Tales from the Delve: A letter from Hell
To the Esteemed Lord of the Inferno,
I hope this letter finds you well, though given your penchant for brimstone and tormented souls, I suspect your definition of “well” differs from the mortal realm. The fifth circle has been... well, as swampy as usual, with a steady stream of the wrathful and sullen arriving for their due punishment. However, a peculiar incident recently occurred that warrants your attention.
A particularly stubborn soul named Bartholomew, or Bart to his fellow condemned, decided he'd had enough of our hospitality. After several centuries of wallowing in the muck and exchanging curses with his peers, he embarked on a radical new strategy: kindness. He began complimenting the demons, offering words of encouragement to his fellow sinners, and even tried to mediate disputes between rival factions of the wrathful.
At first, we thought it was a new form of torment, a cruel joke concocted by some higher power. But Bart persisted, his sunny disposition and unyielding positivity a stark contrast to the usual gloom of the fifth circle. And, much to our surprise, it seemed to be working. The demons grew less eager to torment him, the other souls less inclined to engage in his usual vitriolic exchanges. Even the weather seemed to improve slightly, with fewer bouts of sulfurous rain and a noticeable decrease in the miasma's thickness.
For a brief, glorious moment, it seemed as though Bart had discovered a loophole in the very fabric of Hell. Perhaps kindness, that most elusive of human emotions, was the key to escaping damnation. Then, of course, everything went to ruin.
Word of Bart's success reached the higher circles, and soon a delegation of devils arrived to investigate. They subjected him to a battery of tests, trying to break his resolve with temptations, threats, and even physical torment. But Bart remained steadfast, his smile unwavering, his kindness unyielding.
Finally, in a desperate act of defiance, the devils decided to send him back to Earth. They reasoned that if kindness could work in Hell, it surely wouldn't stand a chance in the mortal realm. Bart was deposited in the middle of a bustling metropolis, his clothes tattered and his skin still reeking of the infernal swamp.
I'm sure you can guess what happened next. Within minutes, he was robbed, beaten, and left for dead in an alleyway. The humans, it seems, are even more adept at cruelty than the demons of Hell. Bart returned to the fifth circle, a broken and defeated soul. He quickly reverted to his old ways, cursing and fighting with renewed vigor. The weather returned to its usual state of dreary misery, and order was restored.
This incident, my lord, has led me to a troubling conclusion. Humans, it seems, are incapable of true kindness. They may feign it for a time, but ultimately their selfish desires and capacity for cruelty will always prevail. Perhaps it is for this reason that Hell exists, to provide a place where they can indulge their worst impulses without harming the innocent.
I await your return with bated breath, eager to hear your thoughts on this matter. In the meantime, I will continue to diligently oversee the fifth circle, ensuring that the wrathful and sullen receive their due punishment.
Your Humble Servant,
Reat Yule
Overseer of the Fifth Circle

© GreenShamanCowboy