What Happened When Frank Died: The Slab

fire

Frank died.

Frank couldn’t move his arms. So he tried to move his legs. They ignored him.

He could move his neck though. He looked down. He was naked. He looked up. He was in a cavern, vast and dark. It was warm. He looked left.

“Hey there!” A face smiled at him. It was big, hairy, not too old.

Frank frowned at the man.

“Yeah, I know,” The man smiled down at his own naked body. The man said something else but Frank didn’t hear it. A loud horn rang out over the cavern and the screams began. Frank felt them all around. He looked past the man and saw an endless line of black slabs with bodies of all shapes and sizes, stuck, crying out. Frank looked to his right. A woman was laying, a young woman. She was crying. She screamed something, not words; something more expressive, more painful than words. Frank heard laughter then. He turned back and saw that the hairy man was laughing.
“Hey!” Frank called at him. “Hey!”

The man stopped laughing, but not smiling.

“Yes?”

“What the hell is going on?”

The man smiled wider. “Just that my friend, hell,” the man said, before going back to his laughter. Then, they came. They were calm. They came to each of them. They didn’t have faces. They had mouths. They were tall. He watched one bend over the woman to his right. It began whispering in her ear. It whispered fast and Frank could almost feel the words. Then, something sliced into him. He looked up. One of the things stood over him. It had a razor blade and it began to cut.

It cut more than his wrists, it cut every inch of him. Frank didn’t know how long it lasted. He only remembered the pain, the heat and the laughter as the man beside him was set on fire.

Frank laid, breathing, the ribbons of his body sliding into each other. Frank felt it, every bit of it. It was too much to watch. Instead he watched the hairy man turn from charcoal black, to an ashy red to a bright pink, before the hair began to grow.

The man hummed as it went. He almost seemed to be enjoying it. To his right Frank saw that the young woman was weeping. Her ears were a dark red, blood sidling its way back in.

Then, Frank looked down. His old wrinkled body looked back up at him, his wounds gone. Then, he screamed.

“Hey!” The man behind him called.

Frank turned, in a panic, trying desperately to move.

“WHAT!”

The man smiled. “It’s no use man, you’re not going anywhere. Get used to it. You might even learn to enjoy it,” he said, blowing a bit of ash from his shoulder. “I’m Charlie,” the man added, “I’d shake your hand but, you know, condemned to an eternity of torture and all that.”

Frank tried again to move his arms and legs, nothing.

“Frank.”

“Nice to meet you. So, you killed yourself then?”

Frank looked back at him. “How’d you know?”

Charlie looked up to the ceiling of the cavern. “Well they torture you with whatever your greatest sin was and you don’t strike me as the box-cutter psycho-type.”

Frank sighed. “Yeah, yeah. I thought I’d find–something.”

“Well, you found me,” Charlie said, “could be worse, could have only been stuck with Sally over there. Right Sally!”

Frank looked back at the young woman. She sobbed her response. The sob became a cry, then a scream, as the horn blared around the cabin again.

Charlie began to laugh.

19 comments

  1. I like hidden details and/or keeping things in the realm of heavily-suggested-but-not-confirmed. So I was palpably excited reading the start of this story when Charlie set on fire. We know he died of cancer (memory holding?) so the nature of this afterlife and its punishments became obvious.
    That’s why I’m writing this, because I was just disappointed when Charlie directly explained what was going on. Thought I should mention this, since you talk about the webcomic et cetera. But then, maybe it’s just me who’s annoyed by a plain explanation like this.

    That said this story did have good unexplained detail… It took me a while to put together that they are the age they committed their sins at, despite the obvious clue of Sally. I just assumed Charlie wasn’t that old when you described him that way, then I got what was going on.
    But this detail’s ‘useless’ compared to the greater detail of Charlie burning. The age only further confirms that he was linked to the fire, which we already know.

    I would like to say it is at least fun in this one (and a trickier mystery) to estimate how ‘strict’ or even ‘accurate’ each afterlife is. At first I was misguided by this – why should Charlie suffer for, what we can assume was a just killing. I wondered if perhaps, horrifically, some of the children were still alive (=> Charlie killed David), but I doubt this. Because the Hell is innacurate. Frank’s worst crime was very obviously driving his wife to suicide, yet he’s punished for self-murder. Charlie killed a man – this Hell says murder is murder – doesn’t matter that the victim was the filth of the Earth. This is probably a Hell specifically for murder I guess – only that would mean Sally probably drove someone to suicide too, but isn’t this place blaming only the self-killer? So maybe innacurate Hell is the better term.

    Also, I want to say that Charlie is laughing mostly because he’s aware (or convinced) he did a good thing in this sin of his. Therefore, again, he did not kill David or the others, who were probably all – err, I don’t want to say it – not altogether at that point anyway… If I’m wrong and the twist is Charlie did it… Fuck you Flash you’re misleading us!

    Real last thing to say. So Charlie’s everywhere, but now we know he’s linked to events. Therefore is Sally somehow linked? And, I guess, John?
    … I say no, and a story’s a story. Sally’s still just a crazy cat lady (with a guilty consciounce, we now know), and John’s just the real Hell’s punishment. On us all.



    Fuckin’ John.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha you are very close. I don’t want to say anything that would give it away. But Charlie might lie sometimes. Like about dying of cancer. So I’d ignore that plot point (I only say that because I wrote that before the idea was fully mapped out and it added a bit too complex of a back story. In the final frank book I will probably take out him saying he died of cancer. But it also makes sense that he would lie.)

      Like

  2. Mystery status: still can’t make accurate sense of why David’s usually in Hell. My speculations are taking very dark turns.
    … I’ve spoken a lot so I think I’ll make my attempt at my promised ‘complete story summary’ some time next week. I’m now convinced the answer to David in Hell will never come to light, because it’s just that dark.

    Liked by 1 person

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