The Slow Descent The sound of hell isn't screaming, nor the crackling of flames-- No, it is the mournful sound of wind, the soft, sibilant groans of anguish, the sound of bitter weeping, and the deep echo of an infinite hollow where your heart once was, the missing beat that memory vaguely calls forth, a ghost of shadow without substance. It is the crying out for love that goes forever unanswered, the build-up of poor choices and bad luck like plaque that stains the soul. It is the internal quaking of constant fear, the ever-present sense of doom, beating like a drum, the shuddering of cold that can never be warmed, the hoarfrost of a life frozen in place, shattered by the smallest touch. It is the teeming of doubts whispered in a space of eternal vastness, coalesced into swirling blades, like icy needles sweeping over frost-bitten skin. It's the sense of something both familiar and strange, the aching nothing inside as you watch the world pass by, no longer a part of the parade. It is the creaking of fear-stiffened hands as they grasp for the last, faded ray of hope, piercing the Stygian dark like a sunbeam so that you are aware of its existence and do not forget what darkness truly is. There are no flames in hell, and there are no screams, just the muted sighs of the defeated. Life, death-- all an illusion spun within the confines of Sheol, a mockery of choice, the final toss of the dice which always results in snake-eyes. We are born lost, and in the realization of that fact hell opens wide to welcome us home. We expect screams, and we expect flames, but there is none to be found, just the muted sighs of the defeated, the emptiness of mere being, the grief of disappointment at the start of another day; a Moebius loop without end, over and over, a fractal universe of pain and misery. There is only hell, and hell awaits.