Some conceived it as a place engulfed by flame, a place of a more visceral kind of suffering. Those who came before believed that the deserving would roam the underworld—deaf, mute, blind. As much as I am a rational man, I am superstitious. I believe in magic, and I am convinced that our life here on earth is not all there is to it, that the journey must go on after we depart our bodies. That we may never know what exactly it is that will happen, but that something is in store for us.

As I entertained the idea of reincarnation, I played with the notion that maybe hell is not some faraway place with fire and medieval torture artifacts. It may be that hell is our own world, Hades on earth; and that those who were punished before were made to reincarnate as those men who one would barely deem human, those souls who seem to be in eternal slumber, unmoved by everything.

For is it not a fair thought that there is no punishment worse than being fully deprived of the zest for life, and yet having a slow, beating heart? No punishment worse than being only motivated by the quenching of hunger? No punishment worse than waking at morn and lacking want? No punishment worse than being purposeless? No punishment worse than feeling no wonder when surrounded by wonderful things? They aimlessly sleepwalk alongside us, and their lives are longer—not literally, but due to how time is perceived when one suffers. It seems like a fair punishment for dark deeds, it is one that I would choose at least. It is one that I would wish upon my enemies, upon those who have wronged me or my friends for no reason at all.

And those of us who are fortunate not to have misbehaved in our past lives—is it not so clear, that our good earth is heavenly? Aren’t you charmed by the beautiful blossom of a pink trumpet, prettily anticipating the arrival of spring? Aren’t you cheered each morn by song of bird? Aren’t you overcome each day, when you think back of good moments shared with friends? Hades on earth, Heaven on earth!

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