With the upcoming release of Soul Resurrected, I thought I'd share the snippet that I wrote for J.A. Belfield's stop on the Soul Avenged Blog Tour last February. For those who may not yet be familiar with the story, Obsidius is the much-feared prison in the demon realm where tortures and punishments are doled, mostly by these big scary ass Enforcer demons. Even the toughest supes have nightmares about this place. In the story, Logan is sentenced to fifty years in the place--reduced to half the time, thanks to his brother, Gavin, signing up to be his Brozszius, a demon advocate, to share the punishment. (click HERE for glossary)
I cannot write this place without Avenged Sevenfold's Nightmare playing an endless loop inside my head. It's the perfect song for this inferno of pain and suffering.
*~*~*M. Shadows*~*~*~ Le sigh ...
As an added treat for the Gavin fans, this is written from his POV. So without further delay, I give you ...
A Night in Obsidius
The bone gavel cracked against the sound block. Its echo traveled Gavin’s spine and for a brief moment, tested his nerve. Jaw clenched, he leveled his gaze in the direction of the high demon official who’d just committed him to fifty years in the most feared prison of the Underworld.
Only the craziest bastards were sent to Obsidius. Gavin questioned his own sanity as held out his hands, allowing the Enforcer Demon to shackle him. What the hell kind of freak volunteers to spend five decades in hell’s prison? No doubt his brother was thinking the same thing.
Gavin looked beside him.
Logan—the youngest of Wrath’s sons—stood with a frown, his gaze cast downward, away from Gavin. “Why?”
“Because whether you believe me or not, I am your brother. You are a son of Wrath. We are bound by blood.”
“They say that even those who survive here never escape the hell.”Logan’s voice carried a chilling edge of intrigue, more so than despair.
“All the more reason I’m glad to have cut your sentence in half,” Gavin said before the yank to his bindings jerked him forward.
A century of misery had been doled out to Logan for killing a high-ranking demon official who murdered his mother. As his brother’s Brozszius, or advocate in the demon realm, Gavin agreed to half of the punishment.
A door on the opposite side of the Orcosii’s court opened to a dark corridor and silence. Only the drag of chains against the concrete sliced through what felt like a momentary suspension of Gavin’s existence. Like the final breath just before death seeped out from the shadows to swallow his soul.
As if being sentenced to five decades of torture wasn’t enough, the Enforcer that led them down the path to this twisted Disneyland of pain had to be one of the meanest looking bastards in Orcosia. Enforcer Demons, their breed designed to dish punishment as both tormentors and mercenaries, were often hired as bounty hunters in the human realm. Covered in a black carapace with a medieval looking weapon like a double sickle sword, they were about the most intimidating beasts Gavin had ever seen—and Wrath Demons weren’t easily intimidated.
Pulling a set of keys from its holster, the Enforcer stopped before a black door that Gavin estimated to be about ten feet in height. Heat bled through the gaps—an ominous sensation that crawled over Gavin’s skin. The patterns of rot etched into the wood looked almost like the blackened souls of the victims punching through from the other side, eternally trapped within its threshold.
No going back.
Not that he would. No brother of Gavin’s was going to take a full term punishment in this place. Even if Logan hadn’t yet accepted him as his own blood, Gavin couldn’t bring himself to let his brother suffer an unjust sentence.
He shot one glance at Logan, whose face remained stoic as ever. Christ, did the kid ever show the slightest bit of fear? His nerves must’ve been fashioned with some impenetrable grade of steel only found in the ‘batshit crazy’ bin of demon body parts.
The door swung open to the orange glow of flames in the center of a circular path. Hell’s fire burned much hotter than the earthly variety—the same brand of pain that his brother Ferno carried, making him the one of the more dangerous Wrath Demons.
Impervious black doors lined multiple levels overlooking the pyre that licked the boundless darkness above them. Ash rained from the sky like snowflakes and for a moment Gavin wondered if they were the vestiges of victims who’d been burned alive. With a sharp exhale from the corner of his mouth he blew the hot cinders off his cheek. Screams echoed from all directions, a blanket of suffering that settled over him as he scanned the surroundings, squinting his eyes to keep the ash out. The cries weren’t the shallow screams of new horrors, but the tired wailing of long-lived agony.
The words of his Divine Matron drifted through his mind. Stay strong. Stay true. And above all else, never let it break you. She’d also called him insane. But then, for whatever reason, Cefirina had always harbored some distaste for Logan.
His vision told him at the very least, he’d survive it in the end. But fuck if it didn’t give him a single clue as to what happened in between. The down side of being half-seer: half-ass predictions of his future.
This would be the first of many nights. Daylight never touched Obsidius—only nightmares that arrived in a relentless stretch of midnight—or so the rumors went. He’d be tortured in ways he couldn’t even begin to imagine.
The clinking of chains tapped an unfaltering cadence as they clambered the black tarry-looking stairs to the second level. Gavin peered over the railless ledge at the other Enforcers moving below with purpose, like oversized warrior ants at a flesh picnic. The one leading him came to a halt in front of two adjacent doors.Dread churned in Gavin’s stomach. Their chambers were side by side—meaning his brother’s sufferance would be his own.
Logan stood behind his assigned Enforcer who unlocked the door, and glanced over at Gavin. “See you on the other side.” Not an ounce of humility in his voice. His eyes appeared focused and unfettered as if his mind was resolved to the possibility that his immortal body might be sacrificed for the gruesome torment that awaited him.
Gavin nodded and entered his own chamber. In spite of the fire that burned outside of the room, a cold emptiness lingered on the inside. Gray stone walls didn’t carry evidence of life like many prisons with markings and chipping. Instead their dull, smooth surface told a story of forgotten death.
The slab of concrete in the center of the room, with spattered flecks of blood, would serve as Gavin’s bed for the next fifty years. A tug on his shackles brought him standing before the Enforcer Demon. His binds were removed and the Enforcer paused, a silent command that prompted Gavin to climb atop. The uneven surface bit into his flesh—a far cry from the plush mattress and satin sheets of his own bed back at the manor. One by one his hands and legs were bound at the corners. The flicker of light from outside the room faded to complete blackness and the thump of the door. A soft white glow blossomed from somewhere below Gavin, casting enough light to see his reflection in the mirrored ceiling.What kind of twisted bullshit … and yet at the same time, it didn’t surprise him.
Lifeless, beady eyes of Gavin’s captor obstructed his view and stared down at him like those of a shark—undeterred by emotions, driven by instincts. Sick fucks were masters of both physical and mental torture. There’d be no mercy. No admiration for volunteering on his brother’s behalf. Only pain. The kind of dark shadows that nested deep inside the soul and remained dormant.
Wrath demons didn’t register pain like most species of the Underworld—their bodies were designed to endure physical destruction. Yeah they had nerves and could sense an assault to the flesh, but their wounds healed so quickly, the agony tended to be short-lived. Obsidius had methods of punishing all breeds of demon though, with centuries of effective torture tactics, perfected to break a victim—by any means.
The Enforcer pulled a small blade from a side holster and as he held the gleaming metal in front Gavin’s face, tipped his head. Goddamn if those beady eyes didn’t squint into something of a smile. The blade disappeared from Gavin’s view and he lifted his gaze once more toward the ceiling. In the reflection, the Enforcer zipped the blade across his chest, the sound of tearing trailing his movement as he sliced away Gavin’s black t-shirt, exposing his bare skin. He tried to imagine what his flesh might look like near the end of his punishment.
Gavin sucked in a breath through his nose, rolled his shoulders back against the rough concrete, flexed his arms and gave a sharp tug of his bindings. “Let the fucking games begin,” he muttered.