Thousands of damned souls shuffled before him in a chained off queue. Every four meters, a sign flashed the estimated time remaining until one reached the torture devices. Anticipation fed the terror. So did bats. One swooped down to gouge a cheek. The Damned recoiled with yelps. What did they expect? Hell was hell. Satan used to love that line. Now, well...
He flicked a talon at the next soul in line, which bore the curved form of a human female. She cowered, head darting in search of escape. A first timer.
Satan inhaled her salty, warm aura. “If you can spell ‘Mephistopheles,’ I’ll give you a pass this round.” Tough luck if the language she’d spoken on outer-Earth had been character-based.
Hope flashed in her eyes. She straightened up. “M E P H I S T O P H E L E S.”
Satan summoned an oily assistant demon. “Escort her to the elbow-wrencher.”
Her knees faltered. “But I spelled it correctly.”
Satan rolled his head, working out a neck kink. He pointed to a small sign that hadn’t been there a moment earlier,
NO EXCEPTIONS, NO EXCUSES
(AND NO ONE LYKES A GOOD SPELLER.)
Right. No one likes a good speller. Damn, she should have got that one. Cursing herself for her mistake -- as though being cursed could make things any worse -- she followed the demon into a waiting room. With a sigh, she squeezed herself into an open space between Rod Blagojevich and Bernie Madoff.
As she scanned the room, she saw another demon off in the distance arguing with Simon Cowell. She shivered. When she'd filled out the application form, she'd never guessed that the auditions for Fox's America's Gone to Hell would be so tough.
Opening: Jeanne Ryan.....Continuation: Anon.