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Bird Watching in Hell

bird watching in hell


Estimated reading time — 10 minutes

I’m going to Hell when I die. I guess you could call me a nasty son of a bitch. There’s not one altruistic bone in my body. I’ve never done anything that wasn’t for my own benefit, and I’ve fucked over a lot of people down the years. And, you know what? My selfishness has paid dividends. I have everything I ever wanted in life – shit loads of cash, a huge and luxurious mansion, a fleet of fast cars, and dates with the most beautiful women in the world.

And I owe it all to being a total bastard. So, I’m going to Hell…but that’s okay, because I’ve been there before…I’m a regular VIP visitor in fact. When its my time I won’t be going in at the deep end with all the other assholes – those poor saps burning in lakes of fire and tormented by demons for all eternity.

No sir, that’s not going to be me, because – if you’ll excuse the cliché – I’ve made a deal with the Devil, one that ensures I’ll be spending my eternal existence in luxury, watching on as everyone else suffers in a fiery pit.

Let me explain. I am a member of a secret fraternity which dates back to the time of immemorial. This is an organisation of the elite – the richest and most powerful men and women from all nations and societies across the globe and throughout history.

As you’ve probably already guessed, we have a direct line with Satan. I’m prohibited by the rules of the fraternity from revealing the details of how we communicate with the Devil or the nature of the deals we make with him in order to secure our privileged position in the afterlife. Needless to say, being obscenely wealthy, hugely powerful and basically above the law helps us to carry out Satan’s work here on Earth. We have become very efficient at spreading fear, chaos and evil throughout the globe.

There are other considerations of course. Satan isn’t the most trustworthy of individuals as you can imagine, and so we have certain safeguards in place to protect our long-term interests. We are masters in the art of deal-making after all. There are also other short-term benefits to our Faustian bargain, and that’s what I’m here to tell you about.

You see, my associates and I have unique access, granted by the Lord of Darkness himself. We are the only mortal human beings in existence who can cross over to visit the afterlife. We literally take our vacations in Hell, and we do so for the purposes of entertainment. This is where the birdwatching comes into it…

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I don’t sound like the type who’d be into ornithology. Well, you’d be right. But what my associates and I do isn’t ornithology and we sure as hell aren’t watching birds.

Hell isn’t quite what you’d imagine it to be. It’s not located beneath the earth but rather in what I can only describe as an alternate universe. Again, I can’t go into details of exactly how we cross over to the other side. That would be a breach of contract. What I can say is that Hell is a most fucked up version of our own world.

I live in a picturesque part of the country, my huge house set upon a hilltop overlooking a pristine lake…and I awake to a glorious sunrise every morning. But when I cross over to the other side, the scene is transformed into a horrifying, dead landscape. The lake is no longer a body of clear blue water but is instead filled with burning sulphur – a literal lake of fire in which nothing could possibly survive. The shoreline is a barren desert, interspersed with jagged rocks and poisonous reeds.

And across the dead landscape march thousands of the undead – those poor bastards damned to spend eternity in constant agony and terror. The damned are a sorry bunch to set your eyes upon – naked, weak and emaciated, half insane and limping along the sands in a fatal death march to nowhere (although in fact, the damned can never really die in Hell, but I’ll get to that later).

I don’t know what they did in life to end up here. I guess some of them were bad guys – serial killers, war criminals, child molesters and the like. But I doubt this is the case for the majority. I suspect most of the damned did nothing worse than worship the wrong God or steal a loaf of bread to feed their family, or some shit like that. An empathetic person would feel sympathy for these poor saps, but not me. In my mind, they’re all suckers. Life is tough and only the strong and smart rise to the top. That’s why I’m up here in the VIP box and they’re down there in the pit.

You’d think eternity in this hellscape would be bad enough for the damned, slowly starving while their skin burns, and their lungs are filled with poisonous gases. But that’s only the half of it. What really terrifies them is what comes from above, and that’s what my associates and I pay so handsomely to see.

The sky above the hellscape consists of a constant storm front – dark black clouds, high winds, and thunderstorms that never stop. And from those storm clouds emerge the winged monsters which prey upon the defenceless columns of the damned, ripping them to shreds over and over again. These monstrosities are the aforementioned ‘birds’ in the title.
It would be fair to say that my friends and I share something of a sadistic streak. We come here to watch the demons hunt, maim and eat the damned, and I’m not ashamed to admit that we enjoy it. There’s a competitive element to it as well, as we place substantial bets on who will get eaten first, which ‘birds’ we will spot, and how many victims will get torn to shreds in each attack.

We don’t watch this carnage at ground level of course, far from it. Instead, we’re accommodated in a luxury box – the type you’d expect to find in the VIP section of a sports stadium. We have a secure viewing platform, comfortable seats, the finest champagne and hors d’oeuvre to enjoy, and multiple big screens to review and replay the action.

All is provided by our host and benefactor…the Lord of Darkness. Yes, I have met the Devil on several occasions. I wouldn’t call him a friend – who the hell would want a friendship with Beelzebub anyway? I certainly don’t trust him. I do think we understand each other however.

Satan attends all of our ‘bird watching’ events, acting like the perfect host and supplying us with everything we need to enjoy our experience. The Devil doesn’t look like the caricatures we’ve grown up with. In fact, he takes the form of a handsome and striking young man with long, flowing blond hair, deep blue eyes, and wearing a snappy designer suit. He is charismatic and amicable – a real gentleman, at least on the surface.

But one can’t help but feel uncomfortable in his presence. There’s a barely concealed malice behind his blue eyes and his thin and put-on smile. During the show itself, he simply stands at the back of the room looking on. But the Devil isn’t interested in the events playing out on screen. He’s observing us, watching our every move.

My associates choose to ignore his presence, but I find myself unable to do so. I know all too well that Satan would gladly rip my mortal body to shreds and condemn my immortal soul to eternal torment, if he was given half a chance. But thankfully, we have him under control.

Anyway, enough about that. I know what you want to hear about – the ‘birds’…monsters, demons or whatever you want to call them. Well, there are a number of different varieties and species stalking the skies of Hell, some of which are almost impossible to recount, appearing like something you’d hallucinate in a vivid nightmare. I will however attempt to describe four species which stick in my mind and invade my dreams, although my simple words can never do justice to these terrifying winged entities.

First up are the ‘vultures’. These are the most commonly seen demons which visit the hellscape. As you might have guessed, these airborne scavengers act like Earth-born vultures, although they look a lot different, and are much more terrifying. Do you remember the winged monstrosities the wraiths rode in the Lord of the Rings movies? Well, Hell’s vultures look something like a smaller version of them, with stumpy heads full of sharp teeth and thick, leather-like wings.

They are relatively small by Hell’s standards and not particularly powerful. Therefore, they operate like vultures do on our world, circling their wounded or sick prey as they grow weaker and weaker, waiting until their victim falls before swooping in and feasting on their still warm flesh.

Now, as I hinted at before, its not actually possible for the damned to die in Hell, not in the conventional sense anyway. The victim will still be alive when the carrion birds begin eating them, and whatever bones or scraps that are left behind will eventually regenerate. Unsurprisingly, this is meant to be an agonising process for the victim to suffer through. And to be honest, it isn’t much fun to watch.

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Vulture attacks are poor quality entertainment for me and my fellow voyeurs, fit only to settle small bets. But the ‘vultures’ do serve a purpose by picking off the weak and leaving the path clear for the big boys – the apex predators…That’s when the real fun begins.

Next up on the food chain are the harpies. Harpies look like you would imagine, essentially winged humanoid creatures with dead eyes, razor-sharp teeth, and talons that can slice through flesh and bone like a knife through butter. You always know when the harpies are coming, because you can hear their banshee-like wails before you see them descend from the storm clouds. They get a kick out of terrifying their victims, knowing all too well that the damned cannot escape.

Harpies work together in packs of four to six, with multiple attackers swooping down upon the damned and tearing them to pieces. I’ve literally seen a group of four harpies lifting a screaming victim off the ground with talons and teeth clutching his arms and legs. And then, the harpies started pulling in opposite directions, ripping off their victim’s limbs and leaving his bloodied torso to drop down to the blood-stained sands below, where the man continued to squirm in agony with nothing but bloody stumps where his arms and legs used to be.

The harpies enjoy tormenting their victims, launching attack after attack upon the fleeing columns of the damned, creating carnage and leaving bloody remains strewn across the shoreline. They’ll happily continue the slaughter even after they’ve filled their bellies. Harpies hunt for sport as well as to feed. It’s quite something to witness a harpy assault, especially when several packs are involved simultaneously. That gets the boys worked up in the VIP box, let me tell you.

Next on the list comes the pterodactyl – a flying reptilian predator similar in appearance and size to its prehistoric namesake (and yes, I know there are several different species of pterosaur of various shapes and sizes – what can I say, I’m not a dinosaur guy).

The pterodactyl is a huge beast, with a wingspan of about 20 feet, its body long and sleek, and its beak formed like an enormous dagger. Seeing one descend from the dark skies is extraordinary to witness, both majestic and terrifying at the same time. I can only imagine what it feels like if you’re its prey down on ground zero.

Working as lone predators, the pterodactyls have an unusual method of hunting. Have you ever seen one of those seabirds that lifts its prey high into the air and then drops it onto hard rocks to break its shell open? Well, that’s exactly what Hell’s version of a pterodactyl does, except with human beings instead of shellfish.

Even for a sadist like me, it’s a sickening sight to see a live body dropped from fifty foot up in the air onto sharp jagged rocks, and cracking open like an egg upon impact, while the winged reptile swoops down and feasts on the splattered body parts and organs. My companions don’t share my reservations, however. A lot of money changes hands during a pterodactyl attack, with bets placed on how far the body will fall, and how wide it will splatter upon impact.

The pterodactyl is one of the big dogs, and the smaller predators and scavengers tend to scatter whenever one appears on the horizon. But its not the biggest or toughest monster in the skies…which brings me nicely to our final entry…alpha and top of Hell’s food chain is the Black Dragon…Winged terror incarnate…this is the one that will haunt your nightmares.

Now, we all have an idea of what a dragon looks like, having seen so many depictions in fiction and film over the years. Hell’s version of a dragon broadly matches the description, except it’s much more terrifying to see one in the flesh. Imagine a flying dinosaur the size of a jet plane, its black scales as tough as steel, its eyes a demonic shade of red, and its snout filled with teeth six inches long.

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Its wingspan must be at least fifty feet, making it substantially larger than any winged creature that’s ever existed on Earth. The shadow a Hell dragon casts is immense, and the roar it emits is deafening, drowning out every other sound, including that produced by a thousand simultaneous screams of terror.

A dragon sighting is a rare occurrence. I’ve only seen one during close to twenty visits to the underworld. But let me tell you, when one of the winged giants appears on the skyline, the boys in the VIP box go wild. Even the Devil himself has been known to join in the excitement when the alpha comes to town. And that’s when the big money starts changing hands, as we bet on casualty numbers, fire zones and the like.

But of course, a dragon attack equals bad news for the sorry folk trudging along the shoreline. Once they see that huge beast soaring through the air, the damned scatter in all directions, running for their lives, but their chances of survival are next to nil…Because just like the beasts of legend, Hell’s dragons can breathe fire, and they like their meals cooked.

Its quite something to see a thousand defenceless people burnt alive by a stream of napalm-like fire ejected from a dragon’s gaping maw. It can easily take out a hundred victims in one fatal swoop, burning them alive on the shoreline of the sulphur lake. But of course, the damned cannot die. All they can do is burn in total agony as they’re reduced to charred ashes, only to slowly and painfully regenerate, so they can live to suffer another day.

What I’ve described to you here are only four of the monstrosities which populate the hellscape. There are many others – all as horrifying and unbelievable as the species mentioned above. And sometimes the monsters don’t even make an appearance. Sometimes the lake of fire overflows, and the damned are drowned in a sea of sulphur.

Other times, the poisonous reeds by the shoreline will come to life, physically grabbing hold of the naked bodies and crushing them to death. And on one occasion, I witnessed the shore quite suddenly transform into quicksand, swallowing a thousand souls in an instant.

There really is no way to predict what will occur, as events play out differently on each visit. There is only one constant – the suffering of the damned. Those sorry wretches will be burnt, ripped apart, swallowed up and tormented no matter what.

So that’s my story, an honest account of my experiences in Hell. And I know what you think of me. I’m a real piece of shit, right? I’m a privileged one percenter who’s literally made a deal with the Devil. I take my vacations in Hell and I watch people being tortured for my own amusement.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a good guy. But I didn’t create this situation. I’m not Satan and I don’t rule over Hell. The damned will suffer and get hunted down whether I’m there to watch or not. It may be sick and twisted, but human beings have long been entertained by violence and bloodshed, and so why should I be any different?

I have money, power and connections, and I’ve used these advantages to secure my immortal future, looking after number one. That’s just the way of the world. And perhaps one day you will be on that shoreline, fleeing from hideous monsters, while I watch on from the sky seats, sipping my champagne. I’ll be sure to raise a glass to you when that day comes.

Credit : Woundlicker

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