Marie stared at the sight before her. Naked men and women stood crowded around boulders–some rocks twice their own size. On one side, the bodies en mass pushed with their hands while the group on the other side fought to keep the rocks away using their backs and shoulders for support.
She felt the demon’s presence hovering over her shoulder. “Which side?” His impatience was palpable.
Marie looked up at him. She felt her fear creep up her cheeks as she stared into his blank, black holes. “Do I have to pick one?”
“Yes, madam. You must.”
She looked back to the crowd before her. They were shouting at each other in a garbled mess of words, but Marie could just make it out. “Why do you horde?” “Why do you squander?” It was like a broken music box the way the words repeated.
She timidly stepped forward, but the sting in her back made her realize the demon had pushed her. “You must decide.”
As she approached the nude men and women, her eyes followed the line of the thousands of individuals fighting for their freedom from these boulders. Thousands! They were animalistic in behavior pushing with all their might as muscles bulged and veins popped against their ashen skin.
There was a small opening between two imposing men that could just fit her tiny body. Looking back at the demon, he nodded slowly. With that, she shoved herself in her place. Wanting to throw a smirk at the demon, she looked back, but he was no where to be seen.
A low rumble shook the ground, and Marie looked up at a large rock coming toward her. While it didn’t move quickly, it still brought a sense of doom making her want to turn and run. The man to her right put both arms out in front of him. He turned his face away and braced his body against the impact. Marie followed suit.
Once the boulder came in contact with her skin, she ripped her hand away as if she had touched fire. The sheer heat of the rock astounded her senses forcing tears to come to her eyes. She took a few steps back, grasping her wrist, letting her vision blur.
The man next to her turned to look at her. “Come on, bitch! Do your part!”
“But monsieur, it’s hot.”
“No shit, it’s hot. Do you know where you are?” He turned back and pushed the boulder back to the other side. Once it was safely away, he approached her. His muscled body was ashen and badly bruised. He held his hands out in front of her and presented them like a platter. “Everybody pays the price of their sins down here, darling. Get used to it.” The blisters and scratches made his hands look like an animal had ripped them apart for their meal.
Her grabbed her wrist and yanked her back to their spot. The look of sheer anger in the man’s eyes frightened her. “Do your job.”
She felt the ground rumble again under her toes as the large boulder came hurtling over a slight incline before them. She shook her daze away just in time to put her hands out and brace herself. The rock came in contact with her skin and again made it sizzle for just a second before the man took the majority of the weight and hurtled it back.
Marie Antoinette let out a shriek as the flesh from her hands ripped away leaving a bloody mess on her palms. She looked down to see the damage the rock had caused, and when she saw the blood drip and her muscle peek through the flesh, she let out a loud cry that echoed through the underworld.
To be continued…
To read PART I, click here.
(c) Copyright 2015, Alison C. Wroblewski. All rights reserved