futile efforts, and if he gave in to his frustrations, he might end up putting himself in a weakened position.
Slowly, Sena stretched out fully on the floor, put a hand underneath his head, closed his eyes, and soon fell asleep. He breathed gently, unaffected by the raging fire around him and the door that he never reached.
He did not know how long he slept, but he opened his eyes slowly when he heard his name being called. The Breed found to his surprise that he was no longer lying on the floor, but on a very comfortable bed with his head on a comfortable pillow.
A kind-faced elderly woman was sitting at the foot of the bed wearing a beautiful blue dress, and there was a smile on her face.
There was a lacy, head covering around her head, and her blue eyes appraised him frankly.
“You slept,” she said in a lovely voice. “Ah, the first one who didn’t go into panic and a screaming fit. All of them, all those that passed through here, all the souls, none of them thought to sleep. Instead, they screamed and ranted and quite honestly hurt themselves, some quite fatally, I’m afraid. But you just slept! Why did you do that?”
Sena sat up slowly and yawned.
He felt very refreshed and strong once again after the ordeal in the gloom he had been welcomed with. He yawned and stretched luxuriously.
“Well, that was refreshing,” he said finally. “I really needed that rest.”
“You did,” the entity said with a serene smile. “My interest is why you chose to sleep.”
“There was no way out of here,” he said without much fanfare. “The fire stayed where it was and was not a threat, I could breathe easily. I did not find any weaknesses, and so I knew this was a spot I could neither use brawn or wit to escape out of. Only option left was to wait.”
She nodded sagely.
“And in so doing you learned a very important virtue in Hades, Breed of the Halos, the virtue of patience, even when it is hard and drives us to the ends of our tether. Well done. Eat, dress, and be on your way then. May the Spirits that sent you have good returns from you!”
There was a puff of blue light, and she disappeared.
White clothes lay folded neatly at the foot of the bed, and on a low stool-like object beside the bed were two slices of fruit-food and water-food he had eaten in the Desolates.
He got dressed quickly and slipped his feet into the sandals beside the bed. He then picked up the slice of fruit-food and began to eat slowly, savouring the spicy taste of it. It was nothing like any food he had ever tasted, at least not in Densua, but it was delicious.
He bit a piece of the water-fruit, then stored the slices for later because he did not know what awaited him on the next step of his journey. He got to his feet and then the floor simply fell from underneath him, and he was soon spiralling in the air. It was a rapid fall as his body was caught by a gust of hot wind and tossed violently so that he found it hard controlling his limbs.
Sena knew he had to break his fall because he did not know what surface he would land on. If there was a hard surface beneath him, he would be terribly hurt. He was falling through bright space, like daylight, and he tried to bring his arms across his head and tuck his knees against his chest to minimise the effect of a hard fall. He fell for a long, dizzying time, and he cringed at what might happen to him if he landed on hard rock.
Then, as suddenly as his fall had started, it ended!
He smashed down on a hard surface with such brutal force that he groaned with agony and lay winded. He had landed on his back, and for a moment he was scared he had broken his spine. Even in his agony, he moved his hands, feet and neck, and when they moved, he breathed a little easier.
“A sacrifice!” a voice screamed with relief. “It is a new Traveller! We don’t need to gamble to see who gets left behind! He will do!”
Sena, dazed and barely able to move, tried to turn himself to see who was speaking.
“You’re a lucky man, Safo!” said a cold, ruthless voice. “You’re spared death for now. Leave him be and come and tie up this skunk that just joined us!”
Sena could make out the dim outlines of many people approaching him, and noticed that the one who had spoken was quite tall and muscular. They were wearing leather thongs, he thought, and as he tried to focus on them well, the leader swung a great club in his hand straight into the side of Sena’s head.
He moaned as the huge club thudded against his head, then he lost consciousness.
He did not see that about twenty of these people had now gathered around him holding clubs and other crude weapons, their eyes fierce, their lips clenched.
Darkness engulfed him!
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