An Unedited Peek at the Start of Highway to Hell III

I know it is early, and this is unedited, but I am very happy with the way this novel has started, and so wanted to share the raw first draft with you all.

Highway to Hell: Part III

Sammy struggled against his bonds, but the barbed chains were embedded too far into his skin. He felt his flesh twist and rip with every fractional movement he made. He shivered with cold, his naked body warmed only by the layer of dried blood that covered it.

“Now, now, struggling will not do you any good.” The demon whispered in his ear. A long, cold finger reached out and traced the contours of Sammy’s upper body. Sammy clamped his jaw so as not to give any response.

He had been suspended against the wall; chained up like an animal for… he didn’t know how long. It was always dark in the cell. There were no windows, only a bare blood encrusted bulb above his head, which cast an eerie glow over the torture chamber.

“Why won’t you just yield to it… open your mind to the pain? Let go Sammy, let it take control of you. Tell me all of your hidden desires and we shall be done with it.” The Demon hissed. Its hands were flat against Sammy’s chest. It leaned in, its weight unimaginable. It crushed Sammy’s lungs, making any answer impossible.

When the creature stepped back, Sammy opened his eyes and stared his torturer in the face. The Demon was crouched down, its eyes staring direct at Sammy. Its rotten face and putrid aroma were within inches of his. A flash of defiance rose within Sammy. His eyes adjusted and a steely gaze set against his features. “Bite me.” He spat.

“Oh I will, don’t you worry about that.” The reply came with a sneer.

Since having died, Sammy had experienced more pain that his mind had considered possible. The anguish of seeing his girlfriend; the woman he had just proposed to crushed in a car accident; beheaded and thrown from his tumbling car like a piece of trash by the side of the freeway, was an undertone for it all. Blame ate away at his soul. The notion that it had been his fault was the first idea that they had instilled in him, and with good reason. It was like a termite; slowly, but surely, it ate through his sanity, through his resistance, until he had nothing left.  Everything that had come after Mandy’s death – and shortly thereafter his own – had been considered his education. The punishment was relentless, the attacks brutal; blows delivered without warning, without any trace of compassion. Always alone, Sammy had never had to share the burden of his crimes with others. He was treated differently. For when he was moved from cell to cell, in the dungeon where he was kept, Sammy had seen them; groups of people, led by an unimaginable and indescribable beast, their bodies attached to each other by chains. Their bonds did not merely pass around their bodies, linking them by lock alone, but rather, they had been inserted through their bodies; entering via the throat and exiting through the base of the neck. The wounds sealed instantly, for the chains glowed with the heat of hellfire when the bonding occurred. As a group they were led into their punishment. Slowly they were abused; their bodies burned and broken, dissected with a clinical precision by particularly cold demon who called himself Doctor. They were ripped apart by large beasts or ground into a pulp between the cogs of giant mechanisms. Each day their punishment would end with that one final painful moment, only for everything to turn white. A burning white heat would envelop them, caress them. Their bodies would be repaired, their scars covered. All traces of the day’s fun and games were removed, with the one exception being their minds. In their heads’ the memory only grew stronger, enhancing their agony more and more. Every regeneration they experienced merely added to the collage of suffering imprinted on their minds.

Sammy knew all about it, for his own suffering was the same as theirs. Only he had no other soul to share his pain with. He had not communicated with anybody since the early days. They had sewn his mouth shut for months after he had tried to call out to a fellow inmate who was being prepared for bonding. The experience had been made even worse as the twine used to bind his mouth had been the vocal chords of the same man he had tried to contact.

“I think today could well be the day Sammy.” The demon whispered as its cold, twisted digits continued to tease Sammy’s flesh. Every new day, the skin grew more and more sensitive, the nerves tingled in anticipation of the experience to come.

“No, please, no more.” Sammy begged.

During his incarceration, Sammy’s mind had been slowly rewired. Pleasure and pain had been moved from opposite ends of the scale, to a central point; a meeting place where one could no longer be distinguished from another. The removal of his flesh had become just as enjoyable as the lust filled sessions the demons had provided for him. They would bring him women; humans, fresh from their own deaths. They were scared, vulnerable and forced to lie with him. They would make love, and as the sessions grew more frequent, the more intense the sensations became, and over time Sammy’s mind was be overtaken by the images of pain and suffering. Once, as he fucked a lithe blond, her creamy skin only broken by a teasingly erotic tattoo which covered her left flank; a dragon, the tail of which curved around the contours of her body to delicately cup her breast, who had been sent to provide him carnal comfort, Sammy had found his mind conjuring images of torture and dismemberment at the moments his arousal had been the most peaked. As his orgasm reached the height of its power, a man appeared in Sammy´s mind; a man stripped naked, not only was his clothing gone, but his skin; leaving him nothing more and one large weeping wound. It had been that image, and the notion of further enhancing the man´s suffering, which had taken Sammy into his ecstasy that night, and it had haunted him ever since.

The pressure around Sammy’s chest eased as his bonds, while not removed from his body, were separated from the hooks which held him against the wall. The barbed chains ensured that his skin tore with each shuffled step he took, and caused alternating waves of blissful ecstasy and white hot agony to rip through his mind. Their pace; like the tide, saw the ebb of one emotion overlap with the approach of the other. By the time Sammy reached where the demon was shoving him, he could no longer distinguish between the two.

The dungeon which housed Sammy and all other unfortunate souls was a dark place. A place filled with fire and heat. The air was heavy; filled with the choking aroma of human suffering. It filled his lungs like coal dust. Sammy could feel it inside him, slowly dissolving his body from the inside, where remnants of the dead gathered. Leaving his private cell, Sammy was taken into the main chamber, where three rows of bonded souls were locked in various stages of barbaric and simplistic torture. It was this main chamber that Sammy had so often seen. Embedded in all of the stone walls, were doors, which, until that moment, Sammy had always imagined as being cells; much like his own, only larger, large enough to house the bonded. Yet the reality was far larger than he had ever expected. The dungeons were a labyrinth of pain and suffering; behind each door was a myriad of corridors and passages filed with chambers, torture halls and cells. A never ending maze of torture and misery, each one ruled by a senior demon, who in turned presided over a continual flow of lesser demons, serving their time in the deepest pit. Each one hoping for a chance for earn the one permanent position that remained open; a position that had never been occupied, for the demon whose claim to the throne of that particular section had yet to arise. Many had tried, but the true kind would always be known, and pretenders would always fall.

The demon grabbed Sammy by the shoulder and forced him through the corridors and into the central hall of a different section, a place where the stench of fear was overpowering. There was a single row of bonded souls lined against the wall, stood still, while the chains that held them were tugged and twisted. For each new soul that arrived, an extra length of chain was needed, and rather than forge new links to the end, they were added to the beginning. The entire chain was then heated and pulled through each soul in line, until enough had been accrued to accommodate the new soul.

“Here,” the demon stopped walking, and addressed Sammy, whose own momentum was ended by a swift tug on his own barbed bonds. With it another confusing wave of pain induced delight rippled through him.

“What do you want from me?” Sammy asked as he head swam.

The demon sneered. The burning hot chain seared the flesh of his hands as he squeezed it. “Your punishment is fulfilled. Your way of thinking sufficiently changed to allow the second phase to begin. The words were deep and guttural, all false nature removed from its speech.

“Second phase… what are you talk…” Sammy began, but his words ended in a roar as the burning hot chain was dumped into his open hands. The red hot links sank into his flesh, burning deep into his palms. Pain flared throughout Sammy’s body, while instinctively, his fingers closed around the chains.

“The bonding must be performed while the chains still burn.” The demon growled once more.

“The bonding… me, no, no I won’t do it.” Sammy protested. He opened his palms; skin tore from the underside of his fingers. He shook his hands, but the chain would not fall.

“You have no choice. Now, bond!” the demon roared, and no sooner had he done so, a fresh soul was placed before him.

Sammy resisted, he refused. “No, I will not hurt them.” He repeated the line over and over to himself.

The demon leaned over, yanking so hard that Sammy’s bonds sliced deeper into his flesh than ever before; one such barb penetrated his nipple, slicing it in two. Sammy cried… and groaned; his legs buckled. “Doesn’t that feel good? You feel that rush, don’t you? Imagine how that feels when you hear the cries of another instead of your own.” The voice tickled Sammy’s ear, and his skin tightened at the notion of such pleasure. He grew drunk on agony, his mind confused.

“No… I can’t. I am not…” He began, but already, his defense was starting to crumble.

“It’s going isn’t it; that feeling of joy in the pit of your stomach?” The Demon continued to tease. “If only there was a way to make it last. If only there was some way to retain that sense of pure bliss; a state which would never lessen, but only increase. Do this now and the pain will stop. The agony will disappear and you shall be whole, down here, right where you below… a King!

“No,” Sammy offered one last time, but his voice had already become a whisper. He reached up with the burning chain and approached the trembling soul before him. “I’m sorry.” He whispered; tears filled his eyes as he raised the chain.

The soul, a young woman; not much older than Sammy, gave a scream which made Sammy’s body tingle. Her legs shook, and while she tried to run, her efforts were in vain. For while, in her mind, she was free, yet through it all, she stood frozen; pinned to one place, unable to move until the bonding was complete.

The glowing metal links penetrated the girl’s throat with ease; the flesh melting upon contact. She gave a cry, but was reduced to a gagging sound as the chains passed through her throat, and with a sharp push emerged from the base of her neck. Blood spurted from her mouth as she gasped for air. It would take several days before she would grow accustomed to the chain. By which time, its presence in her throat would be the least of her troubles.

The moment the chain entered the young body, Sammy felt a change. His pain lessened, his head cleared and filled with the echoes of her cry. He closed his eyes and shuddered with arousal as the blood splattered his face. His breath caught in his throat as he heard the delicate ‘pop’, of the chain emerging. With the bonding complete, Sammy stood, trembling. His hands had release their grip on the chains. Only the scarred tissue remained.

Sammy smiled.

“Feel it, let it in.” The demon cooed in Sammy’s mind.

When Sammy opened his eyes, the change was complete. He saw the girl standing before him, blood crusting her face. Her naked body quivered. He leaned in close to her, his fingers tracing the outline of the chain. He pushed against the healing wound and felt her legs buckle. Taking control, he pulled on the chain; a sharp, playful tug, and she fell into his arms. He held her tight and kissed her; suffocated her. When their embrace broke, his eyes had turned as black as night.

“Yes,” He heard the demon sneer.

Sammy turned around and looked at the man who had opened his world, and nodded.

“Here, let me remove your bonds, brother.” The Demon took a step forward, but Sammy swatted his hand away.

“No, leave them,” He smiled, “and bring me another.”

 

****

 

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