Creative Writing Prompts: December, Circles of Hell

Dustin didn’t believe in hell, not in the way most people meant, but there were times where he thought this world might just be one of the many circles therein.

Granted, neither his line or work nor life’s purpose lent them self to having a positive outlook on people or the world, but he normally had as upbeat a view as was possible when you spent most of your time around people looking to end all things. But more often than not, things were great. There was good food, good drink, plenty of entertainment, and now and again, good company.

So, he wasn’t the sort of person who thought there was no reason to try to keep from going to hell, because you were already there. However, when he was forced to sit in a room and listen to a lecture on the importance of preserving ancient artifacts, he was inclined to believe in purgatory at the very least.  This was more Joshua’s thing than his, and really he thought Annette and Myung would have an easier time with it than he would, but here he was, suffering for the good of all people.

It had been the process of elimination, unfortunately. There was nothing to burn at this stage of the game, and their Storm and the Quakes were needed elsewhere at the moment, so that left Dustin as the only one with nothing to do. His job here was to sit in this boring as fuck lecture, pretend he was paying rapt attention, and now and again making it seem like he was more than what he appeared.

People in this room were unlikely to be the gifted, but someone here had been coming close to learning about the world beneath the world. Closer than was comfortable for the sorts of people who cared about that sort of thing, and they needed to find out who it was.

Smoking was, of course, frowned upon in the hotel conference room, but Dustin still had his lighter in his hand, and now and again, he flicked it. He’d done so often enough the people near him had accepted it the way they might accept a fidget spinner, which meant he could now judge when best to spark his fingers rather than the flint. He’d caught the attention of a few people, who were paying closer attention to him, though they did so out of the corners of their eyes, like they hadn’t quite trusted what they saw and wanted to be certain.

Normally, this was the sort of move he’d delight in. He’d have to pick the moments when their attention had just wandered, then bring it back again. But he also had to listen to what the dishtowel at the front of the room was saying, to time it by topic and bring the two concepts together, and their drowning white noise voice was going to put him to sleep.

Yes, it was just about enough to cause him to believe in hell, even if he couldn’t name a single proper circle. but he thought the real thing might be more imaginative than whatever this was.

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by | Dec 20, 2023

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