Dan Eats Cat Food’s Inferno: Circle Three: The A-Hole

Posted: May 14, 2010 by kaostheory in Inferno
Tags: , , ,

Flames whipped the air as Astley and I entered the portal to the Third Circle. The air around us became foul and hot, oppressive in its magnitude. Sweat beaded on my brow and began to pour in small rivulets down my back. Astley maintained his stoic expression, the only movement of his face a small twitch in the corner of his mouth. For whatever reason, this inflamed my temper, some dark, violent corner of my heart perking up and fueling my action.

“Poet, do you take pleasure in my heated agony? How dare you?”

“Welcome to the Third Circle, Kaos. Calm your anger well, hold fast to a cooler persona, or this circle shall swallow you whole, your journey remaining forever incomplete. Here, in this damned place, dwell those whose rage ignites the Internet. Those who infect message boards and various other websites with their unwarranted vitriol. Those who tread not lightly on common decency in their pursuit of attention. They want nothing but others looking at them, uncaring whether it is in a positive or negative way. They are the assholes.”

My heart sank as we began the trek up the hill in front of us. I had encountered men and women such as these on my travails before. They were miserable people, only interested in gaining the notice of others. They destroyed videos and message boards and websites in that search. They remained only concerned with what they could gain, not the feelings and desires of the rest of the Internet. “Self-centered” was too soft and weak a phrase to describe them. “Asshole” only barely covered it as well.

“How quickly may we pass through this place, Astley?” I queried. “I have been here before, on Earth, and I care not for it.”

“Soon, friend. We must first pass the Great Beast.”

“The Great Beast. You have mentioned this Beast before. What is this creature? Is it more fearful than the shades we will experience?”

“Yes. The Great Beast guards the path into the Third Circle. It has been tasked by God to separate the innocuous attention-seekers from the malicious. Its three heads bark at all those who enter, devouring those who deserve not the punishment of the lower circles. Stay fast, traveler. We have arrived.”

As I began to respond to Astley, we crested the hill and my words caught in my throat, frozen in terror by the monstrosity in front of us. Terrible and awe-inspiring, the creature stood thirty feet tall, its paws the size of Buicks with claws like broadswords, its tail a massive thrashing snake. Most horrifying of all were the three heads anchored on muscled necks, the left small, screaming and effeminate, the right pink-haired and obnoxious and the middle a shrouded black mass, the only features being flashing eyes – as if lightbubs – and a slavering, foaming mouth constantly pouring what appeared to be libel made liquid. I sunk to my knees, afeared.

“Behold. Cerebraless.”

“What manner of evil is this leviathan?”

“To the left, the head of Chris Crocker, no longer male or female, but a gibbering mess of androgyny and heterophobia. To the right, that of Perez Hilton, always judging and condemning those with a modicum of taste and civility that pass through here. And in the middle, the most terrifying of all and the most powerful, the horrifying visage of TMZ made flesh, libeling and blinding all for eternity. This creature we must pass to further our descent into Hell.”

“But how, poet? How may we defeat Cerebraless, so daunting an obstacle?”

“We must fill its mouths to prevent it devouring us. Stay here, Kaos. I shall return.

I watched Astley as he approached the creature. All of its eyes were on him. I could not hear what he said but the inflammatory nature was immediately clear as the creature bucked, reared and began to belch a thick, muddy brown substance at Astley. More quickly than I could barely recognize, he projected a shield that diverted the material back into their mouths. Cerebraless began to choke and cough and thrash about. Astley called to me, gesturing wildly to the now open path behind the monster.

“Quickly, my friend! We must depart before the creature clears its throats!”

With wild abandon, I ran, knowing my fate if I failed to reach the path in time. When all appeared clear, I stopped to breathe, bent over, my body unused to such strenuous physical labor. Before I could stand upright, Astley appeared next to me, smiling a small grin.

“What did you make happen, poet?”

“I simply ignited their rage with a certain ‘f’ word and, when they began to spew their usual fecal emissions at me, I redirected the output back into their mouths, choking them with hypocrisy. Cerebraless will survive, but it shall be cowed for a few months. More than enough time for us to leave this circle. Come. We must quickly move through this place before it is discovered what we have done.”

“What WE have done? Poet, you…”

“Yes, what we have done. Come. Just over this rise is the expanse of the Third Circle.”

I held my tongue, unwilling to let Astley provoke me. I stewed silently until we reached the top of the next hill in front of us. In front of me was a vast plain filled with anguished souls screaming in futile rage.

“Who are these that live here? You mentioned the assholes, but there are so many in so many places throughout the Internet. Surely they cannot all reside in this place. Not when there are so many others.”

“No. Three primary groups dwell in the middle of the plain, soaking in a pit of liquid fire. The rest, scattered all over, are unimportant as they sparsely populate all places. Those in the pit are concentrated. Let us see them now.”

We weaved our way through the myraid of souls fighting around us, throwing punches that did not connect with anything, yelling into the aether. The pit, as Astley has labeled it, was exactly as he has described. Fire swirled around the groups mingling far down below us, all furious, all hating.

“And these groups? Where did they reside on Earth?”

“This mass consists of three groups: those that lived on YouTube, those that lived on IMDb and those that played online video games, primarily Xbox and PC. The YouTubers are damned to becoming the focus of their hate on Earth. The racists are now black, Asian, Latino, or Caucasian, unable to condemn others for the color of their skin. The homophobes have become homosexuals, thirsting for the genitalia they so scorned on Earth. The extreme politicizers have switched parties and are made to endure slanted speech against their beliefs. The atheists are forced to listen to church services on end. And so on.”

“And yet I see two redheads that I favored on Earth – Meekakitty and Ella Morton – thrashing down there as well! They did no wrong on Earth!”

“So their fans are, so shall they be judged. Ignoring hate speech damns you as much as those that speak it.”

“And the IMDbers?”

“That depends on their outlook. Those that flooded the boards with concern over the morality of clearly violent or sexual or controversial movies are forced to watch them with children of pre-pubescent age. Those that took to boards only to destroy or trash movies now are only able to watch those very movies and feel the same anger at their perceived lack of quality. And those who so crudely threaten sexual abuse on celebrities now are given the chance but the total lack of wherewithal to follow through.”

“The gamers, then. What suffering must they go through, deserved though it is?”

“They suffer the worst fate of all. They only may play video games on servers that contain naught but bots. They cannot play against another human. They cannot talk to another human. They cannot brag to another human. They must suffer their accomplishments in utter solitude. Tears pour from their eyes at this realization.”

“I see. It is no less than they should suffer. Come, Astley. Let us continue our travel into the Fourth Circle. I am beginning to feel my heart warmed with these souls being punished and schadenfreude does not become me.”

“Wise words.”

As we left the Third Circle, I allowed myself one small smile of pleasure at the fates of those that suffered here. I could not help it. After seeing the destruction they had wrought on the Internet, it was an enjoyable moment to see them hurt. Astley shook his head sadly as he glanced and saw my smile. That, however, was not what was to later trouble me. That was to be understood the further I descended. For truth, though I could not recognize it at the time, somewhere below me – I believe – I heard a quiet laugh.

  1. Carrie says:

    You guys are awesome. 🙂

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